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Chapter 2: Curriculum


The Surgical Foundations curriculum is currently undergoing updates and modifications for the upcoming 2022-2023 Academic Year.

Guided by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, CanMEDs standards, and feedback from faculty and residents (both current and former), updates are being made to lecture topics and technical skills objectives / topics. Thank you to all program directors, program coordinators, Anatomy and CSBL staff, and residents for providing feedback and suggestions. Additional feedback is summated and used for additional improvements following both the PGY-1 Mid-Year survey in December and the annual Resident Survey which takes place in June. 

The scope of Surgical Foundations is broad and includes three separate themes:


Each surgical sub-specialty has at least one session/lecture dedicated per year. These are part of the Discipline Emergency Lecture series.


Surgical Foundations has a comprehensive technical skills curriculum. Using the incredible resources at MUMC's Anatomy Lab and Centre for Simulation-Based Learning (CSBL), Surgical Foundations residents are able to hone their skills and ask questions from experienced faculty from the Department of Surgery.


Surgical Foundations has a comprehensive research curriculum, lead by Dr. Forough Farrokhyar and Dr. Brad Petrisor. The curriculum differs for PGY1 and PGY2 Surgical Foundations residents. 


Surgical Foundations provides formal training of the CanMEDS Roles.



Residents have interactive seminars covering basic surgical principles to augment their reading in those subjects. There are also clinically-oriented interactive seminars in the surgical subspecialties to formally address issues regarding patient care. Sessions are devoted to teaching and discussing ethical concepts. A specially designed research program gives residents a well-rounded education in evidence-based surgery.


The format of Surgical Foundations fosters communication skills. The residents need to communicate regularly with their peers as well as with the lecturers. Issues regarding communication may be addressed specifically during sessions on communication, teaching, management and patient care.


The variety of subjects addressed in Surgical Foundations is such that the residents are regularly taught by non-surgical specialists. This gives residents an appreciation for the expertise of other specialists in a multidisciplinary approach to medical care. Residents are encouraged to form study groups and collaborate while studying for the Surgical Foundations examination.


Issues of patient management are frequently discussed during clinical sessions. Residents elect a resident representative body to help manage Surgical Foundations and individual residents are required to coordinate sessions with lecturers and other residents. Techniques of time management and practice management may be addressed in specific sessions of Surgical Foundations.


Issues of health governance may be presented and discussed by leaders in the governance structure.


Residents are encouraged to keep a learning dossier. They identify their learning needs and decide how best to address those needs. They receive training in teaching skills and workshops in critical appraisal and all residents will participate in a research methods seminar series.


Residents are exposed to clinicians who are role models of professionalism. Specific sessions deal with the concepts of professionalism and residents are encouraged to discuss their own issues and experience. Royal College vignettes highlighting professional issues are available for discussion.

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