Kenora hospital and NOSM University expanding partnership

By Mike Stimpson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Thunder Bay Source

Lake of the Woods District Hospital is looking to build on its relationship with Northern Ontario’s medical school, and the school’s dean says an expanded partnership is in the works.

Hospital officials met with NOSM University officials over the summer and it’s clear the hospital will be “a bigger training centre as we go forward,” Kenora hospital president and CEO Ray Racette said in a phone interview.

NOSM University dean Dr. Sarita Verma said the school is eager to expand its operations in Kenora, but there are “no concrete plans yet.”

Racette told a Kenora news outlet the hospital is in talks with NOSM to have a third NOSM campus, after the ones in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, in Kenora. But Verma said a third campus is not in the med school’s future.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with Lake of the Woods management in Kenora in July as I was doing my community visits in the Northwest,” she said.

Those summer discussions were fruitful and the school is excited about its growth plans, Verma said, “but I would say that the words ‘third campus’ were probably not what we discussed. That is not what we have in mind.”

NOSM sends med students to about 30 hospitals across Northern Ontario and has a presence in more than 90 communities, Verma said.

The community partnerships are “truly important,” she adds. “It is the hallmark of what we do.”

The vast majority of NOSM-trained physicians stay in Northern Ontario, according to the med school’s website.

“In the North, for the North, by the North is working,” said Verma.

NOSM is distinctive for its partnerships in small communities across Northern Ontario’s approximately 800,000 square kilometres and for being the only standalone medical school in Canada, she said. “What we’re doing is very, very remarkable.”