Royal College Fellowship in Occupational Medicine
Occupational Medicine is a medical sub-specialty with two potential routes of entry:
- Internal Medicine and Public Health. The program after entry through Internal Medicine is a two year PGY4 and PGY5 program leading to the RCPSC exam in Occupational Medicine. In the PGY 4 year residents complete a Masters degree as a component of their training
- Preventive Medicine. Trainees coming into the specialty from Public Health and Preventative Medicine may be eligible to do the program as a one year PGY6 because they have already done a Masters degree meeting many of the requirements for the Standards of Training in Occupational Medicine.
This specialty will attract those with an interest in toxicology, industrial hygiene, environmental exposures and medico-legal work. Career opportunities for graduates include work in occupational health clinics, corporate medical jobs/company physicians, government jobs (Ministry of Labour, Workers’ Compensation Boards), and academia. Excellent interpersonal and writing skills and facility with working in multidisciplinary environments are definite assets.
Occupational Medicine is that branch of medicine that emphasizes prevention, and deals clinically and administratively with the health needs of both individuals and groups with respect to their working environments and includes the recognition, evaluation, control, management and rehabilitation of occupationally related diseases and injuries, and other conditions affecting ability to work.
Occupational Medicine aims to:
- Promote and maintain the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations;
- Prevent health problems caused by working conditions;
- Place and maintain workers in occupational environments compatible with their physical and psychological capabilities.
Upon completion of training, a resident is expected to be a competent subspecialist in Occupational Medicine capable of assuming a consultant’s role in the subspecialty. The resident must acquire a working knowledge of the theoretical basis of the subspecialty, including its foundations in the basic medical sciences and research.
Only candidates certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Internal Medicine or Public Health & Preventive Medicine may be eligible for certification in Occupational Medicine.
Residents must demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective patient-centered care and service to a diverse population. In all aspects of specialist practice, the graduate must be able to address issues of gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, ethnicity and ethics in a professional manner.
The University of Toronto program offers considerable breadth and depth of training in all academic and applied areas relevant to the sub-specialty of occupational medicine. There are excellent university-based educational resources in didactic areas relevant to occupational medicine practice such as epidemiology, toxicology, environmental health and occupational hygiene.
Trainees entering through the Internal Medicine entry route will have an opportunity to do a Master’s degree during the two years of training. St. Michael’s Hospital has the largest academic occupational medicine clinic in Canada and serves as a primary site for clinical training as well as providing opportunities for applied research. Emphasis is placed on contact dermatitis, respiratory disease, occupational allergy and the vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal problems associated with the ergonomic and vibration hazards in industry. Excellent community placements have been developed in the Ontario Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and industry.
The two years of subspecialty training include:
- Training in clinical occupational medicine;
- Training in scientific disciplines relevant to the practice of occupational medicine such as toxicology, occupational hygiene, ergonomics, epidemiology, biostatistics, as well as training in occupational heath legislation and the management of occupational health services;
- Training in approved field settings. At least one of these will be in industry and the others will be in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
- St. Michael’s Hospital
- University Health Network
- Ontario Ministry of Labour
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
- Dalla Lana School of Public Health
- Various Industries
Some placements and site visits with the Ministry of Labour require travel to sites around the GTA and not all sites are accessible by public transit. Therefore having access to a car or willingness to make other travel arrangements are considerations of training in this program.
What are the career opportunities for Occupational Medicine Specialists?
Occupational Medicine Specialists practice in a variety of settings. These include, but are not limited to, occupational health clinics, corporate medical jobs/company physicians, government jobs (Ministry of Labour, Workers’ Compensation Boards), and academia.
Most specialists do a variety of types of work in their individual practices such as working as a company physician while also doing medico-legal (independent medical evaluations, file reviews) and clinical occupational medicine. Some specialists work exclusively in government or insurance settings.
I have a particular interest in a niche of Occupational Medicine, such as diving medicine or aerospace medicine. Can electives be set up during the program?
It is possible to tailor some of the program to individual interests and career goals. It may be possible to arrange electives in subspecialty areas with advanced notice.