Okanagan South

Site Director Message

Welcome to the Okanagan South/snpintktn UBC Family Practice Residency Program!

Our program is based in Penticton, and together with the six regional communities of Summerland, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos, and Princeton the area has a population of approximately 90,000.

Now in our eighth year, our site was established in 2016.  Our hospital, Penticton Regional Hospital, has been involved in medical training for some time, but the addition of the Family Practice residents has been a real benefit to our community.  We are enlivened also by elective medical students from the UBC Southern Medical Program (Kelowna-based) and residents in internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics and sometimes other family practice residents.  For the most part though, you will be the “first in line” learner.

The majority of your training will be through Penticton Regional Hospital, a 140-bed Affiliated Regional Centre site for the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Fifth year in our new Patient Care Tower and all the kinks have been ironed out.   We have update spaces, new equipment, and a newly renovated ER. The UBC Faculty of Medicine space includes large video conference rooms, on-call rooms, lockers and showers, a learner’s lounge and study rooms, clinical skills rooms, and a librarian-staffed library.

This year we established the Sim Room, so after much gratitude, we no longer need Kelowna for our simulation training.  We also have a new POCUS room actively being equipped with enthusiastic teachers.

Penticton has great ratio of residents to both patients and preceptors. You will benefit from a small-group learning experience in a medical community of 127 family physicians, 80 specialists, and 37 consulting staff (well, thereabouts).  As a regional hospital, you will learn from a range of specialists that will round out your skills and expose you to a variety of sick patients in a supported setting. A texting relationship with your attending!  For acute care, we have family medicine-oriented hospital service that is meeting the needs of attached and unattached patients.  Most of our FPs have signed on to this service, and many work in the service, for an efficient ratio of in-hospital and out-of-hospital care.

Our aim is to provide high-quality family medicine residency training with a RURAL focus. You will have five blocks of rural rotation—1 block in Princeton in R1 year and 4 blocks in a rural site of your choice in R2 year. There will be a strong longitudinal attachment to a family practice home clinic with several blocks of family medicine as well as a half day back in clinic during other rotations. Residents will be able to provide ‘continuity of care’ to family practice, hospital and maternity patients.

There is extensive exposure to emergency medicine as well as specialized populations such as the Martin Street Outreach that cares for patients with coexisting mental health and substance use issues, and the Foundry for youth. We have an active and committed Division of Family Practice, with multiple initiatives, projects, and working groups. Initiatives include Patient Care Networks, developing team-based care; locum support; alternative payment progras; and management of clinics.

Penticton is a great place to live, play, work and raise a family.  We encourage our residents to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Outdoor recreation opportunities include swimming, boating, windsurfing, kiteboarding, golf, rock climbing, hiking and cycling most of the year, and downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in the winter. The foodie scene is farm-to-table, and we have the largest farmer’s market in the Interior.  Cultural opportunities at the Dream Cafe (music), South Okanagan Events Centre (concerts), and two amateur drama troupe.  Plus there are festivals throughout the year (Elvis, Scottish, square-dancing, comic-con, Slow Food, Christmas market …) and of course PeachFest.

If you are looking for an opportunity to experience the full spectrum of family medicine with a strong rural emphasis, the Okanagan South program will prepare you for a career as a family physician in communities of any size from urban to remote. We look forward to meeting you at CaRMs and hope you feel inspired to be a part of our program.

Dr. Michelle Linekin

UBC Postgraduate Family Practice Residency Program — Okanagan South Site

3rd Floor, David Kampe Tower

550 Carmi Avenue, Penticton, BC V2A 3G6

Grateful to live on the ancestral lands of the Syil’x Okanagan peoples (www.syilx.org)

Lead Resident Message

Penticton is a gorgeous city of 33,000 set between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. It is a beautiful setting to relax after a full week of residency training. With over 200+ vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, stellar rock climbing, mountain biking trails, nearby ski hills, and water sports galore, it’s no wonder it is a mecca for athletes and vacationers. This setting has attracted many family practitioners and a wide variety of specialists to the area. Here are some highlights of our program:

A collegial and cohesive group of doctors who are extremely knowledgeable and friendly

From the moment you are accepted into the Okanagan South program, the community opens its doors to you! The group of family doctors and members of the community are welcoming, warm, and enthusiastic about having learners around. The staff is keen to enhance the transition to residency and help you settle in the Okanagan through numerous social and administrative events throughout the year.

Learner opportunities

Our program is growing up fast, we are now approaching 7 years since its inception. There are only family medicine residents on site. This means you are first in line for procedures, deliveries, first surgical assist, and typically have a one-on-one teacher to learner ratio. Furthermore, Penticton is also an education-based and not service-based program. We also have opportunities for addictions learning at our national award-winning Martin Street Outreach Clinic.

Continuity of care

With your entire first year and half of your second year based in Penticton, it is easy to develop relationships with patients and physicians alike. With a minimum of one-half day in your Family Practice clinic each week, you have continuity of care with your patients, can develop meaningful relationships with them, and can adjust management strategies accordingly.

