Surrey- South Fraser

Site Director Message

Welcome to the Surrey South Fraser Site of the UBC Family Medicine Residency Program!

On July 1, 2011, six residents began their training in the then-newly launched training site based out of Surrey Memorial Hospital. This site has grown to become the second largest one in the UBC Family Medicine Residency Program. This year, there are 36 R1 and R2 learners, with both CMGs and IMGs integrated together.

Our residents are embedded into community family practices in Surrey, Langley and White Rock for two years. In between family medicine rotations, residents will complete rotations in surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, psychiatry, addictions medicine, etc. at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Langley Memorial Hospital, Delta Hospital and Peace Arch Hospital. Even while on these other rotations, residents return to their “home clinic” every 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of the month in order to provide longitudinal care for their family practice patients. And on the 2nd and 4th Thursday, residents come together as a group at Surrey Memorial Hospital for their academic day, where there will be faculty lectures, clinical skills exercises, sessions focused on the CFPC priority topics and some social time to bond with each other. Exam preparation such as practice SAMPs and mock SOOs are run two to three times a year to round out residents’ readiness for certification and independent practice.

Our preceptors are tasked with providing teaching based on the CFPC Triple C competency-based curriculum that is comprehensive, centered in family medicine, and focused on continuity in patient care and resident education. All our preceptors have access to teaching resources and support through UBC site faculty or their local Division of Family Practice to help them help residents get the most out of their training.

Our patients are diverse. Surrey is home to 580,000 people and rapidly growing, currently ranking 4th among Canada’s 25 largest municipalities.  59% of Surrey’s population are visible minorities: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese and more.  Langley’s population is approximately 166,000, of which 19% are visible minorities.  White Rock has 21,900 residents of which 10% are visible minorities.

Our hospitals are busy. Surrey Memorial Hospital, located on the unceded and traditional shared territories of the Katzie (kate-zee), Semiahmoo (semi-ah-moo), Kwantlen (kwant-len), Kwikwetlem (kwee-kwet-lum), Tsawwassen (tsa-wah-sen) and Coast Salish First Nations, opened in 1959 and has grown to become the largest hospital in the Fraser Health Authority, providing primary, secondary and tertiary care. It is a regional hospital with 624 acute care beds and 36 NICU bassinets. In 2016/17 Surrey Memorial Hospital saw 157,711 emergency room visits, provided care to 30,075 inpatient and 12,020 surgical day care cases, delivered 4,461 newborns, and had 165,331 visits to ambulatory care.

Langley Memorial Hospital, located on the unceded and traditional shared territories of the Kwantlen (kwant-len), Matsqui (mats-sqwee) and Katzie (kate-zee) First Nations, was built in 1948 and is currently undergoing renovations and expansion. It is a community hospital that provides primary care, secondary care, and some specialty services. There are 188 acute care beds. In 2016/17, Langley Memorial Hospital saw 47,272 emergency room visits, provided care to 10,542 inpatients and 10,510 surgical daycare cases, delivered 1,487 newborns, and had 76,792 visits to ambulatory care.

Delta Hospital, located on the unceded and traditional shared territories of the Tsawwassen (tsa-wah-sen) and Musqueam (mus-kwee-um) First Nations, was founded in 1980. It is a community hospital that provides primary care and some secondary acute care and specialty services. There are 58 acute care beds. In 2016/17, Delta Hospital saw 32,895 emergency room visits, provided care to 3,445 inpatient and 8,904 surgical daycare cases, and had 41,238 visits to ambulatory care.

Peace Arch Hospital, located on the unceded and traditional lands of the Coast Salish people, particularly the Semiahmoo (semi-ah-moo) First Nation, opened in 1954. It is a community hospital that according to 2018-2019 statistics, has 146 acute care beds, treated 53,194 patients in ER, delivered 1,263 babies, performed 112,317 imaging exams, completed 8,284 surgeries and admitted 8,843 patients.

