Vancouver Island – Strathcona

Site Director Message

Three Communities: One Site: We are Strathcona!!!

Strathcona Site Director message pic

Welcome to Strathcona.

We are a Family Medicine Residency Site with an exciting curriculum to offer.

Strathcona embraces the communities of Courtenay, Comox, and Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Our hospital based care and learning is with St Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox and Campbell River District General Hospital. We are full service family physicians with hospital privileges. The North Island Hospital Project is set to deliver 2 new hospitals in our communities in 2017.

Our desire is to deliver a Site Curriculum that is dynamic, flexible and adapts to address your learning gaps and educational needs. Our aim is to deliver a Site program that is strong, comprehensive, has family medicine at its core, and provides structure and experience to increase your confidence and competence in readiness for the College Examinations and for the beginning of independent family practice. We aim to support your individual learning needs within the structure of our 2-year program and to make learning enjoyable and fun.

We offer a residency site that supports you and enables you to become the Family Physician you desire to be. We will be placing you at the cutting edge of complete Family Physician care to provide a robust, challenging experience delivered within a supportive, collegial environment.

Our communities are vibrant with a diverse culture steeped in the arts and music. We have one of the best backyards to play in, resplendent in skiing and boarding; mountain, cross-country and road biking; soccer, rugby, sailing and hiking. I feel confident to say, that whatever your outdoor interest or activity may be, it is here! This brings value to our work-life balance.

Strathcona has three key features that make it a special place for medical learners to spend their Residency:

  • Our beautiful backyard
  • Our enthusiastic, supportive and collegial clinical faculty
  • Our educational program that recognizes you at its heart.

We empower you to identify and embrace learning gaps and shape your learning experience to address these within the structure of our program throughout your time with us

We welcome Residents’ active engagement in our communities at our Site and invite you to consider:

  • What difference do you want to make while you are part of the Strathcona Family?

If you want a challenge and would like the opportunity to really practice all aspects of Family Medicine, you should consider Strathcona. We look forward to welcoming you to our happy, friendly and lively communities. We hope you will grow here as a person and realize your potential as a medical learner and a physician colleague at the beginning of your independent practice journey We believe that when you have savored what Strathcona has to offer, you will want to come back for more.



Chief Resident Message

Welcome to Strathcona!

Thank you for your interest in our site.

My name is Lily and after a year of residency at the Strathcona site I still have nothing but positive things to say about my experience. Going from a first year Family Medicine resident with little experience, small confidence and big goals I am so happy to say that over the last 12 months I have been encouraged, taught and given supportive autonomy to develop skills and fill in knowledge gaps. I have been given the space to develop confidence and achieve many of my own goals.Our site is heading in to

Our site is heading in to our fifth year of recruitment and as such we are no longer the new kid on UBC Family Medicine’s block. Our predecessors and current residents have set the bar high by achieving many awards and a perfect examination record. Our site is a popular choice among prospective residents seeking a top-notch medical education in amazing communities surrounded by the best back-yard playground, Strathcona Provincial Park. I think our resident retention rate speaks for itself; out of our previous graduated residents approximately 80% have chosen to stay. This average will be maintained with the 2017 graduates as well. The communities that make up the Strathcona site (Courtenay, Comox and Campbell River) offer an amazing education, with incredible teachers who encourage extracurricular activities and interests and this is why our residents stay and continue to practice at the Strathcona site.

Our Site, Our Residents and Our Staff:

Strathcona site is a mid-sized site offering unique opportunities and challenges. Our hospitals have lower volume than larger urban centers. This translates to more general medicine and less specialty exposure. We have direct access to both specialists and Family Medicine teachers. We are first to run a code, deliver a baby or reduce a shoulder. Our residents actively seek out learning opportunities. Self-directed, creative, dynamic learners thrive at Strathcona.

The combined communities that make up our site offer attractions whether you are single, have a partner or a family. We have excellent school systems and lots of summer and winter activities for people of all ages. Our residents have been involved with ski patrol at Mt. Washington, been part of the local Search and Rescue team, have put together training and outreach sessions for high school students, and organized various fundraising events.

The Strathcona site is learner-centered: we have an active voice in our education and the future direction for our site. Our preceptors are incredible community physicians, willing to share their knowledge and keen to see us succeed. Our site staff, site faculty and preceptors are approachable and available for needs both inside and outside of residency. The outcome of all of this is a community of physicians and non-physicians that support our program and in return our residents support them.

