Surrey – South Fraser

Site Director Message

Welcome to the Surrey South Fraser site of the UBC Family Practice Residency Program. Our program is based in the communities of Surrey and Langley and offers educational experiences / rotations primarily in Surrey Memorial and Langley Memorial Hospitals, as well as Delta and Peace Arch. We are an integrated program with 8 CMG / 6 IMG residents equally distributed in the communities of Surrey and Langley. Although residents will be in practices in both communities and involved in a variety of hospitals, the academic program will be delivered primarily at the UBC Academic Campus located on the Surrey Memorial Hospital site.

With the opening of the Critical Care Tower, June 1, 2014, Surrey Memorial Hospital is now the largest hospital in the Fraser Health Authority, and one of the busiest hospitals in BC. As well as, seeing over 115,000 emergency visits per year, we are also the regional center for pediatrics, cancer care, surgical care, renal care, palliative hospice, sleep lab, rehabilitation service, regional pain clinic, and adolescent in-patient psychiatric unit. We have 250+ family practitioners, with a variety of practice types including full service with active hospital privileges, full service office based, walk-in clinic and physicians with special interest in Obstetrics, Hospitalist Medicine, Geriatrics, HIV/AIDS, New Canadian Clinic, Surgical Assistant Program, Palliative/Hospice, Emergency Medicine, Mental Health, Addiction Medicine, Adolescent clinic, and Methadone clinic. Surrey Memorial is a 650 bed hospital, co-located with the Fraser Valley Cancer Clinic, Laural Place Rehab and Hospice, Creekside Withdrawal Management Centre, and the professional buildings providing space for our medical staff.

Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH) was opened in 1948 and provides an integrated, acute and community-based health service, ensuring that the needs of the Langley community are met. It is an active community hospital which offers services such as 24/7 Emergency Services and Urgent Care, General Medicine and Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Ophthalmology and Radiology. The hospital has 166 beds and 224 for extended care. The Family Maternity Centre at LMH is undergoing a 5.35 million dollar expansion. The number of births at LMH is in the 2000 per year. We look forward to expanding our program to involve Langley in providing more of our in-hospital experiences / rotations.

In addition, we are very excited about the Jimmy Pattison Outpatient and Surgical Care facility (adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital) which opened on June 1st, 2011. The third floor is a primary care clinic staffed by family physicians and nurse practitioners integrated and linked by EMR to a variety of outpatient clinics, including Chronic Disease Management (Diabetes), Lung Health, Cardiac Health, Positive Health (HIV/AIDS) Surreys’ Specialized Senior Clinic, and Chronic Pain. The emphasis will be on multi-disciplinary care, patient self management and patient education.

Residents will also be embedded in family practice during their 2 year program, spending month long blocks and a full day bi-weekly experience the benefit of continuity of care. We are fortunate to have a group of enthusiastic and dedicated family physicians in the communities of Surrey and Langley who will mentor our residents. They will also be encouraged to engage in other family practice activities such as the Division of Family Practice and the Department of Family Practice at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Langley Memorial Hospital. The enthusiasm and interest on the part of our medical community has been most gratifying.

We look forward to providing a well rounded exceptional educational experience grounded in the principles of family practice, and anticipate that a number of these young physicians will join local practices and our medical staff.

Dr Art Willms

Chief Resident Message

To all future residents,

As you near completion of your career as a medical student we would like to congratulate you on all of your hard work and success over the past few years and, moreover, welcome you to the CaRMS tour. We have had an incredibly positive experience with warm welcomes from our preceptors, physician colleagues, allied health professionals, and patients over the first three years of our program.  We are an integrated site and welcome international medical graduates from all backgrounds who bring forth their experiences and diversity.

The Surrey community has a number of highly skilled, full service family physicians. In office you will be exposed to the ‘bread and butter’ of family medicine in addition to the work up of complex patients and a variety of office procedures. With approximately 4 000 deliveries and 105 000 emergency department visits per year you will also be a member of the health care team at one of the busiest hospitals in the province. Whether you are following your own family practice patients in hospital or working as hospitalist, for example, the variety of case presentations you will see is astounding.

