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Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Training Program

Welcome to the Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at the University of Alberta.

 

 

Strong

SURGICAL AND OBSTETRICAL TRAINING WITH EARLY EXPOSURE IN A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT

 

Unique

SIMULATION LABS AND EQUIPMENT INCLUDING ULTRASOUND AND LAPAROSCOPY

 

Diverse

POPULATION OF PATIENTS: RURAL, URBAN, INNER CITY, SOCIALLY ADVANTAGED AND DISADVANTAGED WOMEN OF ALL ETHNICITIES

 


Interview/CaRMS Specific Information 

Our interviews this year (2022) will be online in the format of a MMI.

The candidates will rotate through 6 stations (one station is a one on one with the PD or assistant PD) using zoom. Through our interview process we aim to select candidates that demonstrate compassion, excellent communication skills, collaboration, motivation for lifelong learning and empathy.

The Covid pandemic prevented travel for electives, creating challenges the programs and the candidates. This year we are hosting Program Showcases via zoom on 4 occasions in November, December and January. See the CanPrepp website for information on the dates and times. Otherwise, contact our Program Administrator, Sharon Cunningham at obgynpme@ualberta.ca for details and to get a zoom link.

Canadian applicants to our Residency Training Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology must apply through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Please consult the CaRMS website for guidelines and requirements.

For general questions or admission inquiries, please contact the Residency Program Administrator.

Our Indigenous Admissions Pathway selects qualified, self identified Indigenous applicants through a separate subcommittee that consists of  Elders (voting) and faculty (non-voting). Anyone wishing to enter this pathway should identify themselves to the Program Administration (obgynpme@ualberta.ca)

Contact Us

Dr. Valerie Capstick
Residency Program Director,
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Email: capstick@ualberta.ca 

Rebecca Royan
Program Administrator
Email:  royan@ualberta.ca
Phone: 780-735-5469

Address:
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Room 5S131 Lois Hole Hosp., Robbins Pavilion RAH
10240 Kingsway Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 3V9


valerie capstick program director

Dr. Valerie Capstick
Residency Program Director


Rebecca Royan
Residency Program Coordinator

Welcome to the Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program at the University of Alberta (U of A).

The Residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta offers excellent comprehensive training in a city that is affordable and has numerous opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

I have been in the role of Program Director since March 2020 (just as COVID shut downs started). Sharon Cunningham (our Program Administrator) is also new to her role in August 2021. We have had an interesting year with COVID and an important accreditation visit from the Royal College. I am proud to announce that our program has survived both of those challenges thanks to the amazing residents and dedicated faculty who make up our Department.  

We train exceptional generalist Obstetrician Gynecologists as well as future Subspecialists. Our program  has very strong surgical training as well as excellent obstetric experience. Research is encouraged and expected. Our seniors preparation for the Royal College exams is a group effort, with numerous faculty offering practice exams and review sessions.

The challenging journey of the last year and half has created an amazing cohesive team from the residents to the Residency training committee to our department administration.

Dr. Valerie Capstick
Residency Program Director


Our Program

Our program trains strong generalist OBGYNs and is an excellent preparation for entry into subspecialty training. Our program has been successful thanks to our resilient program and supportive faculty.

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Large volume of patients from diverse backgrounds.

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Excellent surgical training.
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Large subspecialty referral base with complex and rare problems.

Residents have travelled nationally and internationally, most recently Africa, and Australia.

The ratio of faculty to residents is five to one. We have perinatologists, gynecologic oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urogynecologists, and many generalists.

There are 6 funded positions per year.


Overview Video

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency program at the University of Alberta is made up of a friendly, supportive, and collegial group of residents and features unique learning resources and rotations. The city of Edmonton provides an environment where residents can achieve work-life balance to suit a wide array of interests.


Residency at a Glance

UAlberta's Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Training Program is centered at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Edmonton. The RAH is the tertiary Obstetrics and Gynecology referral centre for northern Alberta, parts of northern British Columbia and parts of the Northwest Territories. RAH houses the Lois Hole Hospital for Women (LHHW), a leading centre in Women's Health, which receives approximately 75,000 patient visits annually. Our residents also spend time at three community hospitals in the Edmonton area: the Grey Nuns Hospital, the Misericordia and the Sturgeon General.

There are 6 funded residency positions per year and approximately 30 residents in the program. Residents work with a supportive and dynamic team of educators, clinicians and researchers throughout their training. Current academic faculty includes 8 perinatologists, 6 gynecologic oncologists, 7 reproductive endocrinologists, 5 urogynecologists, 1 urogynecologic fellow, 7 basic scientists and approximately 100  generalist OBGYNs.

Our residency program was reviewed in October 2020 and received full accreditation from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Our graduates consistently excel in the national Royal College examinations and go on to enjoy rewarding careers in gynecological and obstetrical medicine across Canada and beyond.

The RPC (Residency Program Committee) reviewed our curriculum as CBD was initiated and made some changes for the 2021 year. This is the most significant change in the last few decades. The focus has been creating more flexibility in training. We moved all of our subspecialty rotations to third year and reduced them to 2 blocks. Gyne Oncology and MFM are revisited in fourth year.

In the first year, resident training is focused on Core Surgical Training. We have been part of the RCPSC Surgical Foundations program for over 15 years, and our residents have taken the Surgical Foundations RCPSC exam for the past 5 years. It has become a mandatory part of Obstetrics and Gynecology RCPSC training commencing in 2016.

PGY1: Stages of Transition to Discipline and Foundations of Discipline in both Obgyn and Surgical Foundations

PGY-1 training includes:

  • 2 blocks of Transition to Discipline (TTD) at start of residency
  • 2 blocks of General Surgery
  • 2 blocks of Internal Medicine
  • 1 blocks of Emergency Medicine
  • 1 block of Obstetric Ultrasound
  • 1 block of NICU/Ob Anaesthesia
  • 3 blocks of general obstetrics and gynecology
  • 1 block of vacation

Residents attend the Surgical Foundations half days on Wednesday mornings. There may be opportunities to attend the OBGYN half day on Wednesday afternoons. It is expected that the resident will complete the Surgical Foundations Program by the end of the first year.

Program of Assessment: PGY-1

  • Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) Assessments & Procedure Logs
  • Intraining Evaluation reports (ITERS) 
  • Surgical Foundations Assessments
  • MCC Exam (part two)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Wet Labs (Surgical Foundations)
  • Dry Labs
  • Ultrasound Rotation Exam
PGY 2: STAGE: OBGYN Foundations of Discipline

During the second year, our residency program focuses on the management of high-risk Obstetrics and General Gynecology basic surgical skills. Training includes 10 months of Core Ob/Gyn studies carried out at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Grey Nuns Hospital sites. It is expected that the resident will be close to completing the Foundations of Discipline Stage (OBGYNE) by the end of the PGY 2 and starting on some CORE EPAs.

We also provide exposure to a block at the Women's Health Options, (family planning) and 2 blocks in ICU.

Program of Assessment: PGY-2

  • Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) Assessments & Procedure Logs
  • In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) Assessments
  • Half Day Presentations (evaluations are conducted by fellow residents)
  • Canadian National MCQ Exam (previously known as APOG exam)
  • Bi-Annual Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Wet Labs
  • Surgical Foundations Exam
  • The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) Exam (optional)
  • CanMeds OSCE Exam (within Surgical Foundations Program)
  • EPA OSCE Exam (OBGYN) 2x a year
PGY3 and PGY 4: STAGE: Core of Discipline

The third and fourth  years of our program focus on subspecialty training, including:

  • 3 blocks of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM), one of which is OB medicine
  • 2 blocks of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility (REI)
  • 3 blocks of Gynecologic Oncology (GYN ONC)
  • 2 blocks of Urogynecology (UROGYN)
  • 4 blocks of Chief resident rotations in 4th year
  • 1 block of Minimally Invasive Surgery rotation 
  • Approximately 5 blocks of selective/elective (3 blocks of elective of the residents choice, pending approval by the program director).
  • 2-4 blocks of Community OBGYN (GNH and other)

Program of Assessment: PGY-3/4

  • Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) Assessments & Procedure Logs
  • In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) Assessments
  • Ultrasound Exam - Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM)
  • Written Rotation Exam (MFM rotation)
  • Oral Exam - Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Rotation
  • Canadian National MCQ Exam (previously known as APOG)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Wet Labs
  • Bi-Annual Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • The Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) Exam (optional)
  • Grand Rounds Subspecialty Presentations
  • Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery Exam (in progress)
PGY5 : STAGES: Core of Discipline completion and Transition to Practice

In the final year of residency, students grow in their roles as Chiefs acting as Junior Consultants in Labor and Delivery, and prepare for their Royal College Examinations. The PGY-5 year is divided as follows:

