Residency, AFC, Fellowship and MSc Programs

The Anatomical Pathology Residency Training Program at the University of Calgary is a fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Program Highlights

  • In Anatomical Pathology, we examine approximately 115,000 surgical cases and 210,000 gynecologic/10,000 non-gynecologic cytology cases per year, and perform approximately 210 adult and 350 pediatric/fetal autopsies per year.
  • Our program hosts 2 major examinations per year
  • We provide our trainees with a Continuing Medical Education (CME) Fund
  • Trainees can apply for up to $5,000 for internally supported research projects which is awarded through the AP Research Coordinator and AP Residency Training Committee.

Program Overview

Our program participates in the annual CaRMS match and accepts three new residents per year into a five year program. Training in anatomical pathology is conducted at all of Calgary's major laboratory facilities: The Foothills Medical Center (FMC), South Health Campus (SHC), the Rockyview (RGH), Peter Lougheed (PLC), and Alberta Childrens'(ACH) Hospitals, the Chief Medical Examiner's Office (OCME) and the Diagnostic Scientific Centre (DSC).  The first year of training is split between anatomical pathology orientation blocks and general clinical blocks.  This is followed by four years of training in anatomical pathology including surgical pathology, autopsy pathology, pediatric pathology, cytopathology, and forensic pathology as well as other surgical pathology sub-specialties. A brief outline is provided below:

R1 (13 blocks)
2 blocks TTD Orientation (FMC)
1 Surgical Oncology (FMC)
1 block Medicine Specialty (Gastroenterology)
1 block Pediatric Selective (ACH)
1 block Medical Oncology (FMC)
1 block Gynecologic Oncology (FMC)
3 blocks FoD Orientation (FMC)
2 blocks Surgical Pathology (FMC)
1 block (adult) Autopsy (FMC)

R2 (13 blocks)
9 blocks Surgical Pathology (FMC/PLC/DSC/RGH/SHC)
2 blocks (Adult) Autopsy (FMC)
2 blocks Elective

R3/R4/R5 (39 blocks)
17 blocks “mandatory” sub-specialties

  • These are the minimum requirements; additional blocks can be taken if desired.
  • Best if completed before R5.

4 blocks cytopathology (DSC) – three blocks in R3 or R4, one block in R5
1 block renal pathology/electron microscopy (FMC)
2 blocks pediatric pathology (ACH)
2 blocks forensic pathology (OCME) 
2 blocks neuropathology (FMC)
2 blocks GU pathology (RGH) (may be split)
1 block lymph node pathology (FMC)
1 block bone marrow pathology (FMC)
2 blocks molecular genetic pathology (molecular, cytogenetics, genetic & genomics)
1 block dermatopathology (DSC)

12 blocks elective time:

  • Taken any time between R3 and R5 years (recommend that at least 2 blocks be saved for the final 6 months of R5 year)
  • Examples of suitable elective rotations: rural pathology, research, general pathology, or sub-specialty focus (eg. breast pathology, GYN pathology etc).

4-6 blocks of other AP rotations (examples given below)

  • Taken any time between R3 and R5 years.
  • May include rotations such as: general surgical pathology (any site), adult autopsy pathology (FMC), other specialty surgical pathology (eg. gyne pathology, breast pathology), etc.

3-4 blocks as Chief Resident (FMC)

  • In general, R4 or R5 only. NOT recommended for R5 in final 6 months of training.
  • Must include regular (~30-50%) participation in the FMC surgical pathology rota (typically in a supervisory role, assisting junior residents).
  • Must be taken on site at FMC.
  • May overlap with other electives (eg. autopsy, research, etc.), as long as the Chief remains on site at FMC.

The elective periods of the residency can also include time in the clinical pathology disciplines (hematopathology, medical microbiology, and clinical biochemistry), electives in outside institutions (often a means of preparing for a fellowship year after anatomical pathology qualification), and research.

In recent years, multiple international rotations have been set up as well as rotations in smaller Alberta communities.

Research is a core component of the training program. Residents participate in an Annual Research Day, and have ongoing research projects throughout their final four years of training. Our program has been internationally recognized for achievement in resident research, and all of our recent residents have traveled extensively to present original research at national and international conferences.

