Ceremony Marks Historic Opening Of Northern Ontario School Of Medicine
New Medical School Improves Access To Doctors And Health Care Services In The North
SUDBURY -- Ontario's first-ever medical school for the north will mean more doctors practising in rural and northern communities, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said today while speaking at the school's opening ceremony at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
"By training doctors in the north, we are helping to improve access to health care services for people -- where and when they need it," said Premier McGuinty.
"It's going to make a difference right away as students begin working in community placements and in Aboriginal communities. We want to recruit medical students from the north, so they can practise in the north and live in the north."
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is the first new medical school to open in Ontario in 30 years. It has a mandate to focus on medical education that addresses the unique needs and characteristics of rural and northern Ontario.
The government has committed $95.3 million over three years towards the development of the school's two campuses. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine-West at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay has 24 students. Northern Ontario School of Medicine-East at Laurentian University in Sudbury has 32 students.
"Our government has a vision of a health care system that will keep Ontarians healthier, get them good care when they're sick, and will be there for their children and grandchildren," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman.
"The Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the doctors who are going to be trained there are a big part of our plan to make that vision a reality." Smitherman was speaking at a joint inaugural ceremony taking place at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
"The official opening of NOSM is a historic occasion and marks a new era for northern Ontario," said Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci. "Our government's unwavering support and commitment to NOSM's long-term success offers an injection of hope and a dose of better health care for northern residents for years to come."
"This school has received strong community support from Thunder Bay and Sudbury," said Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Chris Bentley. "The community involvement has helped to ensure the success of the school, so it can train professionals able to meet the unique challenges and opportunities of practising medicine in the north."
"Our investment in this new medical school is in addition to our commitment to increase the number of first-year medical spaces across Ontario by 15 per cent over four years," said Premier McGuinty.
"That means by September 2008, we will have increased the number of medical spaces by 23 per cent -- 160 places -- since taking office. Our plan to strengthen our province by strengthening its people is working. Together, we're making Ontario -- and northern Ontario -- the place to be for years to come."