Anatomical Pathology

Program Highlights

  • Relatively small program (currently 9 AP residents and 7 GP residents) largely based at one institution (QEII HSC). This allows for close and collegial interaction between pathologists and residents.
  • Highly engaged, collegial faculty with breadth of expertise who deliver high quality, one-on-one supervision and teaching
  • Superb success rate at RCPSC examination and obtaining fellowships and/or jobs upon completion of program
  • Excellent volume and variety of laboratory specimens available for residency education
  • Spacious and well equipped resident workspaces
  • Well developed and comprehensive Anatomical Pathology Transition to Discipline month in PGY1
  • Well developed and comprehensive academic half day including a well designed laboratory management curriculum
  • Resident issues are considered to be of great importance at the divisional and departmental levels
  • Strong support to enhance learning environment and to balance more routine clinical work
  • Strong off site subspecialty training including Forensic rotation at the Nova Scotia Medical Examiners’ office with 4 Forensic pathologists and Pediatric pathology rotation at the IWK with 4 Pediatric pathologists
  • Research opportunities – residents are productive; many have received research grants and/or research awards
  • Research methods course offered every two years for PGY2/3 residents
  • All pathologists’ offices and both frozen section labs at QEII HSC have at least a dual teaching head; several rooms have multihead teaching microscopes including an 18-head teaching microscope
  • The Saint John, NB  based rotation exposes the residents to a variety of cases in a capacity of a junior pathologist (under supervision of the faculty). The SJRH busy service gives the residents an opportunity to test their diagnostic skills before the final exam and contributes to their functioning independently in a diagnostic laboratory. The rotation allows the residents to get to know more maritime pathologists and the resources available.
  • Development of strong examination skills with biannual in-house exams and annual RISE exam
  • Electives may be taken at appropriate institutions in North America (up to twelve weeks)
  • A medium-sized program that is supportive of career opportunities in both academic and community practice
  • A program director who cares about each resident and facilitates all of the residents reaching their full potential.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 year(s)

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Transition to Discipline (July of PGY1)

The first month of PGY1 is a Introductory Transition to Discipline curriculum that allows residents to obtain the Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) required by the Royal College Competence By Design training system. It is shared with GP residents and allows students to get to know faculty, other residents, and learn the basics of microscope function, slide scanning, grossing, and photography. The program is a mixture of didactic and hand-on activities. There is an end-of-rotation slide quiz and case presentation.

Foundations of Discipline (rest of PGY1)

There are 12 blocks in the remainder of PGY1, which allow residents to complete the EPAs in the Foundations stage of training:

  • General Medicine 
  • Clinical Hematology
  • General Surgery (2 blocks)
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Gynecological Oncology
  • Medical Oncology
  • Subspecialty Pediatrics (usually Peds GI)
  • Selective (1 block - Radiology, Dermatology, ENT, Emerg, other)
  • Autopsy Pathology (at the Forensic Institute to learn basic autopsy skills)
  • Foundations of Anatomical Pathology (2 blocks - intro to grossing and simple surgical sign-out)

PGY2 through PGY5 - Core and Transition to Practice stages

PGY2/3: The first 15 months of PGY2/3 consists of a core experience in surgical and autopsy pathology at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. The remaining time in PGY3 includes three 12 week subspecialty rotations in Neuropathology, Cytopathology and Pediatric Pathology. 

PGY4/5: The Forensic Pathology rotation is undertaken in one of the senior years and is eight weeks in duration.  There is a required 12-week Anatomical Pathology rotation at the Saint John Regional Hospital (a large, regional hospital in New Brunswick).  This serves as a senior resident rotation in the PGY4 or 5 year.  Accommodation is provided.  The remaining months involve additional training in Anatomical Pathology, including mandatory training in Molecular Pathology (1 block) and senior Cytopathology (1 block), senior Anatomical Pathology (6 blocks) and a senior Cardiac/Liver/Kidney biopsy rotation (1 block).  In appropriate circumstances, up to one year of the program can be outside Anatomical Pathology and could include training in another branch of the laboratory, in research or in a clinical field. Most residents choose to do subspecialty anatomical pathology electives. Many residents complete a Medical Education elective (1 block) offered by the PGME. The elective time is very flexible and is utilized to strengthen skills and provide opportunities to explore potential career choices.

How to apply

Residents are selected through the Canadian Resident Matching Service. Detailed program selection criteria, application timelines, and up-to-date program information can be found at CaRMS.ca.

Contact information

Program director: Dr Gillian Bethune

Residency Program Coordinator: Kelly Leights

Email: Kelly.Leights@nshealth.ca