University of Alberta - Public Health and Preventive Medicine - Edmonton

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
IMG Stream for IMG

Last approved on January 27, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Karen Lee
University Terrace, Suite 5-30 
8303 - 112 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Training Program

Program Contacts

Alexander Doroshenko
Assistant Program Director

Tracy Bezanson
Program Coordinator

Important Information

The Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Training Program at the University of Alberta for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) includes a first year of basic clinical training (BCT).

Competence by Design (CBD)

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has embarked upon an initiative to introduce competency-based medical education (CBME) in Canadian postgraduate specialty training and in professional practice in Canada. This initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD), aims to enhance patient care by aligning medical education and lifelong learning with evolving patient needs.

CBD uses time as a resource rather than the basis for progression. It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs are broken down into stages, and each stage compasses a series of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and milestones based on required competencies. These EPAs and milestones create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need.

Our program has will be transitioning to CBD at the University of Alberta in accordance with the nationally coordinated schedule and is expected to launch in July of 2023. Our program will continue to undergo the same rigorous accreditation processes as traditional programs. All CBD programs (and traditional programs) will continue to lead to Royal College approved certification. Certification for trainees in both CBD and traditional programs will include the completion of a Royal College examination; however, residents in CBD programs will also be assessed against specialty specific EPAs and milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all EPAs (documented within an electronic portfolio), stage promotions and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please go to

CASPer Test

Please note that applicants to the Public Health and Preventive Medicine at University of Alberta are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility.

CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. 

In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements. No exceptions will be provided for applicants unable to take CASPer online due to being located at sites where internet is not dependable due to technical or political factors.

Please go to to sign up for the CSP-20201 - Postgraduate Medical Education test and reserve a test using a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled beyond the last test date, scheduled for January 9, 2022. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule. 

Please direct any inquiries on the test to Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the website.

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 60-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

Alberta IMG Program (AIMG) Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) results:

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) scores will be shared directly to the residency programs by AIMG. MMI results are not submitted by applicants.

Return of Service

There are no return of service requirements at the University of Alberta.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)
• Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada

Canadian Permanent Resident card must be accompanied by Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada.

Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:

IMG and graduates of Canadian medical schools where instruction is not English (as identified by CPSA)  must meet English language requirements required by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for licensure.  English Language Proficiency . 

Effective January 1, 2018, IELTS will be the only English language proficiency test accepted by CPSA.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3
Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

If the document is not in English, please submit a translation as well.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Custom Résumé / CV 

Documentation of prior postgraduate training 

If applicable; Please include as much detail as possible regarding specific rotation and degree of responsibility (ie. junior, senior resident)

Detailed outline of medical practice experience 

If applicable; Please include as much detail as possible regarding the setting of clinical practice and type of patients encountered (ie. in/out-patient, general medicine/subspecialty)

CASPer exam 

CASPer scores will be shared directly by the AIMG Program. 

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022



  • March 17, 2022
  • March 18, 2022
Interviews will be held on either March 17 or March 18; specific date and times to be determined closer to the interview period. Interviews will be conducted online only (via Zoom).

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Candidates who are offered and accept an interview during the program's designated interview period will be invited to attend a virtual meet and greet that will provide applicants an opportunity to meet members of the Residency Program Committee and/or residents who are currently active in the program. Details will be provided at a later date.

Selection Criteria

Residents are selected on the basis of their academic record, personal letter, letters of reference, interview, and relevant experiences.

