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MMTP & MOTP Testimonials

2Lt Phoebe Bruce, Third Year NOSM Medical Student

“When I decided to pursue medicine as a career, I knew the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was where I wanted to be. NOSM promotes a collaborative, self-directed and socially responsible approach to medicine that I knew would fit my personality and the type of physician I want to be. Values emphasized at NOSM are simply an extension of the sort of skills I will need to succeed in the Canadian Armed Forces. Medical Officers are expected to be able to take on a broad range of responsibilities in environments with limited resources, and work with a wide range of professionals.

Those looking to join the MMTP or MOTP program at NOSM can expect to find a supportive group of students and faculty throughout their time in the program. I was brand-new to the military when I joined and the help of my fellow officers in the MD program at NOSM has been invaluable.”

Why did you choose NOSM over other programs?
“When I decided to pursue medicine as a career, I knew NOSM was where I wanted to be. Born and raised in Northern Ontario, I hoped to be educated in an environment that recognized my lived experience and the unique medical needs of the people in the communities where I grew up. NOSM promotes a collaborative, self-directed and socially responsible approach to medicine that I knew would fit my personality and the type of physician I want to be.”

How is NOSM preparing you for your future role in the CAF?
“In my eyes, the values emphasized at NOSM are simply an extension of the sort of skills I will need to succeed in the CAF. Medical Officers are expected to be able to take on a broad range of responsibilities, act in resource limited environments, and work with a wide range of professionals. NOSM’s focus on rural generalism is very congruent with these roles.”

What advice would you give to others looking at doing an MMTP or MOTP at NOSM?
“Those looking to join the MMTP or MOTP program at NOSM can expect to find a supportive group of students and faculty throughout their time in the program. I would encourage people in the MMTP or MOTP to reach out to their colleagues in the same program and to share information and advice. I was brand-new to the military when I joined and the help of my fellow officers also in the MD program at NOSM has been invaluable. I know students at schools with a smaller MMTP/MOTP membership who have had a few more difficulties navigating military conventions and expectations, and I feel very lucky to have the support I do here.”

Describe your experience at NOSM.
“Overall, my experience at NOSM has been marked by the wonderful guidance of my colleagues and the faculty. I have had unparalleled access to shadowing and hands-on-learning activities, as well as perspectives from our northernmost communities that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my career. There is nowhere else I would rather be.”

Current MOTP together at summer training 2019 including, from left to right, 2Lt Michael Crozier, 2Lt Phoebe Bruce, 2Lt Takara Martin, and 2Lt Bryce Knapp.

2Lt Takara Martin, Third Year NOSM Medical Student

“My biggest advice for CAF and prospective students is it to pick the school that fits you and your lifestyle. Yes, you are a MOTP/MMTP student but during your four years of medical school you are a student first. Your job is to get the education to become a physician in order to serve the Canadian Military the best that you can.

Choose a school that supports you and fits well with your values. For me, NOSM is that fit. NOSM has taught me that medicine is not just about the sciences but also about culture, wellness, social determinants of health and much more. Treating a patient is about more than just a disease or a case number and the best way to serve them is to treat the patient as a whole. NOSM provides amazing support and emphasizes our own wellness. There is always someone there to talk to and there are always great activities to get our heads out of the books.

My experience at NOSM has been amazing and I am excited to see what the next few years have in store! I am extremely fortunate to be training at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and I’m thankful of the skills I’ve learned that will enable me to serve my country.”

Why did you choose NOSM over other programs?
“NOSM was my first choice for medical school because I am from Northern Ontario. I attended a university in the United States and had been away from home for four years. Being able to come home and study medicine with the support of my friends and family was extremely important to me. I love Thunder Bay and the community. The lifestyle in the North is something I have always enjoyed, from hiking to camping and being minutes from a lake.

I also like the small class size that NOSM provides. It really lets you connect with your classmates. NOSM also provides clinical experience within one month of starting medical school. NOSM has what’s called SCS, allowing student to practice history taking and physicals once a week which has really allowed me to develop my clinical skills. NOSM also has community learning placements which sends you out to the community once a week to learn about our allied health-care workers as well as resources in the community. I have loved these two sessions NOSM provides and they have really prepared me for my rural clinical placements in second year. This is another component that is so special about NOSM. In first year, you spend time in an Indigenous community for one month to learn more about our Northern communities. In second year, we do two one- month placements in rural communities within Northern Ontario which allows us to learn more about practicing rural medicine in these settings. I am very excited to start my third year, where we spend eight months in a rural centre practicing rural medicine on an even larger scale.”

How is NOSM preparing you for your future role in the CAF?
“NOSM has prepared me for my future role in the CAF by not just teaching me the hard sciences but also teaching me to be a well-rounded physician. These teachings include the social determinants of health, CanMeds, ethics, culture, and everything in between. Being able to practice my clinical skills in a remote setting can be directly transferred into a military setting. If, and when, I am deployed I will most likely be practicing in resource limited areas where I am having to make decisions with limited tech and support. Being able to learn in rural settings is very similar to this. In rural areas, you generally are resource limited and sometimes the only physician having to make decisions on your own. Learning in this type of environment will help prepare me for challenges faced when I am a physician in the military. NOSM is also teaching me to be adaptable. When going into a community for only a month, this can sometimes be very hard. You are the outsider having to learn how that particular hospital works as well as learn what affects that community. It is also teaching me how to be away from loved ones and stay connected when there isn’t always time for a full conversation every day.”

