Graduate: Rebecca Zhu
I wouldn't be where I am today personally and professionally without the residency training at McMaster. The 5 years at McMaster was the most meaningful time of my life. In addition to the phenomenal training I received, it was also a period of great personal growth for me. Not only my staff taught me how to think critically like a radiologist, but they were also examples of kindness and living a balanced life.
The training at McMaster prepared me well for a demanding fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and as a staff radiologist - both in diagnostics and intervention.
We have the most supportive staff who cares deeply about the residents. For example, I decided very late to apply for fellowships in the US. Dr. Landry, our program director, along with many other staff and administrative assistants worked together and submitted all the required documents within a week to meet the deadline. Without their dedication, my fellowship would not have been possible.
At McMaster, I met some of the most talented, hardworking and HAPPY group of residents and built meaningful friendships through laughter and tears. Throughout residency, there was no drama, no competition. It was just a group of good people trying to learn together. When studying for the Royal College exam, I was so grateful to have co-residents who supported each other and built each other up instead of being competitive and tearing each other down. I still feel like I hit the jackpot with them.
Graduate: David Doucette Preville
The most enduring memory of my time at McMaster is without a doubt the people. I formed great friendships with residents in my year and in the years ahead and behind. I received sound advice from several informal mentors which made my life easier as a resident and will hopefully serve me well in the future. I was helped (and, many times, saved) by friendly and helpful technologists. I benefitted from countless hours of didactic teaching, rounds and mock oral examinations offered by staff who genuinely cared about our success. The current program director is responsive to trainee needs and has an excellent rapport with the resident group.
An array of annual events such as the Christmas party, summer barbecue, golf day, graduation day, career night, research retreat and research day enhance the resident experience and foster cohesion within the resident group.
I appreciated the graduated call program, reasonable call frequency and unique centralized call centre model, as I felt ready to take call independently and with minimal apprehension when the time came.
Overall, I feel this is an ideal training model and learning environment and still one of the finest and most congenial programs in the country. This is supported by stellar accreditation reviews and, traditionally, excellent pass rates on the Royal College examination. Residents are ready for practice after graduation and have no difficulty acquiring the fellowship of their choice.
Graduate: Peter Zia
I truly enjoyed my experience during radiology residency at McMaster because of the great sense of collegiality amongst the residents and staff. The program is dedicated towards fostering an encouraging learning environment which consistently attracts well rounded residents who thrive in a cooperative and supportive program.
The residency provided excellent preparation for my current career as a community radiologist where I deal with a wide range of modalities and examinations on a daily basis. McMaster's emphasis on a clinically oriented experience in an academic setting ensures every resident graduates with the skills and confidence necessary for success in an academic or community practice.
Graduate: Michael Colapinto
If you've come to this page, you are most likely a medical student interested in learning more about the McMaster Diagnostic Radiology program or you are currently in the process of writing your CaRMS application. To avoid being long-winded, I'll put the summary first: I can honestly state without bias that I feel we have one of the best programs in any specialty in Canada. I consider myself lucky to be part of this program and, if you match here, I know you'd feel the same.
First and foremost, our program shines because of the work environment. What makes our program succeed in this particular realm? The answer is simply the people in our program. From the residents to the radiologists to support staff, we have such tremendous people here at McMaster. This begins with our Program Director, Dr. Karen Finlay. Hands down, she is the best Program Director in the country. She is exceptionally well organized, friendly, and always supportive of her residents. She works tirelessly to improve our program and it shows. Whether it is responding to resident feedback, improving teaching and research opportunities, or supporting a year-end Golf Day, Dr. Finlay is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve and enhance our program.
With respect to the residents, we have tremendous camaraderie. We work and study hard, but at the same time, are relaxed and non-competitive. You always feel that you have support in our group. If someone needs assistance, we rally behind them. If someone needs advice, it is always provided from multiple sources. It is this collegial environment that is the core of our program.
Of course, our program also excels academically, particularly at the Royal College examinations. This could never be achieved without the fantastic teaching and mentorship that we receive from our staff. As residents, you always feel that the faculty have a keen interest in your education and want you to succeed. Whether through informal or formal teaching sessions, constructive criticism, or simply words of encouragement, the staff here is absolutely incredible. All are approachable and available to the residents, many outside the hours of the regular working day. They consistently go above and beyond.