Laboratory medicine was amalgamated in Calgary in the 1990s. For residents, this means that the training program accesses a patient population of over one million people on a common laboratory database with ~65 staff pathologists, most of whom have sub-specialty interests within pathology. In Calgary, we have new laboratory facilities at the DSC South Health Campus, and Alberta Childrens' Hospitals. Laboratories at Rockyview and Peter Lougheed were recently renovated. Our core teaching facility at the Foothills Medical Center moved into a new space in 2015. This new department at the Foothills is on the 7th floor of the McCaig Tower and features state of the art teaching infrastructure.

To contact our program or set up an elective please email us.

Here are some additional documents that you may find helpful:

The University of Calgary General Pathology Residency Program was formed in 2011, the first new General Pathology program in Canada for many years. Through co-sponsorship with Alberta Precision Laboratories, we are able to offer an innovative training environment with an emphasis on laboratory management and pathology informatics.

Alberta Precision Laboratories features the only academic General Pathology Division in Canada, comprised of General Pathologists and AP/CP-trained pathologists practicing General Pathology in an urban academic environment. This Division provides medical leadership to four urgent care laboratories in Calgary as well as ten rural hospital laboratories in Southern Alberta. Residents benefit from the teaching and mentorship of the General Pathology Division throughout their 5 years of training.

Residents also benefit from close association with the highly successful University of Calgary Anatomical Pathology Residency Program, Medical Microbiology Residency Program, and Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program, as well as Alberta Precision Laboratories, a group of approximately 80 pathologists and laboratory scientists.

Unique features of the Calgary General Pathology Residency Training Program are:

  1. Community Laboratory Longitudinal Management Experience:
    Laboratory management is a key aspect of General Pathology training. Our goal with the Community Laboratory Longitudinal Management Experience is to provide each resident with hands-on management experience through long-term partnership with one of the ten rural hospital laboratories managed by Alberta Precision Laboratories. Under the mentorship of the Director of Rural Laboratories (a General Pathologist), each resident will take responsibility for a rural laboratory during Core and Transition to Practice stages of training. During site visits, the resident will learn about the test menu of his or her laboratory, including testing methodologies, limitations, and quality control procedures. The resident will also work with laboratory technicians—under the supervision of the Director of Rural Laboratories—to resolve technical and management issues as they arise. Finally, the resident will serve as a liaison between his or her lab and the physicians it serves.
  2. Pathology Informatics:
    A unique strength of our program is the emphasis on pathology informatics. Our General Pathology Division has several members with active interests in pathology informatics. In 2010, we began offering an elective for laboratory medicine residents in pathology informatics (the only one in Canada). With a catchment population of close to 1.4 million people on a common LIS and 25 million reported tests per year, our training environment offers tremendous opportunities for research.

Program Curriculum
General Pathology is currently training residents through competency-based medical education in accordance with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada's Competence by Design (CBD) initiative. The curriculum is divided into four Stages of Training: Transition to Discipline, Foundations, Core, and Transition to Practice. The duration of training is expected to be 5 years for most trainees.


Transition to Discipline 

Expected duration: 8 weeks

Transition to Discipline consists of introductory blocks designed to cover basic anatomical pathology content such as microscopy skills, basic pathology specimen handling, normal histology, clinicopathologic correlation, and creation of a personal teaching and learning plan. The curriculum also includes exposure to Medical Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry, and Hematopathology. 

Foundations

Expected Duration: 12-14 months

The Foundations Stage of Training includes both clinical rotations and basic training in General Pathology with a focus on Anatomical Pathology.  The clinical rotations are designed to provide exposure to medical and surgical services that rely heavily on the pathology laboratory. Clinical rotations commonly include:

Clinical Rotations 

Rotation and expected duration
Internal Medicine Teams, 1 block
Surgical Oncology, 1 block
Hematology, 1 block
Pediatric Oncology/hematology, 1 block
Gynecologic Oncology, 1 block
Infectious Disease, 1 block
Medical Oncology, 1 block
      
The Laboratory Medicine rotations begin with one anatomy and histology block as well as two lab medicine "Bootcamp" blocks with a focus on anatomical pathology at Foothills Medical Centre. These blocks teach residents the foundational skills that they need for success as junior residents.

