The Aboriginal Residency Program

The Aboriginal Residency Program continues to develop and expand, proving to be a leader in the field regarding the training of residents in Aboriginal Health. This year, we have increased our intake of residents to four. We have had a strong interest this year in our program, with sixty-eight applicants from across Canada. All four of our new residents are of Aboriginal ancestry and are leaders in their own communities.

Due to various leaves and time off, we currently have a total of nine residents in the program, with five graduating next year. Congratulations to our most recent graduates, including Dr. Candace Sy, Dr. Morgan Lindsay, and Dr. Melissa Torriero.

The Aboriginal Residency Program is a post-graduate program in Medicine, which trains physicians to specialize in Family Medicine, along with Aboriginal Health. There are very few such programs in Canada. What is unique about the UBC program is the fact that residents get special training in Aboriginal Health, including issues dealing with cultural sensitivity, the impact of colonization, racism and social determinants of health, as well as, the strengths of a culture that can aid in promoting healthy lifestyles. Every month, the residents have an academic day where they review such topics and learn to apply them to various medical conditions common in Aboriginal communities. The academic days alternate between didactic sessions, and community training, where the residents learn from various communities and Aboriginal leaders. In addition, the residents spend a large portion of their clinical time in various Aboriginal communities in B.C., as well as, in various Canadian and International Aboriginal communities. This provides a wide base of information for the residents, and a strong community involvement regarding training.

As a result, most of our graduates end up working in or with Aboriginal communities, even though there is no return of service contract. Another advantage is that our residents and graduates are a source of information regarding Aboriginal Health for their colleagues. Finally, there is a trickle down effect. What is meant by this is that the residents in the Aboriginal program work side by side with the residents of the Victoria program. Because of this close association, the Victoria residents are learning about Aboriginal Health to some extent, and are now beginning to request more training as they see the shortcomings in their own training.

We continue to hone and modify out the program, working closely with the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, as well as, the Association of Federation of Medical Colleges of Canada, whom have worked jointly to recently create and release the core competencies in Aboriginal Health for Medical Colleges in Canada. For more information, please go to our website at

Dr. Veronica McKinney
Site Director
Aboriginal Residency Program
UBC Dept. of Family Practice