  • Variable number of  blocks as Chief or senior resident (RAH, GNH, MCH & SCH) 
  • 4 blocks  of ambulatory care (currently before spring RC exams. When CBD residents are in R5, 2 blocks will move to the fall prior to the written exam)
  • elective/selectives 

Program of Assessment: PGY-5

  • Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) Assessments & Procedure Logs
  • In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) Assessments
  • National Review Course (Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and written exam)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Wet Labs
  • Chief OSCE Exam
  • Journal Club Presentations
  • Self Reflective Evaluations
  • Centre for the Advancement of Minimally Invasive Surgery (CAMIS) Sessions
  • Grand Rounds Presentations

Teaching Sites

The residency program is based at the Lois Hole Hospital for Woman, at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. This is the tertiary referral center for Northern Alberta, parts of northern British Columbia and parts of the NWT and Nunavut. The University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is based at the RAH. (The majority of academic medical departments are based at the University of Alberta Hospital.) Three community hospitals have residents continuously, the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital and Sturgeon Community Hospital are full service hospitals with busy Obstetrical and Gynecologic Surgery services. The Gynecologic Oncologists operate at the Lois Hole Hospital and see outpatients at the Cross-Cancer Institute.


Program Supports

  • ‘Mentor Groups’ with residents from R1 to R5 for support from your colleagues. Our residents created these groups on their own initiative.
  • ‘Buddy call’ system for introduction to Obstetrical call
  • Large number of faculty with direct responsibilities in the residency program
  • Committed Academic Advisors for each resident
  • Advocacy and Wellness Office in PGME, as well as PARA
  • Residency wellness subcommittee of RPC
  • Resident membership in Academic Half Day, Curriculum Innovation and CaRMs subcommittees

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there opportunities to do research in the UofA OBGYN residency program?

In addition to working with faculty in obgyn, there are a wide variety of opportunities to work with staff from other departments. All types of scholarly projects are encouraged: clinical, basic science, CQI, epidemiology, education and global health. Four residents have recently  had Masters level training in the CIP (Clinical Investigator program) in the last several years. An online research training module is part of the first year in surgical foundations.

What are the Call Arrangements?

The PARA rules for call frequency and going home post call are strongly enforced. For R2 through R5 there is a modification to allow 12 hour call shifts on weekends, this was initiated by residents and is supported by the program. Chief residents have the flexibility of doing some home call to optimize experiences. The first two call shifts in OB for R1s are 'buddied' with a senior resident. Our two main Obstetrics  sites have in-house OBGYN staff  in labour and delivery.

How much flexibility is there for electives?
There is ample time for electives in years 3 to 5. The post graduate offices limits out of province electives to 3 in the residency. Time based residents had a long list of ‘selectives’ to choose from that the Royal College mandated. That list is what our current CBD residents will choose from, for the most part.
What is it like to be an R1?
The first 2 blocks are on the OBGYN service to help new R1s integrate into the program and complete Transitions to Discipline EPAs quickly.. There are an additional 3 blocks on obgyne in the remainder of the year. Additional rotations are in ultrasound, NICU, general surgery, emergency and internal medicine. Surgical foundations is expected to be completed in that first year. We have worked at making our new residents feel part of the program from the beginning and were especially successful this year in spite of COVID restrictions.
How is work life balance in the program?
The residents have an informal mentorship program to support each other (each group has a resident from each year). Despite this being a busy residency we find a good balance by supporting residents going home as soon as they have done handover. Vacation and long weekend schedules are made well in advance. There are many babies, cats, dogs, fish (and a few chickens) in our lives.

Subspecialties

Subspecialties of Obstetrics and Gynecology include:

  • MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine)
  • REI (Reproductive endocrinology and infertility)
  • UROGYN (Urogynecology)
  • GYN ONC (Gynecologic Oncology)
  • Special interest areas include: Family planning, sexual dysfunction, STIs, Mature Women’s Health, Pelvic Pain, Advanced Minimally Invasive surgery

Currently we offer a urogynecology fellowship program.


Resident Testimonials 

lindsey drummond

What do you like about Edmonton: I've only ever lived in Edmonton, so I do not have a lot to compare it to. I love the variety of restaurants and that it is a relatively easy city to commute.

What are the highlights of the program for you:  The volume in our program is incredible. Because we are the referral center for everywhere north or Red Deer and the territories, we see a large variety of presentations on call. We also have a large volume of surgical experience in our senior years. The very best part of the program is my co-residents - they are so supportive and make residency fun!

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Interviewing is a 2 way street! Make sure that you ask lots of questions and find a program that is a good fit for you.