Great opportunities in neighbouring locations

Throughout the curriculum, there are experiences in the small towns of Princeton, Oliver, and Keremeos. There are also opportunities to participate in experiences in more urban settings such as Kelowna and Vernon. Our experiences in these sites have been fantastic with excellent learner opportunities and a range of acuity. The curriculum also includes experience with marginalized populations at the correctional facility in Oliver, as well as the Foundry centre for youth/adolescents, and the Martin Street Outreach Centre in Penticton.

Brand-New Hospital

The brand new hospital was just completed in April 2019 and we can still smell the fresh paint. It is a $312 million dollar upgrade and it is quite incredible. Words won’t do it justice but suffice it to say we are very lucky. Although we are a rural site, our facility has an MRI, CT, MIBI, and 3D Cardiac ECHO. Our brand new UBC space is equipped with 4 call rooms, a resident-only locker room as well as a bathroom, and shower facilities. We’re also lucky to have a comfy resident lounge and a library, with a librarian on-site, for all of your research needs.

See you (virtually) at CaRMS!

From the Lead Residents,

Dr. Vicki Brannan & Dr. Jennifer Borchert

Number of Residents: 5 CMG, 1 IMG
Location: Penticton, Summerland and Oliver/Osoyoos, BC
Community: 90,000
Hospital: Penticton Regional Hospital and South Okanagan General Hospital
Distance to Vancouver: 420 km

Curriculum Type: Block, Longitudinal FP
R2 Elective Time: 12 weeks
Phone: 250.492.4000 x32881
Contact: Site Director – Dr. Murali Venkataraman / Site Coordinator –  Kristen Hatch
Chief Resident: Dr. Jennifer Borchert & Dr. Vicki Brannan

Program Highlights

The Okanagan South program is in a unique location that will give you the skills and knowledge to practice in an urban, semi-rural, rural or remote setting. Your home base will be in a family practice clinic in Penticton or Summerland, where you will be paired with a preceptor for continuity throughout the program, and have the opportunity to follow patients in these communities. Our medical community is an active leader in team-based care and collaborative strategies that have spread to other areas of the province, and our preceptors are among the physicians who lead the way in our community.

The Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) continues to have an active family physician hospital practice.  In recent years, with physician retirement, there has been the creation of family physician community inpatient service to care for the needs of unattached inpatient. This has been a novel collaborative effort stewarded by our local Divisions of Family practice.

PRH is the referral centre for the South Okanagan/Similkameen region, serving a population base of approximately 90,000. It provides regional care services, such as Intensive Care, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Renal and GP Oncology for six communities, which include Penticton, Summerland, Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos and Princeton. The specialty rotations and learning experiences are delivered by a supportive group of specialists who work directly with family physicians in the 140-bed hospital.

In addition, the South Okanagan General Hospital covers the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos and surrounding rural areas, offering outpatient ambulatory, acute care, and a 24/7 emergency department.

Often compared to the Napa Valley, the South Okanagan is a place where balanced lifestyle opportunities are close at hand: whether it’s recreational opportunities on the water and in the hills, music, food and wine festivals in the valley or the amenities of BC’s third-largest metropolitan area one hour to the north in Kelowna.

Program Overview

The Okanagan South curriculum will provide a diverse set of learning opportunities, designed to meet the CFPC requirements. The resident will have 1-2.5 days per week of family practice experience. We are committed to an enhanced RURAL training experience with five blocks of rural rotation including 1 block in Princeton in your R1 year and 4 blocks of rural in R2 of the residents choice matched through the rural match selection process.

Year 1 Rotation Schedule Overview

Rotation Content:

The Okanagan South curriculum is a two-year program centered in Family Medicine.

 PGY 1 Overview:

Block 1 2 3 4 5 & 6 6 & 7 7 8 9 10 11 11 12 13
Weeks 4 4 4 2 5 5 2 4 4 4 2 2 8 2
Orien/ FM    FM     CIS PSYCH      IM Surg/Sub-Specialty     PRHED    FM IM Sub-specialty Pediatrics Care of Und BCCH Pediatrics Emergency PRH OBS GYNE Rural Princeton

CIS = Community Inpatient Service

Sample PGY 2 Rotation:

The PGY 2 year will include four months of rural rotation. There are three months of electives that will allow you to direct your learning experiences. We request a one-month minimum to be a local elective (which will include time in your family practice clinic)..

Block 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 11 12 13
Weeks 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 2 4 4 2 2 4 4
Rural Rural Rural Rural LocalElective PRH/SOGH ER Care of Und. PRH OBS    IM Away Elective Away Elective Procedural Skills FM Palliative& FP Transition to Practice

Highlights of a residency in the Okanagan South include exposure to unique experiences such as:

  • In PGY 1 there will be four rotations that include weekly emergency room shifts at Penticton Regional Hospital;
  • The Martin Street Outreach Clinic – an innovative clinic with a collaborative approach to stabilization and education for those with chronic mental health and substance abuse issues; and
  • Mentorship by full-service family physicians, all of whom are involved with the care of their patients in the hospital.
  • Five months of rural training including nearby locations like Oliver/Osoyoos and Princeton.
  • Exposure to Prison Medicine at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Our training site

The region’s health facilities consist of the regional hospital in Penticton and two community hospitals in Oliver and Princeton, along with health centres in Summerland and Keremeos. Primary care is provided in GP offices, and the following clinics: primary OB, mental health and addictions, chronic pain clinics and chronic disease management clinics.