Given the high volume of emergency visits and deliveries at our site, preparation for emergency medicine or obstetrics as a part of your practice is a clear strength of our program.  Complementary to the variety and complexity of cases comes a low physician-learner ratio and a strong focus on education.  We are looking forward to a new UBC medicine academic campus over the next several years which will provide more opportunities for teaching.   While there are visiting elective students and residents at Surrey, we are the only residency program to currently call Surrey ‘home’. You will be working in direct contact with your attending and often first in line for interesting cases in the OR, ER, or on the ward. Further, as mentioned, our preceptors are keen to teach and education is a top priority. Academic half days are interactive and oriented towards our learning needs. Presenters and faculty are always open to feedback and suggestions for alternative learning objectives.

While we work hard, we are encouraged to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Our resident group is extremely close knit and we plan routine resident gatherings as well as other extracurricular activities such as kayaking, snowshoeing and snowtubing.  Many of us commute to work and/or have spouses and children. As such, our faculty has been extremely supportive in helping us find an appropriate work-life balance.

So, in short, if you are looking for a program that will help develop your competence as a full service family physician in an urban, remote, or rural setting, Surrey South Fraser is the place to be! If you are looking for a program with numerous leadership opportunities on committees and in molding a new residency site curriculum,  Surrey South Fraser is the place to be! If you’re looking for a close-knit group of colleagues, skilled, intelligent, welcoming preceptors and hospital staff, Surrey South Fraser is the place to be!

Thanks so much for your interest, best of luck, and we look forward to meeting you on the CaRMS tour.

Drs. Raman Sandhu & Sarah Culkin

Number of Residents: 8 CMG, 6 IMG
Location:  Surrey and Langley
Community: 509,000
Hospitals: Surrey Memorial Hospital, Langley Memorial Hospital

Curriculum Type: Longitudinal and Block Rotations
R2 Elective Time:  10 weeks
Contact Number:  604-587-3670
Contact: Site Director – Art Willms / Coordinators – Kathleen McIntosh – & Bridget Begin –
Chief Resident: Ramanpreet Sandhu – & Sarah Culkin –


Surrey is 45 minutes by car or Sky-Train (transit) to Vancouver, and is the second largest city in British Columbia. It has a diverse ethnic and socio-economic population, and urban, suburban, and rural regions to the municipality. Residents would be able to travel to the hospital with ease from any region within Surrey. Given the ease of access via transit, many of our physicians and employees also commute from Vancouver, White Rock, New Westminster, Langley, and other locations across the lower mainland.

The Mission of the Surrey site of the UBC Department of Family Practice Residency Program is to provide a comprehensive education in full-spectrum, community-focused, urban Family Practice. We endeavor to expose the trainee to the full breadth of clinical problems commonly encountered by the Family Practitioner, and to develop a deep sense of collegiality and community-awareness throughout the program.

Program Highlights

  • Surrey has the largest hospital in Fraser Health Region.
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital provides regional and tertiary services in many areas, including Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics, Cancer Care, Surgical Care, Renal Care, Palliative Care, and Sleep Medicine.
  • SMH delivers the second most babies of any hospital in British Columbia, with more than 4,200 births a year, and has the busiest E.R. in B.C. with 115,000 visits a year.
  • Expansion of the hospital is in place and it will include a new Emergency Centre, a 48-bed neonatal intensive care unit, enhanced UBC Academic space, and the new Helipad.
  • A new comprehensive Outpatient Care and Surgical Centre opened in 2011. This facility houses enhanced diagnostic, pharmacy, laboratory, and specialty services which has been developed around a core of Primary Care and Chronic Disease Clinics to serve the Surrey Community.
  • Engagement of the Langley Memorial Hospital and community physicians in providing a broader range of family practice teaching and experience.

