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Canada’s first independent medical university proclaimed: NOSM University

Posted on March 4, 2022

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) becomes NOSM University—the first independent medical university in Canada—effective April 1, 2022.

“This is a profound and historic moment for the NOSM community, and its impact will be felt across Northern Ontario and beyond,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, President, Vice Chancellor and Dean of NOSM University. “We are grateful to Minister Dunlop and the Ford government for this incredible commitment to health education in the North and our renewed focus on health equity across our vast region.”

Since its establishment in 2002, NOSM has blazed trails in its short history. The unique, distributed, community-engaged learning model has grown into something extraordinary. This model requires strong ties and engagement with remote, rural, Indigenous and Francophone communities. NOSM University has partnerships and collaborations with more than 500 organizations, in 90+ communities, and more than 1,800 faculty dispersed across all of Northern Ontario.

“NOSM University—fully accredited and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our peer institutions—will shape what it means to be an independent medical university in Canada,” Dr. Verma continued. “We know that our cost effective, innovative, community-based learning model, our trusted partnerships, and our purpose-built mission to bring health equity to Northern Ontarians is working. We will advance the national conversation about what health justice in the rural and remote North really looks like—and who can deliver it.”

“The Ontario government is committed to supporting high-quality postsecondary education in Northern Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “We recognize that our northern institutions are essential to ensuring we have a skilled workforce in the North, and by establishing NOSM University as an independent, publicly-assisted university, we will enable it to grow in ways that best serve their students and local communities.”

“This is the University you didn’t know Canada needed,” says Dr. Verma. “For everyone who has been involved along the way, this is a moment some 20 years in the making. In just a short time, we made history and we will continue to do it again, and again.”

NOSM University will build upon its flagship campuses in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.

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About NOSM University
NOSM University is Canada’s first independent medical university and one of the greatest education and physician workforce strategy success stories of Northern Ontario. More than just a medical university, it was purpose built to address the health needs of the region. While advocating for equitable access to care, the university contributes to the economic development of Northern Ontario. NOSM University relies on the commitment and expertise of the peoples of Northern Ontario to educate health-care professionals to practise in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote and underserved communities. With a focus on diversity, inclusion and advocacy, NOSM University is an award-winning, socially accountable organization renowned for its innovative model of distributed, community-engaged education and research.

Facts about NOSM University: 

  • NOSM has produced 780 MDs, 55 of whom self-identify as Indigenous, and 165 of whom self-identify as Francophone. In addition, 692 residents have completed NOSM programs. More than half of these health practitioners have stayed in Northern Ontario.
  • More than 148 dietetic interns have graduated from the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (NODIP) and 78 are practising in Northern Ontario.
  • Through NOSM, more than 850 rehabilitation sciences students have completed occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology and audiology placements in Northern Ontario.
  • The Physician Assistant (PA) program is a University of Toronto degree delivered in collaboration with NOSM and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. More than 300 PA students have completed rotations in Northern Ontario through NOSM’s partnership in the Consortium of Physician Assistant Education.
  • Four residents have graduated from NOSM’s Medical Physics Residency Education Program (MPREP) and are now practising as medical physicists.
  • Now that the legislation is proclaimed in force, NOSM University will form a new Board of Governors and a Senate.
  • NOSM’s partnerships and collaborations with more than 500 organizations, 90+ communities, and more than 1,800 clinical, human and medical sciences faculty dispersed across all of Northern Ontario will continue.
  • NOSM University is the first medical university in Canada with a dedicated Centre for Social Accountability.
  • NOSM is a signatory to the Okanagan Charter, an international charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges.
  • NOSM will remain in both Thunder Bay and Sudbury, and will build on its collaborative relationships with Lakehead University and Laurentian University.
  • NOSM University will continue to receive 90 per cent of its operating funds directly from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
  • NOSM University joins some of the world’s highest ranked medical schools that are independent medical universities and all fully accredited.

For further information about NOSM, please contact:

Kim Latimer
Communications and External Relations
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Phone: 807-621-4303
Email: klatimer@nosm.ca