Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery Residency Program

Welcome to the Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery Residency Program at the University of Alberta.

Want to arrange an elective with our program?

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For further information on the program see the CaRMS website:
CaRMS Website
For more details about the program, click here: 





Competency by Design



Academic seminars 



Interview/CaRMS Specific Information 

Our 2022 CaRMS interview date is TBA. Candidates invited to interview will receive a separate email invitation with their specific interview times. Expect MMI format with various faculty, residents and allied healthcare professionals

The Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program is accepting applications for the 2022-23 academic year. Deadline for application submission is July 30, 2021. Please see the PGME Office website for more information on how to apply.

Contact Us

Dr. Hamdy El-Hakim
Program Director, Otolaryngology

Patricia Payne
Program Administrator 
Email: ohnspg@ualberta.ca  

Office of Surgical Education

2D2.01 WMC, 8440 - 112 ST NW
Edmonton AB, T6G 2B7
T: 780 407 7556
F: 780 407 3283


Dr. Hamdy El-Hakim
Program Director

Welcome to Our Program

You can tell it’s a specialty for the multi-talented, innovative, scholar, with a fervent appetite for the stimulation and action in the clinic and the operating room alike.

The specialty of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck (OHNS) is inimitable among surgical specialties. It is one of the earliest sub-specialities to gain its independence from the general realm, by the emergence of laryngology and otology in the late 19th century. Over the last 100 years, it embraced advances in science and technology arguably more than any of its peers. This led to the development of ten further branches; Otology & Neurotology, Laryngology, Pediatrics (includes all above and below!), Head & Neck, Microvascular reconstruction, General, Facial Plastic, Audiological medicine, Thyroid and Parathyroid diseases, Rhinology & Skull base, Sleep medicine. You can tell it’s a specialty for the multi-talented, innovative, scholar, with a fervent appetite for the stimulation and action in the clinic and the operating room alike.

Our division has been the cradle of OHNS in Alberta, as it is the longer standing and deep rooted one and indeed out of our program and tradition graduated the Otolaryngologists who founded and served throughout the province, and later on in Canada and around the world. The program is based at the University of Alberta Hospitals (including the Stollery Children’s Hospital), the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Misericordia Hospital and the Grey Nuns Hospital. Our catchment area and unmatched expertise are testimony to clinical activity. The geography spans Northern Alberta, Northern BC, North Saskatchewan, North Western Territories and the Yukon. More importantly, the unique skills and services available only in our program are sought beyond geography!

The hallmarks of our program is a commitment to evidence-based education and practice. We have a young ambitious faculty, whose background in training is diverse at residency and fellowship levels and locations (North America, UK, Europe, Australia). The interest that we take into developing the career of our trainees is best exemplified by a unique, multi-level mentorship program and a designated career counselor. Our training utilizes the most current equipment and technology including image guidance surgery, robotic surgery and endoscopic surgeries.

We are looking for promising scholars who have an excellent academic background and a demonstrated interest in our specialty. Ideally, our candidates would have completed surgical electives including those in Otolaryngology and share our passion and commitment to striving to provide service that is patient and family centred, through continuous learning and teaching others, relentless attempts at research and innovation, loyalty to their colleagues and teams and ambitious to construct an effective system second to none.

Historically, our residents have done exceptionally well on the Royal College Exams and the expectation is that by the end of program, our residents are fully qualified to enter into practice or to secure highly sought and desirable fellowships.

Thank you for the interest in our program - for a very detailed deep dive click here - and I am happy to offer additional information via email. Residents and staff discuss the residency program in our seven-minute video, which we feel captures the residents' experience and what you can expect if you join us.

Dr. Hamdy El-Hakim  

Program Director

Our Program

The Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Program at the University of Alberta offers a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of sub specialties and become proficient in many diverse, complex and delicate procedures over the course of the residency. Our training utilizes the most current equipment and technology including image guidance surgery, robotic surgery and endoscopic surgeries.

Additionally, the practice of Otolaryngology in Edmonton covers a wide geographical area and has very busy clinical and surgical components.

Why Choose UAlberta for the Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery Residency Program
  • This program is a fully accredited Royal College Program.
  • The ratio of residents to faculty is 11:20.
  • There is a large volume of OR cases available and residents can often operate 5 days a week.

Residency at a Glance

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


All of the OHNS PGY-1 residents are part of the one year Surgical Foundations Program which includes residents from all surgical specialties and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta. In July 2017, the OHNS residents were the first cohort (along with Anesthesia) to start the new Royal College Competence by Design initiative. As of July 2018, the Surgical Foundations Program went live with CBD for all of its rotations. Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA's) and Milestones will be used for assessment for all new residents. 

The OHNS curriculum includes:

  • 16 Weeks of Head and Neck Surgery
  • 8 Weeks of Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • 4 Weeks of General Surgery
  • 4 Weeks of CCU
  • 4 Weeks of Anaesthesiology
  • 4 Weeks of Internal Medicine
  • 4 Weeks of Neurosurgery
  • 4 Weeks of Emergency
  • 4 Weeks of Vacation

An expansion of the previous year but with a greater emphasis in the number of on service rotations.