Core of Discipline

Expected duration: 36 months

The core stage contains the bulk of general pathology training and includes rotations in Surgical Pathology, Autopsy Pathology, Cytology, Forensic Pathology, Pediatric Pathology, Clinical Chemistry, Hematopathology, Medical Microbiology, and Transfusion Medicine. Our program also includes a generous amount of elective time throughout the curriculum that allows residents to complete research, explore areas of interest, and pursue potential fellowship or job opportunities. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Fellowship Examination in General Pathology is completed by the fall of fifth year to allow nine months of transition to practice at the end residency that are free from exam preparation responsibilities.

Transition to Practice

Expected duration: 6-9 months

This stage provides residents with an opportunity to function as "junior staff" across all the laboratory disciplines. There is a focus on leading, implementing, and advocating for quality assurance practices. Additional elective blocks allow residents to explore areas of interest and employment opportunities.   
 
Research Project, Advocacy Projects, and Conferences

General Pathology residents are expected to complete one research project during their residency, although additional research activity is supported.   The General Pathology faculty has a strong interest in pathology informatics and so research in this area is especially encouraged.

The University of Calgary and Alberta Precision Laboratories cover travel expenses for residents presenting research. Most residents present at our annual residents' research day, with judging and awards provided for by an endowed fund. Residents attend the Banff Conference in Anatomical Pathology which brings international experts in the field to Banff. Almost all residents attend at least one conference a year to present original research.

There is a research coordinator for resident research. The research project may take the form of basic or clinical research. The RTC closely monitors the manpower required for the project to ensure that residents do not take on too many projects. Our department has special funds available for resident research including money earmarked for biostatistical support.

Didactics

General Pathology residents have the opportunity to attend academic half days offered by the University of Calgary Residency and Fellowship training programs in Anatomical Pathology, Medical Microbiology, and Clinical Chemistry. In addition, the monthly General Pathology academic half day covers topics uniquely relevant to General Pathology and community practice. The General Pathology On Call Review Rounds uses a problem based and interactive approach to prepare residents to handle issues encountered on Clinical Chemistry, Hematopathology, Medical Microbiology, and Transfusion medicine on call services. The integrated laboratory management seminar series covers management topics common to all laboratory medicine disciplines and is open to residents in all laboratory medicine programs including General Pathology. Residents are exempt from work commitments during academic half days.

Evaluation

Within the Competence by Design curriculum, evaluations are completed after observing residents complete specific tasks or Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), which are key skills required for General Pathology practice. These evaluations are supplemented by global, narrative feedback after completion of certain rotations. Residents are assigned an academic advisor, a staff pathologist, to act as a mentor through the Stages of Training. Beginning in their second year, all residents take two exams per year mimicking the fellowship exam by the RCPSC. Resident evaluations and promotions are overseen by the Competence Committee and Residency Training Committee.

Training Sites

Clinical rotations in the Foundations Stage (year 1) will be primarily at Rocky View General Hospital in Calgary, AB.

Rotations in pathology and laboratory medicine (years 2 to 5) will be primarily at Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Children's Hospital and Alberta Precision Laboratories' Diagnostic and Scientific Centre in Calgary, AB.

Senior residents may take an elective at one of our rural and community training sites including Whitehorse General Hospital (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory), Red Deer General Hospital (Red Deer, Alberta), Chinook Regional Hospital (Lethbridge, Alberta), and Medicine Hat Regional Hospital (Medicine Hat, Alberta). Financial support is available for travel and accommodations.

The Medical Microbiology residency training program at the University of Calgary is a 5-year, Royal College accredited program. Our aim is to assist residents in developing competencies and expertise in all aspects of medical microbiology, to offer them opportunities to hone their skills in specific areas of interest, and to prepare them for a fulfilling career in the specialty.

Program Outline

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 subspecialities, general surgery and other surgical disciplines, emergency medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology.

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.

Medical 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, 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.

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.

Electives (13 blocks)

Residents are encouraged to use this time to explore and develop expertise in particular 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.

Learning Opportunities

Academic half-days are on an ongoing weekly basis, and run on a two-year cycle. Topics encompass both medical microbiology and clinical infectious diseases, spanning the breadth of the discipline. Residents are also expected to attend (and to present at) weekly Infectious Diseases seminars and city-wide case rounds.

