A Northern Solution
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is evidence that when our communities pull together, Northern solutions to Northern issues can materialize. Over numerous years, individuals and groups across the vast expanse of Northern Ontario rallied with perseverance to bring a medical school to our region. In August 2005, NOSM welcomed its Charter Class of students.
The Medical School’s vision is excellence in health sciences and medical education, research and service in, of, and for Northern Ontario. The mission is to improve the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario by advancing the highest quality of medical practice, learning, teaching, research and professionalism. The School values, among many qualities, a passion for living in, working in, and serving Northern and rural communities.
Our education and training programs span the life cycle of a physician practising in Northern Ontario. This begins with high school programs, which encourage and support local and regional students to aspire to medicine and gain entry to universities for continuing their studies. Selection into our undergraduate medical program favours those who are likely to thrive in the challenging Northern rural learning environments, including applicants who hail from Northern Ontario.
For the Health of Our Communities
Shared knowledge, expertise and perspectives work together to create healthy communities – socially, medically, economically and environmentally. Community participation is considered essential to the success of the NOSM. With students distributed across the region, communities have a vital role in welcoming and supporting students to ensure they feel included and develop a particular affinity for living and working in a rural community.
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine spans thousands of kilometres, with two main campuses and countless communities that are linked in some way to the School. Whether through an affiliation agreement with a community hospital, health-care facility, a local physician, or student placement, NOSM’s virtual walls touch communities in a wide variety of ways.
NOSM is committed to meeting the needs of the people of Northern Ontario. NOSM faculty, staff, and students do not function in a traditional medical school building. Rather, the School’s boundaries are that of Northern Ontario and at any given time an individual may be working at one of the School’s two campuses or in a remote, rural, or urban community.
Physician Recruitment and Retention
Research evidence shows that students who come from rural areas and who undertake their undergraduate and postgraduate education in rural areas, are most likely to become rural physicians. Medical schools in Scandinavia, United States, the Philippines and Australia have been established to solve the undersupply of physicians in rural and remote parts of these countries. And they are doing just that.
Medical school admissions research also demonstrates that enrolment of Northern Ontario students in existing medical schools is at a ten year low. With a medical school to call our own, Northerners have more opportunity to pursue medical education similar to those from other regions. The application process is such that academic qualifications are balanced by an interview process that seeks out qualities of ingenuity, openness to different cultures, and independence.
Preference is given to a well rounded pre-medical education including courses in humanities and social sciences in addition to the pure sciences. Students of Aboriginal ancestry are actively recruited to the school, with a minimum of two seats reserved in each class. In addition, NOSM strives to reflect the Francophone demographics of the region in its class profiles.
Economic and Research Benefits
Economic synergies with hospital partners, host communities, and researchers are evolving and furthering Northern Ontario as a vibrant centre for rural and Northern health-care innovation. Scientists from around the globe have relocated to Thunder Bay and Sudbury to teach at the School and to engage in areas of inquiry critical to the health of Northern residents. Over 600 clinicians across the North are committing to finding the time, energy, and resources to become involved in teaching our students.
In collaboration with local researchers from the host universities and other field sites, NOSM faculty develop research focused on Northern population health issues, cancer care, healthy aging and many other areas. For example, rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer are much higher here than in the rest of the country, and have provided a focus for research, discovery and investment.
Bursaries and Scholarships to Support the Future of Northern Medicine
Several individual community groups, organizations and businesses across the North have come together to donate funds for student bursaries. Financial aid allows medical students to focus on their studies, research and clinical education. Gifts to the bursary fund for students of NOSM are truly gifts of a lifetime and an investment in the dream of a healthier Northern Ontario.
Gifts made now will benefit classes for years to come. Support of student aid will further the goals of NOSM students and the communities served by the School.
Donations can be made towards the bursary fund endowment at either Campus. This endowment will be used to fund bursaries distributed to students in financial need through an annual application process. In addition, named bursaries and awards established in honour of individuals or groups create a meaningful legacy tied to the School.