Crest

University of Calgary - Ophthalmology - Calgary

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

Last approved on January 29, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:

 2 

Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria


Dr. Helen Chung
Ophthalmology 
Rockyview General Hospital 
7007 14 ST SW
Calgary Alberta T2V 1P9, Alberta, T2V 1P9
403 943-3932
403 943-7841
University of Calgary, Section of Ophthalmology
Calgary Ophthalmology Residency Program

Program Contacts

Ophthalmology Residency Program
Heather Summersgill
Program Administrator
Heather.Summersgill@albertahealthservices.ca
403-943-3932


Important Information

Full accreditation status.


General Instructions

Program application language: English

Interested applicants wishing to apply to the Calgary Ophthalmolgy Residency program need to apply through the CaRMS process.


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.
Required
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)
Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• IELTS
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General

IELTS, OET or CELPIP is required by CPSA for candidates from medical schools in Quebec except for candidates from McGill and for IMG candidates.  Please check CPSA https://cpsa.ca/ for ELP updates.

Reference documents
Required
Number requested: 3

Reference letters should be obtained from faculty members who can comment on your clinical skills, interpersonal skills, and suitability for a career in Ophthalmology. Reference letters from Ophthalmologists are preferred but not required.

Additional documents
Required
Custom Résumé / CV 

Please include a detailed Curriculum Vitae with your application. This should detail your Education, Work Experience, Awards/Accomplishments, Publications, Podium/Poster Talks, Leadership Activities, Volunteer Activities and Extracurricular Activities. Description of key entries should speak to how the experience links to the CANMEDS roles (i.e. being involved in a team sport demonstrates your ability to collaborate with others).

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The personal letter should speak to the applicant's motivation to pursue, and suitability for, a career in Ophthalmology. A strong letter will highlight the individuality of the applicant and express why they are a good fit for the Calgary program specifically. Career goals and aspirations should also be included. Maximum 500 word limit.

Medical Student Performance Record 

Medical School Transcript 

LMCC Certificate 

If appropriate.

Ophthalmological Report 

A report from an ophthalmologist or optometrist that documents at a minimum the candidate's best corrected acuities and stereoacuity.

Abstract/Publications 

If applicable, please select your 3 most important/significant publications to append to your application.

Photo 
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Diploma 

If appropriate.

Graduate Transcript (Master/PhD Degree) 

If appropriate

Postgraduate Medical Training Certificate 

If appropriate

Residency Transcript 

If appropriate.

Name Change 

If appropriate

Conditionally required
Medical School Diploma 

Conditionally required


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



Interviews

CARMS Interview date as per National Schedule.

The residents and staff will host virtual question and answer periods prior to the CaRMS application deadline (dates to be announced on the AFMC website). Any questions can be saved for those dates and brought forward to discuss amongst all applicants, or sent directly to the Program Administrator. An introductory video to the program can be found at the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lULhsEx5j7Y

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The Resident Selection Committee will review all applications and based on the selection criteria candidates short-listed for an interview will be contacted. The process will include interviews performed virtually on the national schedule with questions from both staff physicians and residents. No in person interviews will be done this year. Facility tours will not be possible this year but a video will be available on the AFMC website when production is complete and virtual question and answer sessions will be held prior to interviews to allow inquiry into the program.


Selection Criteria

The selection process will evaluate prospective applicants on their ability as per the CanMEDS roles. These roles will be evaluated predominantly from the following documents:

- Letters of reference

- Curriculum vitae

- Personal Letter

Program goals

At the University of Calgary, we aim to train well-rounded comprehensive ophthalmologists, competent in all subspecialties of ophthalmology. Our goal is to provide a stellar learning environment where residents can learn from each other and their staff. We also provide training and support for residents interested in research. Residents who graduate from our program will be strong both clinically and surgically and will be able to work independently in any setting, from community to hospital-based, rural to urban. Our residents who wish to pursue further fellowship training will also be supported through the process with our formal mentorship program.

Selection process goals

A successful candidate to ophthalmology at the University of Calgary will demonstrate the following skills: 

  • Communication and time management. The program is highly dependent on independent learning as well as team-based training. 
  • Collaboration and collegiality. With a program of 10 residents, all must have a good work ethic and work well together in the clinic and for on-call handovers. Applicants must fit with the established culture of the program.
  • Leadership. The ability to take initiative and be a leader within the program and department as evidenced by previous efforts in the applicant’s former endeavours during and prior to medical school.
  • Professionalism. Be a self directed, mature learner who is punctual and respectful during interactions with staff, allied health professionals and colleagues.
  • Researcher and Scholar. The ability to participate in and produce novel research projects. Calgary offers a plethora of opportunities and resources to produce high-impact research.

 

 

File review process

Review team composition : The review team consists of the residency program director, section chief, two community ophthalmologists, and two residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV education, past employment (medical and non-medical), research, awards and achievements
Electives Electives will not be considered for file review
Examinations we do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular well-rounded activities outside of ophthalmology and medicine
Leadership skills demonstration of initiative and leadership in organizations, associations, teams, and other collaborative efforts such as research and teaching
MSPRs we do not evaluate this file component
Personal letters background and interest in ophthalmology and Calgary
Reference documents clinical skills, interpersonal skills and suitability for a career in Ophthalmology
Research/Publications ability to produce research and work well in a research team
Transcripts competency in undergraduate studies and medicine

Elective criteria

Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :



We may accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure, or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills demonstrations of collaborative efforts both within and outside of medical settings
Collegiality pleasant to work and interact with in diverse circumstances
Communication skills ability to listen to questions and answer appropriately, including in difficult situations; communicating views on current topics
Health advocacy QA/QI projects, patient advocacy, knowledge about current advocacy topics and health care issues
Interest in the discipline background to the applicant’s interest in ophthalmology, basic knowledge of the field
Interest in the program interest in the Calgary ophthalmology program, the city/region/province, and any connections to the area
Leadership skills evidence of leadership skills in organizations, committees, extra-curricular activities, and other pursuits
Professionalism professional interactions with colleagues and interviewers, ability to maintain composure, and sound ethical reasoning
Scholarly activities research skills; interest in research, up to date knowledge of the program/discipline

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 Calgary Ophthalmology Residency Program (CORP) is a fully accredited 5-year Royal College residency program that was founded in 2003. In recent years, CORP has established itself as one of the preeminent programs in Canada. CORP prides itself in offering some of the highest surgical volumes in North America. Through a unique agreement with non-hospital surgical facilities, residents will routinely graduate with upwards of 750 full cataract cases. 

With over 50 staff surgeons affiliated with the program, CORP has one of the  highest staff-to-resident ratios in the country with strong representation in all subspecialties of ophthalmology (3 neuro-ophthalmologists, 3 oculoplastic surgeons, 4 cornea specialists, 4 glaucoma specialists, 5 pediatric ophthalmologists, 6 retinal surgeons, 1 uveitis specialist, 2 ocular oncologists and 2 ocular pathologists). As such, residents are exposed to considerable expertise across sub-disciplines, and achieve substantial depth and breadth in both clinical and surgical ophthalmological training.

Calgary is a major tertiary care centre serving Western Canada and has one of the largest catchment areas in the country. While on general call, the resident will cover the Calgary Zone which serves upwards of 1.4 million people. Certain subspecialties (neuro-ophthalmology, retinal surgery, ocular oncology) serve a population greater than 2 million, including patients from Southern Alberta, Interior British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Territories. Calgary residents routinely participate in the diagnosis and treatment of rare entities otherwise relegated to the training manuals. 

CORP offers diverse learning opportunities through a variety of avenues including journal clubs, subspecialty dedicated group teaching, academic half-days, case rounds, M&M rounds and wet lab training. This is complemented by a robust Visiting Professor program that attracts leaders in their field. In the past 5 years, our roster of visiting professors has included Dr. Davinder Grover (co-inventor of the GATT procedure), Warren Hill (creator of the Hill-RBF lens calculator) and Dr. Jeffrey Liebmann (a principal investigator on the OHTS III Trial) amongst others. Visiting Professors are invited to present at Grand Rounds and subsequently provide a three-hour teaching session for the resident group. 

CORP supplements these robust learning opportunities with review courses. At the end of the PGY-1 Year, residents attend the Toronto Ophthalmology Resident Introductory Course (TORIC). At the conclusion of the PGY-2 Year, residents attend the Bay Area Ophthalmology course hosted by Stanford University. Finally in the PGY-4 and PGY-5 year, residents have the opportunity to attend a 1-week review session of their choosing.

Our program is flexible and can cater to residents’ individual interests. CORP is invested in the success of their residents and will actively support their career goals by modifying the program to meet their needs. CORP has a mentorship component to pair every resident with a mentor who they can discuss life goals with and specifics in their training and/or career development.

