University of British Columbia - Orthopedic Surgery - Vancouver
Status in Canada
The Orthopaedic Residency Program at the University of British Columbia is one of the leading orthopaedic training programs in Canada. Drawing upon our commitment to education, multidisciplinary approach, and collaborative culture, our program offers residents an unmatched variety of exposure to develop their clinical skills.
The training program is the only orthopaedic program in Canada with departmental status. This has permitted the development of divisions within the department which has greatly facilitated the organization of rotations, research and education, and has allowed the development of a comprehensive and highly integrated residency experience.
UBC Orthopaedics has an international reputation for research and scholarship. Our residency program gives trainees access to acclaimed faculty and outstanding facilities. Learn from our internationally renowned faculty, and join a community of orthopaedic scholars at one of the world’s top-ranked universities.
Areas of major clinical and research interest and expertise have been developed at each of the hospitals within the training program throughout the province. Each orthopaedic surgery subspecialty is taught during a clinical rotation at a hospital site specific to that subspecialty.
Our resident group is welcoming, social, and engaged in their own learning. No matter your interests, we are a diverse and supportive group that is dedicated to personal and professional growth.
BC is a beautiful province. The Orthopaedics Residency Program is based in Vancouver. Vancouver, being close to both mountains and ocean, is known for its stunning scenic backdrops and vast opportunities to explore the landscape year-round. You will be amazed at the opportunities for adventure on your weekends/weekdays off.
The program sites
All rotations (with the exception of our community orthopaedics experience) are provided at hospitals in Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, and New Westminster. This provides our residents with the opportunity to experience the benefits of all our local site locations. Our program’s community orthopaedics experience is provided at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia located in Prince George, the largest city in northern British Columbia.
What is the program looking for in applicants?
We are looking for applicants that demonstrate clinical and academic excellence; proficiency, safety, and efficiency in the performance of the procedural skills necessary for the practice of orthopaedic surgery in a community hospital setting. Candidates much also exhibit exceptional interpersonal, communication, teamwork and leadership skills in recognition of the fact that high quality patient care and treatment outcomes is the result of contributions from a large heath care team.
Residents must understand the principles and practice of clinical research, in order to actively participate in continued quality improvement initiatives and to continued medical education and possess a sense of responsibility and dedication to the profession. Additionally, residents are expected to be active community members and demonstrate balance as evidenced by engagement in volunteer, extracurricular or other types of activities.
Why choose UBC Orthopaedics?
Our residents choose UBC Orthopaedics for the educational opportunities, world-renowned faculty, and cohesive nature of the orthopaedic resident group.
Women in orthopaedic surgery.
The UBC Orthopaedic program values diversity and inclusion. From a gender perspective, 40% of residents in the UBC orthopaedic surgery residency program are women, and virtually all clinical rotations in our program have female faculty preceptors, enhancing our program's ability to provide role modelling, mentorship, and advocacy for women starting their career in orthopaedic surgery. In addition to gender diversity, we believe that different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives enrich our program and we seek to reflect that diversity in our residents, staff and faculty.
Does your program have an organized mentorship program for residents?
Our program does not have a formal mentorship program for its residents. This does not mean that residents in our program are not provided with mentorship — on the contrary, virtually all residents self-assign themselves to one or more faculty mentors over the course of their training. Our experience is this works very well, and has advantages over assigned mentors. Our faculty members are generally approachable and welcome the opportunity to assist trainees in achieving their goals throughout residency and beyond. By self-assigning a faculty mentor, residents can obtain support and career advice from faculty that closely match their own personality and aspirations.
What are our graduates doing after completion of their residency training?
Residents complete at least one, and most often two, one-year fellowship training programs in subspecialties of orthopaedic surgery. In recognition of the clinical and academic accomplishments of our residents, and extensive working relationships that exist between our faculty and faculty at other training centres which enable us to advocate effectively on behalf of our graduating residents, our graduates have had a high rate of success in obtaining a position at highly sought-after fellowship programs in Canada, the US, and abroad. After completion of their fellowship training, our residents have ultimately always been successful in obtaining career positions in both academic and community hospitals not only in BC but elsewhere in Canada and the US.
Where do most residents live during their residency?
As everyone is aware, the cost of accommodation is higher in Vancouver than most other cities in Canada. Nevertheless, most residents in our program are easily able to obtain very reasonable rental units in close proximity to Vancouver General Hospital where the majority of clinical rotations take place. A strong network exists amongst the residents to acquire accommodation, and we would encourage you to contact the department if you require assistance in this matter.
