Saskatchewan CaRMS match outcomes solid

May 20 marked the second iteration of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) match for 2021—a time fraught with excitement and stress for our graduating medical doctor students. They have worked hard to get to this point, and the match is a huge step on their path to becoming practicing physicians, marking their entrance into their residency training. “Match day,” as it is known simply in medical circles, is when these students find out the program and location where they will be spending the next two to five years of their training as residents, though it is really two days as it happens over two iterations.

Beyond our learners, the match is a tremendous amount of work each year for our residency programs and our teams in the undergraduate and postgraduate offices. I do thank everyone for all the hard work again this year.

With this blog, I want to share a bit about our results as a college and province. There are two sides to every CaRMS match: the outcomes for our college’s graduating class of medical doctor students who match to programs here in Saskatchewan and elsewhere (primarily in Canada), and the outcomes for our province and its postgraduate programs in securing new first-year residents from among the Canadian and international medical graduates who apply.

I’ll start with how our Saskatchewan residency programs fared. We had 124 first-year Ministry of Health funded residency positions available in programs across the province and all of these positions are filled. Among these, 48 are in family medicine programs in locations across the province and 24 are in internal medicine in Saskatoon and Regina. The rest are spread across a number of other specialty areas, primarily in Saskatoon and Regina.

These 124 first year residents start their residency training on July 1, as both learners and care providers for our province. Among the 124 positions, 46 Saskatchewan graduates, 39 non-Saskatchewan Canadian graduates, and 39 international graduates join our programs this summer. We are thrilled to welcome all our new residents!

We typically have about half of our new residency positions filled by USask graduates and we will be looking at this and working to increase this for next and future years, as we do hope to recruit as many of our USask graduates to residency programs here as we can.

Among our Saskatchewan medical doctor graduates, 102 out of 106 who applied for the CaRMS match, matched to a program in either the first or second iteration, with 96 matching in the first iteration and six in the second. This is a reasonable result, comparable to other years. For those learners who are unmatched, this is a very difficult time, and our team provides support and assists with their next steps. These may involve reapplying to the 2022 CaRMS match if eligible, and for those completing their fourth year of the MD program, our college offers a fifth year of study that further prepares these learners for the following year’s match.

I do hope that all our learners take advantage of the support offered by our college for all involved in this year’s match. Our undergraduate and postgraduate offices, including their student affairs and wellness teams, not to mention our residency programs, provide significant support for this big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate medical training.

Congratulations to our programs, our UGME and PGME teams, and especially to our medicine graduates and all new residents joining the College of Medicine!

Sunshine and safety at start of new fiscal year

We’ve made it through a long, tough and highly unusual winter. As the days grow warmer and the hours of sunshine expand here in Saskatchewan, I wanted to reach out to our full College of Medicine team, and beyond, to offer some words of support and encouragement as we continue to work our way through this pandemic. I hope you are finding ways to enjoy the sun and fresh air. While we are still battling COVID-19, we have made it through another battle of winter in Saskatchewan and are well on our way to summer.

I’ve talked a lot over the past year—through this blog and at all kinds of online meetings—about the great work and perseverance of our team through these challenging times. And I want to say it again: we would be nowhere as a college without the work, not to mention the spirit and heart, of our team of learners, staff and faculty. Although our work and learning have changed in many ways, we’ve made it this far, and we’ve done that through great teamwork and support of one another.

So kudos to our whole team!

Now, I hope you have either received a COVID-19 vaccination or are watching for your earliest opportunity to get one. And while focusing on that, please also stay focused on safety and continuing with all public health requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As many know, we are well into planning for convocation on June 3. We will, of course, be celebrating our graduates virtually again this year – but are no less excited and happy for you on your great achievement! You are completing your degree after a year that can’t be compared to any before it and, while not as you might have planned it, your achievement is both impressive and unique. Congratulations to all our CoM graduates: the MD Class of 2021 and all those completing graduate studies programs.

With May 1, we began a new fiscal year, and our college and university will be operating with stable funding levels from the province. While budgets will be tight and we must find ways to be efficient as costs rise and resources stay level, given everything happening in the world and in Canada, this is positive and encouraging news for our college’s continued efforts as leaders in improving the health and well-being of the people of Saskatchewan and the world.

I have a number of topics planned for upcoming blogs before the summer. Among these is a recap of how our programs and learners faired through this past year’s CaRMS match, which is not completed until the second iteration of the match, coming up on May 20. I also plan to share some thoughts and reminders of work underway now that underpins the success of our Undergraduate Medical Education program, as we approach our UGME accreditation interim review this fall. The interim review marks the mid-point in our current eight-year accreditation review timeframe. It is already almost four years since our highly successful 2017 accreditation visit! We must keep that incredible momentum and success going through this next and all subsequent reviews.

We will share more information on all the great work that has been going on for quite some time to develop a Division of Indigenous Health, including a survey many of you participated in earlier this year to help inform that work. And the results of our CoM EDI survey, currently underway (make sure you complete the survey, with two links provided here to make it easy for you!) will be shared here in my blog once available.

On the research side of things, I hope to share some information with you outlining the important role of our CoM researchers in work done at the USask Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, or VIDO. We are so fortunate to have access to this incredible facility, and for our faculty to play such an important role there as medical researchers.

As always, there is a lot going on in our college, and as a team we have kept everything moving forward effectively despite the changes and hurdles we’ve had to overcome during this pandemic. Once again, I thank you for all your work.