Vancouver Fraser

Site Director Message

Welcome to the Vancouver-Fraser Site of the UBC Family Practice Residency Program!

The Vancouver-Fraser Site offers the ability to live in an urban, world-class city while allowing for a variety of clinical opportunities in community family practice clinics of different sizes, as well as in large and small hospitals across the Lower Mainland.  While our site is based at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, your experiences will come from practices and facilities familiar with Family Practice training across the Lower Mainland.

Recently we welcomed the inclusion of two Team-Based Primary Care Learning Centres, in addition to our seasoned community practices, to our site to serve as core family practice training sites for residents.  Residents will have the experience of working independently in smaller hospitals and clinics without competing with other learners, alongside community longitudinal family physicians and focused-practice family physicians, as well as in busy hospitals alongside other specialty residents and consultants.  We also offer a significant amount of elective time and locally available electives for residents to tailor their residency to their learning needs and career interests.  We have a comprehensive academic program with a wide variety of engaging and knowledgeable speakers to enhance your family practice skills and to prepare you for the CFPC examination.

Many of our site faculty and directors are previous alumni of this site, which speaks to the enthusiasm and strength of the site and the wealth of support and mentorship they will be able to provide you through your residency and beyond.  Our administrative staff is warm and caring and will make you feel at home and supported through your residency as well.

Our site is well-connected with multiple local Divisions of Family Practice and their Primary Care Networks to allow you to familiarize yourself with the local resources and supports available to your future clinical practice.  Graduates of our program have successful careers working as community longitudinal family physicians, emergency physicians, addictions physicians, palliative care physicians, medical leaders, and a combination of the above.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our virtual (and hopefully in-person) events where we are available to answer any of your questions.

Dr. Vincent Wong, BscPharm, MD, MHA, CCFP, CHE
vincent.w.wong@ubc.ca
Dr. Amritpal Aroroa, BSc, MD, CCFP
amritpal.arora@ubc.ca
Co-Site Directors
Vancouver-Fraser Site

Lead Resident Message

The Vancouver Fraser Site (VFS) offers the perfect balance between smaller community hospitals and high-volume, high-acuity, tertiary care academic centers. As a VFS resident, not only will you get to experience beautiful British Columbia and live in a world-class city, but you will also find yourself in a supportive, flexible program where your experience can be tailored to meet your personal learning objectives.

An advantage of our program is the access to multiple training sites. While our residents are based at the Royal Columbian Hospital, they have the opportunity to work in a variety of hospitals including Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital, Burnaby General Hospital, Richmond Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, Peace Arch Hospital, and Eagle Ridge Hospital. This diverse selection of sites allows for a rich, well-rounded training experience.

At the smaller locations, residents work closely with community-based physicians and are involved in all areas of patient care, allowing for a smooth and rewarding transition into independent practice. At the tertiary care hospitals, including the Royal Columbian Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, and B.C. Women’s and Children’s Hospital, residents have the opportunity to learn from world experts in their fields. Working alongside other postgraduate trainees, you are also afforded the opportunity to engage in medical student teaching.

Specific rotations that are unique for VFS Family Practice include two to four weeks in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at BC Children’s Hospital and CTU (Clinical Teaching Unit/Internal Medicine) at Royal Columbian Hospital. In addition, residents will be provided with the option of a Sports Medicine rotation in lieu of an Orthopedic rotation at the renowned Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre.

Family Practice today is increasingly office based, and our site excels in training residents to be confident outpatient clinicians. At our site, residents have the opportunity to either attend an academic clinic for the first year, or be engrained in community practice for all of residency. During this second year you will also spend two months working with a Family Physician in a rural BC community of your choice.

Another important aspect of our program is that it is not service-based, as might often be expected in residents training in urban tertiary teaching centers. Our residents are given appropriate clinic duties and independence, but are also given time to explore other areas of interest within Family Medicine. Residents attend a full academic day every other week, alternating with a full call-back day with their Family Practice preceptor. This allows for continuity of care at the office, closer follow-up with your patients and maximization of academic and clinical time by reducing travel between training sites.