Program goals

Upon completing the residency training program, residents will be able to function effectively as a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist in a variety of career settings including government, academia, non-governmental organizations and community-oriented clinical practice. In particular, Public Health and Preventive Medicine residency graduates will be able to:

  • Assess the health needs, concerns, threats and capacities of a population
  • Investigate potential or existing health issues occurring in a population

  • Undertake disease and disease risk factor surveillance

  • Investigate and manage disease outbreaks and public health emergencies

  • Plan, implement and evaluate health programs, policies, and other strategies to deal with health needs, concerns, and issues

  • Be involved in addressing various determinants of health
  • Assess socio-economic and political realities and be able to advocate for and take appropriate action to improve health in the light of that assessment

  • Communicate, consult, collaborate and build partnerships as appropriate with the public, physicians and other health professionals, other sector professionals, volunteers, service provider agencies, policy-makers, elected and appointed officials, and the media to address health issues
  • Demonstrate ethical attitudes and behaviour and a critical approach to ethical issues arising from the practice of, and research in public health and preventive medicine
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge of public health and preventive medicine through scholarly activities, including research
  • Demonstrate leadership and management skills with respect to the above competencies

Selection process goals

A successful applicant for our Public Health and Preventative Medicine program will need to have:

  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Understanding of Public Health work
  • Strong sense of ethics
  • Ability to juggle multiple responsibilities
  • Interest in working as part of a team and working in a team-based setting
  • Interests in collaboration
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Self-motivation
  • Demonstrated interest and basic knowledge in Public and Population Health

File review process

Review team composition : We have a selection subcommittee comprised of some of the members of our residency program committee, which includes our Program Director, Associate Program Director, Chief Resident and one of more site rotation supervisors or their designees.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50
Number identified is per year

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Electives in medical school, extra curricular activities, Leadership skills experience
Electives Electives will not not be considered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on elective rotation scheduling
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular Interests and experiences
Leadership skills Leadership skills experience
MSPRs Student performance
Personal letters Demonstrated interest and experience in, and of knowledge of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Reference documents Strong letters of reference
Research/Publications List of publications, research experience
Transcripts Acceptable grades

Elective criteria

Electives will not be considered a requirement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on elective rotation scheduling.   

Interview process

Interview format :

We do not re-schedule interviews for applicants after we have completed the scheduling process.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Experience and examples in collaboration
Collegiality Experience and examples in teamwork and work interactions
Communication skills Experience and examples of communication strategies
Health advocacy Opportunities for highlighting knowledge and examples of experiences
Interest in the discipline Experience and examples of electives
Interest in the program Knowledge of our program
Leadership skills Experience and examples of leadership activities and roles
Professionalism Experience and examples related to different work situations, in application and on interview day
Scholarly activities Experience and examples of scholarship activities including research, publications, presentations, etc.

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

The University of Alberta Residency Program aims to focus on giving residents the practical experience they need to develop skills to work in all areas of public health and preventive medicine.


  • A focus on the front-line practice of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
  • Close/frequent contact with preceptors
  • Wide range of available training options; flexibility to meet individual interests of residents
  • Continual exposure to Public Health and Preventative Medicine through Academic Half Day

Other Key Features

The program has training options with the Occupational Medicine residency program and the School of Public Health.

Common Clinical Encounters

  • Management of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease outbreaks
  • Occupational and Environmental hazards to health
  • Communicable disease control and consultation on immunization issues
  • Work with vulnerable populations
  • Opportunities for experience in health promotion and chronic disease and injury prevention through some rotations and electives


First third of program: The first year is spent on Basic Clinical Training (BCT). Core Public Health rotations fill the remainder of this third.

Second third of program: The third year is an academic year, spent in Masters coursework (including Epidemiology and Biostatistics) at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta or another academic institution (subject to approval by the RPC) and can lead to an MPH or other Masters degree.

Final third of program: Senior rotations fulfill the Public Health and Preventive Medicine training objectives. Opportunity to take first call with preceptors during rotations enhances the training experience.

Research Expectations

The academic year in the MPH program at the University of Alberta has a practicum research project. Depending on resident interest, many other research opportunities or quality improvement projects are available throughout the program.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.


The first year is spent in Basic Clinical Training (BCT).


Core Public Health rotations. 