These rotations include: 

  • 32 Weeks of Sub Specialty Otolaryngology rotations, including General Otolaryngology
  • 8 Weeks of Plastic Surgery
  • 8 Weeks of ICU
  • 4 Weeks of Thoracic Surgery
PGY-3 to PGY-5

The PGY-3 through PGY-5 years consists of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery rotations in the various subspecialties of the Program at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Grey Nuns Community Hospital.

Rotations generally included in these years are:  

  • Head and Neck Surgery
  • Rhinology
  • Laryngology
  • Otology
  • Facial Plastics
  • General Otolaryngology

In the PGY-4 Year residents are able to take 8 weeks of elective time.

In the PGY-5 Year residents have a 12 week ambulatory care rotation.


The overall and ultimate mission of the five-year Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Residency Program is to produce graduates who have all of the skills and competencies necessary to function professionally as a consultant in General Otolaryngology as well as the ability to transition seamlessly into postgraduate fellowship training.

The Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Alberta offers 5 fellowship programs:

1) Advanced Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction

2) International Head & Neck Surgery Outreach Program – Visiting Scholar

3) Rhinology / Endoscopic Sinus and Skull Base Surgery

4) Pediatric Otolaryngology

5) International Fellowship in Maxillofacial Prosthodontics

For more information, please see our Divisional Site >

Frequently Asked Questions

What Draws People to Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery?

The types of surgery performed are very diverse from easy to complex and delicate and from macro to micro. The specialty is also on the cutting edge of equipment and technology such as image guidance surgery, robotic surgery and endoscopy surgery. Additionally, OHNS is both a clinical and surgical specialty allowing for a thriving clinical based career as well as a surgical one.

What are the varieties of lifestyles in your field? How does this Specialty accommodate family life?

The options are quite diverse. As a general Otolaryngologist, there are one to two days of ORs (mostly day surgeries), one to two days of clinic and some administrative duties. Call is generally phone consults.

Otologists, Rhinologists and Laryngologists are generally involved with day surgery patients while Head and Neck Oncologists are involved with lengthy procedures, work longer hours and have patients who require more pre and post operative care.

Depending on how many hours you choose to work clinically, which subspecialty you select and academic demands of teaching/research, you can tailor this specialty to being very conducive to family life.

What is the availability of experiences in subspecialty areas during training?

All subspecialties are well represented in our program and are reflected in rotations throughout residency.

Additionally, elective time is provided during the third and fourth year of residency to further pursue specific areas of interest.

How does the program support Fellowship Matching?
The OHNS program offers support from a very diverse preceptor group and each resident has a mentor throughout their residency. This provides for very comprehensive training and support during the Fellowship Matching Process. Our staff have helped residents secure some of the most competitive fellowships in North America.

Resident Testimonials

We asked our residents what they like about Edmonton, their highlights of the program, and one piece of advice for applicants about the interview process. Here is what a few of them had to say.

What are the highlights of the program for you?

The surgical volume at the U of A is second to none. All residents obtain a high degree of hands-on exposure and never have to worry about adequate OR time. Our program is unique in that we have daily morning seminars which are split between resident and staff teaching, as well as protected program specific academic half days. Overall an awesome group to work with.

What do you like about Edmonton?

Many hidden gems. Beautiful views of the hillside and North Saskatchewan River valley afforded year-round. Ice Castles - just west of the hospital, offer an amazing experience of frozen architecture that you really need to see to fully appreciate. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants to explore, and we have an NHL team with arguably the best young player in the league! Mountains.

What is one piece of advice you want to share with applicants about the interview process, starting with the U of A, or residency in general?

My decision to train at the U of A was based on a number of factors. The world-class research and patient care facilities allow for exemplary exposure to the academic and clinical side of medicine. There are numerous learning opportunities based on common and uncommon medical problems due to the high catchment volume of the region, a great value for someone who learns best based on repetition. Additionally, my program exposes you to a high degree of clinical and operative experience starting in your PGY-1 year, allowing you to build on your confidence to make appropriate decisions right from the start. The friendly and outgoing staff and co-residents make contribute to a relaxed and comfortable learning environment allowing you to become a very competent Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgeon by the end of your residency.

– Dr. Justin Pyne (PGY-4)


What are the highlights of the program for you?

There are many highlights in this strong program. However, I think that above all, our staff and residents are wonderful people to work with and close knit group. They are personable and great mentors while being excellent surgeons at the same time, creating a fantastic learning environment! Additionally, our strong research program allows residents incredible support to define their own research interests and pursue projects from local to the international level.

What do you like about Edmonton?

Growing up in Edmonton, I have had many years to fully appreciate this wonderful city. I love the wide variety of things to do in this city! Edmonton has a wonderfully vibrant food scene. Edmonton is also renowned for it's summer festivals like taste of Edmonton and the Fringe among many many others. Also, there is are many opportunities for outdoor recreation. The river valley has a fantastic trail system for mountain biking and many parks contributing to a huge amount of green space. We are also very close to the mountains and only hours away from world class ski and snowboarding opportunities. In the summers there are great opportunities for camping and water sports. Edmonton truly has something for everyone!

What is one piece of advice you want to share with applicants about the interview process, starting with the U of A, or residency in general?

Try to find yourself a mentor early in training who you click well with and feel will support you!

– Dr. Julianna Zenke (PGY-2)