Site Director Message

Welcome to the Victoria Site of the UBC Family Practice Residency Program!

The Victoria Site provides a comprehensive and flexible program that can be adapted to your individual learning requirements in your quest to fulfill your future as a well-rounded Family Physician.

Our R1 program introduces and orients you to the specialty of Family Medicine with the “Introduction to Family Medicine” block which you will complete early in the R1 year. Also typically scheduled early in the R1 year is a concentrated family practice block that is generally free of in-house call duties. Later in your R1 year, you will have the opportunity of being involved in our Integrated Family Practice / Obstetrics and Women’s Health rotation which will combine 8 weeks each of Family Practice and 8 weeks of OB GYN into an exciting 16-week horizontal experience. Our partial horizontal curriculum for the R2 year provides an opportunity for you to explore areas of interest and fulfill your personal learning objectives during the second year of residency.

Our Site is based in a medium-sized city with a population of 330,000. Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is blessed with a sub -Mediterranean climate. The outstanding natural beauty of the area encourages an active lifestyle.

Our graduating Family Practice Residents develop skills which enable them to practice in rural and remote communities as well as in urban settings. Past graduating residents with special interests have had a successful record of being accepted into third year enhanced skill training programs. Our graduates practice far and wide, provincially, nationally, and internationally in all types of settings.

All Victoria Family Practice Residents are associated with a community Family Practice clinic throughout their entire residency which may be based anywhere in the greater Victoria region, from Sooke to Sidney or over a small mountain in nearby Mill Bay, which provides the opportunity to develop continuity with patients. Acute in-hospital experience is obtained on the family physician based hospitalist services at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals. Both hospitals are up to date facilities, and there is excellent bicycle routing between these facilities. The Patient Care Centre at the Royal Jubilee Hospital opened within the last decade, and all facilities are moving towards a fully electronic charting and ordering system with a single patient record for care received at all Vancouver Island acute care facilities.

The Family Practice Emergency rotations are completed in the Emergency Departments of Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital, as well as at the highly regarded Emergency Department at Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan. Emergency electives may also be obtained at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, a community hospital a short distance from Victoria, where all residents will also complete a procedural skills rotation at some time during residency.

Victoria is a lifestyle-oriented community which naturally encourages a variety of outdoor activities. You can expect to sail, rock climb, kayak, cycle, and run outdoors all year round. Surfing, skiing, golf, hiking, and fishing are close by. Arts and entertainment are also an important part of life in Victoria.

We believe your quality of life as a resident is important and this is emphasized. We work hard to provide supports to enhance resident resiliency during the busy years of residency. Our site is family-oriented and we always enjoy the families and babies of our residents. Our Residents traditionally come from many different Universities both across Canada and abroad in the IMG stream and form close and collegial relationships within the group.

We provide a Residency Training Program with excellent clinical volume and great teachers that will give you the skills that you need to practice Family Medicine in any area or setting you may choose in the future, but be forewarned that if you come, you may never want to leave Vancouver Island!

Tina Webber, Site Co-Director

Dr. Michael Putland, Site Co-Director

Lead Resident Message

Victoria is a comprehensive family medicine training site with a rigorous curriculum and ample opportunities for exploring self-directed learning. It has a strong tradition of internship and the reputation of training well prepared and diverse family physicians. The strength of our training is exemplified annually by the match rate for competitive R3 programs, and many of our graduates enter seamlessly into rural locums including ER and OB immediately following graduation.

In Victoria, you are never “just a family practice resident”. A large portion of the hospital is run by a well-respected community family physicians service, the hospitalists. We are a tertiary care centre with relatively few royal college residents, putting you front and centre for learning opportunities regardless of the service. Many specialist and staff physicians were once interns or residents themselves in Victoria, and therefore there is a clear appreciation for the timeline residents face to acquire skills for their future practice. Whether in the operating rooms, office, clinics, or running Codes, the staff physicians in Victoria are a fantastic resource who are keen to teach.

Another fantastic opportunity at the Victoria site is the ability to work with a strong group of medical students. The UBC Island Medical Program (IMP) has been an integral part of the residency site, and the opportunity to work with and teach medical students is rewarding, inspiring, and often humbling.

Victoria offers a well-rounded experience that is rooted in family medicine. Exposure to community family medicine is complimented through hospital-based rotations with preceptors from both specialist and general practice backgrounds. The level of responsibility is high in Victoria, as there are few senior specialty residents despite the fact that both Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital are the tertiary care centres for all of Vancouver Island. In this way, the program prepares residents to quickly become competent physicians in both urban and rural settings, and to be able to manage high acuity situations and complicated patients. With a large bulk of our training taking place in the state-of-the-art Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre, it is an exciting time to be a resident in Victoria.

