Off and Running
Hello. Bonjour. Aaniin. Boozhoo.
It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that this week, I assume my role as Dean, President and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). Thank you for the many words of welcome and well wishes I’ve received over the past few months. I look forward to meeting you, if I haven’t already.
I am a proud Canadian. The third child of an immigrant, a single parent from Delhi, India. Influenced by the fight for independence from British colonialism and Gandhi’s peace movement, my mother raised our family to be good citizens, to serve our community and to have strong values, namely: honesty, kindness and transparency.
I hope you will see those values reflected in my work at NOSM, where I hope that together we will build a culture of compassion, caring, and cultural understanding. Together, we will continue to build on the legacy of the last 15 years and achieve our vision of Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North.
I believe ours is an ambitious but important agenda. In addition to having a visible presence in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, my first order of business is to engage with all NOSM partners and communities. I commit to visiting as many of the 90 communities as I can in my first two years at NOSM.
My intention with this e-blog is to give you a sense of my whereabouts, what I’ve been up to, and to highlight the current issues, opportunities, and challenges we face. I’ll do my best to keep it interesting, informative, and exciting. It will be sent biweekly by email and posted to NOSM’s website at nosm.ca/dean.
You are also invited to follow my journey on Twitter @ddsv3 using #WhereisDrVerma (French and Ojicree). Join me as I learn more about the glorious North, your role, and where NOSM lives.
If you have feedback or ideas about how I can better communicate with you, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by taking a quick survey here at any time.
We intend to invest considerable time and energy into implementing the final year of Reaching Beyond Extraordinary Together – the NOSM Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, as well as begin our next strategic plan for 2021-2026. To that end, you can expect to see the NOSM team engage in town halls, open mics, and community consultations.
We want to know what you think, and where you see NOSM headed. I encourage you to share your daring ideas for the next five to 10 years. It is my full intention that the vision and next strategic plan for NOSM will be owned and co-created by all of us. Together, we will share in the responsibility of ensuring our aspirations are met.
One priority will be to engage in a re-visioning of the meaning of social accountability. What does it mean to be socially accountable to our NOSM communities? Do we meet that goal by making more doctors? If producing physicians for the North is a priority, we must also strive to redesign health care in innovative and unique ways where health services are not accessible.
The Future of Health Innovation
The future of health innovation, digital health and modern medical education are key. I urge you to think of all the infinite possibilities – artificial intelligence, Apple iMed, Google Doc, and FiBit Care. Maybe they don’t provide ‘real’ health care yet, but I bet they will soon. With that in mind, health professional education, specifically for doctors, will have to evolve and change as will our notion of how successful health care is delivered directly to patients and communities.
Leading Education and Research
It is my hope that we will continue to grow NOSM. We are already one of the great Canadian medical schools. NOSM is internationally recognized for its innovative models of care for rural health delivery. Let’s continue to build our reputation as a premiere medical school and be considered first (or at least in the top three) schools of excellence for Northern, Indigenous, Francophone, rural and remote medicine, and for innovative models of education and cutting-edge population-based research.
We will keep training wonderful clinicians, creating new knowledge, generating new revenue, and improving health outcomes for the people of Northern Ontario through advocacy, leadership, and evidence of excellence.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity
As we continue to leverage our momentum and reputation, NOSM’s learners, faculty, staff, partners, communities and the people of Northern Ontario will proudly bear witness to our work as ambassadors. NOSM aspires to becoming a rich tapestry of the North representing its unique cultures and population. Here, all voices will be respected in the value of equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
My goal is to be an accessible Dean to you—especially NOSM’s learners, staff, and faculty members. As we are widely distributed, unlike other schools, it’s hard to simply stop by. So, I hope to see you as I travel across Northern Ontario. Also, I plan to meet those of you who live in Sudbury and Thunder Bay (where I will be splitting my time) by hosting regular ‘open houses.’ Please join me in our first Meet and Greet at the times and locations below:
NOSM in Sudbury
July 9, 2019
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
935 Ramsey Lake Road
NOSM in Thunder Bay
July 18, 2019
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
BSC – Lobby
955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, Ontario
And so, I’m off and running!
NOSM adheres to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of the Social Accountability of Medical Schools as “the obligation to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region and the nation that they have a mandate to serve. The priority health concerns are to be identified jointly by governments, health care organizations, health professionals and the public.” As part of its social accountability mandate, NOSM has the responsibility to engage stakeholders at all levels of its broad community.