Our recreational and cultural opportunities are plentiful. Surrey, Langley, White Rock and Delta host many family-friendly events throughout the year: food truck festivals, community festivals, antique car shows, summer music concerts, tree lighting festival, the multicultural Fusion Festival – just to name a few. The community centers, playgrounds, and local museums are modern and accessible gems. There are also farmer’s markets, berry farms, award winning wineries, microbreweries, and numerous restaurants offering an array of authentic ethnic foods. We’re home to beautiful beaches, many parks and hiking trails, hatcheries, animal sanctuaries, and so much more.

In summary, the Surrey South Fraser site is about growth and opportunities. Our family practice residents receive competency-based training that fosters growth in their skills, expertise and confidence to practice full-service family medicine independently. The communities they care for are increasing in population and diversity. Our hospitals are busy, with existing ones expanding and new ones being built. There are plenty of recreational and cultural opportunities to provide work-life balance to keep us healthy in mind and body.

We look forward to meeting you and hope you will choose to train with us. Please feel free to email us with questions and we’ll be happy to answer.


Dr. Sandra Derkach

Lead Resident Message

To all future residents,

As you near completion of your career as a medical student we would like to congratulate you on all of your hard work and success over the past few years and, moreover, welcome you to the CaRMS tour. We have had an incredibly positive experience with warm welcomes from our preceptors, physician colleagues, allied health professionals, and patients over the years.  We are an integrated site and welcome international medical graduates from all backgrounds who bring forth their experiences and diversity.

The communities of Surrey and Langley have a number of highly skilled, full service family physicians. In office you will be exposed to the ‘bread and butter’ of family medicine in addition to the work up of complex patients and a variety of office procedures. With approximately 4 000 deliveries and over 100 000 emergency department visits per year (the busiest in Canada) you will also be a member of the health care team at one of the highest volume hospitals in the country. Whether you are following your own family practice patients in hospital or working as hospitalist, for example, the variety of case presentations you will see is astounding.

Unique properties and strengths of our site include excellent preparation for emergency medicine, obstetrics or hospitalist medicine as a part of your practice.  Complementary to the variety and complexity of cases comes a low physician-learner ratio and a strong focus on education.  The development of a new UBC medical education floor in the brand-new critical care tower serves as a great space for continued learning and plays host to our academic days during residency. While there are visiting elective students and residents at Surrey, we are the only residency program to currently call Surrey ‘home’. You will be working in direct contact with your attending and often first in line for interesting cases in the OR, ER, or on the ward. Further, as mentioned, our preceptors are keen to teach and education is a top priority. Academic days are interactive and oriented towards our learning needs. Presenters and faculty are always open to feedback and suggestions for alternative learning objectives.

While we work hard, we are encouraged to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Our resident group is extremely close knit and we plan routine resident gatherings as well as other extracurricular activities such as kayaking, snowshoeing and white-water rafting. We believe the closeness of our group is a significant strength to our program in comparison to other larger family practice residency programs. Many of us commute to work and/or have spouses and children. As such, our faculty has been extremely supportive in helping us find an appropriate work-life balance.

So, in short, if you are looking for a program that will help develop your competence as a full-service family physician in an urban, remote, or rural setting, Surrey-South Fraser is the place to be! If you are looking for a program with numerous leadership opportunities on committees and in molding a new residency site curriculum, Surrey-South Fraser is the place to be! If you’re looking for a close-knit group of colleagues, skilled, intelligent, welcoming preceptors and hospital staff, Surrey-South Fraser is the place to be!

Thanks so much for your interest, best of luck, and we look forward to meeting you on the CaRMS tour.

