Department of Emergency Medicine

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Department of Emergency Medicine

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • previously Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Family Medicine

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

June 1, 2008-


In the early 1980's a young and enthusiastic group of physicians at the University of Manitoba developed both a clinical and academic commitment to Emergency Medicine as a specialty and began to participate more actively in undergraduate medical education. By the mid-1980's, the EM content of the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Manitoba was well developed and included a four week long clerkship rotation, an extensive lecture series and training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). This curriculum was designed and taught by clinicians with a teaching hospital clinical affiliation and was accomplished with minimal financial support.

In 1986, recognizing the emergence of Emergency Medicine as a new specialty, Dr. Gary Beazley, then Head of the Department of Family Medicine, established a formal Academic Section of Emergency Medicine within the Department of Family Medicine. The first Academic Section Head of EM was Dr. Alecs Chochinov.

After the appointment of an Academic Head, it was necessary to develop an administrative infrastructure. Drawing from the same group of physicians who had been running the successful undergraduate curriculum, Directors of Undergraduate Education (Dr. Ira Ripstein) and CME (Dr. Urbain Ip) were appointed, although there were few supports (financial or human resources) available for program development. By 1988, a CCFP-EM residency program had been established, and in 1990, an FRCP-EM program followed close on its heels under the direction of Dr. Neil Swirsky. During the early 1990's, most of the faculty’s efforts were focused on building a curriculum for the two residency programs, relying entirely on physicians in the emergency departments (who did not have academic contracts) and hospital-based emergency secretaries as administrative support. The residency programs grew and flourished, producing a number of specialists in Emergency Medicine.

In 1996, with the advent of the regionalization of health services within the province, Dr. Wes Palatnick was appointed as combined Emergency Program Medical Director (Winnipeg Regional Health Authority) and University of Manitoba Academic Section Head. He continued building on the previous work of Dr. Chochinov and others to expand the FRCP-EM and CCFP-EM residency programs, the undergraduate program and continuing medical education. The latter includes hosting the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians National Conference in 2003 and a yearly Emergency Medicine Update in conjunction with the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Continuing Medical Education. There was growing recognition of the important role that the Section of Emergency Medicine plays in the education of undergraduate and postgraduate trainees.

By the early 2000s, the section was well-established and the residency programs had grown. By this time, other universities had created independent Departments of Emergency Medicine, and the section began to give this serious thought. In 2006, with the support of the Dean, Faculty Medicine and the Head, Department of Family Medicine, the process was begun to gain departmental status. Under the leadership of Dr. John Sokal, Acting Section Head, a proposal for departmental status was completed in early 2008. This proposal was approved within the Faculty of Medicine and at the University Senate, and finally on April 22, 2008, was endorsed by The University of Manitoba Board of Governors. On June 1, 2008, the Emergency Medicine officially became a full Department.

Academic Calendar


Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Related entity

Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba (1883-)

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