PGY 3 - PGY 4

Academic courses for 12-20 months, including any project requirements, on a full-time basis. This includes mandatory graduate courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and can work towards a Masters degree at either the University of Alberta or an alternate academic institution, subject to approval by the Residency Program Committee (RPC). At the University of Alberta, this would work toward a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

For more information:  


Complete academic courses per above.

Field placements providing specialized, practical skills in communicable disease control, environmental health, health promotion, chronic disease/injury prevention, surveillance and other basic public health topics.


Field placements providing specialized, practical skills in health policy and management of public health programs.

The last two years of the residency focus on rotations which provide the specialized, practical skills and knowledge required by a public health and preventive medicine specialist.  These rotations will be structured so as to provide the resident with increasing responsibilities as they progress through their training.  Communicable disease control, environmental health, chronic disease/injury prevention, and surveillance rotations will provide a foundation to the resident to then move into more complex areas such as health policy, management of public health programs and vulnerable populations.

Training Sites

The Public Health and Preventive Medicine program at the University of Alberta offers a broad range of clinical, academic, and field experiences and placement sites, including: 

University of Alberta

School of Public Health (MPH)
Division of Preventive Medicine
Department of Family Medicine

Alberta Health Services

Coronation Plaza
Edmonton, North, and Central Zones (Urban and Rural areas)
Sexually Transmitted Infections clinic
Travelers Health Clinic
Seventh Street Plaza and/or Aberhart Centre
Provincial Laboratory of Public Health for Northern Alberta
Pediatric Environmental Health Clinic

Indigenous Services Canada

First Nations and Inuit Health Branch

Hospitals and Health Centres

University of Alberta
Grey Nuns
Royal Alexandra
Northeast Community Health Centre


 Specialty/Field Questions for Public Health/Preventive Medicine

  1. What are some strengths about your specialty? What draws and keeps people in your specialty?
    The focus on population health, prevention or early intervention in disease processes.

    There are extensive opportunities to collaborate with other professionals and provide physician leadership in program and/or policy development and evaluation and research – every day is different!

    Opportunities for broad health impacts through programs and policies (eg. vaccination program that have prevented and eliminated diseases). Opportunities for further training in field epidemiology and occupational medicine.
  1. What are some common complaints about your specialty?
    Direct patient care work can be limited, depending on the type of work chosen within the specialty.
  1. Why did you choose your specialty?
    Opportunity to be proactive and deal with preventing problems/disease.

    Opportunity for large-scale health impacts across the population. 
  1. What types of clinical cases do you commonly see?
    Although there are opportunities for direct patient work (e.g. in community clinics or specialized clinics i.e. STI, TB, Inner City medicine, Travel), the specialty is focused on dealing with the needs and problems in populations or groups of people. So instead of a stethescope and lab tests we are using population diagnostic tools such as epidemiology, to study trends and risk factors in diseases and instead of individual treatments,we provide programs and policies to improve population health outcomes.

    Because a set of infectious diseases are reportable to Public health, we deal routinely with these diseases that are reportable (eg. TB, STIs, travel medicine, foodborne/waterborne illnesses), and environmental exposures; however, injuries and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiac disease, cancers and smoking-, nutrition- and sedentary-related illnesses are also dealt with through a population-based approach (surveillance, disease prevention, health promotion) 
  1. Briefly describe a typical day.
    • Consulting with physicians, nurses and other professionals on public health issues
    • Responding to infectious disease outbreaks by working with a team of professionals investigating and working to control the outbreak 
    • Chairing meetings, such as on emergency planning and management
    • Meeting with staff to plan for chronic disease prevention program
    • Clinical work
    • Research / literature search / policy review
    • Help lead the response to emerging public health threats
    • Health Advocacy
  1. a) What are the varieties of lifestyles within your field?
    • Very flexible and accommodates varying needs.
    • Primarily office hours in addition to on call taken from home.

          b) Specifically, how able is your specialty to accommodate family life?

