Western University - Anatomical Pathology - London


Program Director

Dr. Aaron Haig


Program Coordinator, Anatomical Pathology

Ms. Cheryl Campbell

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The Anatomical Pathology Program at Western University has a long tradition of excellence, with a 100% pass rate at the Royal College exams for the past 29 years.

There is a comprehensive education program, with numerous rounds and teaching sessions.

We offer elective opportunities that permit the resident to tailor the program to their own needs and goals, while developing areas of scholarly interest.

About London

The City of London, the Forest City, with its abundant trees and parks, is a pleasant city of around 400,000 located in Southwestern Ontario, midway between Toronto and Windsor/Detroit. London offers many of the amenities of a larger city without many of the associated aggravations. A significant proportion of London's population works at Western University or in one of the several health care or research facilities. London is also home to several large corporations. There are excellent restaurants, theatres and many community-oriented events, all of which enhance family life.

For big-city sports or entertainment, Toronto and Detroit are 2 hours away by car or train. The town of Stratford with the Stratford festival is a 40 minute drive from London. For sports lovers, London has much to offer with sailing either on Fanshawe Lake (in the city) or on Lake Huron, cross country skiing on groomed trails in Fanshawe Park, downhill skiing at the London Ski Club, mountain biking, hiking, cycling and rollerblading along the Thames River (20k of connected paved paths) and golfing, not to mention the usual complement of tennis and squash clubs etc. There are a variety of summer festivals in the downtown area.

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The Program has a dedicated teaching faculty, with a 1:3 resident to faculty ratio.

There are numerous opportunities for interprovincial, national and international electives.

Yearly funding is provided for travel to meetings and educational events.

We offer the opportunities and facilities of larger programs, but with the advantage of greater flexibility and more individual attention.

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or college of family Physicians of Canada standard.

Anatomical Pathology

The Anatomical Pathology program at Western University is well established with a long tradition of excellence. The program was recently reviewed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in the fall of 2019, receiving full accreditation. The strength of the program lies in the excellent rapport between residents and faculty members, combined with faculty enthusiasm and dedication to teaching.

Residents are thoroughly prepared for their Royal College examinations with a comprehensive curriculum and regular in-training evaluations. We have had a 100% pass rate at the Royal College exams over the past 29 years. Combined residency/MSc or residency/PhD programs are available for those applicants who are interested.

The Anatomical Pathology Residency Program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University transitioned to competency based medical education curriculum (Competency by Design) in July 2019, under the guidance of the Royal College. The program uses time as a framework and is structured to take place over five years. The rotations are designed to ensure that residents are able to fulfill all of the goals and objectives of training and successfully complete the required Entrustable Professional Activates (EPAs) necessary to practice as competent consultant pathologists. There are elective opportunities that permit the resident to tailor the program to their own needs and goals. In addition, there is a comprehensive education program, with numerous rounds and teaching sessions that supplement the practical training component.

The early introductory and foundational training includes both clinical and pathology based rotations in various specialties. This initial training is designed to be relevant, satisfying the Royal College objectives and aid in preparation for Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II.

During core training, the resident rotates through the Surgical Pathology and Autopsy services to ensure adequate exposure to the various subspecialties in Pathology. Surgical Pathology includes involvement in frozen sections, gross and microscopic examination, ancillary studies and sign-out. Exposure to numerous subspecialty areas occurs during these rotations. With advancement in training the resident will have the opportunity to take on advanced leadership and teaching opportunities, as well as get further training in individual areas of interest.

Anatomical Pathology Educational Program

The program has a comprehensive academic curriculum, designed specifically for residents. There is a weekly academic half day, during which time residents are excused from all service responsibilities. This takes the form of didactic and seminar style teaching, along with practical at-the-microscope sessions. This covers a broad range of AP topics as well as supplementary topics that include Laboratory Management, Quality Assurance and Critical Appraisal. In addition to the academic half day, there are formal teaching sessions and rounds for residents. At the beginning of training in AP, residents take an integrated Introduction to Pathology course which allows hands-on experience and familiarity with basic lab techniques.

Anatomical Pathology Electives

There is a significant period of time available for electives, with a wide choice of electives for the trainee to consider. These can include rotations in specific subspecialty areas of AP e.g. gynecological or gastrointestinal pathology, or in research. AP residents may do electives in a community hospital in order to broaden their experience of day-to-day pathology practice. AP residents may also do electives in clinical pathology disciplines such as hematopathology, chemistry or microbiology if they are considering practicing in a community hospital setting. Overall, the elective program allows residents to tailor their training to achieve their own personal goals and also allows residents to explore possible career choices.

Anatomical Pathology Research

Each resident is required to do two research projects during the course of their residency, including a Quality Assurance project. Residents may do more at their discretion.

Many faculty members have active research programs, and therefore opportunities exist for residents to do research in a wide range of areas, including both clinicopathological and bench type research. Residents participate in the annual departmental research day.

Research can be performed as part of general rotations or as elective blocks. Residents are encouraged to present their work at provincial, national and international meetings, for which there is funding of travel expenses by the Department. Current and past residents have won numerous research prizes and travel awards.

Anatomical Pathology Teaching by Residents

Residents are involved in the teaching of undergraduate medical students (small groups), as well as the informal teaching of medical students and residents from other services who rotate through pathology. There is also a component of resident teaching during the Academic Half Day.

Anatomical Pathology Assessment

Residents participate in in-training written evaluations four times per year, along with at least two oral examinations. These mimic the Royal College examinations and provide an outstanding method of preparing for the Royal College examinations. One of these exams includes the annual examination of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (RISE exam).

Anatomical Pathology Summary

The AP program at Western University offers a superb training opportunity for residents wishing to pursue a career in Anatomical Pathology. The program offers all of the opportunities and facilities of larger programs, but has the advantages of greater flexibility and more individual attention. The program does this in an easy-going and pleasant environment in which to live and work.


Western University Anatomical Pathology has two (2) PGY-1 positions available for the 2021 match.

The Anatomical Pathology Training Program does not have any allocated IMG positions and, therefore, will not be considering international medical graduates for the 2021 match.