Ever wonder what makes NOSM so unique? Here are some of the many ways that Canada’s newest medical school is pushing the boundaries of health professional education—here in Canada and around the world.
Facts about NOSM
- The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) opened its doors in 2005, making it Canada’s newest medical school.
- It is the first Canadian medical school hosted by two universities, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury, which are more than 1,000 kilometres apart.
- NOSM was the first medical school in Canada established with an explicit social accountability mandate. This means that NOSM is dedicated to contributing to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario.
- NOSM was the first medical school in the world in which all students undertake a longitudinal integrated clerkship—wherein NOSM students spend their entire third year of medical school (eight months) in a midsized community in Northern Ontario.
- More than 90 communities across Northern Ontario contribute to educating NOSM learners.
- The entire geography of Northern Ontario (800,000 km2) is considered NOSM’s campus.
- NOSM contributes to $100 million per year of new economic activity in Northern Ontario.
- Between 2005 and 2013, the number of physicians in the Northeast rose 12%, and the number of physicians in the Northwest rose 19%.
- NOSM has developed a distinctive model of distributed, community-engaged medical education.
- On September 23, 2015, NOSM publicly launched its new Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, titled “Reaching Beyond Extraordinary Together.”
- NOSM’s Board of Directors is comprised of 19 members who reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario, including Aboriginal, Francophone, and rural and remote communities.
- NOSM recently inspired a television series, Hard Rock Medical, which provides insight into the unique features and challenges of delivering health care in Northern Ontario.
- Recently, two documentaries were made about NOSM: one by Dr. Hoi Cheu titled “The Rural Challenge,” and the other made by TVO called “The Doctor Can See You Now.”
- NOSM is a founding member of the Training for Health Equity network (THEnet), a group of socially accountable medical schools from around the world.
- Since NOSM opened in 2005, the School has maintained a balanced budget.
- A medical school for the twenty first century, NOSM relies heavily on innovative technology that allows faculty and students to connect to education from across Northern Ontario.
- Among many other accolades, NOSM has received three Global Best Awards by the International Partnership Network (IPN), which celebrate outstanding and effective business, education, and community organization partnerships that have a significant impact on the communities in which they operate.
- In June 2016, NOSM hosted an international conference on distributed, community-engaged medical education titled ICEMEN in Sault Ste. Marie.
- NOSM regularly hosts conferences and gatherings to seek input from Indigenous and Francophone peoples in Northern Ontario to ensure that the School tailors its initiatives to meet the needs of these communities.
- Since the School opened, NOSM has awarded $3,982,663 in bursary funds to support deserving, home-grown medical students.
About NOSM’s MD Program
- To date, 526 MDs have graduated from the School.
- NOSM’s MD class has 91% of its learners from Northern Ontario, including 7% Indigenous and 22% Francophone medical students.
- 62% of NOSM MD graduates go into (mostly rural) family medicine, compared to the Canadian average of 38%. This means that NOSM graduates are filling much-needed expanded generalist positions that are needed in rural areas.
- NOSM MD students complete more than 40% of his or her training in Indigenous, small rural, and larger urban Northern Ontario communities.
- NOSM graduates are significantly more likely to practice in Northern Ontario, particularly rural Northern Ontario, compared to graduates of other Ontario medical schools.
- Many community members in Thunder Bay and Sudbury act as Standardized Patients (SP) for the NOSM MD Program. SPs are healthy community volunteers who are trained to provide the medical history of real patients to assist students with the development of examination and communication skills.
- NOSM third-year students spend eight months living and learning in one of 15 mid-sized communities across Northern Ontario.
- In past years, NOSM students have ranked first nationwide on national competency examinations in the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Examinations.
- NOSM MD students consistently attain particularly high scores in the clinical decision making section of the national competency examinations.
- Each year since NOSM’s inception, employees, retirees, and volunteers of Essar Steel Algoma face off on the ice to raise money for NOSM students who hail from Sault Ste. Marie.
- Every July, NOSM hosts Health Sciences Summer Camps, which are annual, week-long day camps that inspire rural, remote, Indigenous, Francophone, and Northern youth to consider careers in the health professions.
- NOSM has a decommissioned ambulance called the “Simbulance” by which the School is able to provide high-fidelity, mobile simulation education to Northern Ontario.
- Each year during Orientation Week, NOSM medical students wear red clown noses to remind them of the importance of humility in their newly chosen profession.
About NOSM’s Postgraduate Education
- Since 2005, NOSM has graduated 434 residents.
- NOSM offers residency training in family medicine and eight major general specialties.
- 69% of NOSM residency graduates are practising in Northern Ontario (22% in remote, rural communities).
- 94% of NOSM MD and residency graduates are practising in Northern Ontario (33% in remote, rural communities). In comparison, only 5% of new recruits to Northern Ontario are from other schools.
About NOSM’s Dietetic Internship Program
- In 2007, NOSM accepted its first cohort of interns into the Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (NODIP), which educates dietitians in more than 75 sites across Northern Ontario.
- As of July 2015, a total of 123 dietitians have completed their dietetic internship through the School’s Northern Ontario Dietetic Internship Program (NODIP) since 2008.
- 74% of NODIP graduates are practising in Northern Ontario.
- In 2014, NODIP received full accreditation status from the Dietitians of Canada (DC) until 2022.
About the Physician Assistant Program
- 13 physician assistants (PAs) graduating from the Consortium of PA Education (comprised of U of T, The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, and NOSM) have begun practising in Northern Ontario since the first graduation in 2012.
About Research at NOSM
- Research at NOSM addresses the questions of importance to improving the health of people and communities in the North.
- For the last ten years, NOSM has hosted annual Northern Health Research Conferences that promote networking and collaboration in health research in Northern Ontario.
About Electives at NOSM
- NOSM provides high-quality rural, remote and small urban clinical elective placements throughout Northern Ontario to students and residents from across the country and around the world.
About NOSM’s Health Sciences and Interprofessional Education Programs
- NOSM partners with schools in southern Ontario to provide challenging clinical experiences for learners in audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech language pathology.
- In 2014, NOSM established a collaboration agreement with the University of Waterloo to educate Doctor of Pharmacy learners in Northern Ontario.
About NOSM’s Continuing Education and Professional Development Programs
- NOSM provides hundreds of hours of continuing education each year across the North. Thanks to NOSM, physicians and health professionals don’t have to leave the North in order to maintain their license to practice.
About NOSM Faculty
- NOSM employs more than 1,400 faculty members located across Northern Ontario.
- Many NOSM graduates are now becoming faculty, teaching the next generation of NOSM learners in Northern Ontario.
- In recent years, NOSM faculty have received “Family Doctor of the Year” awards offered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada—a highly competitive, provincial award.
About NOSM’s Health Sciences Library
- A narwhal tusk was donated to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and is now located in Dr. Serafina Penny Petrone Health Sciences Library at NOSM at Lakehead University.