International Conference: Community Engaged Medical Education in the North

Jointly hosted by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Canada and Flinders University, Australia.

Message from NOSM's Founding Dean

Dr. Roger StrasserWelcome to the inaugural International Conference on Community Engaged Medical Education in the North (ICEMEN)! The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is thrilled that, together with our co-host Flinders University, Australia, we are able to present a conference of this magnitude.

This five-day conference speaks to the importance of fostering relationships among medical schools across the globe in an effort to share knowledge and best practices as part of a worldwide network. It is in this spirit that we aim to provide international medical schools the opportunity to 'compare notes' on the community-engaged model of medical education.

Community-based education is a distinctive hallmark of NOSM's model, and as such, NOSM "classrooms" are unique and often non-traditional. In the first two academic years alone, our undergraduate medical students spend 12 weeks in Aboriginal, rural, remote, and small urban communities. These same students spend their entire third year undertaking Comprehensive Community Clerkships (CCC) in one of ten medium-sized communities in Northern Ontario, learning from local physicians and other health-care providers at affiliated health organizations. Fourth-year students undertake specialty rotations and electives primarily in the regional hospitals in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.

The itinerary of the conference over the next five days has been carefully planned to ensure a lively exchange of ideas and the development of innovative strategies for delivering medical education via a community engaged model. With a comprehensive program, which includes oral and poster presentations, debates, hypotheticals, skill stations, small group sessions, master classes, and visits to communities hosting NOSM learners, there will be many opportunities for everyone in attendance to share their expertise with, and learn from, peers from around the world.

I extend my sincere thanks to NOSM's affiliated partners located on Manitoulin Island and in Sault Ste. Marie, Hearst, Timmins, Kapuskasing, and Wawa for their participation in ICEMEN. I would also thank these communities for their gracious support and hospitality! Additionally, I extend a hearty thank you to the members of the organizing committees for dedicating their valuable time so that each one of us enjoys an exceptional conference program over the next several days.

Enjoy the conference, everyone!


Dr. Roger Strasser
Founding Dean,
Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Message from Flinders University's Dean

Paul WorleyWelcome to ICEMEN 2008. It is a great pleasure for Flinders University School of Medicine to be co-hosting this inaugural event with Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Although almost on oppositie sides of the earth, our two schools share a vision for medical education that engages and enhances the communities we serve, and equips our students with excellence and compassion. This vision, and a commitment to community- based medical education, is shared by many other Schools, members of the Consortium of Longitudinal Integrated Clerkships.

According to this consortium, a  longitudinal integrated clerkship is characterised by being the central element of clinical education whereby medical students:

  1. participate in the comprehensive care of patients over time
  2. participate in continuing learning relationships with these patients' clinicians
  3. meet, through these experiences, the majority of the year's core clinical competencies and do so across multiple disciplines simultaneously

Experience from around the globe now points to this approach being highly successful academically and contributing to a sustainable medical workforce in areas of need. The academic merit has now been demonstrated in rural, remote and urban setings, using primary, secondary and tertiary care facilities. Many of the key contributors to this evidence base will be at the ICEMEN conference.

So, whatever you local medical education context, you will be a welcome contributor to this conference. Come to share and be inspired. Come to update both your clinical skills your education toolbox. Come to be part of the next generation of leaders in clinical education.
See you there!

Paul Worley
Flinders University School of Medicine