Another one of the Victoria site’s strengths is also its resident culture; a small enough group to be close, but a large enough group to find like-minded individuals with whom to share your residency experience. A combination of world-class administration staff, motivated and committed program directors, and a caring cohort makes the Victoria experience special.

Outside of work and any lingering restrictions with COVID-19, living in Victoria offers fantastic social and recreational opportunities (and the temperate weather to enjoy them)! Within close proximity to downtown, you can find many provincial parks, white sandy beaches, the West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca Trail for avid hikers, a strong local running scene, world-class surf in Tofino, kayaking opportunities in the harbour and beyond, and skiing/snowboarding at Mount Washington. Indoors, there are plenty of great restaurants and local breweries. Many residents commute by cycling year-round, with no more than a t-shirt, raincoat, and pair of Birkenstocks or Blundstones. There are also plenty of cultural activities to explore: Royal BC Museum, operas, tons of outdoor music festivals, dragon boat races, concerts, the oldest Chinatown in Canada, and so much more for you to discover for yourself.

If you are self-motivated, wanting a close-knit residency group, enjoy the outdoors, and are looking for a strong comprehensive family medicine program that will prepare you to work just about anywhere, Victoria is the place for you!

We hope to see you next year.

Dr. Chandni Desai (IMG) , Dr. Danielle Starcevic and Dr. Gil Yerushalmi

Number of Residents: 17 CMG, 6 IMG
Location: Victoria, BC
Community: 330,000
Hospitals: Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, Cowichan District Hospital, etc.
Distance from Vancouver: 117 km

Curriculum Type: Partial Horizontal in R2, partial Integrated in R1
R2 Elective Time: 2+ blocks and horizontal electives
Phone: 250-370-8564
Contact: Co-Director Dr. Tina Webber / Co-Director – Dr. Michael Putland  / Coordinator – Josie Terlesky
Lead Residents: Dr. Danielle Starevic & Dr. Gil Yerushalmi & Dr. Chandni Desai (IMG)


Victoria is a medium-sized city which hosts the University of Victoria, 2 large and very busy tertiary care hospitals, and a vulnerable population in the inner city core. Residents work in practices and community hospitals within Victoria and the surrounding area. Some residents may be attached to practices in smaller communities where an appreciation of the delights and values of a more rural lifestyle can be appreciated. The program gives residents the confidence to practice in both urban and rural communities fostering collegiality, support, and teamwork among our residents, preceptors and the community. Victoria is set in some of the most beautiful scenery the West Coast has to offer. The lifestyle in Victoria embraces a wide variety of outdoor opportunities, sports, and recreation.

Program Highlights

  • Physicians involved in Family Practice Obstetrics and Maternity Care are a strong and well-trained group with obstetricians and gynecologists serving as a resource when needed
  • Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria provide a large patient population and serve as referral centers for many Vancouver Island communities
  • The presence of the Island Medical Program provides opportunities for Residents who are interested in becoming involved in teaching undergraduate medical students
  • Relatively few senior specialty residents, so Family Practice R1 and R2 residents can be involved in active patient care in a very meaningful way
  • Hospitalists at the Royal Jubilee Hospital have a family practice background and are excellent teachers with the strong provision of hospital care and chronic disease management
  • Horizontal family medicine rotations provide greater continuity and allow for flexible elective experiences to be integrated into a unique learning experience for each resident
  • Please note that our CMG and IMG Family Practice residents share the same curriculum. Upon completion, our IMG residents complete their two-year Return of Service within the area served by Island Health, and the choice of communities offered is that of the Health Authority rather than the residency program

Sample Rotations – R1 Year

1: 1 July 2: 30 July 3: 27 Aug 4: 24 Sep 5: 29 Oct. 6: 19 Nov. 7: 17 Dec.
Intro FP Conc. FP Elect / Vac FP WH Hor. IM CTU ER IM CTU/CCU
8: 14 Jan 9: 11 Feb 10: 11 Mar. 11: 8 Apr. 12: 6 May 13: 3 June
FP WH Hor. Peds CTU Elect / Vac FP WH Hor. FP WH Hor. Addict/Elect

Sample Rotations – R2 Year

1: 1 July 2: 30 July 3: 27 Aug 4: 24 Sep 5: 29 Oct. 6: 19 Nov. 7: 17 Dec.
ICU Rural Rural FP/ Psych FP / H. Elect ProcSk/Elect FP/H. Elect
8: 14 Jan 9: 11 Feb 10: 11 Mar. 11: 8 Apr. 12: 6 May 13: 3 June
FP/H. Elect FP/ Psych Palliative Ortho/CFP Elect Transition


Interview with a graduating R2 ResidentWhat do you enjoy most about the Victoria site?

