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Mentorship and community support inspires rural generalist practice for NOSM alumnus

Posted on August 23, 2022

Dr. Adam Moir (MD 2009, Family Medicine 2011) says one of the things that has helped him as a rural generalist is finding mentors. “If I have one skill, it’s recognizing people that I admire and identifying them as a mentor. I reach out to physicians from different fields of medicine with different skill sets than me and I try to emulate their passion for clinical work or teaching.”

He recalls how, in his early days of medical school at NOSM, he made connections with mentors that he still values to this day. Some of his earliest placements included the north shore communities of Terrace Bay and Marathon. “I spent the entire third year of medical school in Huntsville and had some exceptional support from clinical teachers.”

“I think good clinicians want to be mentors, so they enjoy when people reach out,” he shares.

“When we think about practising rural medicine, we tend to think that we’re isolated and that we don’t have a clinical network or clinical community. But the fact is, you’ve got a network that’s much broader. Those mentors and connections from across Northern Ontario really sustain you when you’re working in a rural setting.”

Dr. Moir is quick to point out that it’s not just the physicians that create a support network for him.

When you work in a small town like Dryden, Dr. Moir says the whole community picks you up. Sometimes people will bring him blueberries, cookies or homemade pickles. Other times, they will clean his driveway before he gets the chance. “People show me that they appreciate me as a physician every single day. It’s always nice to feel appreciated. Small communities do that by leaps and bounds. All that appreciation really nourishes my soul.”

He emphasized that he learned to schedule time for self-care and family, and still remains passionate about his practice in a way that continues to sustain his career. He notes that health human resources challenges have been longstanding in Northern Ontario, and many communities have been in and out of crisis for a long time. Dr. Moir encourages learners to accept that reality and not be deterred, but also not make too many self-sacrifices because he says, “staying healthy and well enables you to have a longer, more fulfilling career.”

Dr. Moir hopes that many more medical students have similar experiences to his. By learning in communities, he believes students gain a wide network among preceptors, find mentors and support with one another, all of which he says is important for practise as a rural generalist.

“NOSM University learners bring incredible energy, make a valuable impact while learning in communities across the region,” Dr. Moir says.

“Medical students inspire me! They are a jolt of energy—they are passionate about learning, hungry for experience and very appreciative. That enthusiasm inspires and energizes me, making me a better physician.”


This NOSM University Campfire Chat was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Weaver Simmons.