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A season of change and giving

Posted on November 29, 2022

As the fresh snow starts to fall, we get a glimpse of one of the important aspects of the season: change. And big changes have been taking place at NOSM University.

Last Thursday was a monumental day. More than 400 individuals joined us in person and online as Ms. Joy Warkentin, incoming Chair, Board of Governors, and I introduced NOSM University’s inaugural Chancellor and Board.

It is an honour to have Dr. Cindy Blackstock, renowned Indigenous child and family rights activist and member of the Gitxsan, serve as NOSM University’s inaugural Chancellor.

Dr. Blackstock embodies the values of social justice, respect, and integrity. As Chancellor of NOSM University, her tenacious, inspirational leadership and steadfast moral courage will set the tone for us as Canada’s first independent medical university, and the only such institution in the country established with an explicit social accountability mandate.

Among her innumerable accomplishments, Dr. Blackstock is the co-founder and Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and a Professor at McGill University. She begins a four-year term as Chancellor and will be installed at NOSM University’s first convocation ceremony being held on May 26, 2023.

If you were unable to attend the announcement last Thursday, you can view it on NOSM University’s YouTube channel.

Last Thursday, we also welcomed our inaugural Board of Governors. Each individual brings important experience, skills, and a commitment to the critical work NOSM University does to improve the health of Northern Ontarians. I extend sincerest congratulations to:

  • Craig Abotossaway
  • Imran Bagha
  • John Beaucage
  • Dr. Cindy Blackstock
  • Angela Carter
  • Dr. Kristy Côté
  • Mark Hartman
  • Mark Hurst
  • Nancy Jacko
  • Virginia May Katt
  • Ashley Larose
  • Sue LeBeau
  • Dawn Morissette
  • Dr. Shemer Ratner
  • Susan Soldan
  • John P. Stenger
  • Dr. Sarita Verma
  • Joy Warkentin

(Note: Mr. John Beaucage is the first of five Lieutenant Governor in Council appointees.)

With several NOSM University transition board members concluding their terms, we are deeply grateful for their commitment as we transitioned to Canada’s first stand-alone medical university. A tremendous thank you, merci, miigwetch for your time and leadership and to all community members who expressed interest in joining the inaugural Board of Governors.

This is a momentous time in our short history, and I am excited about what the future holds for our home-grown medical university.

We are on our way to transforming into an “ecological university,” one that is deeply and ethically aware of—and networked with—the society around us. Like the fingers of two hands lacing together, NOSM University is working to deliver its pan-northern, immersive and internationally renowned education programs to learners across Northern Ontario, twinned with a broad range of mutually interdependent partnerships that will generate local solutions and directly linked to societal needs.

We are now midway through our Strategic Plan, The NOSM University Challenge, and it is, in effect, a set of choices we made for the direction and future of NOSM University—and ultimately the people of Northern Ontario. In some cases, we have had to shift gears and in doing so, have made bold choices that are leading in all measures.

The choices we’ve made—our five directions— are determining our impact in the North. We are working strategically toward a future in which everyone has equitable access to health-care practitioners who are culturally competent, understand the realities of living in the rural and remote North, and lead with compassion and integrity.

My recent President’s Report, The Future Will See You Now, is an update on our strategic directions. You’ll learn about our goals and aspirations, but more importantly, about the work we’ve been doing to get there.

Thank you for choosing to invest your time to help NOSM University thrive. Together—with smart, bold, courageous, future-facing choices—we will change the future of health care in Northern Ontario for good.

As we gear up for winter, and our shiny new future, we are taking out our winter coats and hats—some of which are embroidered with the new NOSM University logo. If you want to purchase your own custom NOSM University clothing, visit our online NOSM Store.

Miigwetch, thank you, marsi, merci,

Dr. Sarita Verma
President, Vice Chancellor, Dean and CEO
NOSM University

If you have any feedback or comments, please reach out at and follow me on Twitter @ddsv3.

The Future Will See You Now

Today is GivingTuesday, a day which encourages individuals to give to the causes they support throughout the holiday season. In this season of giving, let’s help alleviate student debt for NOSM University learners.

Thanks to a transformational $10 million gift from the FDC Foundation, every dollar donated has the potential to make two. That means—with some more fundraising—NOSM University could ultimately have $20 million towards student financial aid.

Covering as much of their tuition as possible will incentivize those same students to follow their passion for health care at NOSM University, and then perhaps, to follow their hearts back home to practise.

I want to make a difference



NOSM University Faculty and Learners Honoured by Ontario College of Family Physicians

Congratulations to Drs. Anjali Oberai and Adam Moir, Associate Professors, and fourth-year #NOSMUniversity medical student, Joclyn Hron, who were recently honoured by the Ontario College of Family Physicians. Dr. Oberai is Ontario recipient of the College of Family Physicians of Canada Reg L. Perkin Family Physician of the Year Award and the OCFP Regional Family Physician of the Year Award for Region 1 (North East and North West). Dr. Moir was named the Community Educator of the Year, and Joclyn received the 2022 Medical Student of the Year Award. Logan Brennan received the CFPC Family Medicine Student Scholarship and Dr. Shane Szalai is the recipient of the CFPC Family Medicine Resident Scholarship.

🎉2022 Award Recipients

Dr. Oberai recently spoke with CBC Radio about receiving the Family Physician of the Year Award, her love of rural family medicine, and the journey that took her to Wawa.

🎉Wawa Doctor Named Family Physician of the Year