Calgary offers a plethora of resources to their residents. Residents have access to a Wetlab with brand new equipment, 4 operational surgical microscopes and a functional Phacoemulsification machine. Through the Lions Eye Bank of Southern Alberta, residents regularly have access to cadaveric eyes to practice surgical techniques. Residents also have 24/7 access to an updated Eyesi surgical simulator.

Residents trained at the program have achieved excellence both locally and nationally in the areas of research, clinical training and fellowship opportunities. Many of our graduates have secured coveted academic positions throughout Canada.

 

Living in Calgary

Calgary is Canada’s 4th largest metropolitan area with a population of around 1.3 million people. Calgary has repeatedly been on The Economist’s list of the world’s most livable cities as the most livable city in North America, most recently in 2019 (fifth globally).

Calgary is notably affordable for a major city, with the added advantages of no provincial sales tax and relatively low rent prices. Calgary has a young and diverse professional population, with a requisite array of pubs, restaurants, breweries, and fine dining throughout the city. The nightlife is widely varied, offering options for every niche. Calgary’s summer notably includes the Calgary Stampede: a world-renowned, 10-day festival each July that features daily rodeos, exhibitions, midway, stage shows, concerts, and parties throughout the city, attracting over 1 million visitors per year. 

The true appeal to Calgary, however, lies in its natural beauty, offerings for outdoor activities, and proximity to some of the planet’s most incredible landscapes. Banff – recently named one of National Geographic’s Best of the World Destinations – is less than 150 kilometres (75 minutes) from Calgary’s centre, allowing for frequent day and weekend trips to explore a variety of activities in the Rocky Mountains including hiking, biking, skiing and camping in some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain scenery.


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 University of Calgary offers a five-year, fully accredited, comprehensive training in Ophthalmology with subsequent eligibility for the Royal College specialty examination. During the first year, the resident(s) will rotate through medical and surgical disciplines related to Ophthalmology followed by four core years in Ophthalmology with graded responsibility. Note that changes to the curriculum may come beginning 2023 as the Royal College implements Competency by Design in the ophthalmology sections across Canada.

PGY-1

During the first year, residents will complete both medical and surgical rotations to help build a broad clinical background prior to commencing the core Ophthalmology rotations. Rotations are 4 weeks long and typically fall within the following areas: Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, ENT, Pediatrics, Pediatric Plastic Surgery, Neuroradiology, Neurology, Infectious Disease and Ocular Pathology. During these rotations residents also attend a surgical skills course with other surgical subspecialty residents to enhance their abilities and understanding of basic surgical techniques offered by the Department of Surgery. Our PGY-1 year dedicated block of Ocular Pathology is unique in Canada and provides residents with time to read through Eagles textbook while getting one-on-one teaching from Fellowship Trained Ocular Pathologists. At the conclusion of PGY 1 year, residents are sent to the national TORIC course located in Toronto for 6 weeks to learn the fundamentals of Ophthalmology prior to starting their PGY 2 year.

 

PGY-2 

The PGY-2 year is focused on learning the basic Ophthalmological skill set. Residents will rotate through the Urgent Eye Clinic for two 3 month blocks. The remainder of the year will be spent rotating through subspecialty clinics and gaining early surgical exposure.

 

Residents will rotate through the following Subspecialties for the remainder of the year:

  • Cornea and External Eye Disease (1 month)
  • Glaucoma (1 month)
  • Retina (2 months)
  • Oculoplastic Surgery (1 month)
  • Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (1 month)

PGY-3 and PGY-4 (First half) 

The PGY-3 and PGY-4 are a continuity of each other and provide the residents with the core subspecialty teaching. Residents will rotate through senior blocks in order to consolidate their knowledge, procedural skills and surgical skills. These rotations include the following:

  • Cornea and External Disease (3 months)
  • Glaucoma (3 months)
  • Pediatrics (3 months)
  • Oculoplastics (3 months)
  • Retina (3 months)
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology (4 months)

PGY4 (Second Half) and PGY-5 

Surgical training commences in dedicated fashion in the 4th year. An introductory 1 week course on Cataract Surgery is hosted by recent graduates of the program yearly to help transition to the surgical component of residency. The unique agreement with Non Hospital Surgical Facilities in Calgary allows for residents to complete a substantial number of Surgical Cases. Our average resident will be able to hit 750 Full cases of Cataracts. Once the resident has been deemed competent with cataract surgery, they can use the remainder of their surgical year to expand their skill set and tailor it to their future practice. Residents pursuing sub-specialty training can spend time with that respective discipline to perfect their skills for fellowship. Residents can also use this time to revisit skills they feel less comfortable with. The final 8 weeks of the PGY-5 year is dedicated study time for the Royal College.

