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Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program


The Department of Psychiatry at McMaster University offers a RCPSC accredited, comprehensive and innovative subspecialty training program in geriatric psychiatry. The subspecialty program provides training in all CanMEDS required experiences including inpatient, outpatient, outreach, nursing home, and consultation settings. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the affiliated Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals are the major training sites. A joint consultation clinic and training sessions with Geriatric Medicine (Faculty: Dr. Tricia Woo) and Neuropsychology (Dr. Heather McNealy) are special interdisciplinary experiences.


The mission of our training program is to train outstanding geriatric psychiatry clinicians, encourage and support the development of clinicians interested in scholarly activities, research and academic careers. The applicants must be interested in working with older adult patients from a variety of socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.


During the subspecialty training the PGY6 resident (or trainee) will have no emergency on-call responsibilities. The trainee may be responsible to provide supervision to psychiatry residents and medical students on the inpatient, outpatient/outreach, and consultation services, give formal lectures to residents and medical students on topics related to geriatric psychiatry. The trainee may be responsible for 1-2 weekly psychiatric outpatient/outreach consults, 3-4 weekly consults on the medical or surgical units, and 4-5 inpatients to follow up. The trainee may be asked to present 1-2 times a year at Journal Club and/or at Complex Clinical Rounds. The trainee will be expected to complete a systematic literature review, or original research project, or other scholarly projects. The trainee will be strongly encouraged to attend either the Canadian or American Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry annual meeting. The trainee will have secretarial support, an office and a computer.


The curriculum includes joint seminars on selected topics with the Geriatric Medicine and seminars on selected topics with Neuropsychology Programs. Supervision is provided by Program Faculty Members. The trainees will benefit from their interaction with the Geriatric Medicine, Neuropsychology, Emergency Medicine, Palliative Care, and Neuroimaging Training Program, and the considerable resources of the McMaster medical centres.

The curriculum activities are tracked, recorded and evaluated by our program administrator.


Our training program has an organized schedule of rotations and other educational activities occurring at various training sites, and aimed to offer each trainee the opportunity to meet the educational requirements and achieve competence in the subspecialty of geriatric psychiatry. Major educational sites participating in this program and the coordinators at these sites are listed below.

Training Site  Coordinator
 St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton  Dr. Tracy Cheng
 St. Joseph's Healthcare Niagara  Dr. Maxine Lewis
 St. Joseph's Healthcare Halton  Dr. David Lam
 St. Joseph's Healthcare Brant  Dr. Tracy Cheng
 Haldimand/Norfolk  Dr. Tracy Cheng
 Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS)  Dr. Sharon Duff

 HHS St. Peter's Centre for Health Aging

 Dr. Ana Hategan
 St. Joseph's Healthcare Telepsychiatry  Dr. Jonathan Crowson



The Division of Geriatric Psychiatry Subspecialty Program at McMaster University, in keeping with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada requirements, consists of two years of training in geriatric psychiatry and related areas. The intent is for residents to enter this program as a PGY5 and complete training with a PGY6 year. Residents are asked to apply in the year prior to their anticipated entry.

The Department of Psychiatry is calling for Applications to the Geriatric Subspecialty Program for entry beginning July 2020. Residents entering their PGY4 or 5 year in July 2019 are eligible to apply.

One year of eligible rotations should be completed during PGY5 in a recognized Psychiatry Residency program in Canada and the resident must be eligible to write the RCPSC (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) examination in general psychiatry at the end of their PGY5 year.

Complete details on training requirements can be found on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Website under Geriatric Psychiatry 

Applications for the Geriatric Subspecialty Program are due Monday September 9, 2019.  Interviews will be offered to successful candidates and will be held on October 16, 2019

The Division offers an extraordinary breadth and depth of clinical experiences with excellent, dedicated supervisors and teachers. Training will occur primarily within the St Joseph’s Healthcare setting, with additional experiences in Hamilton Health Sciences, Community and Long-term care settings, and affiliated teaching sites in Waterloo and Niagara regions. We are affiliated with McMaster’s Institute of Geroscience Research.

