Adult


Neurology

“A profound intriguing and compelling guide to the intricacies of the human brain” - Oliver Sacks

Welcome to the Adult Neurology Residency Program at the University of Alberta.

  • First And only stroke ambulance in Canada

  • 14 subspecialty programs

  • Graduated responsibilities:
    On call and on service

Interview/CaRMS Specific Information 

We will have 4 CMG positions available for the 2021-2022 year.

We will have 1 IMG position available for the 2021-2022 year. 

Interview Selection Process:

The selection process for our candidates is staged. An initial file assessment occurs with emphasis on leadership, communication skills, collegiality and commitment to the specialty. Following this initial file review selected candidates will be invited for an interview. 

 

The Interview:

**All Interviews will be conducted virtually for the 2021 cycle** 

Multi-Mini Interviews (MMI) will consist of 4 panels with resident and faculty representation. Candidates will move through each specialized panel where similar CanMeds roles are assessed. 

Following this, ranking occurs via a global assessment.

Information sessions will be held prior to interviews to give candidates that opportunity to speak with residents and the Program Director about the program. Individual time with either the Program Director or one of our residents can be arranged prior to the start of the file review period. Please contact Tina Barnard (medneuro@ualberta.ca) to help arrange an individual meeting. 

Students are welcome to join our virtual Academic Half Day throughout the year. Please contact either Amy Wagner (anwagner@ualberta.ca)  Nabeela Nathoo (nnathoo@ualberta.ca) or Tina Barnard (medneuro@ualberta.ca) if you are interested and they will

Contact Information

7-132 Clinical Sciences Building
11350 - 83 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6G 2G3
Phone: 780-248-1237
Email: medneuro@ualberta.ca

Dr. Wasif Hussain
Program Director

Tina Barnard
Medical Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Nabeela Nathoo 
Co-Chief Resident
nnathoo@ualberta.ca

Dr. Amy Wagner 
Co-Chief Resident
anwagner@ualberta.ca

 

Neurology Residency Program Website

 


Dr. M. Wasif Hussain

Dr. M. Wasif Hussain
Program Director

Tina Barnard

Tina Barnard
Program Administrator

Welcome to Our Program

We proudly offer a strong collegial environment, supportive mentorship and the flexibility to allow our residents to thrive in the career path they choose. 

In the University of Alberta Adult Neurology Residency program, we are fortunate to have an incredible family of residents, administrative personnel, allied health and faculty. With a ratio of residents to faculty of approximately 1:2, our residents develop life-long connections with our faculty who are actively engaged in resident education. 

Our program strongly believes in creating an environment that is conducive to personal and professional growth. For this reason, resident wellness is a priority and the residents themselves play a critical role in the running and progression of the program. 

The strengths of our program are many. Our program offers a wide range of subspecialties within Neurology including several that are unique across Canada. Our program affords residents several months of dedicated time to use towards electives (internal and external) and/or research. By virtue of our geographic location, we serve a huge catchment area that spans Northern BC, Northern Alberta, Northern Saskatchewan and all the territories, including Nunavut. This provides unique and diverse pathology to aid in developing excellent clinical acumen. Our residents have ample opportunity to become educators themselves through teaching of off-service residents, medical students and sessions through the Undergraduate Medical Education office. 

Our program has cultivated an environment which allows residents to thrive as they transition to practice: some trainees join community practices after their residency, others have completed prestigious fellowships around the world (Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Duke, Toronto, McGill, etc), and a few have even been awarded Clinical Investigator Program funding to complete Masters and PhD programs throughout the course of their training. 

Edmonton as a city is a wonderful place to live. It boasts a lively and diverse culture with year-round festivals, world class entertainment and a thriving culinary scene. Faculty members and residents with young children can attest to the great community, excellent school systems, and wonderful year-round family programming. For outdoor enthusiasts we have the largest connected urban parkland in all of Canada (with amazing running and bike trails) and are a short drive away from the beautiful Alberta Rockies. 

We are delighted by the opportunity to meet you!

Dr. M. Wasif Hussain  
Program Director


Our Program

The Adult Neurology Residency Program trains Physicians to become independent Neurological Consultants, experts in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of patients with diseases of the nervous system.

