University of British Columbia - Hematological Pathology - Vancouver


Program Director

Dr. Kate Chipperfield


Program Manager

Shelley Berkow

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  • Hematopathologists have a broad scope of practice in BC compared to some other places in Canada and the program provides excellent exposure to those areas

  • There is no shortage of clinical faculty willing and interested to help residents in pathology education, career mentorship, or guidance in developing and executing research projects.

  • Residents rotate through a variety of high-volume sites offering a variety of experiences and learning opportunities. Our Vancouver teaching sites are referral centers for the province of British Columbia (and sometimes beyond), therefore the case volume is relatively high. Rare diseases (or unusual presentations of common diseases) are well-represented during rotations at these sites

  • While the majority of the curriculum is designed to meet Royal College requirements, there is time (and encouragement by faculty) to pursue areas of individual interest through elective rotations.

  • Our clinical year is all hematology focused, sites are used to having hematopathology residents and all clinical rotations are in the PGY-2 year. All the rotations are relevant to our training and by doing hematopathology in PGY-1 residents can add a lot of hematology and lab knowledge when rotating on the clinical services.

  • We have dedicated Coagulation, Transfusion Medicine and Instrumentation blocks that help consolidate learning in these areas

  • All sites demonstrate close collaboration between laboratory and clinical staff.

  • Because of the concentration of training programs in Vancouver there are many opportunities for residents to teach others, including laboratory technologists, medical students, fellow residents, and hematology trainees.

  • Many hematopathologists in BC continue to procure bone marrow biopsies, including pediatric patients, which allows great opportunity and support when learning how to do this procedure.

  • The program has very reasonable expectations of residents, which offers a good work-life balance. It is a family-friendly city and program.

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  • All the major training sites in Vancouver are close (within ~5km) to one another making commute simple from almost anywhere you live in Vancouver. Community sites are easy to access by SkyTrain/ transit.

  • Residents have designated work areas at all core training sites with good quality equipment for daily work.

  • Current residents and HP faculty at the sites are welcoming, eager to teach new learners, and easy to get along with, which makes it easy to ask questions.

  • The laboratory technical staff at the teaching sites are very knowledgeable, approachable and happy to answer questions.

  • The program administrators are extremely helpful and are exceptional at what they do.

  • Vancouver is a great city for year-round outdoor activities because of the temperate weather and proximity to the mountains and ocean. Highlights including biking to work all year and being able to go skiing, hiking, climbing etc. on weeknights. You could even go skiing and to the beach on the same day.

  • Vancouver has a huge selection of places to eat, from all parts of the world and at amazing prices


How busy is call?

Call starts 6 months into R1. You do home call for 1 week at a time (evenings and weekends) and the frequency of getting called is very manageable. The staff are also very helpful and available.

How many electives can you do?

In R3 and R4, the program is very open to electives at other sites.

What are the research requirements?

There are 4-5 dedicated research blocks with the expectation to present at least once at the Resident Research Day.

Is it really expensive to live in Vancouver on a resident salary?

There are reasonable renting options in Vancouver that are affordable on a resident salary. Public transit is very accessible, which can help reduce gas and parking costs as well.

What are the job prospects in hematopathology?

There are likely good job prospects in BC due to potential retirements.

What wellness opportunities are there?

The PGME has an accessible Resident Wellness Office with free access to counselling. Resident Doctors of BC offers financial support to resident socials.

What is a typical day like in hematopathology residency at UBC?

At main sites residents usually start the morning with review of peripheral blood films and body fluid slides that have been collected overnight, then reviewing these cases with the staff pathologist. After blood films and fluids have been signed out, residents usually review bone marrow cases currently pending sign-out (including blood films / bone marrow aspirates / core biopsies / immunohistochemistry / flow cytometry and any other ancillary studies), then review cases with staff pathologists, and prepare reports. At some sites residents will go to the ward with the technologist to collect bone marrow biopsy specimens. Residents generally also address issues with transfusion medicine, coagulation studies, flow cytometry cases, and hemoglobinopathy investigations as these arise (depending on the site). Within your day there is generally time to get a coffee, eat lunch and do some reading around your cases.

Other rotations (e.g. cytogenetics, molecular pathology, lymph node pathology) include scheduled teaching, observation of technical aspects of practice, and review of cases as they arrive before discussing these with staff.