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NOSM University shining stars celebrated

Posted on May 13, 2022

Faculty at NOSM University came together to network and celebrate clinical and educational achievements at Northern Constellations, the School’s 11th annual faculty development conference, held May 6-7, 2022.

“We are celebrating our incredibly dedicated faculty, their provision of patient care, involvement in a range of teaching activities, and recognition of peer support systems they’ve built across the North,” says Dr. James Goertzen, NOSM University Associate Dean, Continuing Education and Professional Development and Thunder Bay family physician. “The conference provides an opportunity to further develop and foster networks among faculty who are critical to the delivery of medical education at NOSM University. This year’s agenda explored deeper understandings of equity, diversity, bias, discrimination and racism in health care.”

The conference included two keynote guest speakers. Dr. Saroo Sharda spoke about anti-discrimination strategies in medical education and the barriers to social justice. As an anesthesiologist, medical educator and writer, she says, “educational interventions to improve equity often involve sensitive topics that provoke emotional and defensive reactions. The root of advancing equity and justice requires critical reflection about our personal and professional identities, as well as the systems in which we learn and work.”

Fellow keynote speaker, Rebecca Thomas, is an award-winning Mk’kmaw poet from Lennox Island First Nation and spoken word artist, storyteller, and Halifax Poet Laureate. She spoke about the two types of personal work that go into building relationships with Indigenous peoples: “the head work of academic learning”—of people, places, dates, laws, and policies—and, “the heart work that includes navigating emotions that come with this educational journey.”

More than 1,800 clinical, human and medical sciences faculty at NOSM University are dispersed in over 90 communities across Northern Ontario. Northern Constellations was developed in 2012 to bring faculty together. This year with a focus on social justice, other workshops and discussions held during this two-day conference included: storytelling as advocacy, academic accommodations, burnout, initiating and conducting clinical research, strategies for addressing microaggressions to promote equity and inclusion, exploring trauma-informed care through Indigenous art pedagogy, building wellness, and fostering leadership.

At a virtual celebration Friday evening, NOSM University presented Awards of Excellence and Scholarship to learners and faculty members who continue to enhance the quality of medical education and research in Northern Ontario.

At the awards ceremony, NOSM University announced the bestowment of the title Professor Honorarius to Dr. Victor Clulow who has made significant contributions to education and curriculum since his appointment at NOSM in 2007. Associate Professor Honorarius was bestowed on Dr. Scott Sellick, a clinical psychologist and a founding faculty member of the University.

NOSM University Faculty Awards of Excellence and Scholarship recipients are:

  • Dr. Sheena Branigan (Huntsville) received the Faculty Mentorship Award for being a trusting, dependable support for colleagues and learners along with fostering collaboration with the Huntsville Maternity Care Clinic in essential obstetrics skills in her role as Assistant Professor.
  • Both the Academic Leader Award and the Physician Clinical Teachers’ Association (PCTA) Award were received by Dr. Stacy Desilets (Temiskaming Shores). Dr. Desilets is a dedicated Associate Professor who has been working in the community for 13 years.
  • In recognition of her skills in health advocacy and medical expertise, and in her role as Assistant Professor of General Surgery, Dr. Jennifer MacMillan (Huntsville) received the Clinical Teacher Award.
  • The NOSM University Medical Educator Award went to Dr. Jennifer McPhail (Thunder Bay), she is highly regarded as a positive role model, a dedicated educator, and a supporter of teaching and curriculum development.
  • Dr. Anjali Oberai (Wawa) is the recipient of the Community Champion Award. She is a highly-respected and dedicated Associate Professor and is a NOSM University Section Chair, Family Medicine who has been practising family medicine for 25 years.
  • Dr. Robert Ohle (Sudbury), Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and researcher, received the Clinical Scholar Award recognizing his exceptional skill for engaging students and his commitment to research.
Learner Awards of Excellence and Scholarship for NOSM University include:
  • Dr. Lily DeMiglio (Marathon), NOSM University alumna (Family Medicine 2018) and Assistant Professor, received the Learner-Nominated Teacher Award; a significant award determined by the medical students at the University.
  • Dr. Hiba Al-Bayati (Toronto), is the recipient of the Learner Advocate/Leader Award. Dr. Al-Bayati is a Master of Medical Studies student researching Northern mental health care for marginalized populations, with a focus on women’s mental health for immigrants living in Northern Ontario.
  • The Learner Scholarly Activity Award was received by Jenna Simpson (Thunder Bay), a medical student preparing for a career serving neurodiverse youth in the North and a passionate advocate of youth inclusion.
  • Allan Middleton (Sault Ste. Marie), medical student, is the recipient of NOSM University’s Learner Peer Teaching Award. He is a Certified Canadian Physician Assistant who previously worked at the Superior Family Health Team.
The NOSM Challenge 2025, NOSM University’s strategic plan, identifies several strategic enablers that align with the focus at Northern Constellations including: building a culture of continuous learning and mentorship, creating and offering programs for professional development across all stages of careers; preparing teachers and supporting faculty and students in academic career progression to become leaders and change agents; and, building a culture with a focus on wellness and work-life balance and inclusive learning and working environments.
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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.

For further information, please contact:


Dr. Victor Clulow (Sudbury)                    Dr. Scott Sellick (Thunder Bay)

Professor Honorarius                                          Associate Professor Honorarius