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NOSM University. Rooted in the North.

Posted on April 1, 2022
Friday, April 1, 2022, marks history as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) becomes NOSM University, Canada’s first independent medical university.

NOSM was established in 2002 as a purpose-built solution to tackle the ongoing doctor shortage in Northern Ontario. With more than 780 MD graduates and 692 residents having completed NOSM programs, it is estimated that 300 physicians are still needed in Northern Ontario to meet the immediate demand.

“Health care and health education and research have never been more important,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, President, Vice-Chancellor and Dean of NOSM University. “We all know how complex and fragile the health-care system is across Northern Ontario. NOSM University will transform the system for the North and reach into underserved communities like never before.”

With the Ontario Government’s recent announcement of medical education expansion, NOSM University will increase its medical degree enrolment by 47% and residency positions by 68% over the next five years.

“Becoming an independent medical university and through expansion, we have renewed momentum—and we’re going to use it,” says Dr. Verma, adding that NOSM University will:

  • define what it means to be an independent medical university in Canada leading the way in fiscal accountability and transparency;
  • advance the national conversation around effective, affordable rural and Northern health care: what it looks like and how to provide it;
  • strengthen existing partnerships and grow new ones, while reaffirming and deepening its commitment to the North;
  • educate more physicians and other health-care providers for the North and help them develop as leaders in their communities while expanding education and training programs to meet societal need;
  • continue advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion, fighting racism, and seeking truth and reconciliation;
  • make scientific discovery a priority, lead collaborative research in the North and look for new partnerships for cutting-edge opportunities in primary care, educational technology and population health;
  • ensure that NOSM University’s next generation of physicians, registered dietitians, physician assistants, medical physicists, and others have access to the finest high-quality fully-accredited educational programs; and,
  • raise funds to support our learners by providing financial aid through bursaries and scholarships.

“As NOSM University, we are going to do all that and more,” says Dr. Verma.Since its establishment, 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.

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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.


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.

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