What advice would you give to others looking at doing an MMTP or MOTP at NOSM?
“My biggest advice is to pick the school that fits you and your lifestyle. Yes, you are a MOTP/MMTP student but during your four years of medical school, you are a student first. Your job is to get the education to become a physician in order to serve the Canadian Military the best that you can. You need to find a school that supports you and fits well with your values. For me NOSM fits my values. Medicine is not just about the sciences but also culture, wellness, family, supports, social determinants, etc. Medicine encompasses the person as a whole. NOSM has really taught me every aspect of a patient and to not just view them as a disease or case number. They also provide us with amazing support towards our wellness. They are always there to talk and also provide us with some great activities to get our heads out of the books. For example, I have gotten to go sailing, dog sledding, participate in paint nights and help plan an amazing Christmas formal.”

 

Describe your experience at NOSM.
“My experience at NOSM has been amazing. I have definitely had some hard days but the support I have had from my family and the amazing classmates I have met along the way have gotten me through the bad days. They have also provided me with some amazing memories and some pretty fantastic experiences and I am excited to see what the next few years have in store! I am extremely fortunate to be training at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and am excited for the skills they will provide me in order to serve my country.”

2Lt Michael Crozier, Third Year NOSM Medical Student

“NOSM values strong clinical skills, self-directed learning, and a sense of social accountability in their students. As a future medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), I will be called upon to provide clinical care to a vastly diverse patient demographic, each with their own physical needs and unique values. Upon graduation, I will have been well-equipped to meet the needs of my future patients and the understanding of how to further these skills throughout my career thanks to NOSM.

As an MOTP student in the 2022 cohort, I have been uniquely blessed to have several talented and brilliant colleagues who have been an incredible support to me. My best advice for those entering this program stream at NOSM (or any medical school) is this: seek out supportive colleagues who understand and will experience the same demands you will. For me, that was the MOTP group in my cohort. You will be experiencing a demanding and uniquely stressful occupation as you serve Canada as a medical officer; these people will be among your greatest supports as you experience together a rich and rewarding career in the CAF.”

Why did you choose NOSM over other programs?
“Having grown up near Huntsville Ontario, I was well acquainted with the local hospital which routinely had NOSM medical students as clerks or visiting residents. I volunteered at the hospital throughout high school and would frequently hear about how clinically adept these students were and how much the staff enjoyed working with them. Those memories formed a strong portion of my motivation to pursue medical training at NOSM. Additionally, with the near 100% match rate NOSM students have in the CaRMS match process, choosing NOSM was as much a strategic career choice as it was personally meaningful.”

How is NOSM preparing you for your future role in the CAF?
“NOSM as an institution, values strong clinical skills, self-directed learning, and a sense of social accountability in their students. As a future medical officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, I will be called upon to provide clinical care to a vastly diverse patient demographic, each with their own physical needs and unique values. Upon graduation, I will have been well-equipped to meet the needs of my future patients and the understanding of how to further these skills throughout my career.”

What advice would you give to others looking at doing an MMTP or MOTP at NOSM?
“As an MOTP student in the 2022 cohort, I have been uniquely blessed to have several talented and brilliant colleagues who have been an incredible support to me. My best advice for those entering this program stream at NOSM (or any medical school) is this: seek out supportive colleagues who understand and will experience the same demands you will. For me, that was the MOTP group in my cohort. You will be experiencing a demanding and uniquely stressful occupation as you serve Canada as a medical officer; these people will be among your greatest supports as you experience together a rich and rewarding career in the CAF.”

LCdr Heather Galbraith, MD, CCFP, MSc, NOSM Alumna

“I grew up in Whitefish, Ontario (now part of Greater Sudbury) so choosing the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was an easy decision. To return to my hometown, close to my friends and family to study medicine was like a dream come true!”

How did NOSM help prepare you for your current career in the CAF?
“There exist many common threads between being a physician in the CAF and physician training with NOSM in Northern Ontario including: adventure, distributed learning, serving the underserved, importance of teamwork and varied leadership opportunities. As a CAF Physician, I have had the opportunity to repeatedly support deployed teams abroad, often acting as the sole medical provider with only the medical gear in a backpack that I could carry, in resource poor environments, relying heavily on my team and my training. I truly feel that the NOSM distributed urban and rural based curriculum prepared me well to be an adaptable and resilient problem solver and physician leader.”

What advice would you give to others looking at MMTP or MOTP at NOSM?
“If you like adventure, teamwork and seeing the world while working as a physician, the CAF is the place for you and NOSM provided me with a comprehensive approach to being a lifelong-anywhere-anytime learner. I was recently involved with OP GLOBE, a GAC led humanitarian mission to Wuhan, China in early February 2020 to screen and assist with the successful flight repatriation of 200 Chinese Canadians. Subsequently, after the COVID-19 pandemic came to Canada, I was deployed in support of OP LASER where our CAF personnel assisted in Long Term Care (LTC) homes in both Quebec and Ontario heavily affected by COVID-19. I was able to draw on my NOSM geriatric training, my work as a LTC community physician and collaborate with colleagues such as Sudbury Geriatrician Dr. Joanne Clarke (Assistant Professor, NOSM) to best support our deployed CAF teams during this mission.”

Describe your experience at NOSM.
“I truly felt that the practical small group case-based learning curriculum and hands on learning in both the UGME and PGME learning environments at NOSM were positive, collaborative, evidence based, and, above all, inclusive of diverse cultures. We benefitted from active involvement in Indigenous, Francophone, remote, rural and underserved communities and learned about the many barriers in medicine and how best to support those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.”