Residents are encouraged and expected to take part in research projects during their residency. There are many faculty in the division proper who are happy to mentor and tailor projects to a resident's interests, and a host of links to the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Infectious Diseases for further opportunities and collaboration if desired.

The neuropathology program offers its trainees an exceptional opportunity for close interaction with the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Neuroscience Research Group, as well as with neuropathology faculty who are all based at the Foothills Medical Centre and the adjacent Health Sciences Centre. Faculty provide a neuropathological medico-legal and diagnostic consultation service for Alberta and adjacent areas of British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Program Outline
The neuropathology training must include one year of basic clinical training. Our pre-specialty clinical year is designed to meet the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada requirements of our specialty program and, in addition, prepare the resident for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam, Part II.

PGY 1

Internal Medicine 4 weeks
ER 4 weeks
General Surgery 4 weeks
Pediatrics 4 weeks
Neuroology - Pediatrics 4 weeks
Neurooncology 4 weeks
Neuropathology 4 weeks
Neurology 4 weeks
Neurosurgery 4 weeks
Neuroradiology 4 weeks
Elective 4 weeks
Pathology 1 Orientation 4 weeks
Pathology 2 Histology/Anatomy 4 weeks

The initial year includes experience in general surgical, autopsy and forensic pathology. Expectations for neuropathology trainees are identical to those for first year anatomic pathology residents. Two of the three years of neuropathology training are spent acquiring, with carefully graded responsibility, specialty-specific, teaching and management skills. Trainees will also gain experience in neuropathological applications of new technology including immunopathology, molecular pathology, electron microscopy, flow cytometry and image analysis. The remaining year is an elective year which may be adapted to the interest and skills of the individual resident and may include service, clinical or research rotations.PGY 2 - 5

Research
There are active research programs in neuro-degenerative disorders, neuro-regeneration, cerebral ischemia and neuro-oncology. Active participation by trainees in one or another research program is strongly encouraged.

Selection Criteria
All selection to the program is through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Candidates must have:

  • An acceptable academic record which demonstrates special proficiency in those subjects related to the specialty;
  • A proven interest in the specialty demonstrated by electives in the specialty or related fields;
  • Candidates with an interest and proven experience in research, both in basic science and clinical research, are encouraged to apply.

Residency Training in Neuropathology

Introduction/Overview

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary, together with Alberta Precision Laboratories, offer a unique opportunity for Clinical Fellowship & AFC training in a vibrant medical and cultural setting of Canada's "Heart of the New West" located in the foothills of the picturesque Rocky Mountains.

Our principal mission is to prepare trainees for careers in academic diagnostic pathology and laboratory medicine.  Using extensive clinical material and mentor-ship of ~77 dedicated faculty members of our department, the AFC Trainees and fellows are trained to become knowledgeable in their field.

The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (Alberta Precision Laboratories) performs more than 20 million laboratory tests per year.  In Anatomical Pathology, we examine approximately 130,000 surgical cases, 220,000 gynecologic/10,000 non-gynecologic cytology cases per year, and perform approximately 210 adult and 350 pediatric/fetal autopsies per year.

The fellowship programs provide 1 or 2 years of intensive training in the respective sub-specialty areas. In addition to clinical expertise, the fellows acquire a working knowledge of the theoretical basis of the specialty, including its foundations in the basic medical sciences. Opportunities for participation in collaborative clinical research are available and encouraged.

Prospective applicants can see how their personal goals compare with those offered by individual sub-specialty programs listed.

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Fellowship & AFC Program Guidelines/Forms                                                

Clinical Fellowship & AFC Program Guidelines  
Clinical Fellowship & AFC Program Leave Request Form
Frequently Asked Questions (coming soon!)










