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Our Programs

Our commitment to education includes teaching undergraduate and postgraduate trainees, as well as other health care professionals. Due to our clinical diversity and case volumes, UHN shares the largest clinical Vascular Surgery fellowship program in Canada with St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

On any given day, learners at all levels, including medical students, residents, fellows and observers, can be found in our division. Below is a list of our educational and research programs.

Some education programs at UHN may be suspended or modified at this time. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.

Fellowship Programs

Vascular Surgery Clinical Fellowship

The University of Toronto offers Clinical Fellowships in vascular surgery to provide additional specialized clinical and research training to physicians who will be returning to an academic position upon program completion. UHN is one of three major sites that Fellows rotate through over the course of 12 months (other sites are St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre). During this time, Fellows are expected to complete a research project and produce a publication-ready manuscript. The Fellowship will expose trainees to a wide range of experiences, including:

  • Advanced aortic endovascular interventions
  • Combined vascular and surgical oncology procedures
  • Vascular trauma (adult and pediatric)
  • Surgical management of thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Hybrid open and endovascular interventions

Black Family Fellowship in Vascular Surgery Research

This one-year research fellowship is offered to previously certified Vascular Surgeons with a strong interest in pursuing an academic surgical career who have a proven track record in research. UHN faculty supervise the fellow who is expected to advance a significant vascular research project that is in line with their career interests. There is no clinical component of this fellowship.

Advanced Aortic Surgery Fellowship

This multisite fellowship (shared with St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) is open to Cardiovascular or Vascular Surgery applicants who wish to pursue an academic career in the management of complex aortic problems. Potential applicants should contact Dr. Thomas Forbes.


Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on the Fellowship Program is provided by the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

Resident Program

The University of Toronto offers a 0+5, direct entry Vascular Surgery Residency Program to train Medical Students aspiring to become the next generation of vascular surgeons. UHN is one of six major sites that Residents rotate through. Residents will be trained in the modern medical, surgical and endovascular treatment methods for patients with vascular disorders.

Residents will be able to apply to the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) to complete a Masters or PhD level research project in preparation for an academic career in vascular surgery. Many of these SSTP residents are under supervision of UHN faculty.

Residents are evaluated in the clinical setting by their supervisor(s), and are encouraged to develop autonomy and skills that will help them on their path toward independent practice.

Resident education includes weekly didactic teaching sessions with specific topics presented over the duration of their rotations, simulation sessions, Royal College oral exam practice sessions, citywide vascular grand rounds and monthly M & M rounds. In addition, journal club rounds are offered periodically.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of these formal rounds have been shifted to a virtual format.

Daily Teaching

An important focus of our postgraduate resident education program is the daily teaching, which consists of informal and formal teaching sessions through resident and Faculty as well as fellow interactions on the ward, in the clinic, the operating room, and on-call.

Academic half-day

The Vascular Surgery academic half-day occurs Friday mornings as part of the residency program’s didactic, specialty specific teaching. Seminars cover a variety of topics relevant to Vascular Surgery practice. Resident attendance is mandatory and their time is protected until noon, allowing residents to dedicate time to their research projects after the seminar, until noon.


Further information on application requirements and procedures as well as other details on the Residency Program is provided by the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN.

The Residency Program Director is Dr. George Oreopoulos.


Dr. George Oreopoulos and Dr. Caleb Zavitz
Every year the UHN Department of Surgery hosts a Holiday Fun Rounds in December as an opportunity for the residents, fellows and other staff to show their 'appreciation and affection' for all the surgical staff. In 2019, Vascular Surgery won the award for best rounds presentation. Here, Dr. George Oreopoulos is shown presenting the award to then chief resident Dr. Caleb Zavitz.

Research

Research is integral to many of the educational programs supported by the Division of Vascular Surgery. Several of the Division’s vascular surgeons lead cutting-edge research programs and are affiliated or clinical scientists in the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute at UHN:



Our researchers aim to develop new diagnostic tools, treatments, and preventative medicine for vascular disorders. Areas of interest include identifying molecular regulators, advancing imaging technologies, improving risk assessment and understanding pathophysiologic mechanisms.

