University of British Columbia - Family Medicine - Kelowna Regional


Program Director

Dr. Jade Dittaro & Dr. Greg Handrigan


Site Coordinator

Janice Demers

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This residency program is for 2 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.


The Kelowna Regional Site is the newest training site within the UBC Family Practice Residency Program. It was established in July 2020 and will graduate its first cohort in 2022. The Kelowna Regional site has four residency positions (3 CMG, 1 IMG).

The Kelowna Regional site offers residents a chance to experience full-scope family medicine in a wide variety of settings—rural, urban and international.

Most of the residency experience is spent in Kelowna, a mid-sized city located in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Kelowna is home to Kelowna General Hospital, a tertiary-care centre, as well as a rich, integrated community of family physicians, specialists and allied health.

Residents at the Kelowna Regional site train alongside residents in the Kelowna Rural site, which was established in Kelowna over 30 years ago. The Kelowna Regional Site will build on this tradition of excellence in family medicine training in Kelowna and provide residents with further opportunities to explore the richness of family medicine—full-service as well as focused practice—within the Okanagan Valley.

Residents in this program will receive broad-based training in medicine in their first year by rotating through a variety of foundational specialties (e.g., pediatrics, obstetrics) in both community- and hospital-based environments. All rotations incorporate the resident as a physician, and you work as part of a team. Residents experience longitudinal family practice care with weekly half-days spent in community-based FP clinics in addition to an 8-week core family practice block. Additional R1 longitudinal experiences may be sought in ER, anesthesia, addictions and obstetrics depending on a resident’s interests.

The R2 year includes family practice experiences in rural and urban settings as well as self-directed electives.

Kelowna Regional residents get an ‘enhanced’ rural experience, spending ~16 weeks in a rural community in BC/NWT chosen from a list that is updated year-by-year. This rural experience immerses residents in full-service family medicine, often with limited resources, and affords a level of autonomy and independence unlike the rest of residency. Residents also get to see first-hand how a family physician is a resource to his or her community.

Kelowna Regional residents spend another 4 months practicing family medicine in Kelowna or other nearby communities within the Central Okanagan. Residents are based in a home family practice clinic with dedicated time to pursue elective and selective experiences in the many areas of family medicine available in the rich medical community of Kelowna. Two weeks of this regional rotation will be spent pursuing experiences in care of the elderly and palliative care. Residents can also pursue elective/selective experiences in addictions, emergency medicine, hospitalist, obstetrics and aboriginal health during their ‘regional rotation.’

Resident will have 4 months in their R2 year to pursue elective experiences in areas of focused interest or to meet self-identified learning goals.

The R2 year finishes in Kelowna with a 4-week ‘Transition to Practice’ block, spent back in the R1 family practice preceptors’ office, to further prepare trainees for entering practice.

Residents who will do well in the Kelowna Regional training experience embody the personality traits of independence, self-direction, adventurousness and self-motivation. In the R1 year, because we are not a fully service-based hospital, the level of responsibility may be less on some rotations (compared to other programs). In the R2 year, however, responsibility is close to the level of a practicing family physician (with support of course).

The Kelowna Regional site is an incredible opportunity to see family medicine in all of its aspects and settings—and to help shape a new and exciting training experience at UBC.

Purpose / Objectives

As reflected in the Department's Mission Statement, we welcome applicants who are committed to meeting the needs of communities of all sizes — rural and urban — throughout British Columbia and Canada. We train residents to be prepared for full-service Family Practice, including Obstetrics. This site will prepare residents for family practice in any community size.

Our Principles are:

  • We provide community-based training.

  • We encourage experiential learning in an academically monitored environment.

  • We foster self-confidence and skills necessary to allow graduates to function effectively in a family practice setting.

  • We encourage residents to learn how to balance their personal needs with the demands of family practice.

  • We are committed to ongoing evaluation of the outcome and effectiveness of our training program.

The Kelowna Regional Training Site is ideal for you if you have:

  • Motivation to practice family medicine in a variety of settings, including rural and urban communities within BC and internationally

  • Understanding of and an interest in full-service family medicine.

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills, and also the ability to be self-directed.

  • Reference letters that attest to your ability and interest in family medicine.

  • A willingness to travel to rural sites for training. [The sites are varied and are located throughout the BC along with a training site in Inuvik, NWT.]

  • The ability to adapt to learning in a non-traditional, non-academic centre during a portion of 2nd year.

  • The ability to function psychologically and socially in remote settings in 2nd year.

  • The ability to take rational risks ('Rational Risk Takers'), while maintaining a sense of professionalism.

  • A strong sense of social justice and accountability.

PGY1 Overview

The PGY1 curriculum is block-based with residents streaming through foundational rotations during PGY1 year in both hospital- and community-based settings.

Academic Days and Research

Residents attend mandatory academic activities — usually one half day per week. This includes academic teaching that is a mix of clinical case discussions, core topics, behavioural medicine, and hands-on practical sessions (e.g., SIM, suturing, bedside ultrasound). Residents are also expected to teach their peers during this time. Academic time is dedicated to resident-led wellness initiatives on a monthly basis. Second-year residents receive academic teaching available at their particular rural sites through video-conferenced sessions from Kelowna, an ‘R2 Academic Week’ to help prepare them for licensing exams, and with regular academic half-days during their 16-week Regional Okanagan rotation.

Throughout the program, we stress "Evidence-Based Medicine" in both academic and clinical settings. Residents complete a quality improvement project (QIP) in the first year and, over the course of two years, a resident scholar project that is presented at a regional Scholar Day held in the final month of residency.

International Electives

Residents can do one month of interprovincial or international electives during their training.

Further Training

Residents of the Regional Okanagan program receive funding to pursue supplementary training courses (e.g., NRP, ALARM). Residents also have discretionary funds (“Resident Education Fund”) that they may use for further training and educational experiences.

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