Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Training Program

Welcome to the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program in the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Alberta (U of A).

The purpose of this website is to provide you with information about a career path in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and to provide a resource for residency training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. As each resident has unique needs and aspirations, we encourage you to consult widely so that you can make the most informed possible choice. Residents should refer to the University of Alberta website for information on facilities, registration, fees, etc. As with the other programs at U of A, the Public Health and Preventive Medicine program is part of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CARMS) process. To access the C A R M S program please see their website.

What is Public Health and Preventive Medicine?

Public Health and Preventive Medicine deals with groups or populations, rather than individuals. Using population health knowledge and skills, the Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist plays a role in the maintenance and improvement of the health and well-being of the community. This function is accomplished by evaluating the health needs of a population and developing, implementing and assessing programs that meet those needs. Recognition of specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) began in the mid 1970's and specialty certificates are conferred by a dozen programs in Canada.

What do Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialists do?

A specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine must be able to:

  1. Assess the health needs of the population by identifying the appropriate information or generating new information that recognizes the interactions of biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors that affect health.
  2. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the various measurements of health and characteristics of society and understand the principles of the statistical methods required to summarize and analyze the information.
  3. Set priorities and develop programs to meet the health needs of the population.
  4. Implement programs taking into account the socioeconomic, educational, occupational and political factors that influence the distribution and use of health services. Such program implementation involves a knowledge of health care systems and the ability to take into account their limitations. In addition, it requires both interpersonal and organizational skills and a knowledge of systems theory and management processes.
  5. Develop skills in evaluating programs and in providing consultation to others involved in the planning, management or evaluation of health services.
  6. Maintain competence through continuing education and demonstrate ethical and professional responsibility.

Where do community specialists work?

The Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist careers include:

  1. the practice of public health at a local, regional, provincial, national or international level;
  2. the planning and administration of health services in institutions or government;
  3. community-oriented clinical practice with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention;
  4. the assessment and control of occupational and environmental health problems;
  5. teaching; and
  6. research.

A list of Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialists and their work locations can be found through the National Specialist Society. The University of Alberta Public Health and Preventive Medicine program emphasizes the role of local public health officer and health administration.