Dr. David Luu and Dr. Justin Fernandes

Co-Lead Residents

Number of Residents: 12 CMG, 7 IMG
Location:  Surrey and Langley
Community: 509,000
Hospitals: Surrey Memorial Hospital, Langley Memorial Hospital, Peach Arch Hospital, Delta Hospital
Distance from Vancouver: 35 km- 50 km

Curriculum Type: Longitudinal and Block Rotations
R2 Elective Time:  12 weeks
Contact: Site Director – Dr. Sandra Derkach / Site Coordinator – Kathleen McIntosh
Lead Residents: Dr. Justin Fernandes and Dr. David Luu


Surrey is 45 minutes by car or Sky-Train (transit) to Vancouver, and is the second largest city in British Columbia. It has a diverse ethnic and socio-economic population, and urban, suburban, and rural regions to the municipality. Residents would be able to travel to the hospital with ease from any region within Surrey. Given the ease of access via transit, many of our physicians and employees also commute from Vancouver, White Rock, New Westminster, Langley, and other locations across the lower mainland.

The Mission of the Surrey site of the UBC Department of Family Practice Residency Program is to provide a comprehensive education in full-spectrum, community-focused, urban Family Practice. We endeavor to expose the trainee to the full breadth of clinical problems commonly encountered by the Family Practitioner, and to develop a deep sense of collegiality and community-awareness throughout the program.

Program Highlights

  • Surrey has the largest hospital in Fraser Health Region.
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital provides regional and tertiary services in many areas, including Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics, Cancer Care, Surgical Care, Renal Care, Palliative Care, and Sleep Medicine.
  • SMH delivers the second most babies of any hospital in British Columbia, with more than 4,200 births a year, and has the busiest E.R. in B.C. with 115,000 visits a year.
  • Expansion of the hospital is in place and it will include a new Emergency Centre, a 48-bed neonatal intensive care unit, enhanced UBC Academic space, and the new Helipad.
  • A new comprehensive Outpatient Care and Surgical Centre opened in 2011. This facility houses enhanced diagnostic, pharmacy, laboratory, and specialty services which has been developed around a core of Primary Care and Chronic Disease Clinics to serve the Surrey Community.
  • Engagement of the Langley Memorial Hospital and community physicians in providing a broader range of family practice teaching and experience.

Sample Rotation for First Year

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4 Block 5 Block 6 Block 7 Block 8 Block 9 Block 10 Block 11 Block 12 Block 13








IM/ IM Consult




















  • 20 Dedicated Family Practice Clinics/Preceptors
  • Bi-weekly full-day academic sessions
  • Bi-weekly full day weekly in family practice depending on the rotation
  • Longitudinal and Block Rotations

Interview with Previous R2

What made you choose the Surrey-South Fraser Site for your residency training?

I chose Surrey because the program had developed a good reputation amongst residents and medical students. The program was known to provide a high volume of acute care medicine in conjunction with great opportunities in the community. The hospital in Surrey also had a brand new acute care tower with a new resident lounge, simulation center, library and call rooms at the time I applied and these facilities were fantastic to have during residency and much nicer than any other hospital I have worked in.

Surrey is als one of the few programs to truly integrate IMG and CMG learners. We all do the same academic half days and all do the same rotations, which isn’t the case at all residency sites in BC as far as I understand.

Finally the patient population attracted me. There is a great deal of diversity in both patients and staff in the hospital making work more interesting. There is also a great deal of marginalized patients that come through Surrey and there were lots of opportunities to work with underserved populations.

Is the Surrey-South Fraser program strongly service-based? How is the program structured?

The doctors at Surrey Memorial Hospital definitely encourage our learning and education over service provision. One of the great advantages of Surrey is that there are no teams, so whatever rotation you are on it is 1:1 with the preceptor, which allows for a greater focus on teaching and less emphasis on service.

Surrey is a block based residency, but there is some flexibility to work in longitudinal learning within some of the Family Medicine blocks if desired.

We do whole day academic days every second Thursday and then whole day family medicine clinic every other Thursday. This really helps to cut down on commuting time and allows residents to eat lunch together twice a month and socialize.

How is the Surrey-South Fraser training program different from other Lower Mainland residency programs?

