Postgraduate Anesthesiology

A Message from the Residency Program Director

It is my great pleasure to introduce our exciting and dynamic residency training program.

Our People

Shawn Hicks MD MSc FRCPC Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa Program Director, Anesthesiology

Shawn Hicks MD MSc FRCPC
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
Program Director, Anesthesiology

Our people are the keystone of our Department and our training program. Our chair, vice chair of education, faculty, residents, fellows, and our administrative staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality residency training program possible. Our faculty members have invested countless hours in the development and delivery of a well planned curriculum. We pride ourselves on having an accessible, flexible and innovative approach to medical education. The residency program is small enough to individualize each resident's experience while being large enough to offer a full range of anesthesia experiences. We are proud to have achieved full accreditation status with our recent Royal College review.

Residency Program Leadership

Resident Representatives

Module and Stage of Training Leads

We have a fantastic group of residents! Our program has 51 residents, including 11 International Medical Graduates, 3 Foreign Medical Graduates, 1 resident from the Canadian Forces and 2 Family Medicine Anesthesia trainees. Many residents have taken on leadership roles within our department, make important contributions to several committees and also participate in the CARMS interview process.

Clinical Sites

Our residents rotate through 5 major teaching sites. The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus is the base site for all trauma, neurosurgery, high risk obstetrics, bariatric surgery and vascular surgery. The General Campus is the base site for all major cancer surgery, high risk Obstetrics, renal transplant and Thoracic Surgery. The Riverside Campus is our Ambulatory centre. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute allow for comprehensive training in Pediatric and Cardiac anesthesia, respectively. In addition, there are opportunities in community anesthesia rotations at other hospitals in Ottawa such as the Queensway Carlton Hospital and the Ottawa area's only Francophone centre, Hôpital Montfort.

University of Ottawa - Anesthesiology Residency Program

Competency by Design Curriculum

As of July 1, 2015, our program introduced the first Anesthesia CBD curriculum in Canada for all starting PGY-1s. It is hard to believe that we have already graduated 3 cohorts of residents through the CBD program!

The basic principle of this innovative curriculum is to focus on achieving specific competencies of clinical practices. The CBD program is structured according to the Royal College template for all specialties and includes four stages: transition to discipline, foundations, core and transition to practice. Our CBD curriculum is led by our CBD lead Dr Curtis Nickel.


A major strength of our program is a well developed simulation curriculum. Our University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation centre has its roots with one of our Departments founders, Professor Emeritus, former Chair, and Officer of the Order of Canada recipient Dr J. Earl Wynands. We have several dedicated and experienced faculty, led by our Simulation Director, Dr. Simone Crooks.

Residents get exposure to high fidelity simulations during multiple stages of their training with the aim of honing their Crisis Resource Management skills and developing their ability to manage common and rare emergencies. Simulation scenarios are carefully mapped to the overall curriculum. Additionally, there are obstetrical team sessions as well as opportunity to participate in a number of education research sessions as study subjects. The Royal College has implemented an initiative called Canadian National Anesthesia Simulation Curriculum (CanNASC) which adds simulation scenarios as part of a formative evaluation.

Balance of Clinical Exposure and Academic Time

Throughout the training program, we strive to balance adequate clinical exposure with our academic curriculum. For example, during the early stages of training such as the bootcamp where residents attend several didactic and simulation based events as well as exposure to a wide variety of clinical experiences to ensure adequate orientation to the hospital. Recently we have put much effort into updating the academic half day curriculum to answer suggestions from residents and to cover all aspects of a complete program.

Feedback for Residents

We are committed to providing our residents with feedback in an honest, constructive, and respectful manner. The resident coordinator at each site conducts regular face to face interviews with every resident at the conclusion of each stage and module, and residents meet individually with the Program Director twice annually. We are in the process of initiating a new faculty development program to assist our faculty in maintaining high quality feedback for residents regarding their performance.

Scholarship Opportunities

All residents are expected to engage in scholarly work and present a minimum of one research poster at our annual Gary Johnson Research Day in May. Our hope is to support residents in achieving the goal of presenting at a national meeting and/or achieving a publication. Recently, several of our residents have been awarded CAS research grants and presented at national conferences. We have several successful clinical researchers in our Department who have been awarded prestigious research grants and awards. Our Department is thoroughly committed to supporting scholarly activity and welcome interest and motivation from residents.

Mentoring Program

With a Program as large as we are, we haven’t lost our "small town feel". We get to know each other not only as faculty to residents, but also as colleagues. To that end, we have a mentorship group led by Dr Sarika Alisic where every resident is paired up with a faculty member. The mentor group meets formally twice per year. Over the year, mentors and mentees are encouraged to meet informally for small group and individual evenings.

Please explore the rest of our website for further details on the organization of our curriculum and specific training modules. Thank you for your interest in our program. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Kind Regards,

Shawn Hicks MD MSc FRCPC
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
Program Director, Anesthesiology
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