Site Director Message

Welcome to the UBC Family Practice Residency program in Kamloops, British Columbia. We are a community with an enthusiastic and diverse medical community committed to teaching excellence.

Our program is designed to provide you with high-quality community-based family practice, obstetrical and inpatient experience. We have integrated each element using the best of block and horizontal teaching schedules. We focus on the core elements required for Family Practice training, while immersing you in diverse clinical experiences to help you transition into practice after our program. FUN is part of our philosophy.

Kamloops has a wealth of recreational and cultural activities. We have first-class skiing and mountain biking at Sun Peaks Resort. During normal times, Thompson Rivers University is a vibrant university campus including the newest law school in Canada. There is a nightly summer Music in the Park program and a creative Arts and Theatre community that will re-emerge even stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic. Kamloops is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada, and we are home to the WHL Kamloops Blazers.

Increasingly, health care is delivered through team-based care. We aim to help you make the most of team-based medicine, which is now operational in a few of our community family medicine settings.

Health care systems and information constantly change based on emerging evidence. Our site faculty and preceptors will help you develop the skills you need to manage change and foster personal development in the process. A goal of our program is to help you prepare for an enjoyable life as a Family Physician, knowing that you have solid skills practicing in the broad field of Family Medicine.

We are in unprecedented times given the current COVID-19 pandemic, and our site has continued to provide exceptional clinical experiences during this time. Our residents have been integrated as health professionals responding to our patient and population needs. I am personally grateful for the health care culture in Kamloops.

Kamloops is a community that will embrace and supports you in your clinical, academic, and personal pursuits. We look forward to meeting you in July!

Dr. Johaan van Heerden

Lead Resident Message

Welcome to Kamloops! Our site opened in 2014 and has been expanding and making positive changes ever since! We have a wonderful medical community that has enthusiastically embraced the FM residency program. Some of our graduated residents have stayed and now have taken on leadership roles in our program. Our site is looking for eight hard-working and independent individuals that enjoy life outside of medicine to join our amazing community.


Unique Program Features 

  • Primarily block-based model with some longitudinal features.
    • During off-service rotations, four days per week are spent on rotation and one day is spent in alternating academic full days and return to family medicine clinic days
  • Longitudinally, we follow long-term care patients and obstetric patients throughout our training.
    • For obstetric patients, we are involved in prenatal, intra-partum and postpartum care.
  • Many primary preceptors have hospital privileges and care for their own inpatients, provide obstetric, long-term/geriatric, and/or palliative care.
    • We try to match residents with preceptors with similar areas of interest.
  • We work with 2 or more family medicine preceptors to give us a broader scope of exposure.
  • New resident lounge and 5 call rooms built in 2016!

Centered in Family Medicine

One of the great strengths of this program is that family medicine exposure is continuous over two years. This ensures the opportunity to apply concepts learned on specialty rotations back to your home practice.  We have full clinic days every other week to allow you to build your own cohort of patients to follow. In addition, many of the specialty rotations are focused on family medicine learning and tailor your learning experiences. For example, there is a weekly pediatric clinic that is run by the family medicine residents.

Little Competition for Learning Opportunities

There are 8 UBC 3rd year medical students, 17 family medicine residents, and a few elective 4th year medical students and visiting specialty residents throughout the year. You are often the only learner on rotation.  There are some exceptions, with Pediatrics and Gen Surg often having other learners. However, there is plenty of work to go around you aren’t fighting over learning exposure. You work directly with staff and are first in line for consults, procedures, deliveries, surgical assists, etc.

Emphasis on Your Learning

Our program is relatively new and there is very little dependency on resident servitude. The majority of rotations and preceptors are keen to facilitate your learning and build rotations around FM centered learning.  Preceptors respect and appreciate your learning goals and their expectations are scaled accordingly (meaning minimal scut).  Call is variable but often scheduled by yourself or with your preferences in mind.

Strong Academic Curriculum

Our curriculum and behavioural medicine faculty continuously work to improve our academic curriculum. Faculty provide lectures on the 105 key topics for our CCFP exam. We have behavioural medicine lectures on topics like end of life ethics, mindfulness for patients, and reflective practice. Our program is open to topic suggestions and incorporates them into our academic days.

We have an excellent SIM lab built with high fidelity models and dedicated staff who have been amazing for teaching at our regular SIM sessions. We also have ultrasound teaching regularly as part of our academic days.

Collegial Medical Community

The residency program has been very well received in Kamloops and they have welcomed us as part of the medical community. The enthusiasm amongst preceptors here is unparalleled. Consultants on other services in the hospital are happy to chat about interesting cases and involve you in procedures.

