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Northern-trained doctors staying put

More than 160 NOSM-educated family doctors now practising in the North
NOSM students exercise
NOSM student Bridget Jaunzarins wraps up the knee of partner/patient Alexia Presello. Photo by Chris Dawson.

The idea that doctors trained in the North are more likely to stay and practise here seems to be working out.

Since 2011, more than 160 family physicians educated at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) have begun to practise in Northern Ontario, according to a news release from NOSM.

This means that approximately 190,000 Northern Ontarians have improved access to a family doctor. This data, among other information about NOSM’s impact on the region, was published in the school’s recent Report to Northern Ontario 2017.
“We started tracking this data as of 2011 because it took at least that long before our first class of students were able to practise independently,” said Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM dean.

“It takes four years to complete the MD program, and then graduates must enter a residency in a medical specialty. Residency can take two to eight years. This means that NOSM-educated health professionals who entered medical school in NOSM’s charter class in 2005 began to open up practices in 2011.”
NOSM’s Report to Northern Ontario was created to report back to the communities of the North about the school’s progress in addressing the priority health concerns of the region.

In addition to training physicians, NOSM has:

  • graduated 123 registered dietitians, approximately 90 of whom are now working in rural, Northern, or remote communities;
  • collaborated with more than 90 communities in Northern Ontario to provide education across the region;
  • focused its research initiatives on answering health questions relevant to the people and communities of Northern Ontario; and
  • contributed more than $100 million of new economic activity in Northern Ontario.

Ninety-four percent of NOSM graduates who have completed both their MD and residency programs at NOSM are now practising in Northern Ontario.

“We are very excited that NOSM’s model is proving successful in improving access to health care for the people and communities of Northern Ontario,” said Strasser.

“But there is still much work to be done. Northern Ontario communities continue to face a broad range of health challenges, with some communities continuing to struggle with maintaining medical services. We are eager to continue our work together to advance the health of the people of Northern Ontario.”