University of Alberta - Emergency Medicine - Edmonton


Program Director

Dr. Sandy Dong


Program Administrator

Jenni Marshall

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Don’t take it from us. Here’s an excerpt from our last Royal College Accreditation Survey Report:

  • Respected, approachable and highly supportive program

  • Excellent diversity from a large catchment area

  • Teaching faculty highly committed to residency education

  • Structured curriculum utilizing various formats covering full spectrum

  • Provides meaningful feedback to residents covering all CanMEDS roles (and this was before the Competence by Design or CBD initiative)

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  • We have a fantastic program director, assistant program director and program administrators who genuinely want the best for all our residents.

  • Our faculty is committed to the program and its residents. And we have the most welcoming, loyal and cohesive group of residents you will ever find.

  • Edmonton’s river valley is the largest stretch of urban greenspace in North America. You can go for amazing trail runs and bike rides without leaving the city. Alberta is known for beautiful blue, sunny skies. Even in the cold winter months, you can enjoy outdoor activities while soaking in the sun.

  • Our academic hospital sites are very distinct and provide great learning opportunities for a diverse set of skills, from addictions medicine at the Royal Alexandra Hospital—with an accessible safe injection site for emergency department patients—to a prominent transplant centre at the University of Alberta Hospital.

  • The wide array of community hospital sites of varying sizes within the city and region provide an excellent opportunity for residents to see bread-and-butter cases.


Why did you choose your specialty / what are the best things about your specialty?

  • diversity of problems and patients

  • front-line work that allows us to see sick, undifferentiated patients

  • becoming true patient advocates and working hard to get the best care for our patients

  • great mix of procedural skills and problem-solving

  • high acuity and variety

  • flexible work hours, which allows time for other passions, interests and priorities, such as family, friends, subspecialty interests, hobbies, and life outside of medicine

  • diverse areas of subspecialty interest

  • shift work as opposed to being on call, i.e. NEVER carrying a pager, which allows us to venture to the mountains in the middle of the week when there are no crowds

What are you looking for in an impressive candidate?

  • must work well in a team, mostly as a leader

  • well-rounded

  • able to adapt to all situations; thinks outside the box

  • compassionate and caring with patients; willing to advocate for your patients

  • willing to work hard and contribute to making the program better

  • must be able to apply knowledge and skills in a variety of high-stress situations

How is your residency program organized? (i.e. year-by-year breakdown and schedule of rotations)

We transitioned to a competency-based medical education (CBME) program in July 2018. The anticipated training time is still five years for most residents.

With regards to areas of concentrated expertise, in recent years these have included (but are not limited to):

  • critical care medicine

  • ethics

  • geriatric emergency medicine

  • sports medicine

  • simulation

  • medical education

  • informatics

  • air transport

  • disaster medicine

  • emergency department ultrasound

  • toxicology

  • pediatric emergency medicine

  • refugee health

  • inner city health

  • trauma

  • infectious diseases

  • master’s degrees in business, public health & epidemiology, education

  • pre-hospital and transport medicine (formerly EMS)

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

As one can imagine, emergency medicine residents spend a great deal of their clinical time gaining skills and knowledge in various off-service rotations. Residents do rotations in surgical subspecialties including orthopedics, plastic surgery and neurosurgery. Medical subspecialty rotations include critical care and cardiology. Emergency subspecialty rotations include emergency medical services (EMS), trauma and toxicology.

With our extensive elective system, residents have spent time in other subspecialties including: research, medical education, air medical transport, infectious diseases, neurology, pulmonology, the STI clinic, rural emergency medicine, wilderness medicine and ophthalmology, to name a few.

Residents also spend significant time in other off-service rotations not traditionally considered subspecialties, including general surgery, medicine and obstetrics.

Is there active and/or required research in your residency program and what role does research play in your career?

Our department is actively involved in emergency medicine research at local, national and international levels. Current areas of research include emergency department overcrowding, health outcomes, acute asthma/COPD care, pediatric CT head rules, pre-hospital care, air medical transport and medical education—pretty much every area of emergency medicine you can think of.

It is expected that each resident will complete a scholarly project. This project is defined as the production and dissemination of a scholarly project suitable for dissemination at a national or international level. Examples of projects include systematic reviews, prospective surveys, chart reviews, case control studies, educational modules and quality assurance projects.

In emergency medicine, research is a part of daily life in an academic centre. It can range from identifying patients for enrolment in studies to conducting primary research to advance the field of knowledge in the specialty. Some emergency clinicians spend a great deal of time conducting research, but this is certainly not mandatory. Many clinicians contribute without conducting research of their own (i.e. administration, education, pre-hospital medicine, inner-city health, toxicology, etc.).