Surgical Foundations



Surgical Foundations (SF) is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada accredited residency program which runs alongside, or parallel to the main surgical specialty programs. For the first 2 years of residency, residents are automatically enrolled in the Surgical Foundations Residency Program in addition to one of the Specialty programs listed below:

The University of Toronto Surgical Foundations Program is the largest in Canada with approximately 65 residents per year. Dr Mark Wheatcroft is the Program Director for Surgical Foundations and the Postgraduate assistant is Helen Nguyen. Please do not hesitate to reach out to with any questions, issues or concerns.

Prep Camp

The SF program commences early July with an Induction day followed by Prep-Camp; an intensive hands on practical course held at the Mount Sinai Hospital Surgical Skills Centre and coordinated by Lisa Satterthwaite, SSC Consultant and Shunne Leung, SSC Senior Manager.

SF Lecture Series

The Surgical Foundations Lecture Series commences at the start of September, is held every Tuesday morning from 8:00am to 11:30am, and runs for the rest of the academic year. Topics covered include those listed by the Royal College as core knowledge requirements and also topics relating to clinical care and professional development. Currently a hybrid system of virtual and in-person lectures is used. An attendance score of 75% is required to pass the Surgical Foundations course, with full details of how this is achieved being described in the Surgical Foundations Handbook.

QI Project

Residents are divided into small groups and through a series of lectures and home work, are guided through a QI project of their own design. This takes place over the course of the PGY1 year and culminates in submission of a completed project together with a presentation day where all projects are presented and judged by a panel, the three best project presentations are awarded as “winners”.

Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)

An entrustable professional activity or “EPA” is a defined task deemed essential to be competent in for the Specialty. Each EPA is made up of a selection of Milestones which are definable individual skills. Surgical Foundations has its own set of EPAs set out by the Royal College. Residents must complete all SF EPAs in order to complete the program. EPA completion is one set of data that is closely monitored for each resident by the Competence Committee.

Surgical Foundations Practice Exam

The SF practice exam is created independent to, but in the same style (MCQ) as the formal Royal College Surgical Foundations Exam. It is created by the Canadian SF Programs to provide residents with a method of assessing their knowledge acquisition and preparation for the formal exam. It is generally held towards the end of the PGY1 academic year (May / June). A pass is not required to pass the SF program.

Royal College Surgical Foundations Exam

The Royal College SF exam requires that you register for eligibility to take the exam and that you pay the appropriate fees. Registration and fee payment are the sole responsibility of the resident. It is mandatory to pass the SF exam to be eligible to take the final FRCSC exam, but it is not required to pass the Surgical Foundations stage of training. It is therefore not a requirement to progress to Core of Discipline. Click here for details.

The following are key components of the SF program:

  1. Prep Camp
  2. SF Lecture Series
  3. QI Project
  4. Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs)
  5. SF Practice Exam
  6. Royal College SF Exam



Surgical Foundations Lecture Series 2023 - 2024

Full schedule in PDF here.