There are lots of great things about the Victoria site. I think for me the most important one was that you are never “just a family medicine resident”. All the residents (whether Royal College or Family Medicine) are treated equally – often staff don’t really know who’s who. This means that you never miss an experience. You’re never last in line to see something. The horizontal component to the R2 year is fantastic. It is highly family medicine-focused and really allows you to create your own training experience. I also liked that, even though the program is very focused on family medicine, you still had access to all the specialties and lots of specialist teaching. Other bonuses are that the faculty is very responsive to resident issues and concerns. Our administrative staff is amazing!
What learning opportunities are available at the Victoria site?
Victoria’s program offers a wide range of opportunities. One of the most unique aspects of the program is the amount of acute patient care experiences we get. From running codes with the code team to managing stat inpatient calls, you are often the first on the scene and making decisions (with support). The Hospitalist service here is a very strong service that manages much of what would be considered internal medicine in other centres, so you get a lot of interesting admissions and experiences while being supervised by family doctors. There is also a strong GP OB community and amazing palliative care teaching. Learning in the R2 year is very self-directed, allowing a lot of time between family practice clinics to seek out personal interests in specialty areas of family medicine (e.g., emergency, hospitalist, obstetrics shifts, sports medicine, etc.).Is there a large service component to your residency?In the past, the Victoria site had some reputation for having service-based rotations, but I don’t believe that residents feel this way anymore. Call in the R1 year is rigorous and at times can feel a bit overwhelming, but you see a lot and you know you are an important part of the medical community. The hard work is well balanced with the incredible experiences we are afforded while on call. Residents also value the immersiveexperience of the block system in the R1 year, allowing for consolidation of important learning points in one discipline of medicine at a time. I found it really nice that after working so hard in clerkship but not necessarily being “needed” that here you are needed and providing a valuable service.Is there a lot of competition between residents?In a word: NO. The resident community here is small and everyone is really supportive of each other. Like I mentioned before, there is no sense of “Family Resident” vs. “Specialty Resident”. There is a lot of teamwork here and if anything Victoria’s program breeds a group of doctors who look out for each other and work well together.The Victoria program offers training in two different hospitals. Is that stressful at all?The two main hospitals that residents train at – Victoria General and Royal Jubilee – are located in relatively close proximity to one another, so it’s a 35 minute bike ride or 20-minute drive between the two campuses. Several of us were able to get between the sites without a car last year, as the Galloping Goose Trail provides a safe and easy bike ride and the public transit system is excellent.Each hospital offers unique programs. Royal Jubilee has a cutting edge hospice program, a high focus on palliative care and is the cardiac centre for Vancouver Island. We receive cardiac referrals from all over the island and some places inland, e.g. Kelowna General. Victoria General is where obs/gyn and pediatrics are located.We can also spend one month in the Emergency in Duncan as part of our program. The Emergency there is staffed by former and/or current family practitioners. It’s a great opportunity to learn Emergency Medicine with a strong family practice influence. Being able to train at these three facilities gives you a broad range of learning experiences.What type of residents are best suited for the Victoria site?The Victoria site is best suited to residents who are independent, like acute care, and want to set their own goals for residency. Every resident who comes out of the Victoria site gets extensive experience, both in clinic and managing acute hospital patients, but due to our horizontal program in the R2 year you have a lot of control over what kind of experiences you get. After graduating from the Victoria program I believe that residents could easily and confidently work either rurally or in an urban centre.What do you think is the biggest strength of the Victoria site?The horizontal R2 year! The horizontal program in your R2 year gives you so much more control over both your schedule and your experiences than a block program. It mimics what it’s like to be a practicing family doctor and really respects that fact that we are all adult learners. It also allows for things like the occasional long weekend for a wedding, etc.By far, the best part of our program is our amazing group of residents and the fact that we get to live in Victoria! We’re a close-knit group who support each other and plan a lot of social activities together. Victoria is an incredible place to live, with fantastic hiking, biking, water activities, and sporting opportunities. Victoria has a great variety of restaurants, concerts, and what seems to be an endless stream of festivals. We love living here!