Area of Focused Competence (AFC)-diploma program in transfusion medicine

What is transfusion medicine?

Transfusion Medicine is that area of enhanced competence concerned with all aspects of the collection, testing, preparation, storage, transportation, pre-transfusion testing, indications for, infusion and safety of human blood components and products, nonhuman alternatives and alternative products manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. These activities are undertaken in such a way that the rights of blood donors, patients and families are respected.

What is the transfusion medicine AFC-diploma program?

The transfusion medicine AFC-diploma program is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RC) Area of Focused Competency (AFC) diploma program. Accredited University programs and program directors include:

  • University of British Columbia - Dr. Youness Elkhalidy ( 
  • University of Toronto - Dr. Yulia Lin ( 
  • McMaster University - Dr. Michelle Zeller (

Please visit the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada website for more information about the program at transfusion medicine AFC-diploma program.

What is the role of Canadian Blood Services in the program?

The role of Canadian Blood Services in the transfusion medicine AFC-diploma program is to provide funding, deliver blood-centre based training, and organise additional educational content in which all the University Programs participate.

  • Salary support and travel funding is provided to Canadian national or permanent resident trainee candidates per academic year.  Please see information about the Canadian Blood Services Elianna Saidenberg Transfusion Medicine Traineeship Award.
  • Training provided by Canadian Blood Services includes a rotation at Canadian Blood Services’ Testing Laboratory and National Immunohematology Reference Laboratory (NIRL) in Brampton, Ontario and at local Canadian Blood Services centres. This training also includes activities such as the LearnTransfusion series and an annual retreat.

The Canadian Blood Services component of the program is led by Dr. Matthew Yan, with the assistance of Julia Gilmore.

The partnership between Canadian Blood Services and the university programs provides trainees with a global understanding of Transfusion Medicine in Canada through exposure to both blood manufacturing (done by Canadian Blood Services) and blood bank/transfusion medicine services (done at the hospitals). The partnership also enables the program to address the unique challenge of providing focused, sub-specialty training to a small number of physician trainees spread across the country.

What does the program qualify you to do?

Upon completion of training, an AFC diplomate is expected to function as a competent specialist in Transfusion Medicine, capable of an enhanced practice in this area of focused competence, within the scope of Internal Medicine, Hematology, Pediatrics, Hematological Pathology, Anesthesiology or General Pathology. The AFC trainee must acquire a working knowledge of the theoretical basis of the discipline, including its foundations in science and research, as it applies to medical practice.