Since its inception, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has proudly defied traditional health professional education.
Born of a grassroots movement by Northern Ontarians in need of health professionals, NOSM is a medical school like no other. No other Canadian medical school is a joint initiative between two universities—in this case, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury. No other Canadian medical school provides training in more than 90 communities across a geographic expanse of 800,000 square kilometres. No other Canadian medical school was established with an explicit social accountability mandate—a mandate to improve the health of the people the region. Rather than taking an off-the-shelf approach to delivering health professional programs modeled after traditional methods, NOSM has developed novel education strategies to meet the needs of Northern Ontarians.
NOSM’s education is quite literally “all over the map,” taking learners out of the “ivory tower” and into your backyard. Learners are woven into the fabric of Northern Ontario communities. They learn in context about the determinants of health that are relevant to the region, with the hopes that their experiences will win over hearts and minds, and encourage them to return upon completion of their training. And it’s working.
You don’t have to look far to find the source of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s success. It’s right in the name: Northern Ontario. Northern Ontarians have made NOSM what it is—a locally grown solution to regional health inequalities, and an international leader in distributed, community-engaged health professional education and research.