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NOSM University expansion to aid with Northern Ontario physician shortage

Posted on March 15, 2022
Medical Students
Additional spots for MD and residency will contribute to long-term sustainability of physician workforce

On March 15, 2022 the Government of Ontario announced medical school expansion across the province. With this announcement, NOSM University will see an added 30 MD and 41 residency spots over the next five years.

“Thank you to Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop for making changes that will impact the health of our Northern communities,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, Dean, President and CEO of NOSM. “They have supported the creation of Canada’s first independent medical university effective April 1 and now, with this expansion, are providing new physician spots for the North. It is an exciting time for NOSM University.”

According to NOSM’s estimates, more than 300 physicians are needed in the North and that number does not factor retirements that may take place over the next five years.

“As part of our promise to deliver high quality health care to all parts of Ontario, we are ensuring that the doctors of tomorrow have access to the world-class training that Ontario’s medical schools provide,” says Premier Doug Ford. “This is the largest expansion of medical education in 10 years and is a key element to building a stronger and more resilient province for generations to come.”

NOSM’s latest strategic plan, The NOSM Challenge 2025, will move forward with addressing the urgent physician workforce shortage, innovate health professions education and strengthen research capacity while embedding social accountability throughout.

“This is another important step in transforming the health-care system in Northern Ontario to eliminate the gaps in health human resources and create equitable access to care,” says Dr. Verma. “We cannot underestimate the impact that Northern Ontarians make when they pull together and advocate for change. I want to particularly acknowledge the Ontario Medical Association, the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and their members. Municipalities, big, small and all, have had loud voices heard at Queen’s Park.”

NOSM currently enrolls 64 MD students and 60 first-year residents per year.

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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.

Through evidence-based strategies and health-care service models, NOSM University advocates for sustainable solutions for health human resources in Northern Ontario. By preparing, attracting and retaining health-care professionals, the University will improve access to equitable, high-quality health care in the North with an aim to eliminate the gaps.

For further information about NOSM, please contact: