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July 16, 2019

Northern Routes

Getting Underway: Summer in Northern Ontario

Hello. Bonjour. Aaniin. Boozhoo

Here we are. It is hard to believe two weeks can pass so quickly. Thank you to everyone who made time to meet with me and share your perspective on NOSM. I look forward to continuing these conversations in the coming year, as your opinions are crucial to framing our future planning.

I am also deeply moved by the friendliness and kindness of everyone – thank you. Moving to two new cities (Sudbury and Thunder Bay) is a whole new world for me—and not easy—but you have made it a wonderful experience. I have been introduced to new people, restaurants, roads and places. Northern Ontario is breathtakingly beautiful, especially during this glorious summer.

Since my last blog, I’ve had the pleasure of greeting NOSM’s postgraduate residents who also started at NOSM on July 1st and I hope their entry has been just as smooth as mine. On July 9th, I met an eager group of high-school students who attended NOSM’s 14th annual CampMed in Sudbury. Today, I’ll meet CampMed attendees at the Lakehead University campus in Thunder Bay. For those who don’t know about CampMed, I encourage you to check out this video. It’s a great opportunity for youth entering grades 10 and 11 from rural areas in Northern Ontario to experience and learn about health care careers.

As these students contemplate their future, I want to assure you that we all have a stake in shaping the future of NOSM. I encourage you to continue to dream big and put forward grand ideas. As Einstein said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” I want to hear everyone’s ideas, as we will soon begin strategic planning for 2020-2025.

We must consider the rapid changes that are happening in the province and across the country. With Ontario Health expected to roll out this fall, and Ontario Health Teams at the helm, we will be working within a shifting system. We must prepare our learners for these realities.

And with the changing landscape across Canada in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), we have a deep responsibility to be socially accountable to Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario—both First Nations and Métis—as well as the Inuit we work with through our partnerships in Nunavut.

We find ourselves in a different place in terms of technology, too. Just think, five years ago Uber didn’t exist. It’s possible that in five years from now we may see significant changes in the way we deliver NOSM curriculum. Perhaps we’ll move to app-based platforms and or web-based classrooms. The possibilities are limitless.

Meaningful engagement with all faculty members, staff, learners and teachers is a key priority for me. As your Dean, President and CEO I wish to understand your concerns and discuss the steps that NOSM can take to strengthen your roles. A culture of ‘wellness’ that respects “life-work “balance is extremely important for your well-being and for the sustainability of the profession.

As we head into August, many of you will be taking a well-deserved vacation. Please breathe, and rest. Meanwhile, I will be preparing for the arrival of our latest MD class joining us on September 3rd and focusing on preparing for the Undergraduate Medical Education accreditation taking place April 26-30, 2020.

I wish to thank the team who have made this transition with me, as some will be finishing their term this year. We will be in full search mode in September for several new leadership positions. Please contact me or my office if you are interested in taking on a new exciting career in academic medicine. More on this is coming soon.

You are invited to follow my journey on Twitter @ddsv3 using #WhereisDrVerma.

If you have feedback or ideas about how I can better communicate with you, please let me know by emailing me at or by taking a quick survey here at any time.

Now that the ticks and black flies are dying down, I am off to learn about northern mosquitos…

The Word