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General Surgery Niagara


The Niagara General Surgery residency program is based at the St. Catharines Site of Niagara Health. The program offers a wide range of clinical activities and experiences within a community setting. The program is home to five residents, one in each year of training with visiting residents throughout the year.  Eight faculty in St Catharines run two surgical teams and there are growing faculty numbers throughout Niagara Health.  The residents and faculty work closely together and get to know each other well throughout the course of the program. The collegial culture is combined with robust clinical exposures through a full range of busy surgical services. The residents are supportive of each other and remain connected to the Hamilton program throughout their training.  

Dr. Ryan Fielding
General Surgery Program Education Lead 

Krista MacAulay
Program Assistant

St. Catharines Site
1200 Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines
Phone # 905-378-4647 

A significant amount of training in the Niagara stream takes place at Niagara Health (NH). NH is a regional healthcare provider with multiple sites and a growing network of community-based services. To learn more about Niagara Health, please visit their website here:   

Niagara Health is a proud academic partner affiliated with McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Niagara Health fosters a culture of support for medical education and resident success. To learn more about academics and research at NH, please visit the following sites: 

Academics: Niagara Health Academics 

Research: Niagara Health Research


Candidates applying for position in the McMaster General Surgery Niagara program through the Canadian Residency Matching Service will be assessed based on the content of their letter of application, the strength of their reference letters, their academic record as reflected on their medical school transcript, and the demonstration of their interest in our surgical training program when interviewed. We do look for candidates who understand community-based general surgery training and understand what our program can offer.  



General Surgery rotations occur at the St. Catharines Site & various sites within Hamilton. Details about the Hamilton sites can be found here  Exposure to ICU, pediatric surgery and endoscopy is required and there are a variety of elective opportunities available throughout the McMaster’s distributed medical education network. All rotations are held in St. Catharines unless otherwise indicated. 


  • 6 blocks of General Surgery
  • 2 blocks of Internal Medicine
  • 1-2 blocks of selective or surgical subspecialty 
  • 2 blocks of Pediatric General Surgery (Hamilton - McMaster Children’s Hospital)
  • 1 block of rookie camp (education sessions)


  • 5 blocks of General Surgery
  • 2 blocks of Trauma Surgery (Hamilton - Hamilton General Hospital)
  • 3 blocks of ICU
  • 3 blocks of Endoscopy


  • Possible Choices: Community or International Electives, Pathology, Vascular Surgery, Head & Neck Surgery, Thoracic Surgery (Hamilton - St. Joseph’s Hospital) or Research
  • 2 blocks of General Surgery


  • Up to 7 blocks of General Surgery & 2 blocks of Hepatobiliary Surgery
  • 1 block of Bariatric Surgery (Hamilton - St. Joseph’s Hospital)
  • Research (optional)


  • 10 blocks of General Surgery rotations at all 3 sites (Hamilton - Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski and St. Catharines Site)
  • April to June – Acute Care Service with dedicated time to prepare for the Royal College exams.


Incoming residents will follow the Competency by Design (CBD) framework in accordance with McMaster University’s General Surgery Program requirements, which includes frequent summative and formative evaluations. Residents are required to complete a Faculty Evaluation at the end of each rotation on the MedSIS system. Residents will not be able to retrieve evaluations completed on the MedSIS system until the appropriate Faculty Evaluation is completed.  All evaluations of faculty members remain anonymous and are critical for use in improving the educational experience of rotations. 


Niagara residents are invited to participate in a yearly Anatomy session held at the Michael G. Degroote School of Medicine in Niagara. This session allows residents and faculty to thoroughly go over the human anatomy in a lab with a cadaver to help better understand different procedural skills in surgery.  


Practice oral exams occur twice a year, in September & May, for all residents.  These practice oral exams are used to assess knowledge and to develop skills in exam-taking abilities for residents. 


Occurs annually in December and is an assessment of knowledge and helps residents benchmark their progress in the program. 


This occurs during the spring of the second year of the program. Residents must apply for the Surgical Foundations Exam one year prior to taking it. Details about this exam and the application process can be found on the Royal College website RC Exam Dates


0730-0830h   General Surgery Grand Rounds JHCC (4th Floor Lecture room) Rounds take place September-June in Hamilton. 

0900-1200h    PGY1-2 Surgical Foundations Program - organized by Dr Nalin Amin, Program Director. Surgical Foundation and is a curriculum that follows a two-year cycle. These sessions will help in preparation for the Surgical Foundations exam. 

0930-1130h    PGY3-5 Senior Sessions and Professor Rounds-held at the JHCC site 


General Surgery Resident Research Days are held annually and are an opportunity for residents to showcase their research projects to an audience of their peers and supervisors, gaining valuable research skills by participating in and presenting their own original research and QI projects. 