Opportunity to Leave Your Mark

Even though we are an established program, we are still working hard to improve. Each resident has the opportunity to improve the program. Our program director openly solicits feedback and has been diligently working to incorporate our feedback.  Major changes in the past have included adding opportunities for longitudinal long-term care/geriatrics, providing options for additional ER and hospitalist shifts, and adapting the definition of FM call to ensure we can see more of what we want to see.

Tertiary Care & Rural Exposure

Kamloops is a level 2 trauma center located at the junction between three major highways, several major ski hills, and a number of lakes/rivers. The emerg here is busy year round. Kamloops is a major referral center for the surrounding communities. There is also opportunity to work in the surrounding rural communities such as Chase and Merritt. High volume plus low number of learners means that your clinical exposure here will be top notch. Kamloops has quite a good volume of interesting pathology! As with the other UBC family medicine programs, residents also have the opportunity to pursue extended rural training and gain more experience in other communities.

Work-Life Balance & Life in Kamloops

Our program directors strongly encourage that we make time for the things we love outside of medicine. There are lots of opportunities to be involved activities outside of medicine. There is a thriving outdoor community: mountain biking trails in town, a local ski hill, hiking trails, and much more. Many of our current residents get season passes at Sun Peaks and can be found there on weekends through winter. There are tons of nearby lakes to explore and we will often go paddleboarding together. You may also find us playing sports in some of the local leagues (soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee) and adding to our trivia trophy collection. There are also 6 local breweries and a winery! Our Kamloops group is a great size with enough people to find others with similar interests but small enough that it still feels like family.

The people in Kamloops are incredibly welcoming. For a city of 90,000 people, there are lots opportunities in town. There are museums, a symphony, an art gallery, free outdoor concerts every night in July and August, and more. Kamloops is also very central making trips to Vancouver, the Okanagan, Revelstoke and many other areas easy to do over a weekend.


Opportunity to Teach

There are 8 UBC 3rd year medical students and we do get the occasional 4th year elective student. Aside from that, there aren’t many junior learners. If you’re keen to teach, you’ll have to seek out those opportunities. If you aren’t, teaching expectations are low. In the past, residents have done presentations or workshops targeted to the medical students or hosted OSCE practices — it’s possible, just requires you to be more proactive.

We Don’t Have Every Service

Kamloops is a tertiary care center, but we don’t have thoracic surgery or cardiac surgery. If it’s important to you to have exposure to these services during your residency, you can use elective time. In addition some residents have found rotations such as obstetrics to not have enough volume in term of deliveries at times and therefore have chosen to pursue further experience in hospitals in the lower mainland. We also do not have a dedicated anesthesia rotation, and many residents choose to pursue this during electives.


We’re confident that the Kamloops program will train you to be great family doctors who will be able to provide comprehensive care for your future patients.

Dr. Andrea Houze and Dr. Suhana Kamakari

Number of Residents: 7 CMG, 2 IMG
Location: Kamloops
Community: 91,000

Hospital: Royal Inland Hospital
Curriculum Type: Partial Horizontal
R2 Elective Time: 12 weeks
Distance from Vancouver: 353 KM


Our community knows the value of family practice. Kamloops has a tradition of strong care and leadership from our family doctors. Our specialist colleagues and allied health professionals support us immeasurably in the work we do. With this rich background, we have created a curriculum committed to excellence in teaching and care for our patients and community.

Program Highlights

  • Beautiful city with many sports, recreational and cultural opportunities
  • Collegial and supportive medical community
  • Enthusiastic group of family practice preceptors
  • Longitudinal experience in family medicine with exposure to different practice styles, every second Friday throughout the 2 years
  • New UBC Family Practice Learning Centre, co-located with a new Urgent Primary Care Centre and providing team based care
  • Very busy ER (regional trauma centre)
  • Longitudinal obstetrical experience
  • Specialists in almost every field yielding high breadth of exposure and elective options
  • Several specialty residents to learn from and medical students to teach, but not so many as to take away learning opportunities
  • Comprehensive academic day curriculum including SIM, ultrasound, dermoscopy, suturing and casting sessions
  • A site faculty committed to your well-being, skill development, and excellence in Family Medicine.