Residents completing training in this program will be equipped to work in a variety of environments depending on the career objectives of the resident, including community-based and academic practice.

Program Highlights
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Committed teaching staff and a collegial, supportive resident group

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Large catchment area provides a wide variety of clinical exposure and breadth of rotational experiences

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Full complement of sub-specialty expertise across the entire spectrum of clinical neurology

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Flexible elective opportunities tailored to the career objectives of the individual resident

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The ratio of residents to faculty is approximately 1:2

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There is ample opportunity for research initiatives depending on resident interest

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Opportunity exists for pursuing a graduate research project and receiving a MSc during the R3-4 years through the Department of Medicine.


Residency at a Glance

Learn about each year of the program with an overview of each year.

Transition to Discipline (2 months)
This stage builds on the skills learned in medical school and helps apply them directly to Neurology. This stage will take place on the neurology inpatient services (stroke ward, acute stroke, general neurology and/or consults) at the University of Alberta Hospital. This will provide an introduction to clinical neurology and will allow the trainees to become familiar with the personnel in the Division of Neurology as well as the structure and function of the training program.
Foundations of Discipline (18 months)
This stage will be devoted to the development of sound neurological clinical skills and to rounding out the trainee's general medical skills. The first part of this stage will be spent in general medicine and a final inpatient ward service. The latter half of the stage will be spent on  Neurosurgery, General Systems ICU, NeuroRehab, Pediatric Neurology Community Neurology and Psychiatry.
Core of Discipline (24 months)

In this stage, residents build on foundations skills and their approach to assessing and managing patients with acute and chronic neurological presentations in cases with greater complexity. They perform special neurological examination techniques and procedures and request and interpret reports of advanced investigations. They lead patient care teams and communicate with patients and families in complicated situations. This stage also includes maintaining clinical records and managing adverse events. A longitudinal clinic will start at the beginning of this stage and conclude in the end of Transition to Practice. 

The written portion of the Royal College Examination will occur at the end of this stage.

Transition to Practice (12 months)

In this stage the resident will spend time on the adult neurology service as a 'junior consultant'. In this role, the resident will directly supervise in-patient management on the neurology ward under the guidance of one of the consultant neurologists and take outside phone calls. This stage will help residents become more familiar with running a Neurology practice on their own. Trainees will continue to participate in weekly continuity clinics during this final year. The research projects should be completed. 

Rotations needed to complete certification requirements for EEG/EMG exam, can be completed, depending on individual goals.

The OSCE portion of the Royal College Examination will occur at the end of this stage. 

It should be noted that some rotations may not be available during the specific PGY year mentioned above, but may be taken a year earlier or later. 

Elective options include (but not limited to): Pain management, Neuro ophthalmology, sleep medicine, rural neurology, community clinics, Neuro radiology, research, EMG, Neuro rehab, headache, Neuro psychiatry as well as electives in other provinces or international electives. The first 2 years of residency are largely composed of mandatory internal medicine rotations, and selectives, with more elective opportunities arising through Foundations of Discipline. Elective rotations comprise a significant component of the required neurology rotations listed above. This allows us to tailor the residents' training to their areas of personal interest.


Teaching Hospitals

University of Alberta Hospital 

Royal Alexandra Hospital 

Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

Grey Nuns Community Hospital

Rural electives available in Lethbridge and Red Deer, Alberta

UAH and STARS helicopter

The Brain Centre


Subspecialties

  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis/ Neuroimmunology
  • Neuro-infections
  • Movement Disorders and Deep-Brain Stimulation
  • Neuromuscular/EMG
  • NeuroOphthalmology
  • Neurogenetics
  • Concussion
  • Headache
  • Cognitive Neurology
  • General Neurology
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Autonomic Neurology