Elective

Elective time can be scheduled throughout the residency in order to accommodate career goals. Residents have 3 months of dedicated elective time.

Research

Residents participate in a research project in PGY 2-5 and their results are presented at the annual departmental Ophthalmology Research Day. Residents will be encouraged to present papers and posters at national and international meetings, and can receive support for these endeavours. There are dedicated faculty to support research as well as staff who will assist in data collection, and statistical analysis. Residents have approximately 1 half day of protecting time for research per week.

 

Conference Schedule

Option to attend seven weeks of basic science didactic teaching is offered through the Bay Area Ophthalmology Course, a four week course hosted by Stanford, California, USA. Residents are encouraged and supported to attend the Canadian Ophthalmological Society Annual Meeting, American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting, Sally Letson Symposium (Ottawa), Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta Annual Meeting (Banff), Southern Alberta Retina Retreat, Brandon Ophthalmic Surgical Course, Toronto Cataract Course, and review courses such as those offered in San Antonio. Some funding for residents is available to aid in attending these courses and conferences.

 

Academic Half Day Schedule

Academic Half Days are scheduled on Friday Afternoon. The academic half day schedule follows the Basic and Clinical Science Course Manuals from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The curriculum has been redesigned to focus and highlight the material most important for the Royal College Examination. Wetlabs are incorporated into certain half days.

Seminars

Grand Rounds will be held each Friday (September to May) from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and residents will be required to present with an assigned staff member. Academic seminars and didactic teaching will be held weekly on Friday afternoons. In addition to regular seminars, there will also be Interesting case rounds, Journal Club meetings, subspecialty rounds, and surgical teaching held for the residents.

Subspecialty Rotation Description

 

Urgent Eye Clinic 

In the Urgent Eye Clinic, the Ophthalmology resident will be exposed to a diverse array of common and rare visual complaints. It is expected that the resident will learn to take an appropriate history, become proficient in examining the patient with the standard equipment used by an ophthalmologist and order/evaluate the appropriate tests.

The resident will be expected to create an appropriate differential diagnosis and prepare a treatment plan. Any surgical cases derived from the clinic (trauma or ruptured globe) will be followed through by the resident for continuous experience. In the afternoon, dedicated time can be used to shadow technicians to learn how to perform basic ancillary testing such as OCT, B-Scan and Visual Fields. The afternoon can also be used to attend subspecialty clinics at the RGH Eye Clinic or used for research. Common procedure during this block include:     

 

  • Removal of a corneal foreign body and a rust ring at the slit lamp
  • Collection of corneal cultures
  • Incision and drainage of a chalazion.
  • Laser Peripheral Iridotomy
  • Various oculoplastic procedures (e.g. canthotomy / cantholysis)

 

Oculoplastics

Our center houses 3 high volume oculoplastic surgeons, and we are blessed with the unique strength of having a robust ocular oncology program as well. Residents obtain early exposure to the range of common oculoplastic procedures in their junior rotation, and accumulate large volumes of blepharoplasties, ptosis repair, biopsies, and familiarity with the fundamentals of cosmetic practice in the senior rotation. Calgary is also home to two oculoplastic fellows at any given time, which augment the learning experience.

Pediatrics

The University of Calgary provides a robust, multidisciplinary training program in pediatric ophthalmology. At the Vision Clinic in Alberta Children’s Hospital, residents work with pediatric ophthalmologists and orthoptics to become proficient in performing pediatric vision evaluations, extraocular muscle mobility assessments, cycloplegic and manifest examination, and stereopsis testing. By the end of the senior rotation, residents will be familiar with performing common procedures such as strabismus surgery and nasolacrimal duct probings. Quarterly Pediatric Journal clubs provide a forum for keeping updated on the latest literature in the field.

Cornea

The University of Calgary is home to a world-class cornea service. This rotation consists of both clinical and surgical experiences designed to equip residents in both diagnosing and managing diseases of the external eye and cornea. Residents have ample and varied learning opportunities ranging from taking part in the care of rare congenital defects such as Peter’s anomaly to applying the latest medical and surgical treatments for more prevalent disease such as Fuch’s Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. Alongside the four leading cornea specialists in Calgary, the resident will be involved in pterygium repair, superficial keratectomy, corneal cross-linking, PKP, DSAEK and DMEK surgeries as well as therapeutic and refractive laser-based procedures.