Some of our vascular surgeons hold additional appointments in departments at the University of Toronto beyond their appointments with the Department of Surgery, such as in the Institute of Medical Science.

For more information on the research being done at UHN and the University of Toronto:

Undergraduate Program

University of Toronto Medical Students

The Division of Vascular Surgery has a significant role in Undergraduate Education at the University of Toronto.

The University offers core and elective experience for its undergraduate Medical Students. Clinical Clerks in their third-year can rotate with the Division of Vascular Surgery as a core surgery elective. Faculty members at the University may mentor multiple undergraduate students and participate in surgery teaching seminars for students.

During their rotation, students have the opportunity to:

  • Learn types of aortic aneurysms, the risk of rupture, thresholds for therapy, modes of therapy and complications
  • Develop an understanding of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)—presentations, natural history, diagnostic modalities, therapeutic options including risk factor modification, angiographic intervention and operative approaches
  • Develop an understanding of the diagnosis and therapy for venous disease, including DVT, Varicose veins, and venous ulcer
  • Learn the causes of stroke and the different therapies available as well as understand the role of intervention in the both the symptomatic and asymptomatic states
  • Develop an approach to the swollen leg, investigation, differential diagnosis and management

The clinical experience is complemented by the option to contribute to clinical or basic research.

Further information on Undergraduate education is provided by the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Toronto.


Elective Program

The Division of Vascular Surgery accepts Elective Students from universities across Canada and abroad.


Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS)

The CREMS Summer Program provides medical students with the opportunity to obtain research experience during the summer months.

The CREMS Summer Program is open to first- and second-year medical students at the University of Toronto.

Applications are submitted, reviewed, ranked and selected by the CREMS Director and a review panel of three other faculty members.

Students in the program present their work at the University of Toronto Medical Student Research Day, which is held in the following year with a poster presentation. Supervisors ensure that students receive the appropriate training needed to conduct their research projects.

Further information is provided by the CREMS office at the University of Toronto.


Patient as Teacher Program

The third-year surgical clerkship for undergraduate medical students at the University of Toronto integrates the Patient as Teacher program. Comprising three workshops and production of a creative reflection piece, this program aims to promote humanism and patient-centred approaches in medicine. Patients share their experiences and insights to provide students with the patient perspective of the surgical journey.

Further information on the Patient as Teacher program »


Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks
Artwork by University of Toronto surgical clerks George Ho (left) and Sivaani Sivaselvachandran (right).

Observerships

The Observerships program at UHN provides health care professionals and students from around the world the opportunity to observe examinations and other procedures performed by UHN staff physicians, surgeons, nurses, and health professionals. All Observers require a UHN sponsor – a clinical or surgical staff member who will be responsible for the observer's learning experience. It is the observer's responsibility to connect with a sponsor and then proceed with the application process.

In addition to the general Observerships program, the International Centre for Education at UHN’s Michener Institute of Education offers the Personalized Learning Program.

Personalized Learning Program (PLP)

The PLP at UHN is a fully customizable, observership-based program designed to meet learner goals and objectives. No two PLPs are exactly the same! Various resources and expertise throughout UHN are leveraged to enhance the learning experience. The program office works closely with host program(s) and learners to develop an Education Plan, outlining the activities of the PLP which are meant to meet the learning objectives. One-on-one coaching time and check-ins are also scheduled throughout the program, as needed. Learners are asked to provide a short presentation at the end of the program to summarize their learning and provide feedback. Learners also receive a UHN-Michener Certificate of Completion at the end of the program.

Depending on the PLP, the program may also be done virtually. A virtual PLP will provide one-on-one or group mentorship-like experiences and masterclasses with UHN clinicians and leaders. The virtual programs will be designed around and focused on meeting learners’ personalized learning needs and objectives.

Further information on the PLP is available from the International Centre for Education.