Frequently Asked Questions

How much call does a resident typically do in your program?
While on Neurology service, a junior resident (R1 and R2) would typically do 3-5 in-house call per month with a maximum of 7 per month as per PARA guidelines. Junior residents on off-service rotations would complete call requirements for the respective rotation that they are on (some rotations would have no call, some exclusively home call and others in-house with varying numbers of call per month). Senior residents (R3-R5) typically do 3-6 home call per month (to support the in-house junior resident) while on any Neurology inpatient or outpatient rotation with a maximum of 9 per month as per PARA guidelines.
Does your program support residents to travel for conferences or courses?
Yes, residents are granted upto 5 days of conference leave per year. A formal request is required to be submitted well before the date of the conference.
Does your program provide any educational stipend for residents beyond base salary?
Yes, residents are given a generous annual allotment to spend on educational needs (textbooks, tools, conferences, etc). There is also an additional annual conference stipend, the amount of which can be accessed by the resident if presenting at the conference that they are attending.
What kind of opportunities does your program provide for interests in research or even obtaining a Masters or PhD?
Many opportunities exist to perform research as a resident. This can be in the form of research blocks during residency with a maximum of 6 allowed. In order to maximize productivity during research blocks, the resident is required to write a research proposal that is discussed with our Research Faculty (Dr. Valerie Sim) for feasibility. Outside of research blocks, there is the opportunity to pursue formal graduate studies in the form of a Master's or PhD through the CIP program as well as other programs through the faculty of Medicine and Dentistry including a Masters in Translational Research and Masters in Medical Education.
How are residents assessed and given feedback throughout their residency?

Residents are regularly assessed on EPAs through the cbme.med system.  Residents regularly receive informal feedback from preceptors at the end of each week of in-patient service. There is an annual resident OSCE for junior residents (TTD and Foundations) and two annual OSCEs for senior residents (Core and TTP) that are conducted in conjunction with the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan. Written examinations are completed through an in house examination prepared by the faculty annually and starting from the Foundations stage residents complete the Residency In-service Training Examination (RITE) administered through the AAN. Residents are evaluated as teachers through SATER assessments. Long case oral examinations are completed annually starting in the Foundations through a STACER exam. Summative 6-month reviews are completed on a one-to-one basis with the program director. These reviews also include discussions regarding future plans and life outside of residency.

What kind of social aspects of residency does your program offer?
Multiple resident socials are organized throughout the year. This typically includes a junior social in the summer for the incoming PGY-1s, a farewell social in the spring for the graduating PGY-5s and an annual welcome social event for residents and faculty in the Fall. Oftentimes, outings are scheduled informally, sponsored by the program, both involving just the residents, and events involving residents and faculty. Senior residents are designated each year to plan and organize an annual resident retreat which typically takes place in the Rocky Mountains. The overall environment in our division is highly collegial and many of us spend quite a bit of time together outside of work!
As a medical student from a French Speaking University, am I required to have English Language Assessments?
Yes, due to CPSA requirements, graduates from French speaking Universities are required to have scored at least a 7.0 in each component area of the IELTS examination in order to apply (see: http://www.cpsa.ca/language-proficiency).
What types of Subspecialty Neurology does your faculty practice in?
We have subspecialists in the following fields: Stroke; Epilepsy; Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology; Neuro-infectious; Movement Disorders and Deep-Brain Stimulation; Neuromuscular/EMG; Neurogenetics; Concussion; Headache; Cognitive Neurology; General Neurology; Neuro-Oncology; Neurological ICU.

Resident Testimonials

We asked our residents what they like about Edmonton, their highlights of the program, and one piece of advice for applicants about the interview process. Here is what a few of them had to say.
Sabrina Poonja

Why Neurology? 
Neurology is a puzzle and you get to be the detective. using history and physical exam, you are tasked with the mission of figuring out where the lesion is. For example, when a patient has leg weakness, the lesion could be anywhere along the neuroaxis, from the cerebral cortex down to the muscle. I find this truly unique to Neurology compared to other areas of medicine where you often know where (but not necessarily what) the problem is from the beginning.

What do you like about Edmonton: Edmonton is just big enough to stay busy, yet small enough to not feel lost in the crowd. Some of my favorite spots are the River Valley and the Aga Khan Botanical Gardens.