Our Education and Successes:

Two years of residency is not a long time to prepare yourself for life as a Family Medicine doctor, however our previous resident graduates have felt confident and well prepared transitioning to independent practice. We have regular SOO/SAMP/OSCE practice which helps us feel confident with CCFP and LMCC preparation. Our weekly Academic Half day takes place on Friday afternoons. Residents lead work place generated teaching sessions facilitated by a family physician colleague and local specialists teach topics outlined in the CCFP 99 topics. Residents have input to topic selection and set learning priorities over the two-year academic curriculum. Residents have the opportunity to teach each other, allied health professionals and medical students.

Since our site is rural our focus is on rural medicine. This means we do not have access to as many specialties as there are in larger urban centers. This leads to more independence, more decision-making and managing difficult cases. It also means you are the first in line for procedures and gain an exposure to a variety of unique healthcare cases. As rural residents we have identified training needs and gaps; leading our innovative residents to organize various courses over the years including EDE1, casting clinics and SIM Sessions. UBC has also recognized that residents who choose a rural residency often practice in rural sites and are offering an enhanced surgical skills course along with extra training in ultrasound.

So why come to Strathcona?

As with any program you need to choose a site that is going to be best for you. We all want our residents to thrive and be happy. If you are motivated, involved in your community, looking for a challenge while making new friends in a welcoming environment, Strathcona Site may be the site for you.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact. See you at CaRMS 2017!

Dr. Lily Edelson


“We are Strathcona”:

Strathcona backyard:

Residents 2013 Intro to Rural:


Strathcona Site 2014

Strathcona Rural Night 2014

Number of Residents: 4 CMG, 4 IMG
Location: Campbell River, Courtenay and Comox
Community: 80,000
Hospitals: St. Joseph’s General Hospital, Comox and Campbell River General Hospital

Curriculum Type: Partial Integrated
R2 Elective Time: 4 Weeks
Contacts: Site Director – Dr. Peter Gee / Site Coordinator – Pam Blake
Chief Resident: Lily Edelson –

Program Highlights

As a Family Physician community, we provide care to a community of around 80,000 people. Our community is rural, diverse, and rich with recreational and cultural opportunities. We provide “comprehensive full service care” to our patients, which is challenging, demanding and wonderfully rewarding for both patients and physician. The rewards for living and working here are huge; Strathcona Park is one of the most beautiful back yards to have fun in. Summer or winter, mountain or ocean, the choice of activity is immense. Our Site can support your drive to learn and become a complete Family Physician and the ability to go out and have fun with family and friends provides harmony to the challenge of work/life balance.

We provide a Program in which you become part of a group of Family Physicians who practice full service care, with a variety of individual medical interests and practice demographics. There may be opportunities for you to manage your own patient population from the beginning of residency training. We have up to 8 weeks “white space” elective time available. All electives are discussed and agreed with the Site Director during your scheduled four-monthly educational conversations (Periodic Reviews) to ensure they align with your educational needs and learning gaps.

Throughout your two years we have longitudinal experiences available, integrated into the extensive 16 months of Family Medicine placement in:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • OB
  • MSK
  • Elderly Care: Cognitive Assessment
  • Dermatology and procedures
  • Chronic Disease Management/Hospital Care
  • Addictions and Substance Abuse

Elective and Transition to Practice placement is discussed and agreed with the Site Director at Periodic Review

We are a rapidly growing community. The North Island Hospital project aims to deliver two new hospitals in the Comox Valley and Campbell River by 2018. We encourage you to help shape these future health care facilities. We hope, with your enthusiasm, we will continue to have health care centers and a medical community supporting medical education, professionalism and life-long learning as key foundation stones.

Sample Schedule

(ER is longitudinal exposure over 2 years and not shown below)

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
PGY1 FP Hosp Ment H Peds FP OBG OBG IM IM Surg Surg FP FP



Residents Life: Phillippa Houghton – PGY2

This time last year I was where you are, just starting to collect reference letters and draft personal statements for CaRMS. It was an overwhelming time with so many decisions. I knew I wanted to pursue family medicine, I knew I wanted to be in a rural environment and I knew I wanted to be somewhere holistic. I wanted to be in a residency program that allowed me to pursue my training goals while recognizing that I am more than just medicine. I wanted to be somewhere that would not only support its residents in their unique professional journeys but encourage them to find their passions outside of the hospital too.

