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The Making of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine: A Case Study in the History of Medical Education

Rural and remote communities have long been challenging health care settings that rely on distant metropolises to supply their health workforce. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine, a pioneering faculty of medicine founded in 2005, was established to realize the potential of the rich learning environments found in such communities. This is the story of the establishment of a school of medicine that is part of a growing trend toward providing medical education that responds to the needs of remote populations and produces resourceful physicians capable of meeting those needs.

Twelve contributors highlight the various aspects of the school’s development and the unique opportunities it offers. The first new medical school in Canada in over thirty years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine provides a blueprint for those interested in an innovative approach to medical education. This collection provides a fascinating and detailed account of the challenges and rewards faced by those who insisted on creating a patient-centered, community-based, and culturally sensitive learning environment for the physicians of tomorrow.

Edited by:

  • Dr. Geoffrey Tesson is a sociologist, rural health researcher, and former senior academic administrator who worked on the implementation of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Hudson is a medical historian on the teaching faculty at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
  • Dr. Roger Strasser, the founding dean of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, is a leading international authority on rural health.
  • Dr. Dan Hunt, former vice dean at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, is now secretary to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in Washington, DC.


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