Residency in the Division of Neurosurgery

  Abhaya V. Kulkarni, MD, PhD, FRCSC 
  Program Director, Division of Neurosurgery 
  Professor, University of Toronto 
  Scientist, Sick Kids Research Institute 

  Tel: (416) 813-6427 
  Fax: (416) 813-4975 

  Hospital for Sick Children 
  555 University Avenue 
  Toronto, ON
  M5G 1X8  


From the Residency Program Director's Office

The Neurosurgery Residency Training Program at the University of Toronto is the oldest in Canada and one of the largest anywhere. Our mission is to train the very best medical graduates to become the future leaders of neurosurgery in North America. We have a proud tradition and count among our graduates many former and currently-serving department chairs and neurosurgical pioneers.

The Toronto Program consists of at least 6 years of training, including 42 months of clinical neurosurgery, meeting the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. During training, you will be exposed to all subspecialties of neurosurgery as practiced by internationally-renowned faculty at 4 different University-affiliated hospitals. As residents progress in their clinical and surgical skill, there is rapid advancement in their independence and case difficulty. You will always feel challenged in the Toronto Program.

The formal education curriculum is a top priority in our Program. Teaching is done with the goal of maturing our residents into highly-skilled, confident neurosurgeons who will easily succeed in their certification exams. In addition to hospital-based conferences, rounds, and journal clubs, we have Brain School, which consists of an intensive 3 hours every Friday dedicated to covering all important aspects of neurosurgery, in lecture and case discussion format. We also review seminal articles, operative videos, and detailed surgical anatomy. There is strong emphasis on clinical decision-making and learning the nuances of examsmanship to prepare you for the Royal College exam and real-life neurosurgery. In essence, at Brain School we cover theory, practice, and everything in between. In addition, we regularly run several hands-on practical courses to allow you to gain surgical confidence in a lab setting. Examples of these courses include neuroendoscopy, spinal instrumentation, epilepsy, peripheral nerve, temporal bone dissection, and the Lougheed microneurosurgery course. Toronto also attracts several internationally-renowned visiting professors every year, each of whom spends time reserved for resident-only teaching, giving you one-on-one contact with these luminaries.

Academic pursuit is a strong focus here. If you are interested in full-time high-level research, you will be given dedicated time to pursue an advanced graduate degree with the strong support of the Surgeon-Scientist Program. We are very proud of the tremendous successes of our research residents, who routinely win awards, fellowships, and grants from CIHR, Heart & Stroke, NCIC, AANS/CNS, and publish landmark papers in top-level science and medicine journals. Their accomplishments are unparalleled by any other program in North America.

Despite its size, the Toronto Program is a close-knit group; loyal, collegial, supportive, and fun. We enjoy regular social activities, hosted by the Chairman and other Toronto faculty, that allow us a well-deserved respite from the daily stresses of clinical neurosurgery and provide a forum to relax and get to know one another. The city of Toronto itself is one of the most attractive features of training here, with an abundance of world-class culture, recreation, cuisine, and professional sports, unlike anywhere else in the world.

Where you decide to train in neurosurgery will be one of the most important decisions of your life. In making that decision, you should think about the values of the program and what it stands for. Simply put, the Toronto Neurosurgery Residency Training Program stands for “excellence”. The residents and faculty together strive for excellence in clinical care and excellence in research; mediocrity has no place here. That is our tradition and it is our future. Dr. Lozano and I look forward to welcoming you into our Toronto family and having you join us in this quest.

Abhaya Kulkarni

Residency Program Director


Current Residents

Information for Visitng Medical Students


Organization of the Resident Training Program

The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine is comprised of a number of departments, one of which is the Department of Surgery. The Department of Surgery includes a number of Divisions, one of which is the Division of Neurosurgery. The neurosurgical staff members each hold a joint University/Hospital appointment, i.e., the appointment to the active staff is made following agreement of the R.S. McLaughlin Professor of the Department of Surgery (Professor J. Rutka), the Hospital, and the Chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery. 

The Gallie Program is an integrated postgraduate training program in the various disciplines of surgery. All University of Toronto neurosurgical residents are members of the Gallie Program. The office of the Director of the Gallie Program is situated in the Banting Institute (100 College Street, Toronto) and Dr. John Bohnen (416 978-5575) directs the implementation of the Gallie Program at the various hospitals. At each teaching hospital, the Surgeon-in-Chief carries the final responsibility for the excellence of surgical care, and at each teaching hospital the Division Head of Neurosurgery directs that hospital's neurosurgical unit. Thus, at any one time, a neurosurgical resident is a member of the Department of Surgery Gallie Program, a member of the University of Toronto Division of Neurosurgery, and a member of a neurosurgical unit at a particular hospital. Each of these rankings conveys both privileges and responsibilities. 

The McLaughlin Professor of Surgery receives advice from both the Chairmen of each Surgical Subspecialty (for Neurosurgery - Dr. A. Lozano) and from the Surgeons-in-Chief of the individual hospitals. The Chairman of Neurosurgery receives advice from the Neurosurgery Heads of Division of each individual hospital. This group meets once a month during the academic year. 

The quality of the residency training program is always an item which receives the utmost attention at meetings of all these groups. 

The Residency Program Committee (RPC)

To assist the Program Director, Dr. Abhaya Kulkarni, in the planning, organization and supervision of the Training Program in Neurosurgery, a Residency Training Program (RPC) Committee has been organized. This committee is comprised of neurosurgical staff representatives from each teaching hospital, and resident representatives who are elected annually to the RPC by their peers. The RPC meets monthly during the academic year to discuss issues that are germane to the Training Program. Responsibilities of the Program Director in conjunction with the RPC include: The development and operation of a Training Program that meets the general standards of accreditation as set forth by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; the selection of prospective candidates for admission to the Training Program; the maintenance of an appeal mechanism for residents; the creation of a forum to discuss career planning and resident counseling; an ongoing review of the Training Program to ensure that the quality of the educational experience is maintained. 

Outline of Program
Overall Goals of the Program
Objectives of Training

Ambulatory Care Experience
General Surgery Objectives
Neurology Objectives
Neuropathology Objectives
Neurotrauma / Critical Care Objectives
ICU Objectives
Plastic Surgery Objectives
Vascular Surgery Objectives

Hospital for Sick Children Objectives
St. Michael's Hospital or Toronto Western Hospital Objectives PGY1
St. Michael's Hospital Objectives PGY2
St. Michael's Hospital Objectives PGY3
St. Michael's Hospital Objectives PGY5/6
Sunnybrook Hospital Objectives PGY3
Sunnybrook Hospital Objectives PGY5
Toronto Western Hospital Objectives PGY2
Toronto Western Hospital Objectives PGY3

Toronto Western Hospital Objectives PGY5/6 

In-training Educational Program
In-Training Examinations
Progress Evaluation
Program Evaluation
Postgraduate Trainee Guidelines
Residency Program Committee (RPC) Terms of Reference
Competence Committee Terms of Reference
Wellness Policy
Safety Policy
Faculty Teaching Evaluation Policy
Resident On-Call Policy
Fellow Policy
Financial Support Policy

Current Residents