Area of Focused Competence Diploma Programs


Area of Focused Competence (AFC) Diploma Programs allow trainees to meet supplemental competencies that enhance the practice of physicians in an existing discipline, or a highly specific and narrow scope of practice that does not meet the criteria of a subspecialty.

This category of discipline recognition provides a mechanism for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to support areas of expertise that meet a legitimate societal need. Successful AFC candidates become Diplomates (or, if they do not have Royal College specialty certification, Diplomate Affiliate members) of the Royal College.

Are you interested in an AFC at UBC? Explore the guidelines below for more information.

Who is Eligible?

In order to become an AFC fellow at UBC, a candidate must have successfully completed all requirements which would allow them to be listed (registered) as a specialist in their home country. Domestic trainees must either be currently enrolled in a residency training program in Canada, or have successfully completed a residency training program in Canada.

First Requirement

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The candidate MUST supply a letter from the postgraduate specialty college in their home country (with a notarized translation if applicable) indicating that they have met the training requirements for a specialist in that country. The letter should indicate the number of years of training necessary to achieve specialist status in the program and examinations necessary to achieve specialist status. Domestic trainees must have successfully completed educational requirements for certification as a specialist as determined by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada OR be currently enrolled in a Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada accredited residency program. Furthermore, additional eligibility requirements may apply as determined by the Royal College. More information about the Competency Training Requirements (CTR) is available

Second Requirement

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The candidate MUST provide proof (original with notarized translation if applicable) of successful completion of all examinations listed in the above letter.

Those candidates who do not meet the above fellowship eligibility criteria, but have sufficient postgraduate training to warrant admission to a postgraduate program at UBC, can further explore the website under the category, “Postgraduate Trainees.”

How to Apply

The Application for Approval of Appointment of Area of Focused Competence (AFC) Fellow Form has been formulated so that the training of all AFC fellows can be documented. All applications should be submitted a minimum of 8 weeks before the anticipated start date in order to allow sufficient time for processing and issue of licensure etc.

Application Process

A completed application will include (roll over the image boxes below for greater detail and instruction):

  • Application Form with signatures
  • Training Agreement with sponsoring Health Authority or University
  • Application fees(s)(as applicable)

Once a completed application has been prepared, signatures obtained, and the fee(s) paid, the Department/Division is responsible for forwarding the application form to the Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Dean’s Office through RMS Clinical Fellow Module for review and signature. Once a completed application has been submitted to the PGME Deans Office it will be reviewed and processed as appropriate. Applications signed by the Postgraduate Dean will be returned to the Department/Division.

All new users are required to complete the RMS Clinical Fellow Module online training and complete the quiz at the end of the training before granting access to the module. Please find this link for the training and contact after training completion to request for access.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation please refer to our FAQ page for the latest information impacting UBC trainees.


Accredited AFC Programs at the University of British Columbia

Below are the current Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada accredited AFC programs at the University of British Columbia:

Acute Point of Care Ultrasonography
AFC Director: Dr. Daniel Kim

Addiction Medicine
AFC Director: Dr. Paxton Bach

Adult Congenital Heart Disease
AFC Director: Dr. Gnalini Sathananthan

Adult Echocardiology
AFC Director: Dr. Michael Tsang

Adult Interventional Cardiology
AFC Director: Dr. Jacqueline Saw

Adult Thrombosis Medicine
AFC Director: Dr. Alejandro Dau

Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation
AFC Director: Dr. Brian Clarke

AFC Director: Dr. Ryan Urban

Pediatric & Perinatal Pathology
AFC Director: Dr. Anna Lee

AFC Director: Dr. Andrew Merkur

Sleep Disorder Medicine
AFC Director: Dr. Aditi Shah

Transfusion Medicine
AFC Director: Dr. Youness Elkhalidy

Trauma General Surgery
AFC Director: Dr. Emilie Joos

Other fellowship programs are currently undergoing the Royal College accreditation process at UBC. For details on these, and any other AFC related information please contact us at


Administrative fees can be paid online .

Area of Focused Competence Application Fee – $3000.00 per year
Area of Focused Competence Application Fee – $1000.00 per year (current UBC resident at point of payment)

AFC Trainees are not registered as residents with the University and do not have to pay UBC registration fees. However, they will be required to pay an annual licensing fee to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.

For information on Royal College credentials review and assessment fee, please see the ‘Credentials Verification’ tab below.

Credentials Verification

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) requires all physicians who have completed their medical education outside of Canada and who are now seeking medical licensure in B.C. to submit copies of certain documents to the Medical Council of Canada’s Physicians Apply for source verification.

Further information about CPSBC credentials verification requirements can be found here.

In addition The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada have a credentials review and assessment fee. Further information about this can be found here.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

Any candidate for licensure in British Columbia must have the ability to speak, read, and write English to the satisfaction of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia’s Registration Committee.

Further information about CPSBC English Language Proficiency requirements can be found here.


AFC Trainees do not fall under the umbrella of the Resident Doctors of BC or the Collective Agreement between the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) and Resident Doctors of British Columbia (RDBC). Salary arrangements are the responsibility of the fellowship program.


AFC Trainees are required to purchase personal medical malpractice liability insurance at their own expense. All AFC trainees must be aware that they require liability protection when they begin their training program and throughout their program. It is important that all trainees understand that malpractice protection is mandatory and a condition of their license with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Without liability protection, trainees are in breach of their educational license with the College.

Immigration / Work Permit Documentation

PGME Policies applicable to UBC AFC trainees

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada - Areas of Focused Competence (AFC) resources

AFC Questions

if you have any questions regarding Area of Focused Competence programs or fellow appointments, please contact us at