University of Calgary - Medical Microbiology - Calgary


Program Director

Dr. Julie Carson


Program Administrator

Addie Stowe

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The vision of the University of Calgary Medical Microbiology Residency Training program is to train the highest calibre of medical microbiologists and virologists to fill clinical roles in community, public health and academic settings as well as leadership roles in laboratory medicine to meet our societal needs.

Residents who complete our program will have attained a broad based, diverse and competitive skill set that is fundamental to a well-rounded career as a Medical Microbiologist in any setting.

Particular strengths of our program:

  1. The centralized laboratory model. The Diagnostic & Scientific Center (DSC) of Alberta Precision Laboratories — Calgary, the primary training site, is a population-based laboratory that serves both the community and all the hospitals in Calgary and surrounding area, a population of 1.2 million for acute care microbiology. This unique set up for training provides access to specimens of unsurpassed volume and complexity.

  2. Strong Laboratory Management component of training: Our approach to integrate laboratory management into training at both DSC and Public Health Lab sites through longitudinal experiences will better prepare our residents for their future careers. APL-Calgary has an advanced quality system model and process excellence department which will serve as an excellent training platform. APL-Calgary provides consultative Microbiology services for Central and Southern Alberta microbiology laboratories which will also be tied into their training to prepare residents for their roles in community settings.

  3. Strong ties to the Infectious Disease Programs: Our program benefits tremendously from close cooperation with the Adult and Pediatric Infectious Disease subspecialty residency training program at the University of Calgary. This cooperation includes rotations, rounds, academic half-day sessions and other teaching opportunities to meet many of our shared objectives and requirements for training.

  4. Dedicated teaching faculty: our faculty includes both clinical and academic faculty members that are dedicated to quality education and supporting this residency program. Our academic faculty members at both laboratory sites have excelled in both clinical and basic science research in a variety of interest areas: antimicrobial resistance, laboratory surveillance of infectious diseases of public health importance, development of molecular diagnostics, clinical microbial genomics, infectious prevention and control and more. They will provide mentorship to our residents to train and prepare residents for academic and community positions.

  5. Supportive and Adaptive Learning environment: As a newer residency program (inception 2015), our program continues to grow and evolve to provide the best learning opportunities for our residents. We value the input of our residents the continual quality improvement of our residency program. There is inherent flexibility in Medical Microbiology training (13 blocks of electives) and our program encourages residents to tailor these experiences to meet their learning and future career needs.

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The Medical Microbiology program at the University of Calgary aims to assist residents to develop competencies and expertise in all aspects of the field, and to offer them opportunities to hone their skills in specific areas of interest.

PGY-1: Basic Clinical Training (13 blocks)

In their first year, residents will undergo Basic Clinical Training (BCT). Modelled after what was previously known as the rotating internship, the aim is to provide clinical exposure to prepare for and contextualize later training in medical microbiology and infectious diseases. Rotations include internal medicine and its subspecialties, general surgery and other surgical disciplines, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology. The rotations primarily occur at the Rockyview General Hospital under the PGY-1 program.

PGY-2 to PGY-5

The following four years of training will consist of rotations in medical microbiology, infectious diseases, and elective time, interwoven to provide a balanced and engaging experience.

Diagnostic Microbiology (26 blocks)

Rotations in microbiology will largely be lab-based, and will include the core disciplines of bacteriology, virology, mycology, and parasitology. Other disciplines such as molecular microbiology, mycobacteriology, laboratory management, public health, infection control, and antimicrobial stewardship will have dedicated rotations as well. Lab management, infection control, and antimicrobial stewardship will have a longitudinal curriculum as well, with focused teaching and projects that will be completed over the span of the residency. The primary site of training is the Alberta Precision Labs-Calgary Diagnostic & Scientific Centre. The public health lab and virology/serology rotations occur at Provlab Calgary as well as one mandatory rotation in Edmonton at Provlab North.

Infectious Diseases (13 blocks)

These rotations will be mostly inpatient consult service for infectious diseases, divided between adult and pediatric, and between the different sites to expose the resident to a wide array of experiences and learning opportunities. Rotations in outpatient settings, including TB clinic and HIV clinic, will also be provided. Rotations occur at all five hospital sites: Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Center, South Health Campus, Rockyview General Hospital and Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Electives (13 blocks)

Residents are encouraged to use this time to explore and develop expertise areas of medical microbiology that appeal to them, whether it is basic science, epidemiology, molecular methods, tropical medicine, or whatever else it may be. The versatility afforded by these blocks allows a customized program, which can be developed in discussion with the program director. Residents are strongly encouraged to use at least a portion of this time for dedication to research projects.


How many residents are in your program?

We are a small program. We currently have three residents in the program and can vary from 1 to 3 residents in different years. The Medical Microbiologist to resident ratio ranges year to year from 4:1 to 6:1.

How is the training organized?

After the PGY1 general year, the program integrates both laboratory, clinical and elective rotations through out the four years. This provides residents with opportunities to build and transfer their skills between various spheres of practice.

What are the call requirements like?

In the PGY-1 year, this varies depending on the rotation. The maximum call frequency is 1:4 in-house call, and 1:3 home call. In PGY-2 to 5, most rotations are home call. On medical microbiology rotations, overnight call is not required in the first few months of core training, then is implemented gradually, first with day-call (including one weekend/month), then overnight. Once graduated to overnight call responsibilities, residents are expected to be on-call for one week in each four-week block on mandatory laboratory rotations.

Is there funding for conferences and other academic experiences?

Yes. Funding is available for educational events such as conferences. Residents are encouraged to present posters or oral presentations but are permitted and funded to attend conferences even when not presenting.

What are the elective opportunities?

For residents, there are 13 blocks of elective rotations in the Medical Microbiology training. This is spread out mostly over PGY3 and 4 years with some elective time in PGY2 and 5. The elective opportunities are very flexible and tailored to the resident’s interests and future career plans. Residents are encouraged to focus on research and dedicated projects in their area of interests. Rotations in other centers outside of Calgary are strongly encouraged.