In the first year of training, residents are able to spend up to three half-days per week in horizontal electives during their Family Medicine block. Horizontal electives include, but are not limited to, Dermatology, Rheumatology, Endocrinology, Healthy Heart Clinic, Maternity Care and Emergency Medicine. In second year, residents have fourteen weeks of elective time where they can pursue their own areas of interest or explore areas which they feel they need additional training. Learning is resident-driven; the program can be molded to fit each individual learner’s needs. All UBC residents are given four weeks of vacation with minimal restrictions for vacation times for the Vancouver Fraser site. As per the PAR-BC agreement, residents also get 5 consecutive days off at either Christmas or New Years.

Socially, we see each other every other week at our academic days. We are also fortunate to have well-funded resident retreats twice a year. Recently some of our retreats have been held in Whistler and Harrison Hot Springs. Outside of formal retreats, co-residents are often very close and get together frequently for anything from dinners to trivia nights to travel overseas!

The graduates of our program have gone on to successfully work as office-based clinicians, hospitalists, and as physicians with enhanced skills in both urban, sub-urban and rural settings. Some of the enhanced skills that residents have acquired include Maternity Care, Emergency Medicine, Addictions Medicine and Women’s Health.

Thank you for your interest in our site and we look forward to meeting you at our Virtual Events. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us.

Your Vancouver Fraser Lead Residents,

Dr. Angela Choi & Dr. Adrian Dzugalo

Number of Residents: 12 CMG, 4 IMG
Location: Vancouver, BC, Home base is New Westminster
Community: 600,000 – 2,000,000
Hospitals: Royal Columbian, Burnaby General, Mount St. Joseph’s, Richmond, BC Women’s and Children’s, Eagle Ridge Hospital, Peace Arch Hospital
Distance from Vancouver: 23 km

Curriculum Type: Block
R2 Elective Time: 14 Weeks
Phone: 604-604-520-4253 ext. 525074
Contacts: Site Co-Director – Dr. Vincent Wong and Dr. Amritpal Arora / Coordinator – Raquel Feswick Raquel.Feswick@fraserhealth.ca / Crystal Bloom Crystal.Bloom@fraserhealth.ca
Lead Residents: Dr. Angela Choi & Dr. Adrian Dzugalo

The Vancouver Fraser site offers residents the unique combination of high level and specialized experiences available in Greater Vancouver referral hospitals and the first contact, primary care experiences of smaller hospital and community practices within the Lower Mainland. Residents learn in primary care focused environments but have access to tertiary care experience. We provide full service training with a focus on family physician intrapartum obstetrics if the resident so desires. Being able to tailor your second year to your learning needs is an asset of our site.

Program Highlights

  • Core and elective rotations in eight hospitals, from community to tertiary care, and in many other clinical settings
  • High-level training in major referral hospitals such as Emergency Medicine at the Royal Columbian Hospital, Pediatrics at Children’s hospital and Addictions Medicine at Royal Columbian Hospital. We also have the opportunity to work independently at community hospitals such as Mount Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Peace Arch Hospital
  • Large volume, high-intensity hospital (Royal Columbian Hospital) and smaller, community-oriented hospital (Peace Arch Hospital) with electives available at other high volume hospitals such as Surrey Memorial and BC Women’s, residents can graduate highly skilled and confident in obstetrics
  • Family Medicine preceptor experience is based on a two-year model. R1 family practice is at the UBC family practice clinic or with a community preceptor.  There are many horizontal elective opportunities during family practice. In R2, residents have the option to re-match with a community preceptor with a practice demographic which best matches the resident’s interest in future practice.
  • Rotations are a block-based, which are simple to understand and offers flexibility for horizontal electives within rotations

Sample Rotation

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
PGY 1

Surg

Peds

ER

FM

FM

FM

FM

IM

Hospitalist

IM

Peds

OB

OB

PGY 2

Elec

Geri

Psyc

FM

FM

Elec

Addictions
(2 weeks)/ Elect
(2 weeks)

MSK

Pall

Elec

Rural

Rural

FM

Interview with Angela Nguan, Rochelle Stimpson, Sayali Tadwalkar
(previous R2s)

What do you enjoy most about the Vancouver Fraser (VF) Site?
Working at several inner city and suburban training sites (clinics, offices, hospitals) exposes you to a lot of different people including doctors, nurses, community workers, other residents, and medical students. You also get the opportunity to see a variety of office layouts, EMRs, payment methods and environments. Having these experiences really helps you figure out what kind of practice you want for your own career. In addition, the variety of rotation experiences as well as the flexibility in vacation scheduling, allows for a much more convenient and simpler residency life when you can set when you would like your breaks to be. Lastly, working out of the Lower Mainland means you get to enjoy the variety of activities and experiences that only we can offer. The VF Site has been successful in integrating IMGs with Canadian Medical Graduate residents and served as a good role model for other programs in training high qualified residents.

