University of Alberta - Hematological Pathology - Edmonton


Program Director

Dr. Bryony Walker


Program Director

Dr. Bryony Walker

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  • Our program is fully accredited and well-established. Our graduates typically pass their Royal College exams the first time they take them and are welcomed as staff in centres across Canada.

  • Based at the University of Alberta Hospital, our program provides a longitudinal, integrated residency with exposure to adult and pediatric patients, and tertiary and community pathology.

  • We have a large zonal transfusion medicine service that gives our learners excellent exposure and experience.

  • We have close clinical relationships and share resources and teachers with other laboratory specialties, as well as adult and pediatric hematology for our academic half-day and joint hematology rounds.

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Edmonton has the largest expanse of urban parkland in Canada. It is woven around the North Saskatchewan River, with valley parks and trails throughout 7,300 hectares.

Edmontonians are very welcoming and represent a beautiful melting pot of cultures. Festivals throughout the year ensure there is always something to celebrate.

Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in Canada. Because of its northern location, Edmontonians enjoy long, lazy summer days. There is also quick and easy access to the magnificent Rocky Mountains, which are spectacular in every season.

Edmonton boasts attractions and activities to suit young and old, including music (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra), Galaxyland indoor amusement park, World Waterpark, Telus World of Science, a vibrant arts and theatre scene and much more.

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What are some strengths about your specialty? What draws and keeps people in your specialty?

Hematological pathology is a specialty within laboratory medicine that integrates clinical consultation and diagnosis with quality laboratory management and practice. We provide consultations to hematology, oncology, internal medicine, anesthesiology, critical care, surgery, and organ/tissue transplant specialists. These consultations involve the diagnosis and investigation of hematological disorders, coagulation disorders (bleeding and thrombosis), transfusion medicine and blood product utilization, histocompatibility/immunology and molecular pathology. In other words, we don’t just look at glass slides under the microscope. We enjoy having a rich variety of clinical encounters with other clinicians and specialists. The resulting breadth and depth of hematopathology practice is the most attractive and exciting aspect of our daily work.

What are some common complaints about your specialty?

There are not enough of us, so we all have a lot to do. The silver lining is that there are positions available across the country for graduating residents.

Our alumni have worked/are working in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Halifax. Some have pursued additional fellowship training in the U.S. before beginning their staff positions. Instead of having traditional contact with patients in the hospital or outpatient clinics, we encounter them through bone marrow biopsies, under the microscope during blood film and bone marrow reporting, and during discussions at coagulation and transfusion medicine rounds. Since we do not see or admit patients in the traditional sense, we do not have to worry about problems like a lack of clinic or operating room time or space, or the lack of hospital beds to admit patients.

What are the varieties of lifestyles within your field?

Options are academic practice or community-based hospital practice or private laboratory practice. There are a number of hematopathologists in Edmonton who work part-time and most have families and children. Some spend part of their time doing clinical/translational research. Others work with Canadian Blood Services to oversee the blood collection, processing and testing of donors. Some hematopathologists confine their practice to one or more areas of hematopathology or have a specialty interest in a specific area. Examples of affiliated subspecialties include coagulation, flow cytometry, molecular pathology, histocompatibility/immunology and transfusion medicine. Lymphoma pathology, pathology informatics and medical education are other subspecialty areas where hematopathologists are active.

What is the range of incomes?

The payment structure varies considerably, as does the range of income depending on the province. Some hematopathologists are on salary, paid by a hospital or health region. In some provinces (not Alberta), there is a fee schedule similar to the schedule of medical benefits used in clinical practice but involving lab testing procedures. Hematopathologists in private practice in these provinces may bill “fee for service” and their income will depend on the volume and complexity of lab testing performed. Some work under a contract for services under which they are paid by a hospital, health authority or government agency for providing a range of laboratory consulting services.