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NOSM Holds Third Francophone Symposium in Sudbury

Posted on May 4, 2010

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) recently held its third, successful three-day Francophone Symposium at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury. From April 28 to 30, 2010, over 140 distinguished participants from across Northern Ontario gathered to explore dimensions of health care related to Francophone populations.

The theme of this year’s symposium, “Health – A Community Issue,” set the tone for dynamic presentations and workshops which 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. In the introductory session, for example, motivational speaker and Cultural Identity Consultant, Lise Paiement, began by encouraging reflection and intervention in the creation of a Francophone environment within the health system.

This was followed by additional sessions and reports which addressed new research initiatives relating to the health of Francophones in Ontario, cultural and linguistic competencies in health care, and the use of technology in enhancing educational and health care related initiatives.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Gilles Julien, an internationally known Social Pediatrician from Montreal, called attention to the need to establish a range of integrated and adapted services to optimize learning paths for children, in part by providing equal opportunity and preventing exclusion.

Additional highlights included a presentation of NOSM’s place within Francophone communities, an overview of NOSM’s programs, and the official launch of a report delivered by NOSM Associate Dean of Community Engagement, Dr. Marc Blayney.

The report, entitled “Francophone Community Engagement: Insight | Guidance | Action”, is the result of consultations NOSM had with the Francophone communities of Northern Ontario with the aim of helping the School to more readily respond to the needs of these Francophone communities who play a vital role in providing clinical learning experiences for NOSM students in all of the School’s health education programs.

Additional learning opportunities engaged the participants, including a round table comprising several speakers from the community health and education sectors, and the Local Health Integration Networks, (LHINs) who discussed initiatives underway in the North East and North West, and provided an overview of innovative services currently offered in northern Francophone communities.

Dr. Gratien Allaire, Director, Institut franco-ontarien and historian, concluded the symposium with a summary that highlighted both the progress achieved as well as the work that remains in adequately responding to the health care needs of Francophones in Northern Ontario.

NOSM Dean, Dr. Roger Strasser, underscored the importance of the Francophone Symposium as a forum for raising public awareness of Francophone needs. “This third Francophone Symposium is essential to examining and understanding current health practices and services for the Francophone people of Northern Ontario. The gathering of many individuals who are well informed about health care and Francophone communities opens a window of opportunity for the discussion of collaborative approaches intended to improve health care for the people of Northern Ontario, including Francophone populations across the region.”

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is particularly grateful for the support from several community partners, including FedNor, whose contribution will assist NOSM in hosting a series of regional information and planning meetings to follow up on this symposium and will also assist with the creation of a pan-Northern Francophone Community Network and a new web-based forum.

The School also extends a special thank you to Laurie Rancourt, Chair of the NOSM Francophone Reference Group (FRG) who acted as master of ceremonies for the entire symposium, and to NOSM’s Francophone Affairs Team under the direction of Danielle Barbeau-Rodrigue, as well as all others who contributed to the outstanding success of this symposium.

The Report, ““Francophone Community Engagement: Insight | Guidance | Action”, can be found on the NOSM website,, you can find under the About Us section, in Media Room, then Publications and Report or under the Communities section, in Francophone Affairs.