NOSM Hosts Fifth Francophone Symposium
From September 24 to 26, 2015, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) held its fifth Francophone Symposium at Laurentian University in Sudbury. More than 90 health professionals and community partners from across Northern Ontario gathered to explore dimensions of health care related to Francophone populations.
With a particular focus on mental health and the "active offer" (ensuring that services in French are obvious, easily available, and accessible), the conference provided dynamic presentations, discussions, and a student-led wellness workshop. These activities focused on community networking, capacity building, health practices and services, and collaborative approaches designed to enhance effective health-care delivery for Francophones in Northern Ontario.
The breadth of topics reflected the diversity of challenges in the provision of effective health care for Francophone people and communities. Distinguished speakers included:
- François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, who spoke about the Commission's 2014-2015 Annual Report and the importance of creating an environment where it is conducive for Francophones to obtain services in their language of choice.
- Diane Quintas, Executive Director of the Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l'Ontario, who presented detailed information relating to a new Joint Position Statement on the Active Offer of French Language Health Services in Ontario on behalf of the Alliance of Francophone Health Networks in Ontario as well as the Group of French-language Health Planning Entities.
- Philippe Leblanc, Franco Doc Project Coordinator, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), who discussed the Franco Doc project which aims to support Francophone students studying in English-language faculties of medicine by developing French-language medical resources and additional placement opportunities in Francophone communities by linking Anglophone medical faculties with francophone health networks and francophone communities.
- Denis Vaillancourt, Chair of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario, who highlighted the work which resulted in the White Paper on French Language Health Care in Ontario.
- Dr. Marie-France Tourigny-Rivard, Chair, Seniors Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, who discussed the progress made to implement the recommendations of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in relating to accessing francophone mental health services for the elderly in Northern Ontario.
- Dr. Bernard Leduc, Executive Director, Montfort Hospital, who discussed the ways in which NOSM and Montfort can collaborate to provide French-language health professional education for Northern Ontarians.
- Dr. Raymond Tempier, Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, who reported on the findings of a recent study relating to Franco-Ontarians' access to in-hospital psychiatric services.
- Louise Bouchard, Ph. D., Professor of Sociology, University of Ottawa, who provided findings on mental health status data relating to the Francophone population of Ontario.
- Dr. Benoit Mulsant, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, who spoke about the services needed to address the needs of the aging population with mental health and addiction issues.
In addition, presentations were given from NOSM's various educational and administrative portfolios to report back to the Francophone community about the School's efforts to ensure their activities and initiatives meet the needs of the Francophone community. Most importantly, these presentations included round-table discussions to seek input from participants about how NOSM can continue to improve to meet the needs of Francophones in Northern Ontario.
"At NOSM, we determine our activities in partnership with Northern Ontario communities," says Dr. David Marsh, NOSM Deputy Dean and Associate Dean, Community Engagement. "That's what the Francophone Symposium is about: understanding the needs of the francophone community so that we can ensure that our initiatives are tailored to meet those needs. We look to you, as our valued partners and members of the Francophone community, to help us ensure that our graduates are equipped to work in Francophone communities."
"The members of the Francophone community welcomed the opportunity to hear from the members of the NOSM team in order to better understand and truly appreciate all the work that has been done during the last 10 years," notes Jacqueline Gauthier, Chair of the NOSM Francophone Reference Group. "They also welcomed the opportunity to discuss with the NOSM team, including Dr. Strasser and Dr. Marsh, future plans and strategies to be developed as the medical school continues to strive to meet the needs of French speaking patients throughout Northern Ontario for years to come."
"I'd like to congratulate the Northern Ontario School of Medicine on its 10th anniversary," said Joscelyne Landry-Altmann, Deputy Mayor and Councillor for the City of Greater Sudbury, Ward 12. "NOSM has had a lasting impact on our community and those across the North, where students become familiar with the landscape of our communities, including Francophone culture. Our physician recruitment program has seen much success. I am pleased to report that 45 NOSM-trained family physicians have begun practising in Sudbury, with 15 committed to start here over the next few years. This accounts for approximately 50% of our family physicians, who will care for approximately 83,000 citizens in our community."
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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research.