Subscribe to RSS Feed



CCFP Residency in Emergency Medicine

Program Contacts

Aaron Johnston MD CCFP(EM)
Program DirectorEmail


Stacey Dickinson
Residency Program Coordinator
Surendra Malassani
Residency Program Assistant

Department of Emergency Medicine
Room C231, Foothills Medical Centre
1403 – 29 Street NW
Calgary, AB T2N 2T9

Phone: 403-944-1651  
Fax: 403-944-2419

Program Description Overview

The CFPC-EM program at Calgary has a long history of offering a comprehensive curriculum in emergency medicine by an enthusiastic group of core faculty. The total number of residents in emergency medicine in Calgary is usually between 14 and 18; 6 CFPC-EM and 8 to 12 FRCP. The CFPC-EM residents benefit from a close association with the FRCP residents and the learning atmosphere is cooperative, challenging and dynamic. Most academic rounds are jointly held, however the two groups will separate for program specific rounds periodically. The curriculum is designed to maximize cooperation between the programs while ensuring the CFPC-EM residents still get exposed to all the core topics in their year.

The goal of the program is to offer excellent residents in family medicine a chance to be immersed in a comprehensive environment of emergency medicine training. The year is designed to allow the motivated physician to develop the skills necessary for a career in emergency medicine. Most of our graduates will pursue a fulltime career in emergency medicine. Particular emphasis is given to development of habits suitable for lifelong learning.

Adult Emergency Medicine rotations are held at one of two busy community hospitals and one high acuity trauma centre. The emergency rotations are learner focused with no service expectations. All sites have benefited from recent patient flow initiatives that have reduced Emergency Department overcrowding in Calgary significantly.

Other advantages:

1. The Calgary Health Region has over 125 full time emergency physicians and roughly half hold the CCFP(EM) designation. The Calgary Health Region is the largest regionalized department of emergency medicine in Canada, with over 260,000 visits a year to the region’s three adult hospitals and one pediatric facility.

2. The toxicology referral service (PADIS) for all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of Northern Canada, is located at Foothills Medical Centre. We have three board certified toxicologists who are formally involved in clinical and didactic teaching of toxicology.

3. Calgary EMS and the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) are both led by staff emergency physicians in the Calgary Health Region who are actively involved in teaching residents. Opportunities exist for experience in administration of prehospital care services.

4. The intensive care rotation takes place in a high acuity, high volume ICU with strong emphasis on learning through dedicated academic rounds as well as clinical experience. Residents can typically get as much procedural experience as they want during this rotation.

5. The pediatric emergency rotations are supervised by a dedicated residency director in a brand new start-of-the-art tertiary care pediatric hospital.

6. Several faculty have a strong interest in simulation based education, and residents are provided with multiple opportunities to improve their procedural and clinical skills in a simulation environment. Resources include both adult and pediatric human patient simulators and formal sessions on airway and central venous access simulation.

7. Emergency Department Targeted Ultrasound is widely practiced within the Calgary Health Region with many CCFP(EM) faculty certified in its use. With the development of a formal ultrasound elective, ample opportunity exists for residents to become certified during the course of their training.


Foothills Hospital is a comprehensive tertiary care hospital and Level I trauma centre. It is adjacent to the University of Calgary Medical School and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and serves as a referral centre for Southern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia. The emergency department sees approximately 65,000 patients per year with very high acuity of sub-specialty, medical, surgical and trauma patients.

Peter Lougheed Centre is a busy teaching hospital in Northeast Calgary. The emergency department census is in excess of 70,000 patients per year with a wide variety of pediatric and adult emergencies.

Rockyview Hospital is a large community hospital located in Southwest Calgary. The emergency department census is in excess of 70,000 patients per year with a wide variety of adult emergencies.

Alberta Children’s Hospital is a tertiary children’s hospital referral centre for Southern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia. The emergency department sees many complicated pediatric problems as well as a large volume of common pediatric emergencies. The new and expanded Alberta Children’s Hospital opened in September 2006.

Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) is the regional Poison Centre for all of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and is located in the Foothills Medical Centre.

Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) provides both rotary and fixed-wing dedicated air transport capability, and interfacility transfer of critically ill or injured patients. The flight crew includes paramedics, emergency/critical care nurses and Emergency Physicians and serves a prominent role in our trauma services.


The University of Calgary CFPC-EM program adheres to the standards and meets the objectives of the CFPC, as outlined in the “Red Book”. The program is based at the Foothills Medical Centre, however residents receive their training at four hospitals in Calgary, and also at regional hospitals in Banff.

The year is comprised of 13 four-week blocks:

Emergency Medicine – 8 blocks (4 adult, 2 pediatrics, 1 Banff and 3 weeks rural)

ICU – 1.5 block

CCU – 1 block

Anesthesia – 1 block

Toxicolgy – 0.5 block

Ophthalomolgy – 1 week

Elective – 1 block

sledThe 32 weeks of Emergency Medicine include eight weeks of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and four weeks at the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital, where orthopedics in the E.D. is stressed. The Lethbridge Regional Hospital offers excellent teaching in a regional centre, and is an optional rotation for those residents who see themselves practicing in such a setting.

Prehospital care, including Calgary EMS and air medical transport with STARS, is incorporated with the Emergency Medicine rotations in the last two blocks of the year.

An academic/research project is an integral part of the program. This project may be a small clinical trial, contribution to ongoing research, a quality improvement study, a case report with literature review, or a survey. All projects are presented in April at Research Day, which is shared with the Calgary FRCPC program.

Residents are required to have ACLS and ATLS certification.


The formal academic program is intensive and well organized. Approximately five hours per week are spent in various types of rounds and seminars (often interactive or case-based) for the purpose of teaching the curriculum of emergency medicine. This is concentrated in an academic half-day every Thursday afternoon, and residents are guaranteed to be excused from their clinical responsibilities in order to attend. Journal Club is held monthly, and includes a review with the staff of both the latest literature and seminal articles in emergency medicine; there is also a focus on interpreting the statistics. There is an annual resident educational retreat in the Rocky Mountains which is highly regarded by the residents. Practice exams occur quarterly and written exams twice yearly. Use of the Human Patient Simulator for complex cognitive testing is incorporated 4-6 times per year.

Quick Facts

Residents are invited to an annual welcoming/end-of-the-year barbecue, Department Christmas party, a Research Day dinner, and the annual January weekend retreat at a resort in the mountains. Residents receive $500 for book purchases. The University of Calgary provides additional funding for specific educational opportunities on a year to year basis.

Application Information


All selection to the residency program is through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Information and application forms may be found at the CaRMS website


Important Dates

The deadline to have your completed application received by our office is in the fall of each year. Candidates will be notified of their invitation for an interview typically within 3-4 weeks of application submission. Interview day is typically in November, and match day occurs in mid-December.

Our selection committee will review all applications and will contact short-listed candidates to arrange an interview. Candidates will be interviewed by CFPC-EM faculty from the Calgary Health Region. Each candidate will be interviewed at least twice by teams of two interviewers. Candidates will be given the opportunity to meet our current residents and to tour the various Emergency Departments used as teaching sites.


Candidates must hold a CFPC designation at the time of enrollment in the program.

Preference is given to candidates with a history of aptitude and interest in emergency medicine, who have excelled in their CFPC training and/or clinical practice.

Candidates must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Consideration will be given to the potential contribution that candidates could make to the specialty of emergency medicine.