The main areas include but are not limited to:

Communicable disease control activities include vaccine preventable disease outbreak investigations, Zika and Ebola virus response, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, and enteric illness investigations.
Environmental health activities range from consulting on mercury contamination, studying population effects of air pollution, food borne illnesses mitigation, and policy formulation related to the health effects of wind turbines
Health promotion and chronic disease prevention is a broad area of activity that includes obesity prevention through healthy public policy, responding to the opioid crisis, and addressing health inequities.
Emergency Preparedness and response is a critical role of PHPM specialists. Activities include developing plans for large events like the PanAM Games and leading responses to natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks such as SARS.
Designing or adapting programs to address the needs of diverse populations, particularly those who are marginalized or have special needs.

Want to apply for an elective in Toronto?

Medical Students

All elective students who wish to do a PHPM Elective in Toronto should fill out this form. We will use this to help determine which field site can best support your learning objectives. It is NOT the only step. Here’s a step-wise guide to the electives process:
  1. Complete the form
  2. Once completed you will receive an email from our program (
  3. We will contact you to review your submission and will suggest a field site to you.
  4. We will contact the field site to see if there is an opening for you.
  5. Once confirmed we will direct you to either MEDSIS (U of T Students) or AFMC (Visiting Medical Students) to formally request your elective with the assigned preceptor and field site.

University of Toronto Medical Students

Students may start booking electives at UofT a year in advance using the registration system ROUTE on MedSIS. This system is made available to students in September of the third year of the UME curriculum. Electives may be 2-4 weeks in duration. One week electives may be requested in exceptional circumstances and require review and approval by the Electives Director. To book a one week elective please refer to the following instructions and submit to the  Electives Office.

Visiting Medical Students

Visiting Canadian medical students should visit the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) Student Portal to learn more about the University of Toronto's elective programs.  All information can be found on its institution profile and includes the following:
  • how to apply
  • eligibility
  • application deadlines
  • registration requirements
Related links

U of T Residents

U of T residents should arrange their electives through their home department. If you have questions about elective sites please feel free to contact us.

Visiting Residents

As a postgraduate medical resident, you may register for an elective rotation at the University of Toronto in order to satisfy a specified part of the requirements of the ongoing residency training program in which you are enrolled at your home institution. Please visit the U of T 's Resident Electives Site for detailed information.


Public health and Preventive Medicine  (PHPM) is a uniquely challenging and rewarding medical specialty.  Our focus is on the health of the population rather than only on individuals. A PHPM specialist's work includes protecting health and preventing illness, while promoting health at the population level. The latter includes working with diverse populations to address the social determinants of health and to promote health equity.

In addition to medical skills and knowledge, PHPM specialist are trained in epidemiology, statistics, social sciences, public administration, policy development, program management and leadership

Graduates of the PHPM program work as local medical officers of health, as provincial or federal chief medical officers or as public health consultants in provincial or national agencies such as Public Health Ontario or the Public Health Agency of Canada, Other PHPM graduates have careers in  research, education, global health, health administration or community-oriented clinical practice with an emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, and primary health care.

The PHPM residency training is a 5 year program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Residents  at the University of Toronto complete two years of family medicine to become certified in family medicine.  Residents then complete graduate level academic training usually as a masters in public health. The final two of field rotations include training in communicable disease control, environmental health, health policy, chronic disease and senior management in a variety of settings (such as Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, and Public Health Ontario).

The specialty of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is a broad, exciting, and ever-changing career that improves the health of individuals and populations across Canada and the world.


Want to Learn More About the Speciality?

PHPM is a recognized entry route for subspecialty training in Occupational Medicine by the RCPSC. For more details, please refer to the Occupational Medicine Residency Program website.