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NOSM adopts the Okanagan Charter

Posted on June 30, 2021

Prioritizing health and wellbeing is a leading priority as a medical university.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) becomes an official signatory of the Okanagan Charter.

“The health and well-being of NOSM learners, faculty and staff is a top priority as we transition from a medical school to a university,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, NOSM Dean, President and CEO. “Research shows us that individuals who are well are more creative, engaged, productive, and have a stronger sense of community. It’s important for the entire NOSM community to focus on wellness as we look to the future—a future where access to equitable, quality health care for all Northerners is a reality.”

The Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting University and Colleges provides the principles and framework required to become a campus that promotes health and well-being. The Charter focuses on “the health and sustainability of current and future societies with a shared vision to strengthen communities and contribute to the well-being of people, places and the planet.”
The guiding principles of the Okanagan Charter are embedded in The NOSM Challenge 2025the School’s five-year strategic plan. These actions include NOSM’s commitment to:

  • Living the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion;
  • Developing a global health strategy founded in principles of social accountability;
  • Making strategic investments in our people, resources and infrastructure;
  • Encouraging creativity;
  • Supporting the well-being of the NOSM community;
  • Rewarding innovation; and,
  • Eliminating bureaucracy.

As a signatory, NOSM joins a network of national and international universities and colleges who commit to promoting health and well-being with the mutual understanding that it is essential to achieving a school’s full potential in teaching and learning, research and engagement.

The Canadian Health Promoting Campuses Network is guided by the Okanagan Charter, calling on all post-secondary schools to embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates and to lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

Over the last year, NOSM has made great strides to increase the focus on wellness. Dr. Joseph LeBlanc was named the inaugural Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusion and the Respect the DifferenceTM movement was launched.

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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is an award-winning socially accountable medical school renowned for its innovative model of distributed, community-engaged education and research. With a focus on diversity, inclusion, and advocacy for health equity, NOSM relies on the commitment and expertise of the peoples and communities of Northern Ontario to educate health-care professionals to practise in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote and underserved communities.

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