Strathcona does all of those things and more. As a Canadian who studied abroad, I was nervous about how I would fit in with my colleagues, would I be accepted as equal? Would people think differently of me because I didn’t study in Canada? Much to my relief on our very first day of orientation our Site Director said “This year we have 8 residents: 4 CMGs and 4 IMGS. That is the last time you will ever hear that distinction”. True to his word, it hasn’t been brought up since and this has made me feel like part of the team and like I can finally relax into being home again.

This year the Strathcona Site 8 incoming residents, 4 to the Comox Valley and 4 to Campbell River. Between the 2 communities there is a diverse population of about 100,000 people. As a new and rural program we have much to offer for anyone interested in full service family practice. From a child with fever in clinic to a logging accident in emerge and babies being born up on maternity, you will certainly get the full scope of rural family practice.

When I was considering Strathcona I was concerned that I might feel isolated from my peers. The idea of being separated across two communities and hospitals, made me wonder how often I would see my colleagues? Would I feel lonely? As residents, we spend much of our time in our home community and while we may be spread out across the site we definitely cross paths during the week! Just today I ran into one resident while on ward rounds and another while consulting on a patient in emerge. We also see each other every Friday at academic half day, which starts off with residents meeting – a special session just for the residents to speak freely about any concerns or celebrations from the past week.

In addition to academic days our group makes a point of getting together for social activities all the time. Whether it’s a beach BBQ, tubing down the Puntledge or weekend long hiking adventures – everyone is included, and that means your family too! Strathcona makes a point of including partners and children in all of its social events.

So what makes Strathcona special?

The Program

Most of our time is spent in our home communities, in the family medicine clinic and in your home hospital. Some rotations will happen in the other community, so there will be times when you are required to drive, but it’s only about forty minutes and it’s a beautiful drive! Plus, when you’re in your home community you can be pretty much anywhere in under 10 minutes so the driving is manageable.

There are endless opportunities to reach out to various physicians in either community and tailor your education to fit your interests. We are fortunate in that we have amazing preceptors and physicians in both communities that want to see us succeed, are willing to help us in our desires to pursue other educational interests and make sure we are prepared for our final exams. Our first year is focused on the main specialty rotations leaving second year to focus on our interests, our weaknesses and our gaps, but when you are on a rotation your learning and exposure is never limited. For instance, you may be on call for Internal Medicine but when the OB needs an extra set of hands for an emergency C-section you are first assist!

The Teachers

Our preceptors are extremely dedicated people. They have the expectation that we are adults and can make our own adult decisions. They allow us enough leeway in order to make our own clinical decisions with a high level of independence while being supportive and intuitive to our needs as learners. They love their jobs and they are passionate about teaching. They are kind and wonderful people and although they are our clinical supervisors we spend time together socially and partake in an annual Snow-to- Surf Relay Race which has a residents team and a preceptors team and, of course, some healthy competition!

One aspect that really struck a chord with me was the patience I have been shown. The preceptors know we are new and adjust their expectations accordingly. We are given time to learn and to improve without feeling pressured, inadequate or unknowledgeable.

The Site

We are two locations, the Comox Valley and Campbell River, but one united site. There are two hospitals, a hospice, long-term care facilities, walk-in clinics, family practice and specialty clinics to offer us a well-rounded residency experience. There are two new hospitals being built: one in Courtenay and one in Campbell River. This is a testament to the unique learning experiences offered in both communities with a limited number of learners to compete with. If a patient needs a chest tube, you’re first in line to get hands on experience and training. This is one of our many strengths; we have two whole communities that offer a broad range of learning opportunities.

The Staff

No matter where you are located within the Strathcona Site everyone is here to help, answer questions and support you. During residency it is normal to feel lost, scared and insecure. Everyone goes through that, no matter which site you are at! We are fortunate in that our staff and teachers promote a positive learning environment in which you feel safe asking questions and know that help is right around the corner if you need it. You will never be left managing a scary or unstable situation on your own, your preceptors are always available if you need support.

The Best Part

Although it may seem that there is nothing else I can say about this Site to convince you it is the best, all you need to do is visit and witness first hand the beauty, the activities and the amazing people in our communities. There is something for everyone. If you like water sports, we’ve got them. If you like snow sports, we’ve got them. If you like mountain sports, we’ve got them. If you like one-of- a-kind vistas, we definitely have those. There is something here for everyone, even if it doesn’t involve outdoor activities; there are opportunities to volunteer and get involved in the community, to be an innovator in the program, or just sit on a patio and enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the mountains and ocean.

So if you are interested in a program that will prepare you for a successful career as a family physician, offers a warm welcome and amazing activities – Strathcona is the Site for you!