Program Administrator Award for Excellence

This award is given each year to a residency program administrator who has shown a commitment to excellence in supporting all aspects of residency education.

Successful candidates work with all aspects of their program and with peers, exemplifying the professional role of the program administrator. In doing so, they embody the values of the CanMEDS-ATA (Applied to Administration) Roles. Typically, recipients have innovated and implemented new processes within their programs that lead to clear improvements.

Who is eligible

A nominee must be a current postgraduate residency program administrator. Current members of the Royal College Program Administrator’s Conference Steering Committee are not eligible.

To succeed, nominations must show evidence of the candidate’s embodiment of the professional characteristics outlined in the CanMEDS-ATA (Applied to Administration) Roles.

Nominations should also show evidence of the candidate’s work in at least three of the following areas:

  • commitment to excellence in the administration of the residency education program;
  • lasting impact on the quality of the residency education program and measurable outcomes (as seen through the accreditation process);
  • peer leadership and mentorship in the program administrator role;
  • characteristics that foster professionalism in their role;
  • use of resources or sharing expertise to enhance the university, hospital or workplace.

Who can nominate

Nominations may be submitted by program directors, members of the faculty of medicine, residents currently registered in the faculty, and other colleagues.

Self-nominations are not allowed.

How to write a nomination

Nominations must be submitted as a single PDF file, in either English or French.

Please send your package in this order:

  1. One nomination letter (maximum two pages) from the nominator that addresses each element found above under “Who is eligible”. Provide two to three examples of success for each element. This letter is the key piece of the nomination package. The more information you provide, the better.
  2. One letter of support (maximum two pages) from a resident or group of residents.

Each nomination must be for only one candidate.

Only one nomination package is allowed per candidate. You may need to coordinate the submission if multiple individuals want to nominate the same person.

How we select the award recipient

Nominations are decided by the Program Administrator’s Conference Steering Committee.

The institutional affiliation of previous recipients may be considered in determining the recipient, in the spirit of broadening access to this award.

The award

The award is presented at the annual International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE). The recipient receives a plaque recognizing their contribution, as well as complimentary travel and registration to the Program Administrator’s Conference.

The recipient is also invited to attend the ICRE awards dinner.

How we use your application information

  • If your nominee receives an award, the Royal College reserves the right to reproduce content from the nomination package, including quotes from nomination letters, in promotional communications.
  • Nominators’ identities are revealed to the award recipient in their letter of notification.
  • Unsuccessful nominees and their lead nominators receive a letter from the Royal College letting them know they were nominated.

Nominations for this award are now closed. 

Contact us with your questions.

Past recipients


Katarzyna (Kathy) Nowak, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada)


Deborah Hall, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada)


Jan Taylor, McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada)

Click here to see a list of past ICRE award winners.

About the CanMEDS-ATA Roles

Administrative Expert:

  • Technical skills (computer and database management)
  • Research and data analysis skills
  • Problem solving and decision-making
  • Coordination of multiple, simultaneous ongoing program demands
  • Organizational expertise with attention to detail, dependability and trustworthiness
  • Time management and self-motivation
  • Analysis of information
  • Informed decision-making
  • Recognition of own limits of knowledge and expertise
  • Knowledge of various regulatory bodies (e.g., Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario), residents’ organizations and contractual agreements.


  • Exhibits personal excellence in leadership and management
  • Creates and supports an environment that fosters teamwork, cooperation, respect and diversity
  • Respects the inherent worth of all individuals as evidenced through inclusiveness and diversity
  • Committed to carrying out professional responsibilities
  • Maintains confidentiality in all aspects of the role
  • Promotes positive change and innovation and seeks to improve
  • Displays discretion and tact in the face of adverse situations
  • Understands professional boundaries
  • Maintains membership in a professional association (such as CAMEO) that upholds standards of practice and facilitates sharing, networking, collaboration and research


  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Information source for program directors, faculty and learners
  • Active listener
  • Superior interpersonal skills
  • Accurate and efficient responses to enquiries
  • Effective communication with other programs, departments and universities
  • Precise and accurate documentation
  • Insight into the importance of good communication and finds ways to improve communication strategies


  • Conducts effective interactions
  • Collaborates with other departments and outside agencies
  • Fosters teamwork with residents, medical students, faculty and professional associates
  • Responsive to the needs of others
  • Demonstrates effective supervision and development of support personnel (as needed)
  • Has knowledge of human resources issues and policies (as needed)
  • Possesses effective negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Shares knowledge and information


  • Effective acquisition and use of resources
  • Knowledge of institutional and departmental policies and procedures
  • Efficient office organization
  • Proactive in anticipating, initiating and managing change
  • Cost-effective approach to office management.


  • Understands and applies the CanMEDS principles administration
  • Attends workshops and conferences
  • Is up to date on program activities
  • Maintains technical and administrative skills through reading, networking and internet searches
  • Demonstrates a willingness to learn
  • Mentors program staff and colleagues


  • Volunteers for program, departmental, institutional or professional association activities
  • Contributes to the well-being of residents/staff
  • Effectively represents the program to internal and external contacts
  • Assists learners in accessing appropriate support and assistance
  • Understands the role and limits of advocacy
  • Has the ability to self-advocate