IMG – St. Paul’s

Site Director Message

Welcome to the IMG-SPH Residency Site, the first in Canada to offer residency training in family medicine restricted for doctors who trained in countries other than Canada or the U.S.

St Paul’s Hospital faculty have unique expertise in the evaluation and teaching of IMGs. The residency site for 12 IMGs in family medicine began in July 2006 and has many similarities with the St. Paul’s residency site in that the residents work together during rotations that share common purpose and outlook. However, it is also recognized that IMG residents came from various backgrounds, have had different undergraduate and postgraduate training; as a result, this site has been devised to recognize those characteristics and to meet the variety of needs from this very diverse pool of learners.

Our faculty have been chosen for their previous exposure to and interest in training IMGs and are incredibly dedicated to teaching and supporting IMGs.

Our Site Coordinator and our Chief Residents provide proactive support and superlative assistance, dedicating endless hours to responding to residents’ and programs’ needs.

In the early months of the residency, particular attention will be paid to the individual needs of each resident and many of the academic sessions are devoted to ensuring that the residents become thoroughly immersed in the Canadian medical system.

We acknowledge the maturity of our residents and the rich diversity of experience they bring to Canada. We encourage them to speak of the medical experience in their country of origin or training; working in parallel with our “twin” St. Paul’s Site, we appreciated that Canadian trained residents can expand their experience by learning about the differing medical systems in the world. On the other hand, Canadian graduates offer informal mentorship and knowledge about the Canadian medical system. As a result, this synergy enriches the training for all residents.

The program is organized on a traditional block exposure to the basic specialty areas in the first year along with 3 months of family medicine. Each week, however, the resident is expected to spend a half day with their family practice preceptor to ensure continuity of care. Residents are encouraged to maintain continuity of care by providing care to a fixed set number of patients throughout the 2-year program. For one month, the resident will work alongside a Canadian trained colleague on the Family Practice Teaching Ward and share the patient care responsibilities. Not all of the rotations will be at St. Paul’s Hospital and other hospitals in the lower mainland such as Mount St. Joseph, Children’s and Women’s and Royal Columbian will be utilized. There’s also a 1-month rural family medicine rotation in the first year to facilitate early exposure to rural locations and practice.

In the second year, there will be ample elective time for the resident to pursue areas of particular interest in preparation for practice. In addition to spending time with their preceptor in Vancouver, each resident will be required to spend 2 months in a small town or rural area of BC. This will be good preparation for future practice as the IMGs will have a return of service contract to fulfill and it is anticipated that this will, in most instances, be served in areas outside the big metropolitan areas.  We have also recently restructured our psychiatry rotation to include longitudinal outpatient and as well adding longitudinal orthopedics outpatient exposure to the curriculum which are both very relevant to family medicine practice.

Dr. Alfredo Tura, M.D., CCFP

Chief Resident Message

Welcome to the IMG-St. Paul’s Hospital Site of the UBC Family Medicine Residency Program.  We are the first fully accredited program for training International Medical Graduates in North America.  As representatives during our R1 year and current Chief Residents, we personally invite you to take a tour of the residency program we hope you will choose to call your own.

Located in heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia and steps away from Yaletown and English Bay (popular resident hangout locations), our program is based at St. Paul’s Hospital, a unique tertiary centre of care providing up-to-date and compassionate care to some of the most diverse and underprivileged communities in Canada, as well as participating in state-of-the-art medical research recognized by the entire medical world.

IMG-SPH residents complete rotations at BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital, and numerous community-based clinics in urban and rural areas.  This makes for an exciting and diverse two-year journey in family medicine.  Our curriculum involves a variety of topics such as women’s health, children/youth medical conditions and a series of community-based issues including addiction, emergency medicine, geriatric, mental health and of course, family medicine.  Each resident has a community family physician as a preceptor and spends a minimum of 6 months in their practices.  This allows you to build genuine and strong relationships with your patients and builds your confidence as a soon-to-be fully accredited family physician.

Our site is distinguished as the forefront of IMG Family Medicine residency training by the support of our residents, collaboration with other medical specialties and our patient-centered approach. We have an outstanding team of preceptors and administrators leading our program, including a dedicated Site Director (who himself completed the IMG-St. Paul’s Hospital residency program during its infancy years!) and a top-quality site administrator, who has more than 10 years of experience organizing family medicine residency programs and has gone above and beyond her duties on countless occasions to accommodate our residents.

Beginning the next step in becoming a Family Physician in British Columbia is a wonderful yet challenging time of your life.  Choosing a program that pioneered IMG Residency in British Columbia will definitely ease that challenge and allow you to enjoy the experience (as we both have).  We wish you all the best of luck during the CaRMS season.

Drs. Ercument Bedir & Momir Pantelic

View PDF Version Download IMG Site Comparison PDF

Number of Residents: 13
Location: Vancouver, BC
Community: 600,000
Hospital: St. Paul’s Hospital, BC Women’s, Royal Columbian etc.

Curriculum Type: Partial Horizontal
R2 Elective Time: 10 Weeks + Horizontal
Phone: 604-806-9679
Contact: Director – Alfredo Tura – / Coordinator: Eva Chan –
Chief Residents:  Ercument Bedir – / Momir Pantelic –


The SPH-IMG Residency Site is unique in Canada, and globally as well, in that it is restricted to residency training in Family Medicine for doctors who have trained in countries other than Canada or the U.S. The site is part of the overall UBC Family Medicine Program and follows common policy, curriculum and overall governance. Currently, preference for the positions is given to IMGs who have been evaluated by the BC Clinical Assessment Program. The site is located at St. Paul’s Hospital where clinical assessments for entry have been conducted for the past 14 years with unrivalled expertise in the evaluation and teaching of IMGs.

This site has many shared experiences with the St. Paul’s Site in that residents work together on many rotations, attend the same orientation and very similar academic experiences. However, it is also recognized that IMGs may have a different background; therefore, our faculty designed a flexible curriculum in order to meet the needs of our diverse group of residents. Our faculty have been chosen for their previous exposure to and interest in training IMGs.

We recognize the maturity of our residents and the rich diversity of experience they bring to Canada. We encourage IMG residents to speak about the medical experience from their country of origin or training with their Canadian trained colleagues. We believe that such diversity enriches the training for all our residents.
We consider this site to be a pioneer in the education and integration of IMGs in Canada. It is anticipated that the outcomes of this residency site will be of great interest to other jurisdictions both in Canada and abroad!

Sample Rotation

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IMG Residents in the Media

UBC Public Affairs talks to South Fraser Resident Kirti Aneja and St. Paul’s Resident Suzanne Walter about their experiences entering the Family Practice Residency Program as International Medical Graduates.  Read more…