Northern Ontario School Of Medicine
The Ontario government is committed to improving access to health care services for people in the north by establishing the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), which opened in August 2005 with 56 students.
The government has committed $95.3 million over three years towards the development of NOSM with campuses in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
Students From The North, Studying In The North
International studies have shown that medical students who come from and train in rural settings are more likely to become rural doctors. The medical school will focus on training students who are from the north or from rural or remote communities. This will help provide better access to health care services by recruiting and retaining doctors and specialists for underserviced communities. In addition, it enables northern communities to benefit from a greater share of hospital medical residents.
The inaugural class of students began formal classes on September 6, 2005. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine received 2,100 applications for the 56 positions available in the first year.
Of the 56 students who were offered a place:
- 18 per cent are francophone
- 11 per cent are Aboriginal
- 78 per cent have lived 10 years or more in northern Ontario.
Focusing On The Needs Of Northern Communities
The Northern Ontario School of Medicine has a mandate that differs from other medical schools due to the unique needs and characteristics of rural and northern Ontario.
People living in underserviced northern communities will benefit directly from the school's extensive community placements. In addition to the required core elements of undergraduate medical education, the school's curriculum will include:
- A multi-week compulsory placement in an Aboriginal community in Year 1
- Two six-week placements in rural and remote communities in Year 2
- A comprehensive community clerkship (eight months in one community and six weeks in another) in Year 3.
Students at both campuses will have access to the best and most current medical education by utilizing e-learning technology such as interactive video-conferencing and web-based course materials.
More Medical Residents Working In The North
The government has approved funding to accelerate new residency positions in the north that will be dedicated to NOSM. This year, we have a total of 37 specialty postgraduate trainees in the north. They will be training in internal medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and anesthesia. This number will almost double by 2007, and by 2013 will grow to 130 specialty residents in northern Ontario.
This is in addition to approximately 65 family medicine trainees currently based in the north.
Financial Assistance For Northern Medical Students
Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the government will be committing up to $5 million in financial assistance for medical students enrolled at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. This ensures that no student from the north will be turned down because of lack of money.