University of Alberta - Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery - Edmonton


Program Director

Dr. Hamdy El-Hakim


Program Administrator

Patricia Payne

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  • We offer one of the largest surgical caseloads in the country, with residents sometimes operating five days a week.

  • We have an excellent learning culture and a track record of research and evidence-based education and practice.

  • Our faculty has trained in diverse residency and fellowship programs in North America, the U.K., Europe and Australia. Our faculty-to-resident ratio is 20:13.

  • We consider our greatest investment to be individual talent and we have developed a unique, multi-level mentorship program, which includes a designated career counsellor.

  • We have a well-established curriculum and transparent, strong partnerships with other disciplines, countries and industry.

  • We offer established fellowship programs in head and neck oncology, rhinology and pediatrics, giving our trainees opportunities for further training and forging international relations with other fellows.

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  • Edmonton is a great place to live, with safe neighbourhoods, short commutes and wide-ranging entertainment and art venues.

  • Our program is housed in a centre that has invested in a modern, sophisticated electronic records system.

  • The city is home to several excellent research institutes, including the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine, the Ray Rajotte Surgical Medical Research Institute, the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute.

  • There are also several well-established multidisciplinary programs in the city hospitals, including head and neck oncology, pediatric aerodigestive and aspiration, adult dysphagia and pediatric tracheal reconstruction.


What are some strengths of the program?

Otolaryngology is both a clinical and surgical specialty. You can have a successful career in both. As a surgeon, you perform a wide variety of procedures, from easy to complex and delicate, and from macro to micro. The specialty is also cutting-edge in terms of equipment and technology used.

Why choose this specialty?

Our patients often see immediate improvement from our interventions, which is very rewarding. Our training and practice also rely on cutting-edge technology. Otolaryngologists are pushing the limits of head and neck surgery with previously unimagined procedures and technical advancements.

What are the varieties of lifestyle within Otolaryngology?

Generally, this depends on the subspecialty selected for practice. Otologists, rhinologists and laryngologists focus mostly on day-surgery patients, and these practices typically require fewer hours. Specialists in head and neck oncology spend longer hours in the OR and their patients require longer pre- and post-operative care. The subspecialty you select and the number of hours you work in clinic can affect your work week but all specialties permit you to tailor your career to allow for an excellent family life.

Are there sufficient elective opportunities in residency to explore special interests?

All subspecialties are covered during the course of residency and the preceptors are happy to provide mentoring to guide research and electives and to support trainees in pursuing their special interests. Additionally, the program provides a month of elective time in the third year of residency and two blocks of elective time in the fourth year.

What is your program’s orientation and focus?

Our mission is to produce graduates who have all the skills necessary to function as consultants in general otolaryngology as well as the ability to transition seamlessly into post-graduate fellowship training.