UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

About the Department

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology consists of faculty, management, support staff, fellows and residents, distributed at a number of sites in British Columbia.

Faculty consists of clinicians and scientists who have appointments at UBC, either clinical appointments or grant tenure/track appointments. "Fellows" are specialist physicians undergoing extra education and training in a subspecialty area of the discipline of obstetrics and gynaecology. Residents are physicians undergoing further education towards specialist certification in obstetrics and gynaecology.

The Department maintains 3 offices in Vancouver, with the executive office at BC Women's Hospital and other offices at VGH and St. Paul's Hospital.

There are six divisions within the Department:

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Basic Science Division

The goals and objectives of the Research Division and Graduate Program in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, based on the recommendations of the last Departmental Review, are as follows:

Long-germ Goal

To improve communications between basic scientists and clinicians, and between the Department Head and both clinical and basic scientists.

Immediate and Short-term Objectives

  • A primary responsibility of the Research Division is to develop goals and initiatives in conjunction with other Division Heads for the benefit of the Department as a whole.
  • Development of Rounds that include both clinical and basic scientists. These will be particularly functional at the subspecialty level - Perinatology, Oncology, and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
  • A Departmental Research Day will involve both graduate students and residents; a social component to this will be added.
  • Clinicians will be encouraged to develop clear clinically relevant questions for collaboration with basic scientists. Funding will be directed towards provision of basic technical support.
  • Clinicians will be asked to participate in graduate student committees to increase awareness of the basic science activities.
  • Basic scientists will be encouraged to participate in resident training program, particularly in research electives.
  • External funding opportunities, such as CIHR Group grants, will facilitate clinical/basic science interaction in "growth and development" with the potential for such a centre at the BC Research Institute for Children's and Women's Health.
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Division of General Gynaecology and Obstetrics

This Division assists the Department in fulfilling its teaching, clinical service and research mandates. The division also assists in Departmental administrative function, specifically by participating in Department and hospital-based committees that relate to patient care, utilization of resources and clinical teaching.

The major responsibility of Divisional members is the provision of primary care secondary clinical care. However, some members have additional subspecialty expertise which enables them to provide tertiary medical care. Divisional members may act as a resource for physicians and patients throughout the province when these services and appropriate expertise are not available in their own community.

In addition, Division members dedicate time specifically for the teaching of undergraduate medical students and doctors in residency training. It is also recognized that their clinical practices are a major component of the university teaching program and are vital to the recruitment of patients for clinical research.

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Division of Gynaecologic Oncology

The Division of Gynaecologic Oncology is one of the four clinical divisions of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The Divisional activities take place at the BC Cancer Agency and the Vancouver General Hospital.


  • To provide excellence in gynaecologic cancer care for the women of British Columbia.
  • To foster a multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach to the practice of oncology.
  • To be a provincial resource for clinical and educational aspects of the specialty.
  • To respond to the needs of the patients and the practicing community.
  • To encourage research in the basic science related to this subspecialty.
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Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine

To provide and promote the highest level of care to women with high-risk pregnancies and to their families in the pursuit of academic excellence.


Providing and promoting the highest level of care...leading, managing and achieving ... advancing new knowledge ... leading in education ... building a culture of professional satisfaction.

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Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

The Division is one of the four clinical cornerstones of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; as such, we strive for and achieve excellence in patient care, teaching and research as these relate to the subspecialty. Historically, it has been a leader nationally and internationally.

The Division's Goals are:

  • To provide patient care that is recognized as being of exemplary standards; this includes having clinical services in the In Vitro Fertilization Program and the Fertility-Endocrine Clinic that provide leading-edge results.
  • To provide excellent educational programs that incorporate undergraduate, postgraduate, fellowship and community teaching. The Division's Fellowship Program (RCPSC Residency) must continue to be a sought-after training position.
  • To undertake research activities in the subspecialty which are innovative and collaborative.
  • To have the Division recognized nationally as a leader in each of these activities.

The current Divisional programs are as follows:

  1. The Royal College - Accredited Residency Program in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  2. The UBC Fertility - Endocrine Clinic
  3. The UBC Ovulation Induction Program
  4. The UBC In Vitro Fertilization Program
  5. The UBC Andrology Laboratory
  6. The UBC Gyn-Endocrine Laboratory

The first two of these programs, the Residency ("Fellowship") program and the Fertility-Endocrine Clinic, provide a needed service for the profession and for the public respectively. As such, they are publicly funded and generate research output.