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Application Information and Forms

Specific inquiries can be sent to:  CalgaryFellowship@albertaprecisionlabs.ca 

**Applications for the MD/AFC programs, 2023 cycle, will be accepted ONLY from November 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022** 

Post Graduate (MD & AFC) Fellowship Application Form
MD Programs accepting applications for 2023 cycle are: Breast Pathology, Cytopathology AFC, Dermatopathology, Gastrointestinal Hepatobilliary, Gynecological Pathology, Hematopathology, Pediatric Pathology AFC, Pulmonary Pathology, Renal/Transplantation Pathology, Uropathology

**Applications for the Histocompatibility Fellowship, 2024 cycle, will be accepted ONLY from November 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023**

Post Doctoral Histocompatibility Fellowship Application Form

**Applications for the Clinical Biochemistry Fellowship, 2022 cycle, will be accepted ONLY from September 15, 2021 to November 1, 2021**

Clinical Chemistry Application Form and instructions
Clinical Chemistry Referee Form

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Clinical Fellowship Program Objectives

Breast Pathology Fellowship - Dr. Hua Yang
Clinical Biochemistry Fellowship - Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh
Cytogenectics Fellowship 
Cytopathology Area of Focused Competence - Dr. Steve Gorombey
Dermatopathology Fellowship - Dr. Thomas Brenn
Gastrointestinal Pathology Fellowship - Dr. Stefan Urbanski
Gynecological Pathology Fellowship - Dr. Martin Koebel
Hematopathology Fellowship - Dr. Tariq Roshan
Histocompatibilty Fellowship - Dr. Noureddine Berka
Pediatric Pathology Area of Focused Competence - Dr. Kyle Kurek
Pulmonary Pathology Fellowship - Dr. Margaret Kelly
Renal/Transplantation Pathology Fellowship - Dr. Hallgrimur Benediktsson
Uropathology Fellowship - Dr. Asli Yilmaz

For the most current information regarding visit the Pathologists' Assistant program for  admission criteria, application materials, and important dates.

Pathologists’ Assistants (PAs) are “physician extenders” for anatomic pathologists. PAs perform delegated medical tasks under the supervision of a medically qualified pathologist.  They perform initial examination, dissection, and gross description of surgically removed tissues, assist in dissection of bodies during autopsies, and perform intraoperative frozen sections.  They possess highly standardized skills related to each of these procedures which allow pathologists to spend more of their time looking at slides.

The University of Calgary launched a Pathologists' Assistant (PA) M.Sc. training program as a specialization within the Medical Sciences Graduate Program in July 2012. At the time, this was a thesis-based program, but in 2016, we changed to a course-based program.  The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), an American agency that accredits training programs of allied health professionals who work in anatomic pathology or clinical pathology laboratories. 

The University of Calgary PA M.Sc. training program is a 24 month continuous (excluding university holidays), intensive course-based program with Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) as the clinical affiliate providing the practicum training.

Year 1 - begins in September with Orientation and Clinical Rotations for PAs (MDSC 751.43), an online medical terminology course, Human Anatomy (MDSC 703), and Human Pathology (MDSC 744).  In January, Human Pathology continues and students take a one term Cellular Mechanisms of Disease course (MDSC 515); both courses end in April.  In May of the 1st year, the students take a human histology practicum with 1st year pathology residents. The students select their small research project and begin work on the project. The project will be finished and presented at CME rounds in May to June of the second year.

Year 2 – throughout this year, the students complete required practicums at CLS in autopsy pathology, Surgical Pathology, and Pediatric Pathology. The students are given time throughout the second year to work on their small research project and to prepare their presentation.

After graduation, students are eligible to sit the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) PA board-certification examination and the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists’ Assistants (CCCPA) exam.

The job market for board-certified PAs is excellent, with jobs available in Alberta and throughout North America.

The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (DPLM), which has > 90 clinical and GFT faculty members, provides clinical and didactic instruction and administrative support for the program. CLS provides access to its facilities, staff, and clinical materials for training. CLS has had a long standing affiliation agreement with the DPLM and the University of Calgary for training residents and medical students and the University of Calgary Head of the DPLM is a member of CLS’ Executive leadership team.

Applications are due March 30th for both Canadian and International applicants, for the start date of September 1 each year. There is only one start date per year, and applicants who are unable to start on September 1 are urged not to apply. Admission requirements are based on the Medical Sciences Graduate Program. If you meet the admission requirements, and can perform the essential functions, please apply using the online application form. When applying, simply state ‘TBD’ in the supervisor/project fields.

After the application deadline the selection committee will review the applications and interviews will be set up with appropriate candidates. Successful candidates will be informed as soon as possible after the interview process.