OUR MD Program
bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) is a prerequisite for those
applying to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Students begin
their studies in the MD Program after going through the School’s admissions process.
Medical Education (UME) portfolio is responsible for delivering the four-year
undergraduate MD Program.
serves as the Faculty of Medicine for Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and
Laurentian University in Sudbury and, upon acceptance into the MD Program,
students are assigned to one of these two host universities.
The MD Program
curriculum is organized around five Themes that connect learning and assessment
into a single, integrated curriculum. Medical students engage in a combination
of small and large group learning, practical and lab learning, and significant
community-based experiences that combine clinical, medical, and human sciences
into a powerful, innovative, and socially accountable program developed around NOSM's Academic Principles and Vision,
Mission, and Values.
of the Program, graduates will have earned a MD degree equivalent to all other
Canadian medical schools and are ready and able to undertake postgraduate
training anywhere in Canada, albeit, with a special affinity for training and
clinical practice in northern urban, rural, remote, Indigenous, and Francophone communities.
Our MD Program Curriculum
curriculum content is organized around the following five themes:
and Rural Health” covers the teaching of cultural competency especially in
relation to populations in Northern Ontario such as Francophone and Indigenous peoples,
history and geography of Northern Ontario and the history of medicine in the
North, health care and service issues in Northern Ontario, and the challenges,
benefits and rewards for practising medicine in Northern Ontario.
and Professional Aspects of Medical Practice” covers professionalism, medical
ethics, medico-legal issues, and historical developments related to medicine
and health, including the practice of medicine and health in Northern Ontario.
and Population Health” covers concepts of health and illness, public and
community health, social determinants of health, research skills, public health
policy, and the organization of health care in Canada.
of Medicine” covers all of the basic sciences in medicine including the
disciplines of anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, genetics,
microbiology, biochemistry, and immunology.
and Communication Skills in Health Care” covers communication skills, components
of health history and physical examination of body systems related to various
aspects of the life cycle.
Themes are integrated within the learning and assessment of every case-based module
and clerkship of the MD Program. The reinforcement of concepts across the
Themes ensures key learning outcomes are being achieved with an emphasis on
medical and clinical topics.
Our MD Program Curriculum Phases
Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2)
encompasses the first two years of the Program and is organized around eleven
case-based modules (CBMs), each of which covers a major body system. In keeping
with the School’s focus on preparing students for life and practice in any Northern
location, the written cases in each module are situated in a remote, rural,
urban, or Indigenous setting.
this Phase, students are located mainly at their assigned host university of
either Lakehead University or Laurentian University with a four-week Indigenous
community placement in the first year and two four-week rural and remote
community placements in the second year.
undertake a longitudinal program of community and interprofessional learning
through Community Learning Sessions (CLS).
includes a six-week elective block.
Phase 2 (Year 3)
of the MD Program is dedicated to an eight-month longitudinal Comprehensive
Community Clerkship (CCC) during which students are assigned to live and learn
in large rural or small urban communities in Northern Ontario, excluding Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
participate in a wide range of clinical learning activities within the
community as well as engaging in peer group learning sessions including Virtual Academic Rounds (VARs) and Distributed Topic Sessions (DTS). Students undertake
a reflective research project based in the needs and dynamics of their host
communities. Elective experiences are included during this Phase.
Phase 3 (Year 4)
takes place in the academic health science centres in either Thunder Bay or Sudbury
and is organized around a series of specialty clerkship rotations: Surgery,
Internal Medicine, Children’s Health, Women’s Health, Mental Health, and Emergency
integrated exposure to various specialties and subspecialties in this Phase
provides students with the opportunity to assess specialties which they may
choose to pursue as career choices.
Phase, there are opportunities to experience medicine in different settings
through elective experiences.
Our Distributed Model of Learning
School’s distributed model of learning, all of Northern Ontario is considered
shows positive correlation between practical community experience during medical
education and the location of a physician's practice upon graduating. NOSM aims
to produce physicians who are capable of practising in Northern, rural, and
remote areas and are of such high calibre that they will have opportunities to
celebrates generalism as a core value in its curriculum. Placements within
varied types of communities allow students to develop the diverse skills and
abilities typical of the rural Northern physician, where breadth of service
provision is substantial.
School’s curriculum development team recognizes the importance of providing an
immersive experience in the communities of Northern Ontario in order to promote
an awareness of living and practising in these communities and to promote
social accountability towards the people and communities of Northern Ontario.
end, the School has designed placements so that students experience remote,
rural, Indigenous, and urban practices first-hand in diverse Northern locales.
These placements are essential to meeting the learning objectives of the School.
Student participation in all of these placements is a mandatory component of NOSM’s
built a collaborative network of Northern Ontario community partners who are
integral to the distributed model and very engaged with us in developing
physicians to provide quality care to the populations we strive to serve.
The Indigenous Community Placement
in Year 1
year, in addition to students’ training at one of the two host universities,
Northern Ontario Indigenous communities have requested that students complete a
rural/remote Indigneous community placement in their first year of study.
compulsory four-week placement takes place in the spring. Students are sent to
communities in groups of two.
placement familiarizes the student with Indigenous lifestyles and the practice
patterns of professionals serving remote Indigenous communities. Students will
have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their assigned community and to learn
from a diverse body of clinical practitioners including registered nurses, health
directors, and Traditional Healers.
placements are carefully chosen on the grounds of preceptor knowledge,
technical infrastructure, patient flow, and security. Communities interested in
hosting students work with the School to ensure that standards in all of the
above areas are met.
