Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program

Welcome to the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the University of Alberta.


 2 residents

accepted each year: one Canadian and one international resident



Education between Family Medicine and the Public Health & Preventative Health programs



include current Chief Medical Officers of Health for Alberta and Saskatchewan


Interview/CaRMS Specific Information 

CaRMS First Iteration Match Descriptions
IMG Stream (Public Health and Preventive Medicine)

CMG Stream (Public Health and Preventive Medicine including Family Medicine)

Interview Location: Interviews will be conducted virtually only, via Zoom.

Interview Dates: Please refer to

Notification/Invitation to Interview:  The program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.

Interview Process: The interview will be approximately 45 minutes. The interview is conducted by a panel consisting of the Program Director, Assistant Program Director, one or more preceptors from the residency program, and a chief resident. The format of the interview includes a set of standardized questions, followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions that you may have about the program.

Those interested in elective opportunities should contact the Medical Education Program Coordinator for Public Health and Preventive Medicine at


To connect with our residents, contact our Chief Residents:

Contact Us

5-30 University Terrace
8303-112 Street
Edmoton, AB  T6G 2T4

Dr. Karen Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Residency Program Director,
Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Dr. Alexander Doroshenko, MD, FRCPC
Assistant Program Director,
Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Mrs. Tracy Bezanson
PHPM Medicine Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Karen Lee
Residency Program Director

Dr. Alex Doroshenko
Assistant Program Director

Residency Program commitee

MPH Programs
(School of Public Health)

Welcome to our program

The purpose of this website is to provide you with information about a career path in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and to provide a resource for residency training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. As each resident has unique needs and aspirations, we encourage you to consult widely so that you can make the most informed possible choice. Residents should refer to the University of Alberta website for information on facilities, registration, fees, etc. The Public Health and Preventive Medicine program is part of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CARMS) process. Please visit CaRMS for more information.

What is Public Health and Preventive Medicine?

Public Health and Preventive Medicine deals with groups or populations, rather than individuals. Using population health knowledge and skills, the Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist plays a role in the maintenance and improvement of the health and well-being of the community. This function is accomplished by evaluating the health needs of a population and developing, implementing and assessing programs that meet those needs. Recognition of specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) began in the mid 1970's and specialty certificates are conferred by a dozen programs in Canada.

What do Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialists do?

A specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine must be able to:

  1. Assess the health needs of the population by identifying the appropriate information or generating new information that recognizes the interactions of biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors that affect health.
  2. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the various measurements of health and characteristics of society and understand the principles of the statistical methods required to summarize and analyze the information.
  3. Set priorities and develop programs to meet the health needs of the population.
  4. Implement programs taking into account the socioeconomic, educational, occupational and political factors that influence the distribution and use of health services. Such program implementation involves a knowledge of health care systems and the ability to take into account their limitations. In addition, it requires both interpersonal and organizational skills and a knowledge of systems theory and management processes.
  5. Develop skills in evaluating programs and in providing consultation to others involved in the planning, management or evaluation of health services.
  6. Maintain competence through continuing education and demonstrate ethical and professional responsibility.

Where do community specialists work?

The Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist careers include:

  1. the practice of public health at a local, regional, provincial, national or international level;
  2. the planning and administration of health services in institutions or government;
  3. community-oriented clinical practice with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention;
  4. the assessment and control of occupational and environmental health problems;
  5. teaching; and
  6. research.

A list of Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialists and their work locations can be found through the National Specialist Society. The University of Alberta Public Health and Preventive Medicine program emphasizes the role of local public health officers and health administration.

Our Program

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.

2021 Public Health and Preventative Medicine (PHPM) Resident Event

Program Highlights


A focus on the front-line practice of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.


Close/frequent contact with preceptors.


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

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, even during Family Medicine training.

4th and 5th year rotations include: Communical Disease Control, Provincial Lab, Infection Prevention and Control, Chronic Disease Prevention, Injury Prevention, Environemtal Public Health, Health Policy, First Nation & Inuit Health, Rural Public Health, and Senior Management.

Overview Video

Hear from our Program Director, Assistant Program Director, and our Co-Chief Residents. They explain the profession of Public Health & Preventative Medicine, and the Residency Program here at the University of Alberta.

Residency at a Glance

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

PGY 1: IMG Stream

The first year is spent in Basic Clinical Training (BCT).red on a regional population basis.

PGY 2: IMG Stream
Core Public Health rotations or academic courses.
PGY 1 and PGY 2: CMG Family Medicine Stream

For details of the curriculum in year 1 and 2 in Family Medicine, please go to:

This rotation provides the resident with experience of "shadowing" a senior manager in a public health department.

PGY 3 - PGY 4: IMG & CMG Streams

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:
PGY 4: IMG & CMG Streams

Complete academic courses per above.

Core Public Health rotations.

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.

PGY 5: IMG & CMG Streams

Core Public Health rotations.

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.

Academic Half Days

Every Friday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m..

Our Academic Half Days include:

  • Guest speaker presentations
  • Resident presentations
  • Basic epidemiology and infectious diseases
  • Journal Club
  • Mock Exams, practice questions and reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.
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)

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
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.
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.
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
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

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
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
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.
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.

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.
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.
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)
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.
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