The University of Calgary Ophthalmology program held a series of two meet-and-greet sessions on December 12th and 13th. These events were hosted by a number of residents and featured a prepared presentation about the program and a live video tour of the Eye Clinic at Rockyview Hospital and the nearby resident spaces. This was followed by breakout rooms where a small group of attendees were paired up with a resident. This allowed for informal discussions about the program, ophthalmology, and life in Calgary. Here are some takeaways from the presentation:
- Similar to other programs, the majority Year 1 is spent doing “off-service” rotations but Calgary’s program is unique because in addition to 2 weeks of “red eye” clinic you also get a dedicated block to ophthalmic pathology! (all before TORIC)
- Calgary provides full funding for their residents to attend a number of professional development courses. Residents attend TORIC, the Stanford Ophthalmology Course after Year 2, and numerous review courses in their senior year of residency
- There is a very favourable staff to resident ratio (approximately 50:10) and Calgary’s catchment area is relatively large considering it is a 2 resident per year program both of which means ample learning opportunities
- Senior residents also spoke very highly of the surgical training they had received, having done a high volume of cataracts by completion of the program (800-1000 cataracts). Residents will get early hands-on exposure into advanced surgical techniques on subspecialty rotations (e.g. scleral buckles, vitrectomies, tubes, MIGS, corneal transplants).
- Residents spend 6 months on subspecialty rotations in PGY-2, during which they get early and extensive surgical experience.
- Residents felt that the program size was a nice intermediate and had the benefits of both smaller and larger programs (i.e. you have at least 1 co-resident in your year)
- Calgary has a fully equipped surgical skills room with 4 microscopes, an Eyesi simulator, BIONIKO models and more. There is also ample opportunity to train with human cadaveric specimens.
- Residents cover 3 hospitals in Calgary (Rockyview, Alberta Children’s and Foothills) but the overwhelming majority of rotations and patients seen on call are at Rockyview which typically means less time commuting
- Calgary is a very livable city with many of Canada’s top restaurants, exciting events like the Stampede, and world class recreation a short drive away in Banff and the Rockies
In case you weren’t able to attend, the residents have informed us that they’d be willing to meet with students outside of these dedicated sessions as well.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the residents via firstname.lastname@example.org or @yyc_ophthos on Instagram!
Authors: Cody Lo
Cody Lo is a 4th year medical student from UBC and is the Director of External Affairs for the Canadian Ophthalmology Student Interest Group.