Unity Health Toronto - St. Joseph's Health Centre

Postgraduate Residency Program Details

SJHC Urban Family Health Team (SJHC UFHT)

Quick Facts

Number of residents: 22-24
Curriculum type: block rotations (4 week rotations x 13 per year)
PGY1 selective months: 2
PGY2 elective months: 3
VIDEO: 2023 Open House—Site Overview

Program + Site Highlights

  • Freedom to choose 2 electives (4 weeks each) in the first year within any core specialities.
  • PGY-2 residents have the option to organize most of their own schedule of core and elective rotations at locations of their choice.
  • Residents develop their own practice over one half-day-back (HDB) of family medicine per week, longitudinally and especially during family medicine block time rotations (4 during PGY-1 and 2 during PGY-2).
  • Core curriculum includes strong experiences in Obstetrics, Palliative Care and Addiction Medicine.
  • Half day per week of behavioural science program during family medicine block time.
  • Well-organized Wednesday morning academic seminar half-days with significant input from residents.
  • Opportunities to teach medical students & fellow residents.
  • Not much competition with other learners on speciality rotations.
  • Well established family medicine obstetrics group on site allowing for a strong low-risk delivery experience during family medicine block times.
  • A focus on providing care within a community setting which includes a significant proportion of mental health and addictions patients as well as new arrivals to Canada.

Hospital, Community, Teaching Unit and Program 


In the course of an afternoon clinic, you may have to:

  • Counsel a young Nepalese woman on childhood immunizations for her baby
  • Renew the medications of an elderly diabetic with heart disease
  • Help to manage patients with mental illness or substance abuse problems
  • Do a prenatal assessment, and assess a child with a fever

Information regarding patients’ age, gender, and diagnosis is tracked in order to monitor case mix and avoid overexposure to any one aspect of primary care. Thus our residents graduate with versatile skills allowing them to work in practically any setting.

Resident Satisfaction and Independence

On most rotations as a family practice resident, you get to:

  • Work directly with attending staff
  • Help conduct clinics
  • Round on inpatients
  • Carry out new consultations
  • Review cases one-on-one with staff

Attending physicians are happy to hear from you prior to your rotations to help you develop and achieve specific learning goals. You will take over and follow a graduating resident’s practice at the SJHC UFHT through a weekly half-day back and core Family Medicine block time over the two years of residency.

At St. Joe’s we:

  • Involve you in the continual improvement of our program and ensure that there are regular opportunities to hear about resident issues.
  • Incorporate a significant degree of flexibility into the two years of our residency program.
  • Offer 2 selective months in first year, in which you have the choice of doing any one of a variety of core rotations (i.e., paediatrics, OB, ER, medicine, surgery, family medicine, palliative).
  • Offer you the option in second year to schedule most or some of required rotations in the order and location of your choice, including your two months of electives.

Clinical Strengths of St. Joseph’s Family Medicine

Addiction Medicine

  • Comprehensive service with staff physicians, nurse-clinician, therapist
  • Consults to ED, inpatient wards, outpatients
  • Learn about medical detoxification, pharmacotherapies including methadone and suboxone, brief counselling interventions
  • Programs for substance use in pregnancy, methadone and buprenorphine maintenance, smoking cessation
  • Very active in research and medical education
  • Well-reputed fellowship program and career opportunities

Palliative Care

  • Comprehensive service with staff physicians, nurse-clinician, social worker, CCAC workers
  • Consults to ED and inpatient wards
  • Learn about pain and symptom management, end-of-life care, supportive counselling

Primary Care Obstetrics

  • Many staff are OB providers
  • Strong teaching program
  • Diverse inner city population
  • Strong ties with OB department



We aim to ensure that our residents complete the program with a strong foundation in multiple aspects of primary care medicine. Our goal is to have our residents graduate feeling comfortable with managing the core problems commonly faced by family physicians. Family physicians on staff at St. Joe’s are involved in a wide range of clinical activities:

  • Obstetrics (with over 150 primary care deliveries yearly)
  • Palliative care
  • Addiction medicine (including substance use problems in pregnancy)
  • Geriatrics, in-hospital care
  • Home visits and chronic mental illness

Residents have regular exposure to:

  • Prenatal assessments
  • Intra-partum obstetrics
  • Well-baby care
  • Complex medical and well-adult care
  • Counselling
  • Hospital consultations and home visits

During first-year residents, you spend one two-week block working with the addiction service (seeing inpatients, doing consults and helping in a smoking cessation clinic) and another two-week block with the palliative care team (managing inpatients, doing consults from the Emergency Department and inpatient units).

Opportunities are sought to ensure you have the chance to perform a range of procedures (joint injections, venipunctures, incision and drainage, excisions, etc.) Over the course of training, you complete:

  • An academic project
  • A quality improvement project (you have the option of expanding your QI project into your academic project)

Being based in a large community hospital, the family medicine clinic has quick access to the full range of diagnostic testing facilities and physician referrals.

You have comprehensive teaching in behavioural sciences:

  • Interviewing techniques
  • Behavioural modification
  • Counselling skills
  • Dealing with difficult patients
  • Accessing community resources

Ready access to:

  • Clinical ethicists
  • Clinical researchers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists

Our nursing staff also plays an essential role in the running of the family practice clinic and resident education. Computers present in each examination room allow you not only to access a full range of electronic resources — medical databases (e.g., Dynamed™ and MD Consult™), patient diagnostic reports, email accounts and the Internet — but also help foster a culture of evidence-based practice. We are fully functional on EMR.

    Sample Two-Year Rotation Schedule 

    1st Year:


    Number of Blocks

    Family Medicine




    Medicine (1-SJHC, 1 Toronto General)






    ER at SJHC


    Selective * (OBS, Surgery, Paeds, Med
    Fam Med, ER, Palliative, Addictions




    Palliative Care




    2nd Year:


    Number of Blocks

    Family Medicine


    Teaching Practice


    Women's Health






    Care of the Elderly (Mount Sinai/Toronto Western


    Paeds or Peads ER


    Medicine (inpatient)







    Name & Title

    E-mail Address

    Phone Number

    Dr. Dana Newman
    Site Director


    416-530-6486 ext. 3458

    Ms. Erin Tigchelaar
    Program Administrator


    416-530-6486 ext.3458

    Dr. Amanda Poxon
    Dr. Shailee Siddhpuria

    Chief Residents



    416 530-6486 ext.3458