Dear CaRMS Applicants,
It seems like only a few short years ago I was reading this very website and considering my application to the U of Manitoba Emergency Medicine Program. You may not believe it now, but it is amazing how quickly the years of residency pass. Now as I look back on my journey I can talk to you with some perspective about our program and why I think it is unsurpassed.
Why start here? Well, because they are the heart of the program and the reason why Manitoba EM is unlike any other program. It is humbling to train with team and a family like my co-residents. Sure they’re smart (really smart) and sure they can float a Swan like magicians if the need arises, but more than that they have a singular character and outlook on their lives and our life together. They believe, as I do, that the closer, the more supportive, the more uplifting, the more collaborative, the more sacrificing your team is, the better you all will be. We pride ourselves on having this kind of a team in Manitoba and we work enormously hard to ensure that this key character is preserved and fostered in our training.
Dr. Wes Palatnick has been our program director for almost a decade now and has played a key role in its success and that of its graduates. He is internationally known and respected as a clinician, researcher and educator. He brings the knowledge and experience of a professional who has spent a career putting the interests of his patients at the heart of all that he does. It is this same commitment that drives him to continue to make our program stronger.
Winnipeg is the tertiary care referral centre for all of Manitoba, much of Nunavut and parts of North-Western Ontario. With easily over a million square kilometres of catchment area and a diverse population, the EM residents in Manitoba have exposure to pathology that is unreproducible elsewhere in the country. Working almost entirely at the two tertiary care centres in the province during their residency, our group gets to see all of the craziness that rolls through the doors. From disseminated blastomycosis with ARDS, or ED ECMO initiation post VF storm, or ED thoracotomy after a stabbing, or emergent dialysis because of ethylene glycol poisoning, to critically ill sepsis or decompensated calcium channel blocker overdose - Winnipeg has it all. Put this together with our culture of involving younger residents in the care of critically ill patients alongside more senior colleagues and you have a recipe for fantastic learning right out of the gate.
Winnipeg has a robust academic curriculum and a completely protected full academic day each week. This time is devoted to learning core clinical content, enhancing our own teaching skills, learning procedures and physical exam techniques. We have a dedicated EBM curriculum that is coordinated by our Research Director Dr. Erin Weldon and Dr. Merril Pauls, who is also a clinical ethicist and the University of Manitoba’s undergraduate Director of Ethics and Humanities. Our residents are widely published and in the last year alone have presented at least half dozen national or international conferences. We have generated publications in numerous peer-reviewed journals and have developed collaborative relationships with the departments of Pediatrics, Hematology, Information Technology, and the Manitoba Institute of Child Health (M.I.C.H) to name just a few. Dr. Caroline Snider, one of our EM attendings, holds a cross-appointment as a researcher with M.I.C.H and this year secured grants totaling almost a million dollars for her work with youth at risk.
Thanks to the tireless work of Dr. Cheryl ffrench, the Emergency Medicine residency program offers its residents a well-developed simulation curriculum that takes advantage of the state-of-the-art CLSF facility located at the medical school. We spend an average of 6 hours a month doing SIM training and have begun interdisciplinary training with our trauma surgeons recently.
We also have a strong ultrasound program coordinated by Dr. Chau Pham and supported by some of our senior residents. It allows all our residents to hold IP status for FAST, aorta and pericardium scanning. We also receive training on DVT and gallbladder and informal exposure to other ED uses for ultrasonography.
We all know how high stress the Emergency Department can be. We all know how tough a residency program is and what it has the potential to do to us on a physical and emotional level if we aren’t proactive about it. The U of M Emergency residency program has made friends with some of Canada’s pre-eminent sports psychologists to address this issue. What’s the connection? Six years ago, three of the senior residents got to talking with the high performance sport psychology team that worked with a whole bunch of Canadian Olympians. They realized that like high performance sport, the practice of emergency medicine was full of stress, rapid decisions and high stakes. They also realized that most residents had no training or support to handle these stresses. Out of this was born the High Performance Physician program. It has proven to be one of the best things that has happened to me personally and to our program as a whole. We now have a way to learn about the factors that allow us to perform at our peak potential both as clinicians and as human beings.
OK stop. Dump the Winnipeg bashing sticks at the front door. Our city is fantastic. We have about 800,000 citizens, a world class cultural scene, culinary options that make your head spin and three pro sports teams that will likely win at some point. An hour away we have beautiful unspoiled Canadian Shield with lakes and hiking and biking and paddling. If that’s not your thing, to the West a few hours we have legitimate hills and a desert that is fun to hike or camp in. In the city there are cool neighborhoods and very reasonable housing. Because the teaching hospitals are centrally located, you can live almost anywhere in the city and be at work in under half an hour. Many of our residents have condos in the cool part of town and can bike to a shift in 10 or 15 minutes.
The Emergency Medicine program in Winnipeg has a national reputation for producing first rate Emergency Physicians. You will find our graduates in key positions in Manitoba and around the country.
If you decide to train in Winnipeg, you will be exposed to amazing medicine, amazing people and an amazing city. Give us a good look, ask us lots of questions, and come over for an interview. You’ll be glad you did.