University of Calgary - Anatomical Pathology - Calgary
- Rigorous yet supportive learning environment with a large pool of dedicated and enthusiastic teaching faculty who lead optional slide teaching rounds multiple times per week
- Opportunity to complete an in-house fellowship (period of specialized training)for 6-12 months during the final year of residency training
- Dedicated program leadership and administrative staff who are readily accessible and highly responsive to resident concerns and feedback
- Strong track record of our graduates obtaining highly competitive fellowship positions and the jobs of their choice
- Outstanding state-of-the art newly built or recently remodeled physical facilities, and generous financial support including a $2500 annual CME fund, research funding, and paid registration at the CAP pathology review course and annual Banff pathology course
- To learn more about the Anatomical Patholody Residency program, please watch our video.
Here are some of the strengths of the University of Calgary's Anatomical Pathology residency program:
Our program is well-established, with an organized and structured rotation schedule and curriculum. Slide rounds and other educational activities are frequent and well-attended. In addition to the formal didactic curriculum, there are numerous additional optional teaching sessions on evenings and weekends. Most of these sessions are now virtual (Zoom format) due to the COVID pandemic, which allows residents to attend even if they are off-site. Our program's rotation schedule is fairly flexible and allows for ample elective time (including away electives) and protected time for research.
The program director, program administrator and other program leaders are experienced and dedicated, and truly care about the residents. We listen to our residents and respond to their needs. We have a fantastic CBME lead and competence committee to serve our incoming CBD residents.
As a Calgary AP resident, you will have a large and diverse peer group. Calgary accepts 4 AP residents, 2 GP residents, +/- 1 NP resident per year, and the residents in these programs work together throughout much of their training. Residents get along very well and have fun together, both at work and outside of work. There is an atmosphere of collaboration. Residents show each other interesting cases, work with each other on research projects, and form study groups together.
Residents rotate at 7 training sites across Calgary, are exposed to a large volume and variety of cases in all subspecialties of anatomical pathology, and have a pool of >100 enthusiastic teaching faculty who participate in their training. All training sites share a common laboratory information system and electronic medical record system, so residents don't need to re-learn a new system with each rotation. Alberta also has an awesome provincial electronic medical record system, which makes it very easy to get clinical information.
Our facilities are well-appointed. At our main training site of Foothills Medical Centre, our department is on the top floor of a new (built 2015) building. The resident room has large windows with a beautiful view of Canada Olympic Park and the Rocky Mountains. The gross room and morgue are modern, bright, clean, spacious, and well-ventilated. Most of our other training sites are newer or recently remodeled also.
The program provides generous financial support to residents, including a $2500/year personal CME fund, $1500 toward the CAP review course (once during training), $1000 toward Royal College exam travel (once during training), and annual free registration to the Banff Pathology Course. Funding for research projects is available through the residency program, and generous funding for conference travel (for research presentations or leadership roles) is provided by the University of Calgary's PGME office. Please see our program's website and PGME's website for more details.
PGY2-5 residents write two rigorous exams each year that are the same structure, length and difficulty as the Royal College Anatomical Pathology exam. Our PGY5 residents usually return from their Royal College exam reporting that there weren't any surprises and that they felt well-prepared for everything. Additionally, we use the same digital imaging platform as the Royal College for our in-house exams, unknown slide rounds and some teaching sets. This ensures that our residents are already comfortable with the digital format, which gives them another advantage at the Royal College exam.
Most of our graduates complete subspecialty fellowships at prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Emory, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Please see the Alumni document. Our graduates have no problem finding a job, and many choose to remain in Calgary as staff pathologists.
Finally, Calgary is a fantastic, friendly and welcoming place to live. Cost of living and commute times are lower than other large Canadian cities (i.e. Toronto and Vancouver), but Calgary is still large enough to offer ample cultural activities, great restaurants, and a ton of small craft breweries and distilleries. This is an awesome city for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous easily accessible parks, hiking trails and bike paths within the city and just outside Calgary. The Rocky Mountains (including Banff National Park and Lake Louise) are only an hour away. While there are currently some political challenges in Alberta's healthcare system, funding for residency training has remained stable, and we do not expect these political uncertainties to affect the training environment for our pathology residents.
Do you provide your residents with a “CME Fund”?
Yes, our residents are provided $2,500 per year (budget dependent) to claim educational expenses and conference travel. Additionally, we provide one-time per residency funding to attend the CAP Resident Review Course (not to exceed $2,000) as well as up to $1,000 per resident in the final year of training to help offset the cost of travel to the Royal College Examination in Ottawa.
What is the pass rate for your program?
The pass rate for the anatomical pathology program on the first attempt of the Royal College Fellowship exam at 98.8% since 2006.
What do we look for in an applicant?
- Documented interest and experience in anatomical pathology, as evidenced by previous pathology elective rotations or observerships, past or upcoming.
- Aptitude for anatomical pathology (strong evaluations from pathology electives, and at least one letter of reference from a pathologist)
- Broad and well-rounded medical knowledge (strong medical school performance +/- exam scores)
- Excellent written and spoken English skills and non-verbal communication skills
- Evidence of research and teaching ability
- Desirable personality attributes such as collegiality, teamwork skills, leadership skills, conflict management ability, and time management skills
- Strong professionalism attributes (including integrity, reliability, collegiality, resilience, punctuality and responsibility)
How does our interview process work?
We will offer up to three two interview days during the designated CaRMS period. When invited for an interview, applicants are asked to provide their first choice and second choice of date, and whether they prefer morning or afternoon. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of our interview process, we are unable to accommodate requests for interviews outside of the designated interview days.
We make every attempt to conduct our interviews in the most fair, transparent, and equitable way possible. We use a panel format for our interviews. Both staff pathologists and current anatomical pathology residents serve as interviewers. Each applicant rotates through four different panels of two interviewers and each interview lasts about 25 minutes. Each panel has a designated set of standardized questions that are asked of all interviewees. As with the initial CaRMS file review, each interviewer scores each applicant independently and objectively.
Obviously, the interview is also intended as a way for applicants to get to know our program, and decide if they would be happy training here. Therefore, the interview includes ample time for interviewees to ask questions of current residents and staff.
How do we decide how to rank applicants?
This is a complex process which involves a face-to-face meeting of the interview committee immediately after the interviews are complete. The interview scores are combined with the CaRMS file review scores in order to determine the rank order. Sometimes scores are tied or are very close. In that case, there is a group discussion about the rank order.
We take pride in the fact that all members of the selection committee, including our current residents, have an equal voice in ranking decisions. We make every effort to rank applicants objectively based on how well they meet our program selection criteria, and on our perception of their ability to succeed and thrive in our residency program.
Do you have a list of your current residents?
Yes. You can find it here.