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Centre for Social Accountability

The Centre for Social Accountability is a multidisciplinary centre of NOSM University dedicated to the improvement of health and wellness in Northern Ontario. Through policy leadership and advocacy, research and innovation, and education that better aligns medical training with community needs, the Centre is becoming a  frontrunner in the improvement of sustainable  equity, access, and population health outcomes. 

Situated on the lands of the Anishinabek Nation – specifically the Atikameksheng and Wahnapitae First Nations – and operating under NOSM University’s governance and administration, the Centre’s impact derives from its regional focus, yet is unbounded in its scope. The national and international relevance of the Centre’s work will become recognized as its results are dispersed among practitioners, policy makers, and advocates in similarly challenged jurisdictions.

The aim of the Centre for Social Accountability is to improve the health of Northern Ontarians while extending beyond NOSM University’s commitment to being socially accountable in our education and research programs and advocating for health equity. The Centre’s integrated approach in the areas of policy leadership and advocacy; research and innovation; education; and community impact will produce a deeper and broader understanding of a range of issues affecting population health outcomes both inside and outside of the medical system. In this way the Centre’s social accountability research defines and strengthens the work of NOSM University and its partners, making it more effective in the achievement of this critical mission. 

If you are interested in connecting further with the Centre, consider requesting a Discovery Meeting, following us on Twitter, applying to be an Affiliate or Friend of the Centre, making a contribution to our work, or reading about our recent launch celebration.


Centre Programs and Projects


Northern Ontario School of Medicine Research Toward Health Hub (NORTHH)

NORTHH is a practice-based research network that will support quality improvement and community research in primary care. It can help communities, physicians and practices, and policy-makers learn more about primary care in Northern Ontario.

Medical Education Research Lab in the North (MERLIN)

The Medical Education Research Lab in the North (MERLIN) seeks to promote medical education research and scholarship in Northern Ontario. MERLIN will create opportunities for learning and dialogue around promising and emerging evidence-based practices in medical education, health professional education, as well as provide peer support to those engaging in research.

SAFE for Health Institutions

The purpose of the SAFE for Health Institutions Project is to accelerate transformation towards a social accountability framework in healthcare service delivery. To empower health institutions to better identify and address the priority health needs, social needs and health inequities of the patients, populations and communities that they serve.

Nourish Leadership

Nourish started with a simple idea: how can the hospital tray be a platform to dream big and transform our food and health systems? Through our work with cohorts of leaders and through action learning series, we work to equip innovative individuals and teams, empowering bold leadership in climate action and health equity. We work across community, institutional, and policy scales to steward innovation.



Through appreciative inquiry, deliberative dialogue and two-eyed seeing, AI-North seeks to: (1) Understand socially accountable Artificial Intelligence, (2) Identify strengths and gaps in Artificial Intelligence research in Northern Ontario, and (3) Help to build capacity for Artificial Intelligence research in Northern Ontario.

NOLHS (Northern Ontario Learning Health Systems)

This research group brings together people who are leading health system transformation in Northern Ontario through research, education, and health care. Our group includes researchers, educators, health system administrators, physicians and health professionals, patients, learners, among others. Our group and our projects aim to support health system stakeholders at any point in the research lifecycle, from developing an idea into a research question to methods/analysis to knowledge translation.




Download the Centre for Social Accountability brochure.

Key Objectives

Community Impact

Our Community Impact Goals include:

    • Tracking the intake and output of NOSM graduates in all programs (UME, PGME, HSP, CEPD, etc.) and their impact through performance in the programs, location and type of practice, and impact on population health.
    • Identifying and advocating for specific interventions in local and regional health care delivery that will have positive impacts in the future.
    • Responding  to the resource needs of communities through improved health workforce planning.

Policy Leadership and Advocacy

Our policy Leadership and Advocacy Goals include:

    • Establishing Canadian and international standards for the assessment of social accountability in health education, health research, and health service.
    • Collecting and disseminating evidence of the impact of Canadian medical schools and academic health science networks in being socially accountable.
    • Enabling the continuous improvement of healthcare practices by applying this knowledge in a systematic way and leading transformative change in social accountability in health.
    • Providing leadership in social accountability at national and international conferences and meetings.
    • Becoming recognized and consulted as the most credible voice in planning and policymaking for health and wellness across Northern Ontario.

Research and Innovation

Our Research and Innovation goals include:

    • Creating capacity for substantive research into social determinants of health affecting community health and wellness, with a focus on both preventative and curative approaches. 
    • Becoming recognized as the primary aggregator and disseminator of data and documents for other researchers in the field through the design, source funding, and execution of relevant and impactful research projects.
    • Disseminating research results and advocacy positions through publication, presentation, and participation in pertinent consultations with communities, institutions, and public agencies in the North.
    • Sharing methods, expertise, and other resources with those who are teaching or studying in social accountability or rural and northern medicine.
    • Leveraging data collection and research relationships to build relevance of accumulated Centre work in other jurisdictions with similar challenges.


Our Education goals include:

    • Demonstrating the measurable impact of NOSM University’s social accountability mandate through its curriculum and the alignment of NOSM University’s curriculum and training programs with the needs and priorities of the communities it serves.
    • Demonstrating our commitment to the values and intentions of social accountability in the internal policies and practices of the Centre and NOSM University.