The Rural/Remote Community Placements
in Year 2
year, students are required to complete two community placements of four weeks
each in small, rural, or remote communities. These placements will focus the
student on practising their clinical skills and making diagnoses within the
rural context, and familiarize them with the diversity of rural communities in
on resources available within the community, students may be assigned alone to
a community or in a group as large as eight.
The Comprehensive Community
Clerkship (CCC) in Year 3
year, students are required to complete a mandatory eight-month longitudinal
clerkship known as the Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC).
CCC, NOSM provides students with clinical experiences away from Sudbury and
Thunder Bay as they live and learn in groups of up to eight students in small
urban or large rural Northern Ontario communities. While living in the community, each student is assigned to primary-care
of the third year curriculum is to provide academic and professionally relevant
learning opportunities that, through small-group sessions and clinical
practice, exemplify reflective learning and comprehensive interprofessional
care. Opportunities to care for patients in a safe and efficient manner are
enhanced by the clerkship’s prolonged duration which promotes continuity of
care. Students increase their knowledge of medical care through clinical
encounters and through the socio-cultural context in which the patients and
their families cope and adapt to their health care needs. This social and
intellectual process will be encouraged through continuous interaction with
community-based health care practitioners.
experience is designed to enhance the students’ personal and professional
development. The nature of the course work and the learning-centered
environment promotes critical thinking and lifelong learning skills. The CCC
provides opportunities to enhance knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are conducive
to an understanding of medical practice in remote, rural, and/or underserved
communities and contrast that with urban practice. The student observes the
skills and attributes of health professionals in stimulating environments and
furthering their consideration of career choices including clinical practice
are many communities that participate in
the education of NOSM students, all of which are integral to making NOSM’s placement
and clerkship experiences possible. The specific communities may change from
year-to-year however this map is a good
The Large Urban Health Science
Centre Locations in Year 4
fourth year of the Program is a progression of the Year 3 clerkship (which was
done in smaller distributed community hospitals throughout Northern Ontario)
which exposes students to secondary and tertiary care of patients in the larger
urban cities of Sudbury and Thunder Bay. The purpose of this last Phase of the
undergraduate curriculum is to provide students with in-depth experience in various
specialties and subspecialties which will lead to fulfilling the graduation
requirements of the School. It allows students to observe and participate in
the care of patients with problems addressed by various disciplines and provides an opportunity for students to experience the continuum of care which seriously ill
patients receive in the North.
also provides students with an opportunity to experience, through core and
elective experiences, various specialties which they may choose to pursue as
career choices in their postgraduate training. Core rotations in seven broad
specialties provide students with a thorough background in women’s health,
internal medicine, surgery, children’s health, mental health, and emergency
medicine. Through electives, students experience medicine
in different settings outside the traditional geographic of Northern Ontario.
Finally, Phase 3 provides an important background of knowledge that will allow
students to graduate and transition into the postgraduate phase of medical
The Benefits of the Distributed Learning
Model to NOSM Students
students spend 40% of their time in off campus placements, allowing them to
derive considerable benefit from the distributed clinical learning model,
exposure to a range of health-care delivery environments
understanding of skill sets necessary to practice in multiple settings
to rural practice skills
to cultural and ethnic diversity
understanding of community-based health issue assessment
to examine possible practice environments prior to graduation
to learn from multiple preceptors with diverse interests and professional
The MD Program uses a range of assessment modalities including multiple choice questions and written exams, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), project work, preceptor observation, and encounter logging. There are committees that govern each of the five Themes and each of the three Phases. These committees are responsible for developing questions and other assessment tools throughout the Program. The Student Assessment and Promotion Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of student assessment regulations, policies, and procedures as well as student promotion and appeals policies.
There is substantial and ongoing program evaluation throughout the MD Program as
overseen by the Office of Program Evaluation and the Program Evaluation
Committee. The Office of Program Evaluation gathers copious feedback from
students, faculty, community leaders, and physicians on many aspects of the Program.
With the goal of continuous quality improvement, program evaluation reports are
distributed to all Theme Committee Chairs, Phase Coordinators, Directors, and
its structure, NOSM has unique governance. NOSM’s MD Program is
conducted under the authority of the Senates of its two host universities;
Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury. The
Undergraduate Medical Education Committee (UMEC) reports to NOSM’s Academic
Council which makes recommendations to the Senates of both host universities
through NOSM's Joint Senate Committee. The Academic Calendar for the MD Program
is therefore owned and validated by the two Universities.
Other helpful links
2017-2018 MD Program Course Descriptions
2017-2018 Calendar of Academic Events
further information regarding what you have read above, please refer to the Overview
of the Four Year Undergraduate Medical Education MD Program or email email@example.com.
are a physician or allied-health professional who is perhaps interested in
becoming a faculty member at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, more
information can be found via Faculty Affairs.
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
Dr. Dave Musson
Executive Assistant to the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education