Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Program Description

The program is designed consistent with the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialty Requirements.

Training Program Organization

The training program is organized into five years:

  • PGY-1: devoted to Basic Clinical Training (BCT) as required by the Royal College. Consists of 13 4-week blocks at various training sites. As of September 2010, consists of 3 blocks of Internal Medicine, and 1 block each of Elective (commonly a mix of rehab fields), Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Neurosurgery, Plastic Surgery, Cardiology, Medical Oncology, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and 1 block of vacation. The schedule for PGY-1 is set by the Post-Graduate Medical Education (PGME) office.
  • PGY-2 to PGY-3: consists of rotations in Rheumatology, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology and core PM&R rotations.
  • PGY-3 to PGY-5: focuses on core PM&R rotations with ample time available for electives, especially in the PGY-5 year.

The core program consists of:

  • 3-month rotations in Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injury, Prosthetics and Orthotics and Pediatric Rehabilitation & Research.
  • 4-month rotation in Neuromuscular diseases including Electrodiagnostic Medicine
  • 1-month rotation in Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • 6 months of Musculoskeletal Outpatients including chronic pain management.
  • 10 months of electives available in many areas.

Formal seminars are done while on rotation with the supervising faculty. For a resident specifically interested in Pediatric Rehabilitation or research, adjustments to the program can be entertained.

All residents are provided with a resident manual that is updated every year. This is a very resourceful manual that includes all objectives and evaluation forms.

Below is a sample representation of the content and sequence of training in our residency program:



Brain Injury Rehab Research Neuromuscular Diseases Pediatric Rehab
Psychiatry Spinal Cord Injury Rehab
Internal Medicine Orthopedic Clincs Elective
Neuro Inpts Rheum Inpts Prosthetics & Orthotics
Emergency Neurology Clinics Rheumatology Clinics Ambulatory Clinics / Electives
Cardiology Stroke Rehab Cardiac & Pulm MSK Rehab
Plastic Sy MSK Rehab
Neurosurgery Ortho Inpts Research
Internal Medicine Orthopedic Clinics Research Elective

Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation consists of 2 weeks at the Centre for Lung Health and 2 weeks at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Glenrose Hospital.

Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation consists of rotations at: Community Physiatrists' offices (Dr. E Sampson, Dr. J Townsend & Dr. S. Gray in Ponoka), Glen Sather Clinic, HealthPointe, LifeMark Institute, Millard Centre, University of Alberta Pain Clinic


Residents receive financial assistance to attend a rehabilitation review course during their PGY-4 or PGY-5 year. Residents are funded for conferences where they present their research findings. Residents are also funded to attend local conferences and seminars, as appropriate. 

The University of Alberta, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, has been the leader in the country in organizing the Canadian Comprehensive Review Course (held over 8 days). This review course is held every two years and alternates in location between Edmonton and Toronto. The next review course will be the 7th Canadian Comprehensive Review Course in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to be held in Toronto in 2012.


As part of the Royal College requirements, residents partake in a research project during residency. Three months of protected research time during residency is provided to allow the residents to complete this task, and more protected time is available through electives. It is the responsibility of the resident to: find a research supervisor, partake in a research project and present their findings in a variety of forums. Opportunities to present research in either a poster, essay or seminar format include resident research day within our division and annual meetings of the Alberta Physiatry Association and the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Many other forums exist and funding is provided for residents accepted to present their research.


Teaching fellow residents informally and formally as part of our academic half-day is an integral part of our program. Residents are also involved in teaching medical students on the wards and within the medical school core musculoskeletal and neurology blocks. As of January 2009, it is expected that all University of Alberta residents contribute at least 10 hours of teaching in preclinical education (Years 1 and 2 of the MD program). Participating in OSCE’s/Practice OSCE’s meet that requirement.

Evaluation Process

Evaluations are based on the objectives of each rotation and residents are encouraged to put forth personal objectives reflecting their interests or needs. Residents are evaluated informally on a daily basis and formally at the end of each rotation via a written and oral examination. OSCE-type practice exams are held annually in Edmonton for junior residents and twice per year for senior residents, often in collaboration with the faculty and residents in Calgary.

The program director formally meets with each of the residents at least twice a year to discuss 6-monthly evaluation reports. The program director is accessible and available to address any resident concerns.

Residents also participate in the yearly Self-Assessment Examination for Residents (SAE-R) offered by the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Social / Resident Well-Being

We have an active Social Rep that organizes formal and informal get-togethers throughout the year. Staff-resident interaction is excellent.

The residents have their own residents' room located in the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, where each resident has his/her own desk, along with a well-furnished common area used for eating meals, lounging, and watching TV. There is also a kitchenette area. In the residents' room is our quite extensive Dr. L.A. Bellamy Library, which consists of various PM&R resources for our use. The residents' room is often used for parts of the weekly academic half-days.

We also have a Resident Well-Being Committee Rep who organizes the yearly resident well-being event, the most recent one being a game of wheelchair basketball and an intimate American jive dance lesson open to residents and their partners. As part of a continuing emphasis on resident well-being, counselling and workshops are available through the University of Alberta. We also stock a number of books in our resident room library (Dr. L.A. Bellamy Library) on the topic of physician well-being.


We have a number of resident committee positions meant to upkeep the standard of excellence in our residency program. These include:

  • Chief Residents:  Stephen Hung & Simran Shergill
  • Senior RPC Reps: Stephen Hung & Simran Shergill
  • Junior RPC Reps: Brett Wegenast & Calum Scott
  • Social Chair: Arjun Ghuman
  • Well-Being Rep: Brandon Lieu