Sample Rotation

Please note:

  • Each resident will be matched with 2 community Family Physicians and will also have rotations in our new Family Practice Learning Center (FPLC) – dark green on our sample rotation below
  • Every second Friday will be our Academic Day
  • Every other Friday is back with a community Family Physicians for most residents. 1-2 residents per year will do longitudinal family medicine in the FPLC.
  • We also have longitudinal experiences in obstetrics and care of the elderly/residential care
Blocks 1 2 3 4 5       6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
R1 Family FP Emergency SURG ORTHO Addictions Pediatrics Family Hospitalist Family FP Elective OB
Blocks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
R2 Internal Medicine Electives Family Emergency Psychiatry FP Elective or Rural FP Family Elective or Rural Family
What made you choose Kamloops?
I wanted a residency program in which I would be able to experience the scope of a rural/suburban family doctor but would get a good foundation in specialty medicine. Kamloops fit the bill perfectly: it is a great small city (population is around 90 000) but has a 244-bed tertiary care hospital which has all specialties except for cardiac surgery and thoracic surgery. There are almost no other residents to compete for experiences with. Many family physicians care for their own inpatients (either as part of a hospitalist group or a separate call group) and many practice in one or more other family medicine specialties (like OB, palliative, etc.).As for Kamloops itself, I was amazed at how many cultural and recreational opportunities Kamloops has to offer. It’s got way more than you would expect of a town of 90 000, from museums to an art gallery to a symphony! It’s also a very welcoming community—people will be thrilled to have you, whether you plan to stay after your residency or not.
Describe a week in the life of a Kamloops resident:
 Four days are spent working with specialists and Friday is either an academic day or a full day in family medicine. The call schedule is mostly up to you! There is a minimum number of call shifts required on each rotation, but residents are allowed to choose when they want to schedule them (with the exceptions of paeds and ortho) and are at liberty to add more as they wish. The exceptions above do ask for call preferences when creating our schedules too. Most of the time you will be able to do home call and have the option of converting to in-house call if you do have a busy night. Different rotations have different call hours: some evenings until midnight, some 24h, etc. 
What are some of the things that make Kamloops unique compared with other FM residency sites? 
Kamloops has strong teachers in SIM and ultrasound. We do regular and challenging sessions to build skills we can apply to practice. Kamloops aims to build doctors able to provide full-scope family medicine. Unlike some other rural locations at UBC and in other provinces, your entire residency (with the exception of your rural rotation +/- electives) is in Kamloops—no need to move in year two! 
Is there a large service component to your residency? 
Royal Inland Hospital has been working without residents up until 2014. Consultants are used to working without us and see us as learners rather than “scut monkeys”. Though the residency program in Kamloops is new, many preceptors have had experience with elective residents over the years and so they are generally great teachers, too. We are constantly encouraged to tailor our experience to our own needs and to see the more interesting cases. We are really able to make the most of our residency experience according to our learning needs.
Does it get fairly competitive with the other residents?
There are very few residents at this site: sixteen family medicine residents and a few specialty residents around the hospital on rotations. The more senior residents from specialties are always willing to teach and have you do some procedures with them. The residents from the Kamloops program are very collegial and share their knowledge and interesting cases with each other. Faculty will seek out residents and any other learners when an interesting case comes into the hospital and encourage you to follow the case.
What are the challenges of the Kamloops site?Residents are given a fair amount of independence with their learning. Some responsibilities (rotation-dependent) include scheduling and organizing your own call or learning experiences. Sometimes residents have to be flexible and willing to accommodate schedule changes. There is also a bit more work having to organize some of these yourself but the advantage is you can tailor your learning! There are not a lot of built-in opportunities to teach as we only have six medical students per year; so far residents have been able to work around this but it is something to consider depending on where your interests lie.What kind of learner would do well in Kamloops?Learners who are keen to learn and like to be independent. You do have to be organized to keep track of scheduling call schedules. Most importantly, people who are very laid back and active will get along perfectly with the local physicians and the rest of the staff!Is there anything to do outside of work?Definitely! Kamloops is prime mountain biking, hiking and fishing destination. If you like winter activities, Sun Peaks is 40 minutes away for great skiing. If music is your thing, there are free daily concerts in the park throughout July and August and several free concerts year-round at Sun Peaks. There are also many golf courses close by in case you manage to get off work early. Kamloops is known as “Canada’s Tournament Capital” and we live up to it by using our large (and new!) recreation facility.  Kamloops is home to Thompson Rivers University which attracts a young and diverse population to the city. If you’re a foodie then Kamloops has some great restaurants with many different cuisines. We also have quite the collection of local breweries, wineries, and a cidery. Of course, we are also the gateway to the Okanagan, so who could forget the beautiful lakes, rivers and vineyards? Even if you somehow manage to get bored on a weekend, Kelowna is a short 2-hour drive away, Vancouver is 3.5 hours away, and Calgary is only 6 hours to the east!