Rotations are provided are many different hospital sites. How do your residents usually travel to these sites?
Since most residents live in neighbourhoods close to VGH, many will commute by bicycle to the other two hospital sites that are relatively close by (SPH and BCCH). Although most residents may choose to travel by car to Burnaby, RCH (in New Westminster) and Richmond, public transit is a viable option for all three sites. UBC PGME assists all residents with obtaining accommodation, and reimburses travel expenses, for the community orthopaedics rotation in Prince George.
Do you have non-Canadian trainees in your residency program?
Non-Canadian trainees are supported by their home country to obtain residency training in Canada. Our program selects, on average, one non-Canadian trainee from Kuwait or Saudi Arabia each year.
What advanced training opportunities are provided by the UBC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery?
In general, all residency programs encourage their graduating residents to broaden their experience by obtaining fellowship training at a centre elsewhere within or outside of Canada. However all Divisions in our Department provide fellowship training experiences that residents from our program may apply to. Many of the fellowship opportunities provided by our department are very highly regarded both nationally and internationally — particularly those in the subspecialties of spine, hip and knee arthroplasty, foot and ankle surgery, and trauma.
What is the content of your program’s formal academic curriculum?
The formal academic curriculum is provided by:
- in PGY1, a 4 week "orthopaedic surgery boot camp" consisting of lectures, case-based discussions, and surgical skills training on simulated bone models, cadavers, and simulations. PGY1 residents are not scheduled to provide any clinical service during these 4 weeks, with the exception of a couple of weekend on-call shifts.
- in PGY1, a 4 week surgical foundations "CRASH" course consisting of lectures, case-based discussions, and surgical skills simulations. PGY1 residents are not scheduled to provide any clinical service during these 4 weeks, with the exception of a couple of weekend on-call shifts.
- daily structured 45 minute teaching sessions at every hospital site, prior to the start of the work day.
- a weekly "academic half day", covering all required knowledge in orthopaedic surgery as well as selected topics in the non-expert role CanMEDS domains, taught in a case-based format. Teaching at academic half days is provided by residents and faculty, and a faculty member is assigned to supervise every session. Residents are excused from all clinical duties in order to attend the academic half day.
- during weekly "academic half day" in the months of July and August, a cadaver dissection lab providing hands-on training in surgical anatomy
- a fracture fixation advanced skills lab attended by all residents, held yearly
- hands on skills labs in arthroscopic surgery on cadavers and simulated joints, as well as on high fidelity computer-based simulators
- 3 all-day "visiting professor" teaching sessions provided by invited national and international faculty, in a broad range of subspecialties
- mandatory courses provided external to the program, for which the program provided full tuition support. These courses include both AO Basic and Advanced Fracture Fixation skills courses, and the COA Basic Science Course.
- the resident research program (see next FAQ)
What are your program’s requirements for resident research? How is resident research supported? Are residents provided with “protected time” to work on their research projects?
Participating in orthopedic research is an important part of surgical training. Critical appraisal skills and an understanding of research are required to evaluate rapidly changing treatment techniques.
Resident research in the UBC orthopaedic surgery training program is facilitated and promoted in several ways.
A Director of resident research, who oversees each resident's progress toward completion of their research
A strong ongoing clinical research program within all Divisions of the UBC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which provides a broad range of available avenues for resident research. Many Divisions have a dedicated research coordinator as well as faculty with advanced training in clinical epidemiology, who are able to provide support and guidance to residents completing a research project within the respective Division
Residents are provided with an average of one day of “protected time” from clinical service duties each month, for the purpose of working on their research. Residents may also apply for additional dedicated time during a clinical rotation.
Residents are required to present a research project at the annual UBC Orthopaedic Surgery Research Day in at least four of their five years in the program.
Residents planning a career in an academic centre may consider obtaining an advanced degree in a related field such as clinical epidemiology. If a resident wishes to complete this training prior to the completion of their residency, then they will require approval from the Department Head and the Director of Postgraduate Education they will need to lengthen their residency training in order to take time off for their chosen program of study — which will typically be not less than one year since this time is not funded by UBC PGME, they can apply for one year of funding (currently in the amount of $20,000) from the program's Brett Kilb Memorial Fund.
Another opportunity for residents seeking to obtain advanced degree training and an opportunity for dedicated research time with full salary support, is to apply to the UBC PGME "Clinical Investigator Program". It is a RCPS accredited residency program, with a competitive application process, that is run consecutively with a resident’s primary residency program.