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Northern physicians and workforce strategy focus of two new NOSM roles

Posted on February 20, 2020
Drs James and Sarah

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is pleased to announce two new roles with a focus on supporting northern physicians and workforce strategy. Driven by the need to create greater health equity for rural, remote, Francophone and Indigenous communities, NOSM is focused on building workforce capacity and introducing innovative models of care that will lead to more equitable access to care for patients in Northern Ontario.

“Providing professional development opportunities specific to our region’s realities is a key part of improving quality care in Northern Ontario and retaining physicians to rural and remote communities,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, NOSM Dean, President and CEO. “The Associate Dean, Continuing Education and Professional Development will lead NOSM in addressing the life-long learning needs of medical professionals in the North.”

“The Assistant Dean, Physician Workforce Strategy position is a critical addition to our NOSM’s leadership team particularly as we reengage with communities in finding sustainable solutions to physician recruitment and retention. New innovative models of care are required to achieve equitable access to care and this position is integral in getting there,” says Dr. Verma.

Joining NOSM’s decanal team are:

Dr. James Goertzen, Associate Dean, Continuing Education and Professional Development. Located in Thunder Bay, Dr. Goertzen has been NOSM’s Assistant Dean, Continuing Education & Professional Development for four years. Transitioning to the role of Associate Dean, Dr. Goertzen will be responsible for all aspects of planning, implementing and evaluating Continuing Education and Professional Development including Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for physicians, other health professionals, health professional education programs, and faculty development training and activities of NOSM.

Dr. Sarah Newbery, Assistant Dean, Physician Workforce Strategy. Located in Marathon, Dr. Newbery will work closely with NOSM leadership and health-care organizations across Northern Ontario and beyond, to seek integration and new models of health-care delivery and services, such as a Rural Generalist Pathway, the School’s First Nations residency program, and funding models to support rural and remote physicians. Dr. Newbery has been highly engaged with the School since its inception and has taken on an active teaching role for many years.

Dr. Goertzen begins his new role on April 1 and Dr. Newbery will begin March 1, both for three-year terms.

“We’re thrilled to have Drs. James Goertzen and Sarah Newbery join us in these roles. They have been actively engaged with NOSM for many years,” says Dr. Verma. “They are well known across the North, and are valued for their expertise in their respective areas.”

About the incumbents:

Dr. James Goertzen has been a leader in family medicine education for more than 30 years. Trained as a family physician, Dr. Goertzen is a Professor of Family Medicine and the former Assistant Dean of Continuing Education and Professional Development at NOSM. Prior to this, Dr. Goertzen served as NOSM’s Medical Director for Faculty Development. Preceding his time with NOSM, Dr. Goertzen directed rural postgraduate family medicine programs in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. Dr. Goertzen is a faculty member of the Canadian Leadership Institute for Medical Education and Executive Member and Chair Section of Teachers Council, College of Family Physicians of Canada. In 2017, Dr. Goertzen was awarded the Associated Medical Services 2017 Phoenix Fellowship to develop and sustain the compassionate physician leadership required to support the learning and practice of compassionate care in Northern Ontario. He has also been awarded fellowship by both the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC).

Dr. Sarah Newbery completed medical school at McMaster and postgraduate family medicine training in Thunder Bay through the Northern Ontario Medical Program. A fellow of both the CFPC and the SRPC, Dr. Newbery has been a rural physician in comprehensive community practice in Marathon since 1996 and is currently the Chief of Staff of the North of Superior Health Care Group. She is a past board member of the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) and is a past President of that organization. Most recently she was the VP Clinical for the Northwest LHIN and co-chair of the Northern Physician Resources Task Force, Dr. Newbery is also on several provincial health related committees and is chair of the OCFP’s Rural Mentoring Network and Leadership in Primary Care Mentoring Network. She has been an active community teacher and faculty member at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine since its inception and has been involved in several NOSM curriculum committees. Dr. Newbery believes strongly in equitable access to care for citizens of Canada’s rural communities and loves the professional work of being a comprehensive family physician in rural practice.