University of Calgary

New family doctors working in Calgary

By Marta Cyperling
Posted July 8, 2008

Dr. Sean Caine is one of 25 new family doctors working in Calgary.: Photo by Laurie WangDr. Sean Caine is one of 25 new family doctors working in Calgary.: Photo by Laurie WangThirty-six doctors have graduated from the University of Calgary family medicine residency program. Twenty-five of the graduates are now in Calgary communities working as locums, meaning they are temporarily working in place of a regular doctor who is absent.  Eleven of the graduates are taking a third-year residency in a specialty such as emergency medicine. 

"This is great news for Calgarians.  Studies show that 76 per cent of our grads stay in Alberta. The more residents we graduate, the more potential family doctors we have in the city," says Dr. Cathy MacLean, head of family medicine at the University of Calgary.

Basia Siedlecki graduated from the U of C family medicine residency program this year. Originally she is from Toronto, but moved to Calgary to pursue a PhD in health research and decided to enroll in the combined PhD/ MD program. She stayed in Calgary to do her residency.

"The residency in Calgary is the most desirable family residency program in Canada," she says. "It's always full and it's competitive to get into it."  

Siedlecki says the program has a reputation for being responsive to resident needs and to adapt the program in response to resident feedback. The program includes both ICU (intensive care unit) and CCU (cardiac care unit) work which is a drawing point for some residents. The program also has opportunities to do rotations in places like Whitehorse and Yellowknife which appeals to many residents.

Since graduation, Siedlecki has been working as a hospitalist, and oversees the general medical care of hospitalized patients. In September she will head to Sundre and she would like to work as a rural Alberta doctor.

Family doctors are in demand

She says there are a lot of misconceptions about family medicine and some people think it doesn't offer many opportunities. "The ideas people have about family medicine are incorrect. There are huge opportunities in lots of places. Everybody wants you," she says.

"It is a good time to be a family doctor," she added.

Sean Caine says the reputation of the UCalgary family medicine program brought him here. He completed his medical education in Toronto, but moved here for his family medicine residency. 

"There are lots of growing opportunities in medicine that attracted me here. There are numerous unique training experiences, both rural and urban, readily accessible in and around Calgary. I definitely intend to stay here for the next few years and possibly longer," he says.

Caine is working as a locum doctor right now and next year he plans to do a third-year residency in emergency medicine. Caine says that medical graduates are often attracted to locum work in the first few years because they are not yet ready to take on the financial burden of opening their own practice.

The 2008 family medicine residents who graduated from the University of Calgary are all certified with the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary

The U of C's Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. Through its educational programs, the Faculty of Medicine trains the physicians and scientists who will lead the next generation of health practitioners. Through its clinical work, continuing medical education programs, and close relationship with the Calgary Health Region, the Faculty of Medicine moves new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside efficiently and effectively, improving patient care.

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