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NOSM to Host Major Joint World Conference Next Year Rendez-Vous 2012: Together and Engaged


The year 2012 is quickly approaching, and it promises to be an exciting one for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), our many collaborators and partners, and Northern Ontario. Next October, NOSM will host Rendez-Vous 2012, a major joint world conference in Thunder Bay with conference activities in other communities across the North. Rendez-Vous 2012 will attract more than 500 delegates from around the world to reflect on, and share experiences relevant to a common interest in the conference’s theme: Community Participation in Education, Research and Service. 

Leading Rendez-Vous 2012 are the organizing committee co-chairs, Kaat De Backer, Executive Director of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) and Sue Berry, Assistant Dean, Integrated Clinical Learning at NOSM. Organizers have named this conference “Rendez-Vous,” an homage to the pioneering voyageurs who once travelled the rivers and lands in Thunder Bay and across Northern Ontario. This French term, which means “a place appointed for assembling or meeting,” is particularly appropriate to describe a conference that is bringing together delegates from across the globe.  This conference will combine the Wonca World Rural Health Conference and The Network: Towards Unity for Health annual conference, as well as the next NOSM-Flinders Conference on Community Engaged Medical Education, the Consortium for Longitudinal Curricula (CLIC), and the Training for Health Equity Network.

These six partnering organizations and groups share an appreciation for innovation in medical and health professional education.  TUFH is a global network of health professional schools and health service agencies with a focus on integrating the population and individual health and approaches to education and service. NOSM is a member of this international network that strives to promote higher education for health professionals, collaborative health services, educational institutions, and research.

In 2005, NOSM was opened in Northern Ontario to address physician shortages in rural locations across the North. The NOSM model draws on the collective experience and policy statements of the Working Party on Rural Practice of Wonca, the World Organization of Family Doctors. The Wonca Working Party includes rural practitioners from each of the world’s regions: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australasia/Pacfific, who are committed to improving rural health care around the world.

NOSM partnered with Flinders University School of Medicine in 2008 to host the International Conference: Community Engaged Medical Education in the North (ICEMEN) in Northern Ontario, and then again in 2010, to host the Global Community Engaged Medical Education Muster in the Barossa Valley of South Australia. Rendez-Vous 2012 will be the third conference in the NOSM-Flinders series with a focus on community engaged medical education.

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.” NOSM is a member of THEnet: Training for Health Equity Network (THEnet), which is a collaboration of medical schools in under-resourced, rural and remote regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and North and Latin America.  All of THEnet’s members share a core mission to increase the number, quality, retention, and performance of health professionals in under-served communities.

NOSM is a member also of the final hosting organization, the Consortium for Longitudinal Curricula, also known as CLIC. The faculty members from medical schools around the world comprising this group are currently or are in the process of developing, implementing, and studying the clerkship model wherein medical students undertake clinical clerkships which involve: comprehensive care of patients over time; continuing learning relationships with the patients’ clinicians; and achieving core clinical competencies across multiple disciplines simultaneously. Rendez-Vous 2012 will mark the first time a health conference of this magnitude is held in Northern Ontario. This is an opportunity for NOSM and its partners to showcase the School’s distinct model of distributed community engaged learning to the rest of the world. There will also be several opportunities for communities to benefit from this surge in tourism. Excursions across the region will be organized, and delegates will experience what beautiful Northern Ontario has to offer in terms of adventure, unique landscapes, and its renowned fall colours.

As 2011 draws to a close, I encourage all health professionals across the North to plan to attend and consider submitting abstracts to Rendez-Vous 2012 on October 9-14, 2012.  Visit www.rendez-vous2012.ca for details.  I hope to see you there!

Key dates:

Call for Abstracts Opens 

November 2011

Registration Opens 

January 30, 2012

Workshop Submission Closes 

February 27, 2012

Abstract Submission Closes (Oral/Poster) 

March 26, 2012

Early Bird Registration Closes (Reduced Fees) 

July 3, 2012



Une initiative conjointe des universités Lakehead et Laurentienne, l'École de médecine du Nord de l'Ontario est une pionnière en son genre. Outre ses deux principaux campus à Thunder Bay et à Sudbury, elle a des sites d'enseignement et de recherche répartis dans tout le Nord de l'Ontario. En formant des médecins qualifiés et en menant des recherches en santé adaptées aux besoins de la région, l'école deviendra une pierre angulaire des soins de santé communautaire dans le Nord de la province.


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