The Enhanced Skills in Family Practice Women’s Health Program embraces the broadest range of women’s health issues and moves well beyond defining women by their reproductive capacity. The program is delivered at various training sites in Ottawa. Special arrangements can be made for limited training outside of Ottawa, if necessary (i.e. specialty clinics).

Goals and Objectives

This program is designed to educate physicians as experts and leaders in the full range of women’s health topics identified by the Faculty of Medicine and the city’s community health organizations. Our program prepares graduates to become leaders in women’s health.

Program Structure

The resident will plan the year to meet their personal interests, while integrating all 10 program themes below.

We offer flexibility in allowing you to balance your clinical work, research and advocacy. For example, you may do 40%, 30% and 30% of each, respectively. The resident should consider how they will spend the year using this framework. Your letter of application should describe your proposed plans. You also have the option of spending a second research year with links to a Master’s and MD/PhD program.  However, alternate sources of funding would need to be secured by the applicant.

You are required to experience all 10 themes, either as a rotation or longitudinal experience throughout the year. The suggestions below offer a guide; however, you are free to explore your related interests. You will teach residents and students on these themes, as well.

Gender is an important determinant of health which influences how we perceive, diagnose and treat illness. You will spend time in the area of your choice while using a gender lens to understand how it influences what we know, and how we diagnose and treat disease. You may do rotations through various specialties: cardiovascular health, rheumatology, primary care, diabetes, endocrinology, HIV/AIDS or other medical or surgical specialty.

This theme will help you better understand the role of the social determinants of health and the influence and interaction of gender on all other determinants of health. You may spend time working at a research or policy level or at a course in women’s studies. There, you will explore how effective women’s health interventions require an understanding of gender as a determinant of health.

One of the mainstays of women’s health is the effective use of health promotion and disease prevention strategies. You will spend time involved in the design or the clinical rollout of prevention programming. This could mean a block of time or a year-long thread with a focus on smoking cessation, screening issues, breast health, HPV, pap and colposcopy, substance abuse prevention or other.

There is no doubt that reproductive health is one of the vital areas of women’s health. You may use the year to develop particular skills or expertise in contraception, reproductive technology, gynecology skills and procedures, etc.  Please note that this program does not include enhanced obstetrical skills training. If you wish to have this training, you must apply to the Enhanced Maternity Skills program as well.

Women’s mental health is an often overlooked area where gender has significantly influenced etiology, perception, diagnosis and treatment of illness. You may spend time in the areas of your choice, including the treatment of PTSD, impact of violence, depression, body/self-image, etc.

The medical issues that impact women can be different at various life ages and stages. You will spend time exploring issues at various lifecycle stages. Depending on your areas of interest, you may study the girl child, adolescent health, midlife issues, mature women’s health, geriatrics or end of life issues.

In what could be a one month rotation or a linear theme throughout the year, you will explore a theme that exposes the impact of cultural diversity and gender on women’s health in other countries.

You will explore the impact of violence on women’s health in-depth, either through prevention, education or treatment options. This rotation could include sexual assault call centre, shelter visits and counselling programs.

As a women’s health expert, you will learn to be an advocate for individual women patients and the women’s health community. This theme can include community group involvement, policy development, law courses, community education, etc.

You will be required to complete a research project, which could fall into any of the above categories.


Your time in the program will be evaluated using standardized forms available through the Department of Family Medicine’s one45 system. Field notes allow us to collect direct observation evaluations.  Residents will also meet with the Program Director regularly throughout the residency period.