 

shauna regan

What do you like about Edmonton: There are surprisingly a lot to do, great university community, excellent restaurants, and tonnes of festivals (in a non-covid world). In the summer there is always something to do, we have decent access to the mountains, and in the winter we have great christmas markets and outdoor festivals.

What are the highlights of the program for you: (1) Unparalleled surgical exposure. (2) A very unique population with a large encatchment area. The RAH is very busy and the high acuity cases are all concentrated there which is really great for learning. (3) Unique blocks like a ultrasound block, family planning block, and minimally invasive surgery. (4) Our PD is amazing and our staff is all very supportive. (5) We have the best resident cohort ever.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Be yourself and relax, it works out.

 

tania luthra

What do you like about Edmonton: Having lived in the city for 5 years now, I still have so much to explore from hidden gems in the hidden valley, tons of festivals every summer (outside of the COVID era), and restaurants with such diverse cuisine.

What are the highlights of the program for you:   1. The volume - while it can be physically and cognitively exhausting, I love the challenge of triaging and the experience that comes with the volume. It really trains you to be a strong generalist and to practice anywhere! 2. The people - All the residents and physicians are very supportive and interested in teaching. There is not a day I leave without learning something new. And if I feel down from either a difficult day personally or professionally, it's easy to reach out to anyone in the program for a talk and pick-me-up.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: It sounds cliche, but be yourself. The program really cares about you as a person and how you will fit into the dynamic of the group. And its important for you to know if the program you enter is one with a group of people you can be vulnerable and with whom let your guard down. If you made it to the interview, you have all the accolades that are needed and most applicants are great! What makes you stand apart is your personality!

 

rachel wang

What do you like about Edmonton: Beyond the attractive River Valley, shopping, nearby mountains (for camping, hiking, and winter activities), the city continues to blossom in many ways. For example our food scene has grown significantly since I moved here for medical school. There are many new restaurants / bakeries/ ice cream shops popping up all the time! Give me a shout when you come here to learn about my (many) recommendations. During non-COVID times, there are many concerts that take place in Edmonton. There are also many "seasonal" bucket-list activities, such as visiting beautiful sunflower mazes (pictured) in the summer, U-picks and pumpkin patches in the fall and ice castles in the winter.

What are the highlights of the program for you: 1. The obstetrical and surgical exposure in this program is one of a kind. It is truly unparalleled given our catchment area (we are the referral base for Northern Alberta and NWTs). One of the tertiary centres we rotate through delivers 7000+ babies per year! One of the community hospitals we rotate through delivers 6000+ babies per year! These are just two of the 4 hospitals that we complete the majority of our training in.
2. Our program director truly cares. During CaRMS I found that this is one of the most critical aspects of the program that determines whether you will get the best educational experience, while balancing your personal wellbeing. You can sense the difference when you have an engaged PD.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: I think it is important to be genuine in the CaRMS process. This will help you find a program that fits you the best. We know how tough a surgical residency can be. Give it your best, and support each other along the way. You will also have amazing senior residents who support you through it all (speaking from experience at our program!)

 

What are the highlights of the program for you:  There are so many reasons I love the OBGYN program at the University of Alberta. We are fortunate to care for a diverse patient population, which provides us with unique learning opportunities. Our teachers are kind, advocate for our learning, and support us in our goals. I am also supported by my amazing co-residents through the ups and downs of residency training. And lastly, our program director, Dr. Capstick, is one-of-a-kind!

 

sophie palmer

What do you like about Edmonton: As a former Calgarian, I was surprised to find out how awesome Edmonton is as a city. I love running and x-country skiing in the river valley. It is still close enough to the mountains to get out for a weekend of skiing in Jasper or Banff. In non-pandemic times, the summer festivals are a highlight. And we make up for our winters with the longest light in the summer. I loved waking up for gyne onc at 5 am with the light coming through my windows.

What are the highlights of the program for you: We have an amazing breadth and depth of experience across obstetrics and gynecology. We are a high volume tertiary care site and I feel like by the time I graduate I'll have seen any and every obstetrical situation I can think of. We get lots of experience in forceps deliveries, laparoscopic hysterectomies, vaginal deliveries of twins, etc. Last but not least I love my co-residents and our collaborative nature. We are all there to support each other and have grown really close over the years.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Consider the whole five years of the program. I think it's easy to focus only on what your "intern" year will look like but also consider whether five years down the line you will feel prepared for going out into practice.