The remaining programs are specialized provincial services, also potentially generating research output, but they are also capable of generating revenue for the Division. In times of Departmental budgetary constraint, the ability to generate revenue for Divisional activities (particularly education and research) is highly desirable.

The workload for the Ovulation Induction Program has continued to expand as the number of clinicians undertaking gonadotropin therapy has increased. Logistical problems can occur if the number of patients reaches a critical number, particularly on weekends when skeleton nursing and laboratory staff have sometimes found themselves hard-pressed to perform blood-taking, intrauterine inseminations, and find time to counsel patients with no back-up. The logistical position for these activities is being monitored, and alternative-staffing arrangements introduced if necessary.

The activities of the Division's IVF Program have undergone internal and external review in the past year and the results of treatment in the calendar year 2000 have been of leading-edge quality. Nevertheless, there has been a significant decline in the numbers of treatment cycles over the past three years. The Division plans a number of strategies to try to promote patient recruitment to the IVF Program, both through direct-to-consumer awareness an through solicitation of referring physicians. Introduction of these strategies will require assistance from consultants and a more "business-like" approach to delivery of services; but the philosophy of care in the Division will continue to be based on patients determining their own management with advice from their care-givers. Broadening the options for treatment within the Program (including the intention to introduce a program for in vitro maturation of oocytes) will increase the Program's overall appeal.

The UBC Andrology Laboratory was based for almost 20 years in the Department of Pathology at UBC Hospital; the agreement to house the laboratory was terminated abruptly in mid-2000, reportedly because of cost constraints affecting the Department of Pathology. The Andrology Laboratory has relocated its activities to the Willow Pavilion and its service activities have been integrated with the activities of the Gamete Laboratory of the IVF Program. The integration of the two service laboratories has streamlined the Division's functions in the area and has laid the foundation for a male infertility service, to be established in conjunction with the Fertility-Endocrine Clinic and the In Vitro Fertilization Program. Coordinating the activities of these programs is in progress. Once established, a male infertility program has the potential to increase the activity overall of the In Vitro Fertilization Program.

The Gyn-Endocrine Laboratory has always been fundamentally important to the Division's activities. The availability of in-house assays of reproductive hormones has allowed continued development of the ovulation induction program and, later, the In Vitro Fertilization Program. The Laboratory is, like the IVF Program and the Andrology Laboratory, one of the Division's potential sources for revenue beyond operating grants.

The Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program at BC Women's Hospital operates in association with the Division, in that its Director is a full-time Division member. However, the funding of the program and its geographic location in the BC's Women's Hospital render it functional'y as a program of the BC's Women's Hospital's Reproductive Medicine Program (which operates independently of the UBC Division).

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Education Programs

The reorganization of the medical curriculum has reduced the number of didactic teaching hours in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The paradigm shift from teacher-centered to learner-centered instruction has reduced the number of topics formally covered within the curriculum and teachers may not be familiar with their new educational role.

It is an ever-increasing challenge to achieve all relevant learning objectives for undergraduate and postgraduate education within our field. Given that it is a Faculty of Medicine mandate that we graduate competent physicians in the practice of General Gynaecology and Obstetrics, it is essential that educational program planning and implementation work towards this goal. The faculty of the Department who are involved with all levels of educational program planning, working in different geographical sites (VGH, BC Women's, St. Paul's).

Short-term Goals

  • Address deficiencies in the undergraduate curriculum and improve clinical exposure for medical students.
  • Define the Department's educational responsibilities and then the Divisional and Departmental member commitments to these responsibilities.

Long-term Goals

  • Act in a complementary and collaborative manner with the undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
  • Serve as a resource of educational expertise in the areas of educational program planning implementation and evaluation for the Department.
  • Promote ongoing medical education research within the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
  • Promote "lifelong learning" through the development of a Continuing Medical Education program for members of the Department, the medical community and the public.
  • Advocate the recognition and reward of teaching amongst Departmental members and encourage higher learning in medical education by interested Departmental members.
  • Enhance cooperative educational opportunities between departments of the Faculty of Medicine.