FAQ: Family Medicine Program

How does the internal match work?

After matching to the Family Medicine Program at the University of Toronto, an Open House is held approximately 1–2 weeks after the match results to provide you with more information about each of the different teaching sites. Each resident will then be asked to complete a rank list of their preferred teaching site. The internal match does not guarantee that residents will be matched to their preferred teaching site. However, the internal match will attempt to match residents and sites based on residents learning objectives and desired breadth and depth of experience. All those matched to the Family Medicine Residency Program will equally benefit from the strong curriculum and academic program offered as part of the experience at the University of Toronto. 

What are the main differences between the teaching sites?

There are 12 family medicine teaching sites in the Greater Toronto Area stream.  The Barrie /Newmarket stream is a separate choice with residents selecting either site. Residents in the Rural Stream match to one of four sites: Midland, or Orillia (if matched to North York General Hospital in PGY 1) or Grandvalley/Orangeville or Port Perry (if matched to Toronto East General Hospital in PGY 1).  Residents matched to the Integrated Research stream will be assigned to a site in the GTA stream based on capacity and eligibility to meet the requirements of the program.

Each hospital has a slightly different curriculum with potential for different areas of focus that can be explored by residents. However, the requirements of the College of Family Physicians of Canada are adequately met at every site. You will learn more about the individual sites at the interview day and by reading the information available here. For more information about the sites you may contact the sites’ chief residents or site directors and administrators who would be happy to answer any questions.

Is the program responsive to residents’ needs?

The U of T administrative staff welcomes any suggestions for program improvement and innovation. The Family Medicine Residents Association of Toronto (F.R.A.T.) is an organizational council that serves as a link between administrative staff, program directors, and residents. It is comprised of chief residents, PGY1 reps, and committee members from all sites and streams.  Residents also have the opportunity to participate in various committees including the governing committee (FRAT Presidents sit on the Residency Program Committee) and the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario’s (PARO) General Council. The administrative bodies, from a resident perspective, are consistently responsive to resident needs and advocacy.

How much elective time does the program offer?

Each hospital site varies with respect to the amount of time allotted to electives.  The minimum would be two or three months over the two years. Many sites include selectives in the curriculum, allowing residents to select a clinical rotation from a focused list of options. There is a diverse range of electives given the tremendous opportunities for clinical work in various specialties at U of T.

Is there formal teaching as part of the curriculum?

Our program has a protected Academic Half Day (AHD) with weekly teaching seminars and workshops; the majority delivered locally at the teaching site. Academic Half-Days are protected teaching time, during which you will be excused from clinical duties, regardless of your rotation. Rotation directors from other specialties are aware of this protected and prioritized time and should allow you to attend. The lectures focus on topics important to primary care and can vary in response to the patient population at each teaching site. In addition to these academic half days, family medicine residents from all teaching sites come together four times a year for a focused day of seminars and lectures at Central Core Days. Our program also brings residents together twice a year for a curriculum in Practice Management.

What types of opportunities are available for 3rd year training?

The University of Toronto offers many high quality 3rd year Enhanced Skills Programs including Women's Health, Emergency Medicine, Sports and Exercise Medicine, Low-risk Obstetrics, Health Care of the Elderly, Research, Addictions, Palliative Care and others. We continue to innovatively develop new programs such as our Global Health/Resource Poor program and our Indigenous Health program. For details see the Enhanced Skills Section on our website or contact: Dr. Julia Alleyne (Enhanced Skills Program Director) via Valerie Hilderal (Enhanced Skills/Division of Emergence/SEME Program Administrator)

How are U of T Family Medicine residents treated on off service rotations?

The program directors and chief residents at each site work hard to ensure that the family medicine residents are receiving the respect they deserve.  Overall, family medicine residents are treated very well on off-service rotations at U of T.

What is call like? How often? How grueling?

The call schedule adheres to guidelines set out in the PARO-CAHO Agreement and depends both on the hospital site and the specific rotation. Residents will do no more than 1 in 4 in-hospital call or 1 in 3 home calls. Traditionally, rotations like internal medicine and general surgery have more rigorous call schedules, while other rotations involve less frequent call.

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