    • Most of the work is done during office hours on weekdays.
    • After hours call is taken from home, and most emergency issues can be dealt with from home by phone.
    • Opportunities for part-time work, including patient-care duties.
  1. Range of incomes?
    • Most positions are salaried and include health benefit plans, vacation, pensions, etc.
    • Salary range: $200,000 to $400,000, depending on years of practice and position, plus benefits which are considered to be about 20% of salary
    • Patient-care work would be added onto this base salary
  1. How do you see your discipline changing over the next decade?
    • Continued demand for Medical Officers of Health
    • Over the next ten years, there will be more demand for public health and preventive medicine specialists to work in areas outside of traditional public health roles, for example in Primary Care Networks / Family Care Clinics, community clinics, or as medical administrators
    • Emergency areas (infection control, emergency preparedness) will offer new career choices
    • Increasing work in Chronic Disease Prevention and Healthy Built Environments to address high and growing burdens of non-communicable diseases
    • Academic positions may also be available

Residency Program Questions

  1. a) What are you looking for specifically in an impressive candidate?
    • Self starter who is able to use or adapt current resources and shape them in order to meet a different needs
    • Can consider issues form a broader perspective – system or population level
    • Knows how to ask and answer question
    • Demonstrates interest in specialty through his/her electives
    • Thrives in multi-disciplinary environment

    b) What can a potential candidate do now in order to be an appealing applicant to your program?
    • Do one or more electives in public health and preventive medicine
    • Do an elective in related disciplines, e.g. inner city health, travel medicine, TB clinic, STI, Indigenous health, etc.
    • Demonstrate an ability to work within a complicated organization
    • Demonstrate leadership/managerial talent
    • Demonstrate orientation to prevention and population health
    • Volunteer with a community agency

  2. What is your residency program’s orientation and focus?
    The focus of the rotations will be to give the residents as much "hands on" experience as possible while still maintaining an academic focus. For most rotations. the residents are expected to write a brief paper or complete a dedicated project while also participating actively in the day-to-day work at the rotation site. 

  3. What is the availability of experiences in subspecialty areas during training?
    Subspecialties do not specifically exist in public health and preventive medicine. However, some rotations and electives can be shaped to help to increase focus on a resident's areas of interest. Additional training in Field Epidemiology may be available through Public Health Agency of Canada.

    Note: Occupational Medicine is a subspecialty residency program that can be applied to by those completing internal medicine or PHPM.

  4. Are there sufficient elective opportunities during training to explore your special interests?
    For residents with interest in additional electives the MPH Practicum Project can be streamlined to meet some rotation requirements to allow some additional elective time.

  5. What is the on-call schedule during each year of residency?
    During family medicine and clinical rotations, call will be in-house, following the practices of the specific rotation.
    Public Health and Preventive Medicine call will normally commence in the PGY-3 year. Call is typically home call, and conforms to PARA requirements.

  6. What distinguishes the U of A program from other programs?
    The program has a focus on practical application of public health and preventive medicine skills.  There are opportunities for working with U of A program faculty with strong expertise in both communicable diseases and non-communicable disease prevention and control.

    Residents are directly involved at an early stage in their career planning. This program is housed in the Division of Preventive Medicine, alongside Occupational Medicine. PHPM residents participate in Occupational Medicine rotations (one of only two programs in Canada)

  7. Who can we contact for more information or to set up electives?
    Contact the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Program Coordinator via email at

  8. Is there a list of residents whom we contact?
    Yes!  Please contact our Chief Residents, Shez Kassam and Laura Idarraga-Reyes at

  9. How competitive is it to get in, and then to succeed in your field?
    Recently, there have been approximately 25 – 40 applicants for the two Public Health and Preventive Medicine positions through CaRMS. All graduates of the University of Alberta PHPM program have been successful in finding jobs utilizing their training.

  10. What local, national or international conferences would be of benefit to candidates interested in your residency program?
    • Canadian Public Health Association annual meeting
    • American Public Health Association Conferences
    • Canadian Immunization Conference
    • Practice Management Institute courses through the CMA

Summary of changes

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