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At the very beginning of NOSM, there was an imperative to achieve an accredited MD program. Without MD program accreditation, NOSM would not be recognized as a medical school in Canada. In the early years, we had at least one interaction per year with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and, thanks to enormous hard work by many, we were successful every time.

In 2012, the educational program leading to the MD degree received full accreditation for the maximum allotted time of eight years. This outcome was arrived at after a rigorous review process that included site visits by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) to NOSM’s two campuses at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay) and Laurentian University (Sudbury), and one of NOSM’s teaching sites (Kapuskasing) in March 2012.

The accreditation process reviews all levels of a medical education program. It determines whether or not there is an appropriate balance between student enrollment and the total resources of the institution, including faculty, physical facilities, and the operating budget.

“This is a significant achievement for not only a newer medical school, but even amongst some of Canada’s oldest medical schools,” explained NOSM Dean, Dr. Roger Strasser. “To receive full accreditation for the maximum allotted time is a testament to the exemplary work performed by all staff, faculty, and learners at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.”

The findings included in the CACMS/LCME report highlight NOSM’s continued success in refining its unique and innovative approach to medical education. The survey team commented that the student body at NOSM not only promotes, but also embraces the School’s mandate to be socially accountable to the cultural diversity of the populations that it serves. The report also indicated that each of the sites visited, including Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Kapuskasing, provide teaching facilities and student spaces that are exceptional for learning.

“The accreditation process has been a significant undertaking for many staff and faculty members at NOSM. With my deepest appreciation, I congratulate everyone involved for their tireless efforts,” said Dr. Lisa Graves, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education.

NOSM is now in the regular eight-year accreditation cycle with our first MD program Interim Accreditation Review in May 2018 and our next full survey scheduled to take place during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The MD program Interim Accreditation Review is undertaken in the spirit of continuous quality improvement (CQI). There will be four key objectives: to detect emerging problems with CACMS standards; to identify critical issues requiring immediate action by NOSM; to increase local accreditation expertise within NOSM; and to enhance NOSM’s culture of CQI.

The Interim Accreditation Review visit will be held at the Balmoral Street Centre at Lakehead, with videoconferencing to NOSM at Laurentian and by WebEx. We are very fortunate to have Dr Aaron Chiu, Associate Dean Quality Improvement and Accreditation at the University of Manitoba as external coordinator together with four NOSM faculty members and a medical student. Prior to the visit, the Interim Accreditation Survey Team is reviewing information on how NOSM addresses the 12 standards with 93 elements in the Data Collection Instrument (DCI) which was prepared by NOSM EG members, faculty, staff, and students.

During the two-day visit, the Interim Accreditation Review survey team will meet with staff, faculty, students, and administrators towards preparing a report which will be shared within the School as a formative review to assist NOSM with CQI, as well as helping with preparation for the next full External Accreditation Survey in the spring of 2020. Although not “the real thing”, this Interim Accreditation Review visit is very important to NOSM.

Please direct your questions to Cathy Powell, Accreditation Officer (807-766-7391).