McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

This residency program is 5 years in length.

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

As of July 2019, the program has adopted the competency based medical education initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD). The program aligns with the standards set forth by the Royal College and McGill Post Graduate Medical Education (PGME) guidelines. Currently, all residents progress through the CBD pathway, which is divided into four stages: Transition to Discipline, Foundation, Core, and Transition to Practice.

In the first year of the training, residents are introduced to fundamental aspects of pathology, covering essential elements such as lab workflows, autopsies, histology, grossing, specimen handling, molecular pathology, as well as few integrated pathology and clinical rotations. As residents advance through the program, they go into specialized rotations tailored to various subspecialties. Additionally, surgical pathology rotations provide exposure to broader general practices, ensuring a well-rounded training experience. See next section below.

There is ample elective time in Core and Transition to Practice stages of residency to enable residents to tailor their training to suit their individual career aspirations. Residents are encouraged to take electives in other intra- or inter-provincial, as well as international, institutions.

Residents' progress is closely monitored by the Competency Committee through various rotations, with graded responsibilities. Assessment and promotion decisions rely on multiple evaluation formats, including Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs), direct staff feedback, etc.

We conduct semi-annual in-house exams modelled after the Royal College, supplemented by mock oral examinations for all trainees, and additional sessions dedicated to senior residents in preparation of their Royal College exams.

In addition, we fund attendance at the pathology review course led by CAP-ACP (Canadian Association of Pathologists - Association Canadienne des Pathologistes) annually. We also provide access to paid subscriptions for WHO online blue books and facilitate participation in the annual US Resident In-Service Exam (RISE) conducted by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Our program boasts its own digital scanner and slide server, housing an extensive library of over 8,000 scanned teaching slides, providing residents with convenient access to valuable educational materials.

PGY-1 (13 rotation periods)

Part of the first year of the resident's training is devoted to clinical medicine. This is meant to consolidate the clinical knowledge and skills of trainees before they embark on specialty training in Anatomical Pathology; including 7 mandatory clinical rotations by RCPSC standards in different sub-specialties of Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics. Disciplines with particular relevance to Pathology, such as Oncology, Hematology, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, etc., are particularly recommended.

Now included are pathology rotations in ‘Transition to Pathology’ (1 period), 'Grossing' (1 period), ‘Introduction to Molecular pathology’ (1 period), 'Foundations in Pathology' (1 period) and 'Surgical Pathology Junior' (2 periods).

PGY-2 to -5 (52 rotation periods)

The sequence of rotations is flexible. Core training in Anatomical Pathology is done during PGY-2 and PGY-3. It includes a minimum of two (2 periods during PGY-2) autopsy pathology periods, two (2 periods during PGY-2) junior surgical pathology periods, three (3) in pediatric pathology, one (1) in cytogenetic/placenta, one (1) frozen section and the remaining in surgical sub-specialty periods. In the typical PGY-4 year, there are three (3) periods in cytopathology, two (2) periods in forensic pathology, one (1) period of autopsy and one (1) period in advanced technology (molecular pathology). The PGY-5 year is tailored to the resident's specific needs and interest and includes a minimum of two (2) senior surgical pathology rotations and one (1) cytopathology period.


Research, Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) projects are actively encouraged, and research electives are available to all residents. Residents in our program can spend from 6 to 12 periods in research. All residents participate in a research project as part of his/her molecular pathology rotation. Research can also be done longitudinally throughout training. Residents are required to have at least one scholarly or QA & QC related project during their training; in fact, a scholarly project resulting in a publication or presentation at the national level is one of the residency requirements.

Dr. Basile Tessier-Cloutier is our dedicated Research Lead within the Residency Training Committee. Through regular meetings with our residents, his role is to ensure their access to high-impact research projects. Supported by faculty members actively engaged in basic or clinical research, residents are facilitated in participating in multidisciplinary research projects.

Seminars and Teaching

In addition to our training rotations, we have several resources in place to complement our residents’ clinical training. These include weekly academic half days featuring didactic lectures by staff pathologists, followed by slide seminar as well as resident-led sessions. The 'Histoseminar' is an educational activity held jointly by the University of Montreal and McGill for residents to present rare, interesting pathology cases. Residents actively engage in teaching undergraduate medical students by participating in McGill FMD pathology small group sessions, enhancing their teaching skills.

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