Occupational Medicine Residency Program

Welcome to the Occupational Medicine residency program webpage! Below, you will find the answers to some questions you may have about our Subspecialty program. Feel free to give a click, and get in touch with us if you have more questions! We will be happy to answer and update this webpage!

Dr. Quentin Durand-Moreau
Assistant Professor
Email: durandmo@ualberta.ca

What is Occupational Medicine about?

In a nutshell, Occupational Medicine is the field of medicine that deals with the relationship between work and health, meaning:

  • The impact of work on heath (e.g. determining whether a disease is work-related or not),
  • The impact of health on work (e.g. providing an opinion on fitness for work, workstation improvements…)

It could include anything that has to do with work exposures such as asbestos, chemicals, extreme working environments, noise, ionizing radiation etc. It also includes assessing the organization of a workplace, management techniques and psychosocial hazards.

But of course, there are more specific definitions that we can provide:

  • According to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (RCPSC) of Canada, Occupational Medicine is "that branch of medicine that emphasizes prevention and deals clinically and administratively with the health need of both individuals and groups with respect to their working environments and includes the recognition, evaluation, control, management and rehabilitation of occupationally related diseases and injuries, and other conditions affecting ability to work.". Information on Occupational Medicine provided by the RCPSC can be found here.
  • According to the International Commission on Occupational health (ICOH), physicians involved in workers' care should aim to:
    • Protect and promote workers' health,
    • Sustain and improve their working capacity and ability,
    • Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a safe and healthy working environment for all, and
    • Promote the adaptation of work to the capabilities of workers, taking into account their state of health.

More information about ICOH can be found here.

Why should I do Occupational Medicine as a Subspecialty?

We want you to do any Specialty you enjoy, because it is about your practice and your future! But most people just do not know about our Specialty. So we would like to give you a little taste of what it is about, so you have the best information to make your own choice!

Whatever your fields of interest in medicine are (whether it be Respirology, Rheumatology, Rehabilitation Medicine, Toxicology, Psychiatry etc.), there is always a link with work settings! For people do not want to limit their practice to a single Subspecialty, but would like to have a varied practice in a recognized subspecialty by the RCPSC, Occupational Medicine is an excellent Subspecialty option!

For those who want to learn new things every day, Occupational Medicine is also an excellent option for you! People love to explain what their job is about when they are given the opportunity to do so. As an Occupational Medicine specialist, they will be meeting you to discuss the possible links between their health status and their job.
Canada needs you as a physician, whatever your Specialty will be. However, there is a huge need for Occupational Medicine Specialists in the country. Our residency program is an excellent route for a practice in Occupational Medicine. You will not have to worry about job opportunities in Canada and there are plenty of opportunities to even have a "global" practice!

There are several practice types in Occupational Medicine: clinical consultant, advisor for the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) or the government, academic and research, corporate and industry roles and often, a blend of many of these roles. Employment opportunities do exist in all of these types of positions. Working as an Occupational Medicine Specialist also allows you to keep an adequate work-personal balance with having an outpatient practice and eventually, no in-house call.

How is the training at the University of Alberta?

The University of Alberta (U of A) has a program accredited by the RCPSC since 1987. It is a small program, so you will have the opportunity to quickly get to know the people involved in the program's teaching and mentoring. The two-year Subspecialty program is organized based on the Standards of Training Requirements (STR) provided by the RCPSC which you can find by clicking here.

The program includes various rotations, including the Occupational and Environmental Clinic at the U of A Hospital, the WCB of Alberta (AB), AB Labour and Immigration - Occupational Health and Safety, Imperial Oil, Millard Health Centre, Syncrude Canada and many others. Some of these rotations involve traveling out of town.

There is also an academic half day (AHD), organized with the other Canadian universities that have Occupational Medicine residency programs (Université de Montréal and University of Toronto) that is teleconferenced so you can still participate if you are on an out-of-town industry rotation. Training is provided in English (mais certains d'entre nous parlent couramment le français). All Canadian residents benefit from this national AHD as it helps them prepare for the RCPSC Occupational Medicine exam!

I am not sure I would like to do Occupational Medicine, is there a possibility to do an elective?
We would be happy to welcome you for your elective, whether you come from the U of A or another university! Please get in touch with the Program Director and the MEPC to be given the information you need. On-site visits in industry can be arranged during electives.
I am a graduate from Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHPM), how can I integrate into the Occupational Medicine Program?
We would be happy to receive your application! As you may know, PHPM graduates can apply after completion of their 5-year program. The timeframe for application is the same as it is for Internal Medicine.

Effective 2021, your application will have to be submitted through CaRMS, like Internal Medicine applicants.

Interviews are typically held between September and October, and integration into the program is effective July, the year after you apply. You are not required to have completed your PHPM RCPSC exam before joining the program (you can take the exam during your Occupational Medicine residency), but being fully certified in PHPM is a preliminary condition for certification in Occupational Medicine.

Please get in touch with us for more details!
Is it possible to reduce the Occupational Medicine residency length for PHPM applicants?
You have certainly fulfilled some of the requirements for Occupational Medicine during your PHPM residency (e.g. epidemiology, biostatistics…). According to the Royal College subspecialty training requirements, up to 12 months of the approved residency in Occupational Medicine can be completed during the PHPM residency. Consequently, on a case by case basis discussed with the Program Director, it could be possible to reduce duration of the Occupational Medicine residency for PHPM applicants from 2 to 1 year! The main point is that you will need to meet the Royal College standards of training.