“Innovation must drive NOSM’s next generation of physicians, registered dietitians, physician assistants, medical physicists, other health professionals and scientists.”
Dr. Catherine Cervin, Vice Dean, Academic
The overarching goal of the Rural Generalist Pathway is to align medical training with community need and create a career for physicians that is appealing in the short and long term. Moreover, to build and support a robust rural generalist workforce for our Northern Ontario communities as part of the overall physician workforce strategy for Northern Ontario.
NOSM University’s first Strategic Priority is Transforming Health Human Resource Planning. NOSM University’s aspiration in this strategic priority is to include “a transformative approach to the planning and delivery of workforce supply which eliminates the gaps in Northern Ontario Health Human Resources.”
And we do have gaps. Currently, across Northern Ontario we need over 135 family physicians, mainly in our rural communities. See the data.
Despite NOSM University’s presence and success, we need to continue to innovate in education to support communities in reaching the physician resources that they need. NOSM University’s third Strategic Priority is Innovate Health Professions Education. We hope to be recognized across Northern Ontario for developing innovative models of education in Northern, Indigenous, Francophone, rural and remote medicine that lead to well trained health-care practitioners who stay in the communities of the North.
In the fall of 2021, the first cohort of 5 students entered the Rural Generalist Pathway in undergraduate medical education. Although the full-pathway from high school to practice as a rural generalist is aspirational, we are working to ensure that by 2025, a fulsome pathway will be realized through incremental changes in each portfolio; a pathway that will allow learners to imagine for themselves a successful career with a rural generalist start.
What is a Rural Generalist?
The formal definition of Rural Generalist Medicine is in the Cairns Consensus Statement below:
Rural Generalist Pathway Progress Report – June 2021
Building on work in Australia, and outlined in the original Rural Generalist Pathway proposal document (January 2020), NOSM University has embarked on the development of the Rural Generalist Pathway. The “Rural Generalist Progress Report” has been updated June 2021 to reflect the work that has been completed, the ongoing work, and future work.