Glaucoma

The University of Calgary has an excellent Glaucoma teaching program, which has recently started fellowship training as well. This rotation includes both clinical and surgical training from 4 well respected surgical Glaucoma specialists. Residents on this rotation receive significant hands-on training in both the clinic and OR starting in their junior rotation. In the clinic, in addition to patient examination, diagnosis, and management there is also designated time to learn and develop laser skills including LPI, SLT, and laser suturlysis. In the OR our preceptors provide a supportive environment for hands-on anterior segment surgical training including, but not limited to trabeculectomy, drainage implant surgeries, angle based surgeries, and preliminary cataract training. Recently the program also had a wet lab to introduce residents to minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). 

Retina

The University of Calgary has a highly robust medical and surgical retina program. Residents spend most of their time working through diverse consults with the vitreoretinal surgeon on call and assisting with cases in the operating room. While on rotation and on general call, residents have the clinical support of two Retina Fellows, who teach extensively. Hands-on surgical experience is still a priority, and residents scrub in on +75% of cases while the fellows are assigned to other areas. We boast 6 vitreoretinal surgeons and a handful of staff who practice medical and paediatric retina extensively. Their training incorporates perspectives from centres including Bascom Palmer, Wills, Weill Cornell (Lincoff), Iowa and Moorfields. Academically, residents present and discuss approaches to complex problems at monthly Retina Rounds, and there are ample opportunities for research. Unique highlights of the program include seeing impressively high volumes of interesting and rare pathology, and exposure to a very high number of scleral buckles and complex surgeries. The rotation accommodates significant flexibility towards residents’ interests, including opportunities to immerse in medical and diagnostic retina, the Multidisciplinary Ophthalmology-Rheumatology Uveitis Clinic, and our Retinopathy of Prematurity Program.

Neuro-Ophthalmology

The University of Calgary boasts 3 internationally renowned, Neurology-trained Neuro-Ophthalmologists. This rotation is clinic based and residents will learn the fundamentals of the afferent and efferent examination. From neuroretinitis to carotid-cavernous fistulas, residents will be exposed to a plethora of rare pathologies. The resident predominantly examines the new patients and reviews the case in depth with the staff. Neuro-Imaging is reviewed for each case. Furthermore, residents receive teaching once per month during the Neuro-Ophthalmology rounds. The Neuro-Ophthalmology rotation is one of the strongest in Canada.


Training Sites

Resources

Rockyview General Hospital, Eye Clinic

Alberta Children's Hospital, Vision Clinic

Alberta Health Services, Non Hospital Clinics and Chartered Surgical Facilities

Very good representation in all sub-specialties (Retina, Pediatrics, Oculoplastics, Cornea, Glaucoma, Neuro-ophthalmology)

Friendly, enthusiastic, expert consultants

Close-knit resident group that promotes camaraderie and a very strong community presence with offices, centers and NHSF.

Two new, state of the art eye surgery facilities

New surgical training room with two microscopes and access to Eyesim surgical simulator.

Early surgical training starting in PGY-2

Located in vibrant, multicultural city next door to the Rockies


Additional Information

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: Applying competency-based practices to residency education

To contribute to the success of Canadian physicians and the delivery of high-quality patient care, 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 and empowering learners to more fully engage in their education process.

CBD will use time as a framework rather than the basis for progression. It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs will be broken down into stages, and each stage will have a series of milestones based on required competencies. These milestones will 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.

The Royal College anticipates that all specialty and subspecialty programs in Canada will adopt CBD in gradual phases. All disciplines have been divided into seven cohort groups, each of which will adopt CBD at different times. It is anticipated that national implementation of CBD within certain, individual programs could begin as early as July 2017 - with more disciplines to following in subsequent years.

All programs implementing CBD 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 program milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all milestones (documented within an electronic portfolio) and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please contact cbd@royalcollege.ca.

 


FAQ

Any questions can be forwarded to Program Administrator Heather Summersgill who will respond to or direct your email appropriately. Questions can include topics like late applications, city accommodations, or other questions about the program.


Summary of changes

SUMMARY ID Section Summary of changes Updated on NOTIFY APPLICANTS SECTION NAME Actions