Resident Affairs provides confidential support for all residents and fellow and assists learners as they manage issues with or within their program, hospital, university or home. They will act as an advocate and will support or represent the learner during these times. Niagara has a wonderful and dedicated Director of Resident Affairs Dr. Aidan Jeffery


Residents are strongly encouraged to become involved in research projects throughout their training.  All General Surgery residents are required to complete two research projects, at a minimum, by the end of their program.  Support is available for Niagara residents through the Niagara Regional Campus research team and the Division of General Surgery Research Director, Dr. Shawn Forbes  Fellow residents, staff members and consultants in related disciplines such as ER and ICU are excellent resources for potential project leads and mentorship in your research skill set.  

Three to six months blocks are available for residents to pursue research. McMaster has an accredited Royal College Training program - the Clinical Investigator Program which is a two-year program in research and research methodology. If residents are interested in this path this must be decided in the PGY 1 year or the first six months of PGY 2. The CIP program can be inserted between 2nd and 3rd year or 3rd and 4th year of general surgery training. There is funding provided on a competitive basis for salary support for 1-2 years of research through the Margaret and Charles Juravinski Surgical Fellowship.  


One-on-one interviews between each resident and the Regional Education Lead occur twice annually.  These are a time for residents to discuss challenges and opportunities to grow in the program as well as focus on career directions.  Dr. Fielding and all program staff have an open-door policy throughout the year and are always happy to hear from residents with questions, concerns and feedback.  


Monthly journal club meetings open to residents at all levels of the program and faculty will begin in September 2020 (or whatever date). for all levels to start in the fall. Visit Journal Club page for more information.

Postgraduate Training Programs


McMaster University Postgraduate Programs are integrated in cooperation with the affiliated teaching hospitals and therefore there is no primary base hospital. We provide access to electronic medical resources for residents at all hospitals. The following hospitals are used for mandatory or elective rotations: Hamilton Health Sciences (McMaster Division, General Division, Juravinski Division); St. Joseph's Hospital; Niagara Health St. Catharines Site, other community hospitals.

The Juravinski site, Hamilton Health Sciences is a Centre for general surgery and gastrointestinal surgery including hepatobiliary and colorectal and oncology. This site also is affiliated with the Juravinski Cancer Centre.

The McMaster site is the Childrens' Hospital and pediatric surgery as well as pediatric trauma.

The General site, Hamilton Health Sciences is the location of the Adult Trauma Centre, cardiovascular surgery, and the largest combined ICU in the region.

St. Joseph's Hospital is a busy hospital for general surgery with a special interest in minimal access surgery and is the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS). Subspecialty services such as head and neck, thoracic and urological surgery are located at St. Joseph's Hospital.

The Niagara Health St. Catharines Site is the primary site for the Niagara residency program and provides core and elective rotations.

Community hospitals involved in the program include Oakville-Trafalgar, Brantford, Joseph Brant, Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Timmins and Thunder Bay.


Visit our Hamilton Education Overview Page for details about the Hamilton program.


An academic half-day occurs on Wednesday morning which is protected from service demands and includes mandatory attendance at Surgical Grand Rounds (0730-0830) and mandatory attendance at either the Surgical Foundations Program or the Senior Resident Seminars. (8:30 to 12:00 noon)

Specific training in Minimal Access Surgery is available in courses for junior residents and another course in 3rd or 4th year for senior residents.


All residents are expected to complete a minimum of two quality research projects over the five year program for presentation at an annual research day. Guidance for this will start in the Surgical Foundations Program and meetings with the Division of General Surgery Research Director, Dr. Shawn Forbes. Half-Day per week is set aside for research.

Three to six months blocks are available for the resident to pursue research. McMaster has an accredited Royal College Training program - the Clinical Investigator Program which is a two year program in research and research methodology. If residents are interested in this path this must be decided in the PGY 1 year or the first six months of PGY 2. The CIP program can be inserted between 2nd and 3rd year or 3rd and 4th year of general surgery training. There is funding provided on a competitive basis for salary support for 1-2 years of research through the Margaret and Charles Juravinski Surgical Fellowship. Selection Criteria

Candidates will be graded on the content of their letter of application; the strength of their references; the academic record; and the demonstration of their interest in our surgical training program when interviewed.

Simulation & Education

Niagara has a robust Simulation program that uses a variety of Scenario Based Simulation and enhanced skills training through the use of simulation equipment to help residents develop specific skills, expand their clinical interests and engage in educational experiences in a collaborative manner between McMaster University and Niagara Health.  

The shared space and facilities of the Niagara Regional Campus of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and the dedicated educational space at Niagara Health provides many teaching opportunities for interested residents including teaching clinical skills, clerkship orientation, and clinical teaching on specialty rotations. Surgery residents are surrounded by a culture of learning and collaboration as Niagara is home to residency programs in Family Medicine and PGY3 Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine as well as a site where many visiting residents come for rotations from programs based in Hamilton and across the country. Niagara offers many hands-on and experiential learning opportunities in addition to leadership and teaching opportunities while completing residency.  The Niagara Region is a beautiful location to call home during your residency training and throughout your career. For more information on the unique characteristics of the municipalities within Niagara, see Niagara Region Municipalities  






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