Dalhousie University - Cardiac Surgery - Halifax


Program Director

Dr. David Horné


Program Director

Chantelle Brown

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The program offers outstanding clinical training in all areas of cardiac surgery. Residents are given a great deal of autonomy at quite a junior level. The program offers a full range of established clinical and lab research experiences in which all residents are expected to be involved

Our adult program performs 1000-1100 operations annually ranging from CAD, valve disease, heart failure including MCS (VAD's + ECMO) and cardiac transplant, aortic disease, pericardial disease and device transplantation for brady-arrhythmias. Cardiac surgeons are involved in CVICU care, and residents are an integral part of care delivery in the CVICU including after-hours coverage. Our pediatric and congenital division performs STAT 1-4 pediatric surgeries, perform adult congenital surgeries and provide ECMO-care for Atlantic Canada.

In addition to excellent operative exposure (frequently being the primary surgeon from PGY3-6), our program has a robust academic teaching curriculum, as well as monthly skills lab sessions that include 2-3 cadaver sessions per year.

We place strong emphasis on continued resident research and involvement in quality assurance and improvement projects, under the leadership of a dedicated research director.

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This residency program is for 6 years. Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

PGY1 and 2

We have transitioned to Competency Based Medical Education (CBME). The rotations have been designed to insure that the Entrusted Professional Activities (EPA's) are obtained through each phase (TTD- Transition to Discipline, FOD- Foundations of Discipline) in the first two years.

PGY3 (flexible)

Research academic enrichment year *see below

PGY4 and 5

The Core of Discipline (COD) EPA's will be completed during these two years.


The Transition to Practice (TTP) EPA's should be completed within the last year.

Parallel resident training programs will continue (CBME vs. Old Program) until 2026.


All residents are expected to engage in research projects during their training. There is a complete clinical database of all cardiac surgical patients from 1995 to present and there are links established to administrative date/vital statistics, to allow for long term follow-up. Dr. Christine Herman is our research director. We also have experienced clinical researchers among our staff and several staff with established basic science labs. In addition, our expectation is that residents take at least one full year in either basic science investigation or formal outcomes research. We strongly encourage residents to obtain graduate research degrees (MSc or PhD) during their research time.


How much operating do your residents do?

When on cardiac service we schedule our residents in the OR as follows:

  • PGY1-2: 4 cases per week

  • PGY3-5: 5-6 cases per week

  • PGY6 7-8: cases per week

  • Our chief residents have averages 200-300 cases as primary surgeon in their chief year.

What is your research support?

Dr. Christine Herman was appointed as Division Research Director in 2018. Since then she has instituted monthly research meetings on Wednesday afternoons after our academic sessions. These are mandatory for residents to attend. Staff members and research students attend periodically. These meetings foster collaboration, ideas, guidance and set time frames for accountability. Furthermore, she frequently meets with residents individually assisting with assignment or suggestions of attending's to resident proposals, as well as senior/junior resident collaboration projects.

What are your previous residents doing right now?

Our last five graduates have all passed the RCPSC certification examination, and all of them currently have staff attending positions or offers after completing their fellowships