Academic Curriculum

Foundations Block - Transition to Residency

The first block in R1 is dedicated to transitioning to residency. This will prioritize familiarization with your home clinic and faculty advisor, organized completion of mandatory requirements such as simulations, Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and others. This block also allows residents to connect with each other and build community and support. 

The curriculum for the Foundations Course was built based on resident and faculty feedback and will cover the following:

  • Academic curriculum, assessment, and Evidence Based Medicine intros
  • Key skills for treating the acute patient
  • Team building and residency tips and tricks from R2s
  • Key Family Medicine Skills for R1s
  • Clinical reasoning and critical thinking baselines
  • Obstetrical Skills Workshop

Academic Day

There are 24 Full Day Academic Days which are held during the course of the two year Family Medicine program. Half of the day consists of learning as a full resident group, with the other half dedicated to small group learning with R1s and R2s at each site.

Each resident will have the opportunity to cover all subjects over the course of their residency program. Other topics including exam preparation, ethics, and Evidence Based Medicine are included throughout the year.

Content Delivery

  • Utilize a variety of teaching methods (didactic, small group learning etc.) E.g. 2+ hours didactic learning, 2+ hours small group learning
  • Residents need to be involved in the delivery of content to develop effective teaching skills (such as resident presentations or leading small group learning)
  • Residents must be freed from any clinical duties to attend this mandatory activity, this includes being post-call to attend Academic Day (For those absent, i.e. distant rural locations or vacation, Academic Day material is available for self-learning.)

Exam Preparation

At each monthly AD, all residents write practice exam questions (SAMPs) as prepared by the Program. In the first year, residents are introduced to Practice Simulated Office Oral exams (SOOs) during Foundations and their Behavioural Medicine Course. In the second year, 2-3 SOO practice exam workshops are held. 

Behavioral Medicine

Behavioral Medicine is an umbrella that covers three facets of residency training:

  • Communication Skills
  • Mental Health Teaching
  • Resilience Training and Physician Wellness

Five behavioral Medicine teaching sessions are scheduled during R1 Family Medicine block time, which focus on teaching advanced communication skills. The five behavioral medicine workshops are:

  • The patient-centered clinical method and finding common ground
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Approach to Difficult Patient Encounters
  • Breaking Bad News and Harm Disclosure
  • Approach to Simulated Office Oral (SOO) Exams

Resident as Teacher

The Resident as Teacher (RAT) program is a joint collaborative between undergraduate and postgraduate Family Medicine whose vision is to celebrate and encourage the highest form of learning: how to teach.

Family Medicine residents are taught 3 modules in their first year:

  1. Principles of clinical teaching
  2. How to give feedback
  3. Teaching a micro-skill

These modules coupled with an orientation session provide the foundational knowledge needed for second-year Family Medicine residents to then provide teaching sessions to medical students. Residents in the RAT program provide 4 small group sessions to medical students in year 1 through 4 that center around communication and physical examination skills. Residents are supported by faculty coaches who provide advice and feedback on how to improve their resident teaching skills.

The Dr. Paul Humphries Resident as Teacher Award for Teaching Excellence has been created to recognize the teaching contributions of Family Medicine residents.

Evidence Based Medicine

The focus of the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Program is on providing residents with the understanding and skills to:

  • formulate a clinical question,
  • determine the best resources to answer the question,
  • access those resources,
  • appraise rapidly the available evidence, and
  • put the evidence into practice.

Primary Goals

To help residents become competent, self-directed, life-long learners with the skills to effectively and efficiently keep up-to-date.

To learn how to use EBM to rapidly solve problems encountered in daily practice.

Learning Objectives

Knowledge Component

To understand the rationale and benefits of EBM, to provide and identify online resources, educational tools and web links, and to provide a strong foundation in the basic principles of EBM, including:

  • Recognizing and formulating clinical questions
  • Finding and accessing information
  • Interpreting information
  • Applying information

Skills Component

Learn to identify problems/questions encountered in practice, seek solutions based upon the best evidence (via EBM "assignment" to promote rapidly answering clinical questions), and build skills and comfort in knowledge transfer (primarily through oral presentation skills).

Attitude Component

To facilitate appreciation and enthusiasm for the judicious use of current evidence to optimize patient care; maintenance of skills and knowledge through life long self-directed learning.

EBM Program Components

  • Family Medicine Evidence Based Medicine Workshop
  • Electronic Information Resource for Primary Care Practitioners
  • Brief Evidence-based Assessment of Research (BEARs). BEARS is a one-page template assignment done about every 4 weeks and presented during the Family Medicine block rotation.
  • Occasional presentations during Academic Days

Additional Links


All residents are required to complete a Practice Quality Improvement (PQI) project to develop skills required to implement the process of quality assessment and improvement in the practice setting. Residents interested in developing research skills have the additional optional opportunity to do a research project. The research project is supervised by a faculty member.

Residents have the opportunity to do a research elective in either the first or second year of the residency program. During year 1, the research elective is offered as a 2-week horizontal elective, while in year 2 it is a 6-week horizontal elective. The research elective can be adapted to the needs of the resident.

The Family Medicine Research Day occurs each year in June. Faculty members and residents have the opportunity to present their scholarly work (oral presentation and posters). Attendance at Research day is mandatory for residents.

A monthly Resident Research Evening is organized by the Research Director to assist those residents interested in pursuing research / scholarly activities in greater scope. The focus of the sessions is on the resident's individual scholarly interests and needs. Various faculty members also attend.

The Research Committee of the Department is composed of faculty and resident representation (one first year and one second year resident representative). The committee meets monthly during September to June and acts as a resource to Family Medicine residents on matters related to research and scholarly activity.

The goal of the Practice Quality Improvement (PQI) project is to develop skills required to implement the process of quality assessment and improvement in clinical practice and to carry out this project in collaboration with a practice site, with the goal of improving the quality of patient care.

All first year residents are required to undertake a PQI project, under the supervision of their faculty advisor and family medicine community preceptor.

The PQI project involves active data collection (practice audit) and analysis. PQI projects are presented at the clinic(s) where the project was conducted.

Resident PQI Project Resource Manual »

Faculty PQI Manual »


Academic Contacts

Academic Coordinators:

Family Medicine Program Assistant: