University of Toronto - Anesthesiology - Toronto


Program Director

Dr. Lisa Bahrey


Residency Program Assistant

Dwayne Rodrigues

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The University of Toronto offers a comprehensive program in Anesthesia, which is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Over 350 staff anesthesiologists at multiple sites are involved in resident education. These sites include: The Hospital for Sick Children; Mount Sinai Hospital; St. Michael's Hospital; Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, at both the Sunnybrook and Holland Centre campuses; Michael Garron Hospital; St. Joseph's Health Science Centre; The University Health Network at both the Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals and Women’s College Hospital. Each of these hospitals has particular clinical focus and specific training opportunities which allows the program as a whole to offer residents an exceptional experience in all areas of Anesthetic practice.

The experience that residents obtain with respect to volume and variety of clinical opportunities, both patients and procedures, is unparalleled. All subspecialties of anesthesia are offered in Toronto and this means that our residents have opportunities for training in ALL areas of anesthesia practice during their residency — all within their own program. For example, residents experience Obstetrical Anesthesia longitudinally throughout their training and, in addition, have a full protected block rotation in high risk quaternary-care Ob-Anesthesia.

Other unique opportunities and strengths of our program include:

  • Simulation: There are two high fidelity Anesthesia Simulation Centers in the Department, a Surgical Skills Center, and additional high-fidelity simulators within most hospitals, all used for resident education. These are used for clinical training of anesthesia residents and multidisciplinary teams particularly in the areas of technical skills, critical event training and crisis resource management. Residents participate in simulator sessions throughout residency and, in addition, senior residents are involved in supervision and teaching of medical students in the simulator at our Sunnybrook site. We have also expanded the use of simulation in other areas including a comprehensive advanced airway management course, vascular access and regional anesthesia. In addition, each hospital has simulation opportunities for residents during rotations resulting in a robust longitudinal simulation curriculum. For example, Toronto General Hospital has weekly simulation sessions during morning teaching and virtual reality simulation is currently being pioneered at Sunnybrook Health Sciences, where residents wear a VR headset and run through simulation scenarios in the OR during morning teaching.

  • Regional anesthesia: This has become a major focus at a number of sites in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Toronto. All residents have the opportunity to train in regional anesthesia longitudinally and also complete block rotations specific to regional anesthesia education and experience. This includes e-learning, simulation training and academic sessions all devoted to the acquisition of regional anesthesia skills. Many opportunities also exist for research in this field — particularly in the area of ultrasound guided blocks – and many commonly performed blocks have been pioneered by Anesthesiologists at UofT.

  • POCUS: All residents participate in a longitudinal Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) training curriculum which includes full day bootcamps and a block rotation specific to POCUS technical and clinical skills including cardiac, lung, FAST, airway, and gastric. There are also academic sessions throughout the year devoted to POCUS training. Residents have access to a spectrum of POCUS resources including trained faculty, US machines, TEE simulators and on-line materials as such.

  • Academic Curriculum: Our program boasts a very robust Academic Curriculum including morning teaching at all sites and protected academic half-days. Protected academic time includes teaching sessions as well as protected time for wellness, mentorship and sessions dedicated to developing the non-medical expert CanMEDS competencies. In addition, we have a full day Resident Education Day in November each year organized by the Departmental Chief Residents focusing on specific theme. This year, the focus of our Education Day was on Dismantling Dominant Ideologies in Medicine: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Patient Advocacy. An important aspect of our academic curriculum is that it is heavily resident driven and there is strong resident input in refining the curriculum each year.

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Thank you for your interest in our program!

The University of Toronto, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine is a clinical and academic center of excellence which provides an exceptional opportunity for residency training. As a department which promotes and values respect and diversity, we are committed to training for excellence in a robust and supportive environment. Our program seeks to foster an academic and clinical environment which supports excellence across the educational spectrum including clinical excellence, social accountability, and intellectual inquiry. Accordingly, we are looking for highly motivated and committed candidates who are eager to take advantage of all opportunities the program has to offer. Strong CanMEDS competences, leadership skills, and high professional standards are key attributes we seek in our applicants.

We look forward to you getting to know us!

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The department is very large. Do residents get "lost in the system"?

No! Just ask our trainees. We do have a large number of residents in the program. However, residents rotate through the teaching sites in smaller groups. Each site has a rotation coordinator who is responsible for all aspects of education and resident well-being at each site. The program director meets with each resident annually and more frequently when necessary. The Program has a Resident Social Committee and well as a Resident Wellness Committee. There is also a Resident Mentorship Group program; 5-8 residents are paired with 2 faculty mentors and meet regularly throughout the year in a relaxed, supportive environment.

Is research mandatory?

Research is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged. The program operates within a very productive research environment. Although research is not mandatory, all residents are expected to participate in a variety of scholarly activities throughout their training and complete a scholarly project. This can be based in research, quality improvement, educational initiatives, or other topics.

Can I do electives out of the city/ country?

Electives can be completed outside of Toronto providing that the elective will provide the resident with a relevant educational experience. Residents would be expected to identify appropriate sites and supervisors, develop a set of objectives and have these approved by the program director.

Will I need a car?

Almost all regular rotations take place at the fully affiliated teaching hospitals which are easily accessible by public transit. Some rotations in community settings may require travel.

What is call like?

Residents participate in call at every site. Almost all sites are 16-hour call, while few sites which are less busy at night support 20-24-hour call. This is reviewed regularly to ensure optimal clinical exposure to great learning opportunities while also protecting resident wellness. The call experience is highly variable depending on site; for example, call at Sunnybrook is very busy with trauma resuscitations and OR’s during the summer, while call at Mt. Sinai is highly focused on Labour and Delivery.