The medical community is made up of 127 family physicians, 80 specialists and 37 consulting staff. The South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice is extremely active, with two prototypes—inpatient care and residential care—spreading provincially, and multiple collaborative partnerships and team-based care strategies, including physician-led Sustainable Rural Communities and Residential Care projects and five Shared Care initiatives that enable family physicians and specialists to work together within their communities to improve patient care.

Our educational resources.  The Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) has been a training site for UBC Southern Medical Program (SMP) Rural Family Practice Clerkships and Year 4 Electives and in addition, the South Okanagan has hosted Family Medicine Residency Rural Rotation sites in Oliver, Osoyoos, and Summerland.

Our community resources. Where most people vacation is where we call home. Situated between 113-km long Lake Okanagan and Skaha Lake, and surrounded by highlands and mountains, Penticton is a draw for outdoor recreation, including swimming, boating, windsurfing, kiteboarding, golf, rock climbing, hiking, cycling most of the year, and downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross- country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Organized athletic activities include an annual Gran Fondo and triathlon events. With over 2,100 hours of sunshine and only 15 inches of rain annually, the area has a comfortable climate year round.

Penticton and the south-central region are easily accessible from major urban centres by highway and by air. We are approximately 4.5 hours driving time from Vancouver and 8 hours from Calgary, with the nearest larger urban centre located 1 hour away in Kelowna. Penticton is served by a local regional airport, while Kelowna is served by an international airport.


Interview with a resident

JoyAnne Krupa is a member of the first Okanagan South Family Medicine group of residents. The program began in July 2016 and this interview took place in August 2016.

What attracted you to a residency in the South Okanagan?

The South Okanagan has everything you need for a positive lifestyle—ranging from beaches and wineries to hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Penticton is a small town with a very supportive community. I knew I would have the opportunity to be trained in providing comprehensive care.

How would you describe your learning opportunities during your residency?

If you want to become a rural doctor or value having continuity with your patients, the South Okanagan is a great place to do residency.

There is no hospitalist service here, so you can round on your patients in hospital and also see them in residential care and palliative care. You follow patients through the whole process, from admission through recovery and follow-up. This is different from my experience in urban sites, which can be mostly clinic-based with more frequent referrals.

My preceptor is part of an amazing clinic that does procedures such as joint injections and biopsies that you might not see in a big centre. Sometimes I get the chance to do home calls. The other day I visited a lady who was 101 in her home!

How is your relationship with your preceptor?

I love my preceptors. In Penticton and Summerland, you will find a caring group of physicians who make you feel like much more than just a number. Everyone I have worked with so far here is extremely friendly, skilled and knowledgeable. Preceptors tend to be very learner-centred – I can focus on my goals for the day, even if it’s just working on patient-centred care, and they are very supportive of that.

Dr. Krabbe brings me peaches and blueberries to work sometimes from her garden. This makes me extremely happy.

How did you find working with others in the medical community?

So far I have had experience with a mix of specialists and general internists. I have the opportunity to work on call and in clinics. My experience with the specialists is that they are very good and willing to spend a lot of time with you, even one-on-one. They are also really down to earth people who care about their own life work balance.

Can you tell us about a highlight of your residency?

The program has really just started, but so far I have found the program director and the other preceptors to be very receptive to individual learning styles. It’s very flexible, and there are opportunities to add your own input.

Also, everyone wears shorts to work here in the summertime, which is fabulous. The fruit selection will also knock your socks off.

What kind of activities do you enjoy outside of work in Penticton?

Rock climbing is my passion and the Skaha Bluffs are a world-class area for practically year round climbing. I’m also a backcountry skier and alpinist and there is much to be explored in the area from Apex to Manning Park and Cathedral Park. There are pretty much endless opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities in the area, from road and mountain biking, water sports on both lakes through alpine and Nordic skiing.

What about drawbacks to your residency?

With Penticton being a vacation paradise, July can be a difficult time to find housing. We are working on that for the coming year and hope to have some options lined up for the new residents.

Being a new program, things are constantly evolving. The wrinkles and logistics will get smoothed out from year to year.

Penticton also has a lot of retired residents, which is great for chronic care management but perhaps not as much variety in demographics.

What sort of resident would do well in the Okanagan South program?

The program is very dynamic. There are lots of opportunities, but you need to be flexible. I think for anyone who is open to change, willing to try new things, adventurous, and enjoys a smaller community, this is an excellent choice.

Whether you have a family or are single, there is a great community here and plenty of hobbies to be enjoyed.