Date Time Topic Speaker Location Notes
05-09-23 7:30 - 8:30am Management of On Call Scenarios Brandon Van Asseldonk Zoom  
05-09-23 8:30 - 8:40am Introduction to Surgical Foundations Mark Wheatcroft Zoom Recording
05-09-23 9:00 - 10:30am MAID Jonathan Ailon Zoom  
19-09-23 8:00 - 9:30am Pre-Operative Medical Problems I Yash Patel Zoom  
19-09-23 9:30 - 11am Nutrition and Surgery Vickie Hiltz Zoom  
26-09-23 8:00 - 9:30am ABG (Arterial Blood Gas) Shane Shapera MSH  
26-09-23 9:30 - 11:00am Indigenous health I Ryan Giroux MSH  
03-10-23 8:00 - 9:30am SIRS and Sepsis Alberto Goffi Zoom  
03-10-23 9:30 - 11:00am Quality Improvement OR sustainability Sarah Ward Zoom  
10-10-23 8:00 - 11:00am Quality Improvement Curriculum I Sarah Ward LKS Room 241  
17-10-23 8:00 - 9:30am Post-Operative Medical Problems II Yash Patel Zoom  
24-10-23 8:00 - 9:15am Thromboembolic Disease William Geerts Zoom  
24-10-23 10:15 - 11:45am Ventilators Christie Lee Zoom  
31-10-23 8:00 - 9:10am Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
31-10-23 9:15 - 9:55am Surgeon in Society: Global Surgery Mojgan Hodaie and George Zoom  
07-11-23 8:00 - 9:30am Anaesthesia I - Peri-operative Management of Acute Pain Natalie Clavel Zoom  
07-11-23 9:30 - 11am Trauma Andrew Beckett Zoom  
07-11-23 11:10am -12:10pm Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
14-11-23 8:00 - 9:15am Perioperative Geriatrics Camilla Wong Zoom  
14-11-23 9:15 - 10:30am CBD/EPA Clinic Lisa St. Amant Zoom  
14-11-23 10:40-11:40am Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
21-11-23 8:00 - 9:30am Antibiotic Stewardship Linda Taggart Zoom  
21-11-23 9:40-11:50am Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
28-11-23 8:00 - 11:00am Delirium/Competence/Forms/Psychiatric Issues in the Peri-
Operative Period
Lu Gao Zoom  
28-11-23 11:10am - 12:10pm Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
05-12-23 8:00am - 10:00am Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
12-12-23 9:00 - 10:00am Professionalism & leadership Mojgan Hodaie LKS Auditorium  
12-12-23 10:00 - 11:00am Office of Learner Affairs - Learner Wellness and Mistreatment
Meeta Patel, Shaheen Darani LKS Auditorium  
19-12-23 8:00am - 9:50am Resident meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
26-12-23   Holiday Break      
02-01-24 8:00 - 11:00am Quality Improvement Curriculum II Sarah Ward LKS Room
09-01-24 8:30 - 10:00am Ethics I Sunit Das LKS Auditorium  
16-01-24 8:00 - 9:30am Anaesthesia II - Management of Chronic Pain Neilesh Soneji LKS Auditorium  
16-01-24 9:30 - 11:00am Indigenous health II Ryan Giroux LKS Auditorium LKS Breakout Rooms:
23-01-24 9:30 - 11:00am Ethics II Sunit Das LKS Auditorium  
30-01-24 8:00 - 9:30am Surgeon in society: global surgery efforts in Ukraine James Rutka LKS Auditorium  
30-01-24 9:30 - 11:00am Wellness I Heather Flett + facilitator(s) LKS Auditorium LKS Breakout Rooms:
06-02-24 8:30 - 10:00am Ethics III/IV Sunit Das LKS Room
06-02-24 10:00 - 11:30am Surgeon in Society talk: Indigenous healthcare Mary Macdonald LKS Room
13-02-24 8:00 - 9:30am Wound Care and Wound Healing Elisa Greco, Melinda Musgrave LKS Auditorium  
13-02-24 9:30 - 11:00am Wellness II Heather Flett + facilitator(s) LKS Auditorium LKS Breakout Rooms:
27-02-24 8:00 - 9:30am Abdominal Compartment Syndrome and Lower Limb
Compartment Syndrome
Miranda Witheford LKS Auditorium  
27-02-24 9:30 - 11:30am Indigenous health III Ryan Giroux LKS Auditorium or 240/241 LKS Breakout Rooms: 212/213/214/215/217
05-03-24 8:00 - 9:30 am Global Health Rachel Spitzer Zoom  
05-03-24 9:30 - 11:00 am Clinical Pearls in Symptom Management and Palliative Care Irene Ying, Anand Govindarajan Zoom  
12-03-24   March break      
19-03-24 9:30-11:00am Health Advocacy I Dominique Vervoort, Amanpreet
(Preet) Brar
26-03-24 9:30 - 12:00pm Specialty meetings Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
02-04-24 8:00 - 10:00am Professionalism & Leadership Mojgan Hodaie LKS Room
02-04-24 10:00 - 11:30am Wellness III Heather Flett + facilitator(s) LKS Room
LKS Breakout Rooms:
09-04-24 8:00 - 9:30am Transplant Blayne Sayed LKS Room
09-04-24 9:30-11:00am Health Advocacy II Anna Dare, Amanpreet (Preet)
LKS Room
16-04-24 8:00 - 11:00am Your Journey (former title: CanMeds Roles in Practice) Jerry Maniate LKS Room
23-04-24 8:00 - 9:30am Medical Oncology Susanna Cheng Zoom  
23-04-24 9:30 - 11:00am Radiation Oncology Andrew Hope Zoom  
23-04-24 11:00am - 12:00pm Foundations Exam Prep Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
30-04-24 8:00 -11:30am Resident Leadership Sneha Raju, Dhruvin Hirpara MSH  
07-05-24 8:00 - 9:30am Biostatistics I Katherine Lajkosz Zoom  
07-05-24 9:30 - 11:00am Coagulation Michelle Sholzberg Zoom  
07-05-24 11:00am - 12:00pm Foundations Exam Prep Mark Wheatcroft Zoom  
14-05-24 8:00 - 9:30am Biostatistics II Katherine Lajkosz LKS Auditorium  
14-05-24 9:30 - 11:00am Wellness IV Heather Flett + facilitator(s) LKS Auditorium LKS Breakout Rooms:
21-05-24 4:30 - 8:00pm QUALITY IMPROVEMENT CURRICULUM PRESENTATIONS Sarah Ward Faculty Club of UofT, Wedgewood Dining Room
28-05-24 8:00-11:00am Foundations Practice Exam Mark Wheatcroft MSB, Room 3154
25-06-24 8:00-11:30am Foundations Exam Review Mark Wheatcroft Zoom date to be confirmed