Surrey has a great balance of acute care and community care. It gives residents the skills to practice in area of family medicine once they finish. There is enough volume in areas such as obstetrics and hospitalist medicine that most residents feel comfortable entering these fields without further training after their 2 years are completed.

Surrey Memorial is also a tertiary hospital with a lot of pathology and acuity and because there are not many other learners on site the family residents get to be very hands on and involved in the care of these complex patients. This certainly builds skills and makes it much easier to see less complex patients when on community rotations.

The programs leadership has also been very receptive to altering the program in response to what residents see as educational gaps and preceptors are very receptive to this within each rotation and they want you to see things you haven’t seen before.

What are some of the unique learning opportunities in this program?

Surrey has an emphasis on global health and as such there is a 4-week global health elective in R2, which can be customized to whatever aspect of global health the resident wants to pursue (prison medicine, addictions, refugee, HIV/HCV clinics, detox, international experiences).

Surrey also has a strong focus on palliative care (1 month rotation in R1), Geriatrics (1 months rotation in R2) and chronic pain (2 week rotation in R2).

Surrey is a little unique in that the hospitalist service is MRP on most patients with specialists being primarily a consult service. These leads to very interesting medical cases on your hospitalist and CTU rotations. You might be rounding on surgical patients, nephro patients, neuro patients or oncology patients. These are experiences that I don’t think many other family medicine inpatient rotations provide at any other hospital.

Does it get fairly competitive with the other residents?

There isn’t any competition amongst the learners at all — the ratio of preceptors to learners is usually 1:1 (this includes surgical rotations and specialist rotations). Because residents are spread across the different rotations you hardly overlap with any other residents on rotation. There is the occasional sub-specialist resident around on different rotations, but I haven’t heard of them ever affecting a residents learning.

The downside of this is that there are very few teaching opportunities. There are medical students around on pediatrics and CTU, but because of the ratio of learners to preceptors the teaching burden is primarily on the staff and there is again no competition for interesting cases on these rotations.

What kind of facilities are available in the Surrey-South Fraser centres?

Surrey Memorial is the largest hospital in the Fraser Health Region so it’s quite well equipped. As I mentioned before it has a brand new acute care tower which is only a few years old now. This includes lots of resident/academic space, a brand new ER, ICU, HAU, NICU, Neuro and Nephro wards.

Surrey Memorial has the busiest emergency room in the province (one of the busiest in the country) and is the second largest provider of hospital births in BC. So it’s a great place to learn if either of these disciplines is of interest to you.

In general, all of the preceptors are open to teaching and seem to be really happy to have residents in the hospital. It’s a very welcoming and supportive environment.

How is the commute to the hospital? (Surrey Memorial is located about 30 km from downtown Vancouver). Was it difficult for you or the other residents to find accommodations?

I live very close to downtown Vancouver and the commute isn’t too bad. I’m always going against the flow of rush hour traffic which is nice. Depending on the time of day my commute can be as short as 30 mins and as long as 1 hour (usually coming home). Sometimes I take the skytrain to King George Station and walk to the hospital from there and it takes me about 45-50 mins total. Most residents actually live a lot closer to the hospital than I do and would obviously have much shorter commutes.

In terms of accommodations residents from my year were spread out across the lower mainland with people living anywhere from Kitsilano, to White Rock, to Squamish, to Abbotsford and Langley. It’s no secret that housing prices are insane in Vancouver, but they get cheaper once you start to move further east. The ease of finding a rental property will vary a lot depending on where you want to live. The closer to Vancouver you want to be the harder it is, however, if you want to live close to the hospital or a little further up the fraser valley it can be a lot easier and cheaper. I would plan to come at least a week or two in advance to find a place to live if you are moving here.

With regards to affordability the resident salary is more than enough to cover living expenses regardless of where you want to live. Obviously you have to factor in that the cost of living is higher near Vancouver than most other cities and if you choose any program near Vancouver and you may have to wait to pay off loans and LOCs until you’re a staff (which is only a short 2 years away).