April 1, 2022, marked history as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) became NOSM University, Canada’s first independent medical university.
Founded in 2002 as a strategy to address the critical physician shortage in Northern Ontario, NOSM University has much to show for its short history. The University’s unique distributed, community-engaged learning (DCEL) model has grown into something extraordinary. This model includes strong ties and engagement with remote, rural, Indigenous and Francophone communities. With main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, NOSM University collaborates with more than 100 organizations, in more than 90 communities, and with more than 1,800 clinical, human and medical sciences faculty dispersed across all of Northern Ontario.
The DCEL model of education and research instills a complex understanding of rural health and an educational experience that is grounded in the realities of community-based health care. Medical students receive clinical education in a variety of settings—hospitals, health centres and family practices—witness health challenges first-hand, and are introduced to the distinct languages, cultures, lifestyle opportunities and learning environments of Northern Ontario.
The health-care needs of the Northern population are complex, having the most vulnerable, unhealthy populations of any geography in Ontario. Northern Ontario has the highest rates in the province for addictions, mental health, cardiac disease, cancer, and diabetes. The region also has an aging population and a life expectancy that is, on average, two years lower than the rest of the province. And, a high number of far north and remote First Nations communities who face food insecurity, longstanding boil water advisories, and high rates of chronic diseases.
NOSM University is purpose-built to respond to the emerging challenges of a complex and fragile health-care system in Northern Ontario. We strive to transform the system and reach underserved communities to deliver true and sustainable health equity to the 800,000 people in the region.
On March 15, 2022 the Government of Ontario announced medical education expansion across the province. With this announcement, NOSM University will see an added thirty (30) medical degree spots for a total of ninety-four (94) and an increase of forty-one (41) residency spots for a total of one hundred and one (101) over the next five years. This is a game changer for NOSM University.
Much more work is needed and we will do so with a focus on diversity, inclusion and advocacy. NOSM University is an award-winning, socially accountable organization.
We have one of the greatest medical education and physician workforce strategy success stories of the nation.
NOSM University will:
- define what it means to be an independent medical university in Canada leading the way in fiscal accountability and transparency;
- advance the national conversation around effective, affordable rural and Northern health care: what it looks like and how to provide it;
- strengthen existing partnerships and grow new ones, while reaffirming and deepening its commitment to the North;
- educate more physicians and other health-care providers for the North and help them develop as leaders in their communities while expanding education and training programs to meet societal need;
- continue advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion, fighting racism, and seeking truth and reconciliation;
- make scientific discovery a priority, lead collaborative research in the North and look for new partnerships for cutting-edge opportunities in primary care, educational technology and population health;
- ensure that NOSM University’s next generation of physicians, registered dietitians, physician assistants, medical physicists, and others have access to the finest high-quality fully-accredited educational programs; and,
- raise funds to support our learners by providing financial aid through bursaries and scholarships.
Our aim is to have class profiles that reflect the demographics of the Northern Ontario population by recruiting students who have lived in Northern Ontario and/or students who have a strong interest in, and aptitude for, practising medicine in Northern urban, rural, remote, Indigenous and Francophone communities.
We are committed to recruiting medical students with diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous, Black, LGBTQ2S+ and Francophone students; competitive applicants who will demonstrate a high level of self-motivation, be self-directed and thrive in a small-group, case-based and distributed-learning environment.