What learning opportunities are available at the VF Site?
There’s a strong emphasis on internal medicine with ICU coverage at Burnaby General Hospital in the first year of residency training, which is unique to the VF Site. We also have access to many clinical resources: there’s the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic, Sports Medicine at the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, various youth clinics, and the Downtown Eastside (inner city) clinics. Our program offers a wide range of electives during your second year of residency, including family medicine sub-specialties such as dermatology, maternity care, paediatrics, inner city health and HIV medicine, so there are a lot of opportunities to learn about urban medicine as well as general practice.

Is there a large service component to your residency?
The VF program is not service-oriented. We do provide service for some rotations, but the focus of this program is on learning. While we do provide some necessary coverage on some rotations, I find that these rotations have also been very committed to meeting my goals towards family medicine. Given some initiative on the resident’s part, the program is quite flexible and provides a good balance of family medicine and specialty experience, as well as free time to spend with friends and family or go on adventures in beautiful BC. The program is also very family-centered, not only in the curriculum, but also in terms of ensuring that our own families are supported while we learn. There is less stress in this program than in others.

Is there a lot of competition between residents?
Our residency program is very friendly and team-oriented. Even in times where it can be difficult to find and book competitive electives our residents are more often than not helping each other navigating the administration and sharing information. It can be very competitive to secure certain electives, especially those involving sub-specialties. You have to be prepared to set up these electives months in advance. Having said that, our program is still small enough to allow one-on-one training with our preceptors most of the time, especially in the smaller community hospitals. We strive to have monthly social outings where we can all come to a neutral place and share stories and vent about rotations. We really rely on each other for support without any type of negativity or competition and our co-chief residents take the pulse of the group to make sure that everyone is doing okay professionally and personally.

The VF Site offers training in several hospitals. How does learning and traveling over such a large area affect your training?
The opportunity to train at a variety of urban and semi-urban hospitals allows residents a look at how medicine is practiced in a wide variety of settings. I like the chance to feel comfortable at a number of different hospitals, as I now feel confident I could walk into any hospital in the province and get to work fairly efficiently. This is quite unique for a family medicine residency program. Working in a wide variety of environments allows you to meet a lot of physicians and to build your network of relationships within the medical community. The exposure you get to the different groups definitely helps when it comes to looking for a position or a practice after graduation.

I enjoyed working at a variety of community hospitals because it provided an opportunity to make contacts and work towards future job opportunities in a number of locations. The diversity of exposures allowed for an overview of the advantages and disadvantages particular to each centre; I can now go forward knowing what type of environment I am most suited to work in. In particular I was keen to get an idea of how different call groups were structured for Primary Care Obstetrics, and our program allowed me to explore a number of options.
I never found the commute to be particularly burdensome, if you are coming from Vancouver you are usually going in the opposite direction of the rush hour traffic, and our public transit options here are excellent.

What type of residents are best suited for the VF Site?
Residents who are able to be self-directed learners, and who are flexible and open-minded will do well in this training program. Because of the competition for preceptors and time slots, you don’t always end up with your preferred choice of elective. Individuals who understand what their strengths and weaknesses are more likely to benefit from the VF Site because they can select the experiences that will help them build more knowledge and skills in the areas where it’s needed.

What do you think is the biggest strength of the VF Site?
It allows you to really discover and explore how many roles there are for family practitioners – there is so much more to family medicine than hospital and office-based practice. The variety of practice settings available in Metro Vancouver allows residents to experience both “big city” and “small city” medicine. There is flexibility to discover what your niche is within family medicine at this Site. In addition, the VF site has allowed me to really explore the best of the lower mainland. From a busy family practice clinic in the heart of Vancouver to delivering babies in a small community hospital has provided me with an unmatched experience.