Drs. Kaitlyn Lopushinsky (MD) and Mallory McNiven (MD) are the first medical residents to complete the USask pediatrics residency program at the Regina campus. (Photo: Submitted)
Drs. Kaitlyn Lopushinsky (MD) and Mallory McNiven (MD) are the first medical residents to complete the USask pediatrics residency program at the Regina campus. (Photo: Submitted)

Peppermint mochas and supportive staff: First USask Regina-based pediatrics residents reflect on residency

In 2019, two University of Saskatchewan (USask) medical residents began their journey to become pediatricians.


With the finish line on the horizon, they reflect on their experience as the inaugural cohort in the Regina pediatrics program and look forward to the next stage of their medical careers. 

Drs. Kaitlyn Lopushinsky (MD) and Mallory McNiven (MD) are the first medical residents to complete the four-year College of Medicine pediatrics residency program at the Regina campus. In their experience, they found that “Robin’s Donuts makes the world’s best peppermint mocha, and it is the perfect pick-me-up during a long week.” They also learned the adage “sleep when you can, sit when you can, eat when you can, and don’t mess with the pancreas," and a supportive department, would help them through residency.

“I had one night on call when I had a very sick patient, and I just had this feeling like I could call any pediatrician in the city and they would all be willing to help me,” said McNiven. “Having made many of those 4:00 am calls (to staff), they have always been there for me through every stage of my learning."

Additionally, many of the highlights of their pediatric residency include organizing the multi-disciplinary team, creating teaching content, coordinating the Regina-based resident-led multidisciplinary simulation program and incorporating remote presence robotic technology.

“I appreciate the responsibility we have to use our knowledge and skills to treat our patients' illnesses, advocate for their health and wellness, and be cheerleaders for them no matter what difficulties they face," said Lopushinsky.

During the four-year program, residents gained experience in rotations throughout Saskatchewan, Regina’s community clinics and the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre.

“We have a strong group of general pediatricians who manage a wide range of presentations from a large catchment area,” said Dr. Shauna Flavelle (MD), site director for the pediatrics residency program in Regina. “We all love the broad scope of medicine here in Regina and I hope that we can pass that enthusiasm on to our residents, and ultimately encourage some of them to stay here when they are finished.”

Based at the College of Medicine Regina campus in Regina General Hospital, pediatrics residents are part of a campus that is home to approximately 100 residents.  

“The Regina campus is an essential partner to the Saskatchewan Health Authority as we work to ensure the health needs of everyone who calls our province home, including the needs of our youngest patients and their families,” said Dr. Susan Shaw (MD), chief medical officer at the Saskatchewan Health Authority. 

My congratulations to the residents and my thanks to the faculty, staff and colleagues who supported the establishment of the Regina pediatrics residency program.” 

Medical education in Regina started in 1974 with a family medicine residency program. Since then, the campus’s teaching and learning presence has expanded to include five residency programs. These include the pediatrics residency program, and most recently, in 2022, the addition of a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program.

After three years in the pediatrics residency program, residents can choose to pursue a fellowship or complete a fourth year of residency. Lopushinsky and McNiven will pursue fellowships in pediatric intensive care and pediatric endocrinology, respectively.

Flavelle hopes that all residents will stay in touch as they move on to the next stages of their careers.

“I always enjoy our welcome barbecues in August and our holiday gatherings in December,” she said. “It’s been great getting to know not only the residents, but their partners too, and hearing about their families and their pets!”

For a closer look at the USask pediatrics residency program, visit the resident-run Instagram @saskpedsresidents.

Visit the College of Medicine Regina campus's webpage to explore more residency programs in Regina, Saskatchewan.