McGill University - Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery - Montreal
Choosing a program and city to call “home” for the next 5 years is an exciting, yet challenging task. We have collated below a few program highlights. We have built a small community of tight-knit residents and faculty, all of which are easily approachable and would be happy to talk with upcoming applicants should they have any additional questions as they navigate the CaRMS application process.
Teaching curriculum and academic excellence
McGill Otolaryngology is a leader in medical education, with multiple simulation courses devised to improve our residents’ comfort level with various surgical procedures. Among others, a temporal bone drilling course is oﬀered to residents every winter, and we host the annual Endoscopic Sinus Surgery masterclass led by Dr. Marc Tewﬁk. Residents have weekly protected half days on Friday mornings, covering a broad range of otolaryngology topics. Additionally, we hold weekly Grand Rounds, featuring visiting professors, subspecialty panels and journal club discussions on groundbreaking research. Our program follows the CBME (competency based medical education) approach. An additional strength of our program is the rich informal teaching we beneﬁt from throughout our clinical rotations, working alongside dynamic and highly knowledgeable staﬀ who love to teach and are actively involved in our learning.
Surgical volume and exposure
McGill Otolaryngology is a well-balanced surgical program, with great exposure across all Otolaryngology subspecialties. We serve a broad patient population with complex and challenging pathologies, allowing ample hands-on experience to train highly skilled surgeons comfortable with a wide range of surgical procedures, ranging from simple “bread-and- butter” procedures to intricate subspecialty otolaryngology surgeries.
Our program is highly supportive of residents wishing to lead or be involved in impactful research endeavors. We beneﬁt from both formal and informal mentorship from well-respected academic leaders in our ﬁeld, 3 months of dedicated research rotations and funding for presentations at national and international conferences. Additionally, a newly founded basic science and research methodology course has been implemented in our junior year to further strengthen our foundational knowledge. Residents are encouraged to present their research projects at our Annual Resident Research Day.
Perhaps the greatest strength of our program is the supportive and welcoming learning environment our team has created. We are a diverse, yet tight-knit community of trainees and faculty, who share a strong culture of mentorship both inside and outside of the hospital. We host frequent departmental events, including an annual outdoor gathering to welcome our junior residents and a weekend retreat in Mont-Tremblant featuring enriching talks on the latest updates in our ﬁeld, afternoon ski on some of Quebec’s ﬁnest slopes, and gourmet banquet dinners.
Our program is located in beautiful and vibrant Montreal, Quebec. The city is home to a diverse art scene, charming alleyways, outdoor markets, independent coﬀee shops, microbreweries and rooftop terraces. Cost of living is surprisingly aﬀordable compared to other large Canadian cities. What we spare in rent, we get to spend exploring Montreal’s world- renowned food scene, from ﬂavourful food trucks to high-end tables. Our downtown core is centered next to beautiful Mount Royal, an urban oasis of lush greens, tortuous running and biking baths and a mountain-top Belvedere with breathtaking views of our city landscape. Montrealers are a friendly, welcoming and diverse community, with a shared love of food, art and outdoor activities. Indeed, Montreal also caters to the adventurous soul and outdoor enthusiast, being only a short drive away from many of Quebec’s stunningly serene mountains and lakes, for peaceful weekend escapes from the city’s hustle and bustle!
Our training sites
We are fortunate to train in brand new, state-of-the-art facilities in and around downtown Montreal. Most of our rotations are completed at the new McGill University Health Centre (merger of the former Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal Children’s Hospital), and the Jewish General Hospital. We additionally have 3-months of community rotations at peripheral sites, and we are given the opportunity to participate in community outreach in our Northern Territories.
Our PGY1 year (Surgical Foundations) consists mainly of rotations in otolaryngology-related fields, including: anesthesiology, critical care medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery and neurosurgery. We also benefit from 3 months of early otolaryngology exposure, allowing us to integrate the resident group and develop a strong knowledge base in commonly encountered otolaryngology topics.
Whereas most of our PGY1 is invested familiarizing ourselves with the hospitals and getting the lay of the land, as of PGY2, we are on ENT full-time. Our PGY2 year is perhaps the busiest, but we rapidly acquire practical knowledge allowing us to manage a variety of common otolaryngology problems. We are entrusted with a lot of responsibility, yet have full support from our staff and senior residents who are always only a phone call, text, or door knock away for any questions, concerns or help with procedures. Plus, our call system has a senior second-on-call to add an extra level of support!
PGY3 is when we graduate “juniorship”, and now focus mainly on quality operative and learning exposure. While rotating on pediatric otolaryngology, we are the most senior resident on service and get to assume the lead role in the OR across a broad range of specialties (from bread-and-butter septoplasties and middle ear surgeries all the way up to complex airway reconstructions). On the adult side, our year is tailored toward building core surgical skills, gaining exposure to interesting and complex pathologies, and getting involved in teaching junior residents and medical students. The year features a 5-week block in cosmetic facial plastic surgery, a series of valuable in-house and external courses (temporal bone, sinus, and advanced airway surgery), as well as 3 months of dedicated research time, where we are offered the resources and connections needed to carry out impactful and rewarding projects.
PGY4 and PGY5
Our PGY4 and PGY5 years consist of furthering independent learning, improving surgical skills and developing leadership responsibilities. Residents now considered fully-fledged seniors rotate between various subspecialties, focusing further on otology, rhinology and laryngology subspecialty clinics and ORs. We also increase our exposure to community practice, with up to 4 elective rotations during the PGY4 year. These may be chosen at the resident’s area of interest with approval from the Program Director in sites throughout the province or at other Canadian university centers.