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NOSM strengthening roots in Thunder Bay

Posted on October 8, 2021

Earlier this week, Dr. Sartia Verma, Dean, President and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), hosted the first in a series of consultations on the future of NOSM. After providing community members with an update of the School’s impact on health care and education in Thunder Bay, Dr. Verma spoke about her vision for NOSM as Canada’s first stand-alone medical university.

“NOSM is here to stay in Thunder Bay, especially as we transition to a university,” says Dr. Verma. “We have established roots here, and we have plans to build a stronger academic network with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, Lakehead University and other community partners.”

“We are committed to Thunder Bay, and we are committed to Northern Ontario,” says Dr. Verma. “In my conversations with community members, I’ve been impressed with the support for NOSM University and the positive economic impact we have had in this city. We will be happy to work with City Council to deliver jobs and improve access to health care.”

Thunder Bay is currently in need of 50 physicians: 10 family doctors and 40 specialists, including 12 psychiatrists.

NOSM University is focused on moving forward with its strategic priorities, which includes supporting leaders with the skills to make bold changes. The University, once proclaimed into force, will maintain its mandate to advocating for equitable health care, especially for underserved rural, Indigenous and Francophone communities in Northern Ontario.

By the numbers:

  • There are 256 students enrolled in the MD program at NOSM, with 112 located in Thunder Bay.
  • Currently, 66 resident doctors are working in Thunder Bay and studying to become family physicians or specialize in general surgery, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry or public health and preventative medicine.
  • NOSM also educates registered dietitians, medical physicists, and—through affiliation agreements with universities in southern Ontario—supports health sciences learners in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, audiology, and physician assistants.
  • Teaching takes place at more than 35 locations in Thunder Bay, which includes hospitals, family health teams and clinics.
  • As one of the large urban sites, every year Thunder Bay hosts 28 fourth-year medical students’ clinical rotations at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
  • More than 95 doctors now practising in Thunder Bay have completed their education with NOSM as either medical students or resident doctors.
  • Currently, 438 faculty members are located in Thunder Bay—14 self-identify as Francophone and another 14 self-identify as Indigenous. More than 400 of these faculty members are practising physicians.
  • Since 2017, Thunder Bay has welcomed more than 1,700 learners.
  • In 2020, Thunder Bay Local Education Group (LEG) Members at NOSM published more than 75 articles and received 18 research grants totaling more than $1.8 million.

As NOSM evolves into Canada’s first stand-alone medical university, the School continues to consult widely with Northern Ontarians. Upcoming town halls are scheduled in Sioux Lookout, Kenora, Fort Frances, Hearst, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Rosseau (Parry Sound-Muskoka). Dates and details for in-person or virtual participation can be found on the NOSM website.

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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. NOSM’s graduates, faculty, learners and staff are changemakers who lead health-system transformation in Northern Ontario. The School is a recipient of the Charles Boelen International Social Accountability Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and the prestigious ASPIRE award, which recognize international excellence in social accountability and medical education.

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