Sample Rotation for First Year

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4 Block 5 Block 6 Block 7 Block 8 Block 9 Block 10 Block 11 Block 12 Block 13




























  •  20 Dedicated Family Practice Clinics/Preceptors
  •  Bi-weekly full-day academic sessions
  •  Bi-weekly full day weekly in family practice depending on the rotation
  •  Longitudinal and Block Rotations

Interview with Stacey Erven (Previous R2)

What made you choose the Surrey Site for your residency training?
Surrey is a new training site this year. There are only six of us in the program at the moment, so we get a lot of one-on-one time with our preceptors and there are lots of opportunities to get our feet wet. The doctors are very inclusive – if you’re keen they’re happy to involve you in procedures or interesting cases, even though they may not be your attending.

I feel there’s more opportunity to shape the program to my learning needs here and there are many leadership opportunities. Site director and faculty are very responsive to our feedback about the program, so we’re contributing to the development of our training. For example, St Paul’s CME conference will now be included in our curriculum.

Is the Surrey program strongly service-based? How is the program structured?
The doctors at Surrey Memorial Hospital definitely encourage our learning and education over service provision.

Our program is organized into block rotations for the R1 year, but we are currently looking at possibilities for some longitudinal training in our R2 year. We have weekly academic half days on Thursday mornings, and then spend the afternoon back at our family preceptor’s office. Once in a while, we share academic half-days with the Greater Vancouver site; however, preceptors from the hospital and surrounding community provide the majority of our half-day sessions.

How is the Surrey training program different from other Lower Mainland residency programs?
One of the things that I like about the Surrey program is that it’s very family doctor driven, even though it’s a larger tertiary hospital. It feels like a regional hospital but it’s located in an urban area so we get to experience cases one would typically only see at urban, tertiary centers. Residents and medical students have the opportunity to perform a lot of procedures and truly manage their patients. I feel like when I finish my training here, I’ll be competent to provide care at a smaller centre where specialists may not be as accessible.

What are some of the unique learning opportunities in this program?
We have an orthopedic rotation and a hospice palliative care rotation in our first year at Surrey. As we plan our R2 curriculum, there is also work being done to create a two to four week block rotation in both addictions and chronic pain.

Another advantage to being in the Surrey program is that there is access to all sorts of medical training in the Lower Mainland. For example, one of our residents is going to Langley to study women’s urological health as part of her surgical subspecialty rotation. There are enough resources nearby so that you can really explore your learning interests or needs.

Does it get fairly competitive with the other residents?
There isn’t much competition amongst the learners at all — the ratio of preceptors to learners is quite low. In fact, as a group we’re pretty close and very collegial – almost like a family. We’ve already formed our own study group to help each other work through the program and prepare for licensing exams.

What kind of facilities are available in Surrey?
Surrey Memorial is the largest hospital in the Fraser Health Region so it’s quite well equipped. It’s currently undergoing expansion that will include a new Emergency Department, Neonatal ICU, and increased academic space.

Surrey Memorial has the busiest emergency room in the province (one of the busiest in the country) and is the second largest provider of hospital births in BC. So it’s a great place to learn if either of these disciplines is of interest to you.

In general, all of the preceptors are open to teaching and seem to be really happy to have residents in the hospital. It’s a very welcoming and supportive environment.

How is the commute to the hospital? (Surrey Memorial is located about 30 km from downtown Vancouver.) Was it difficult for you or the other residents to find accommodations?
The commute isn’t too bad because you’re driving against traffic flow in both directions. I don’t usually spend more than 45 minutes on the road each way, so I don’t find it stressful at all. In fact, it’s sometimes a nice way to wind down from the day.

Finding accommodations in the Lower Mainland was relatively easy — my colleagues did not express significant difficulties. There are a number of rental websites available. Rentals are about the same price as you would find in downtown Toronto making living affordable. Buying a house, however, is a different matter – it’s definitely more expensive to buy property in Vancouver.