Please refer to the list of requirements below. For consideration of enrollment in this program, please submit the documents listed below by mail, to the attention of:

Dr. Tracy Cheng
Address: 100 West 5th Street, room H117
Hamilton, Ontario L8N3K7

For further information about subspecialty training in Geriatric Psychiatry, please contact Maria Benoit, Department subspecialty coordinator, 905-522-1155 ext.39019


  • A letter of Intent
  • Completed: PGME Application Form 
  • Three Letters of Reference (one from current program director and at least one a from Geriatric Psychiatry supervisor)
  • An updated C.V.

All application information must be received by September 9, 2019. Late applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All eligible applicants will have their file reviewed by the Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program Committee. A short list of applicants will be selected and invited for a interview to occur ​on October ​16, 2019.


The Geriatric Psychiatry residency training is Twenty-four (24) months.

  • Twelve (12) months of the training requirements in section 1 and 2 below is to be completed during fulfillment of the primary certification requirements in a Royal College-approved program in Psychiatry in the PGY5 level or higher.
  • Twelve (12) months will be completed in the McMaster University Geriatric Psychiatry Program at the PGY6 level.
  • Minimum requirements in each area are indicated below in bold.

Rotation choices should be discussed with the McMaster University Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program Director and must be approved by the local Residency Program Director to ensure you are fulfilling your local program requirements.


1. Clinical training: Eighteen (18) to twenty-one (21) months total, including:

1.1 Core Geriatric Psychiatry: At least twelve (12) months with a minimum of two months (2) or equivalent in each of the following settings:

  • Inpatient (includes inpatient work on psychiatric units or consultation to other inpatient settings)
  • Ambulatory care (includes outpatient clinics or day hospital settings)
  • Outreach visits at a patient’s place of residence (must include a long-term care component)

Each of these components may be organized in a longitudinal fashion, and must allow the resident to provide both consultations and ongoing care. There must be supervision by a psychiatrist with appropriate Geriatric Psychiatry expertise and knowledge.

This does not include the 6-month mandatory Psychiatry Residency core experience in Geriatric Psychiatry in the PGY2/3 year.

1.2 Expertise with the medical problems commonly associated with psychiatric presentations in older adults:At least three (3) months. Rotations should be selected according to the individual resident’s career goals and prior experience, and may include any of the following:

  • Geriatric Medicine clinics, day hospital or inpatient unit
  • Movement disorders / neurology
  • Stroke prevention clinic
  • Palliative care
  • Neuroimaging 
  • Medical care in a long term care home

1.3 Electives related to the practice of Geriatric Psychiatry: Up to three (3) months. These are intended to augment the learning obtained in the core clinical rotations to ensure all the educational objectives are met. Rotations must have a clear geriatric focus and will be individualized to the experience and goals of the resident with the approval of the program director. Suitable rotations include:

  • Addictions psychiatry
  • Psychotherapy
  • Community/ shared care psychiatry
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Bioethics in psychiatry
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Clinical psychiatric research
  • Late life Mood disorders and ECT
  • Emergency or urgent care 

2. Advanced training and/or scholarly activities: Three (3) to six (6) months:

2.1 This will be related to Geriatric Psychiatry, as attested by the Program Director, in one or more of the areas outlined below. This may be completed in distinct blocks or integrated horizontally over the course of subspecialty training and must be completed by the end of the residency. Each subspecialty trainee will be expected to develop skills in one of the following areas in greater depth, to at least Advanced level competency, as defined in the Objective Training Requirements in Geriatric Psychiatry. All PGY6 residents at McMaster will be required to participate in the department’s annual leadership training program.

  • Education: Advanced level competency may include the development and evaluation of a new educational program, or formal graduate studies in health professional education.
  • Research: Advanced level of competency in this area will undertake a research project, and the training program will be expected to assist the resident in acquiring the necessary skills.
  • Leadership, Service Development and Administration: Advanced level competency may include a critical evaluation and review of an existing model of service delivery, undertaking and documenting a new service development or capacity enhancement project, or graduate-level studies in Health Administration
  • Other: Trainees may elect to develop advanced level competency in other areas such as advocacy, according to individual career goals, subject to approval by the Program Director.

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