What are the highlights of the program for you: The relentless support of the program - fellow residents, staff, admin! The residents room is always a fun place where you can always find company at lunch time or a listening ear after a hard day.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: While being nervous is so normal, we really just hope to get to know you better in the interview! We hope that you are able to show us who you are and maybe even have some fun. Residency is filled with highs and lows but it makes such a difference to do it surrounded by such an amazing group of people who are all going through the same thing.

Sabrina Poonja (PGY 2)
Kaylynn Purdy

What do you like about Edmonton:
I really like Edmonton as a city. I never thought that I would, especially since I grew up in the Rockies in BC. But Edmonton has a unique culture that really supports small and independent business, has an amazing food scene and having such proximity to the river valley no matter where you live in the city means nature is steps from your door without leaving the city. It's also very bike friendly. I really like that I can bike to work year round in Edmonton, even if it is cold and snowy - that just makes it all the more fun!

What are the highlights of the program for you: A great balance of inpatient learning and clinics, a wide variety of specialities, outstanding mentorship, flexibility to customize the program to your learning needs and a really supportive group of residents and residency program. I also like how large of a catchment area for patients that Edmonton has, it allows for seeing a diversity of cases that otherwise you may only read about.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Interviews are of course stressful, but at times they can be fun. It's a chance for programs to get to know you and you to get to know them.

Kaylynn Purdy (PGY 3)
Caitlin Christensen

Why Neurology?  I was drawn to neurology after realizing it is one of the few remaining specialties where a thorough history and focused physical exam will leave you to the localization and diagnosis. Neurology requires excellent clinical acumen and uses investigations to confirm what the clinician must already suspect. I love being able to build relationships with patients through the time spent taking a history and performing the exam.

What do you like about Edmonton:
I moved to Edmonton for residency and it has quickly become home! The people are friendly, it has a small city feel with the amenities of a big city, there are great trail systems to explore on the weekends (both in and out of the river valley), and there are so many tasty restaurants.

Caitlin Christensen (PGY 3)
Nabeela Nathoo

Why Neurology?  I love the focus on the neurological examination and integrating that with a good history to localize the problem (as every other neurology nerd does). It's the best time to be in the field with many new treatments being discovered across multiple neurological conditions at a staggering pace.

What do you like about Edmonton: It's a really underrated medium-sized city (~1 million people) with plenty to do in the city itself (we are Canada's Festival city, have the oldest and largest Fringe festival in North American, and you can't forget the huge stretch of the river valley that's accessible from every part of the city). The restaurant and coffee scene is exceptional. People are really friendly. What more could you ask for?

Nabeela Nathoo (PGY 4)
Brendan Putko

What do you like about Edmonton: The food and culture scene is quite strong. On the other end of the spectrum, the river valley is a massive expanse of green space that allows you to feel you've escaped the city. With that, there is something for everyone in a city where people are generally laid back.

What are the highlights of the program for you: We have staff physicians who are very supportive this never gets old. Also, being a major catchment for the North, Edmonton sees a high volume of interesting cases. Together, I feel that my training is going to make me a very solid clinician.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Interviews will have their ups and downs. Some you will feel that you've put your best foot forward, and others might feel a bit tougher. Shake off the hiccups and enjoy the unique process that signals the end of one chapter of your training

Brendan Putko (PGY 3)
Kaylynn Purdy

What do you like about Edmonton:
There are great biking trails and it has an excellent food scene.

What are the highlights of the program for you: The people. I so much appreciate everyone in my program. Our PD and associate PD have done wonders for morale. They are constantly ensuring us residents are taken care of by providing educational opportunities, a stocked snack cupboard, and even COVID PPE to name a few. The neurology staff provide residents with ample support. Our admin goes above and beyond for us. And my co-residents add so much sunshine to those cloudy days.

Candace Marsters (PGY 2)
Zoya Zaeem

What do you like about Edmonton: Great community and wonderful summer festivals.

What are the highlights of the program for you: The close-knit resident group, excellent mentorship from faculty members, and flexibility of program to tailor training according to personal interests.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: The program is interested in recruiting candidates who will work well within the neurology family for the next five years. Remember that everyone from the program admin right up to the program director is important and courtesy matters.

Zoya Zaeem (PGY 3)