We also have superb support staff in our program, especially Trish Van Sickle, our Program Assistant. Performing even the most mundane tasks with a smile on her face and always efficient, Sarah is a mainstay in our program. Of course, the technologists at McMaster are a key part of our program. Our CT, Ultrasound, and X-ray techs and nurses are incredibly supportive of the residents and are extremely dedicated to improving our educational experience.
All of this contributes to resident well-being, an excellent work environment and a sole intangible: the tremendous "feel" of our program. Invariably, this is the first thing mentioned by visiting medical students and off-service residents. It is not something specific, but more of an overall atmosphere. It is why we take pride in our program and all contribute to ensure that it succeeds and will continue to succeed for years to come.
Graduate: Vajid Khan
From the time that I was a 2nd year medical student at Western, I had only heard good things about McMaster's radiology program. After experiencing the program first hand, both as an elective student and now as a resident, I can confidently say that my initial good impressions of the program were "spot-on". I have since discovered many additional things about the program that make me love it even more. I feel extremely fortunate to be in this program and it is my pleasure to tell you why.
Intuitively, it makes sense to be in a balanced program. In our program, there are many elements that make our educational experience rich and shape us as well-balanced residents, ready for a career in either academic or community radiology. McMaster's program emphasizes teaching. Our staff radiologists are keen to teach - they take a personal and individual approach with us, guiding us both during our daily work (both diagnostic and interventional) and during rounds. Rounds themselves are consistent and full of excellent case pathology and teaching points. Our academic half-days are highly educational and cover practical topics, applicable to our daily work. We are routinely tested using OSCEs constructed by experienced radiologists and our progress is constantly monitored to prepare us for the Royal College examinations. Additionally, we have a very active Visiting Professor series of lectures from leaders in a variety of fields. We learn within the CanMeds framework, to help us balance the science of radiology with the art of radiology. We also get a lot of "hands on" experience with procedures and are free to partake in as much as we want to get involved in. Our program recently introduced a Community Radiology elective to expose us to work in the world outside of academic radiology. In our final year, numerous radiologists take time out of their personal schedules to meet us before or after work to do individual mock orals and exam preparation presentations with us. We have had an excellent track record of success as a result and you will find our graduates in both academic and community settings across the country.
McMaster also has very supportive staff and technologists. Whether working during the day or night, we always feel that support. Our radiologists help us with critical decision making and image interpretation on-call, and during the day are always available to review our work and provide us with their wisdom. We have a Residency Program Committee that meets regularly and is composed of both residents and radiologists. The committee is on top of program issues in a pre-emptive, proactive manner and effectively deals with problems as they arise. Recently, one problem they addressed was driving overnight between hospitals in order to cover contrast injections. Since February 2009, we have been able to interpret these cases remotely, eliminating the necessity to drive between hospital sites while on call. In addition to our radiologists, the technologists and other support staff that work with us are also phenomenal - we all work together to optimize patient care and this also adds to our educational experience. Everyone has been amazingly friendly and it is a very comfortable environment to learn in!
The program is also a very social environment. I have developed friendly working relationships with many of the staff so far and enjoy joking around with them, in both the working environment and at social events. Our program feels it's important that the residents fit in well with each other and as a result, we have all found great friends in each other. You can definitely see that in the way we interact daily at work, at academic half-days and at social events (of which there are many!). You can read about them in our FAQ and Resident Life sections, but some of the highlights are the Program Director's Welcome BBQ, Golf Day, Ski Day, Post-OSCE Decompression socials, Academic Half-Days (yes, they can be social!) and frequent informal gatherings organized by the residents (dinners, movie nights, going out after work). On a daily basis, we all joke around with each other and I find myself laughing my head off around the other residents, while cracking a few jokes myself. It's a lot of fun and as a result, I look forward to coming in to work every day.
When it all comes down to it, the saying that "McMaster Radiology's strength is its people" holds true. This family of friends includes my co-residents, the radiologists, the technologists, the clinical fellows, the administrative staff and everyone in between. They all make this place such a well-rounded, fun, friendly, and knowledge-rich environment to train in - it's one that I feel fortunate to be a part of. Take the advice I took from those that have come before me: "Go where the happy people are." You'll never regret it!
Want more information?
We all really enjoy and value the many strengths and highlights of the program here at McMaster and would like you to experience it yourself. If you have any additional questions that haven't been answered on our website, please contact us! We all hope to see you sometime at McMaster!