NOSM leadership award recipients announced

$47,500 awarded for demonstrating leadership and mentorship within school and community

Mélanie-Rose Frappier and Alison Lewis, both fourth-year medical students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), are the inaugural recipients of newly established CIBC Indigenous Learner Leadership Awards.

The awards recognize self-identified Indigenous learners at NOSM who demonstrate exceptional leadership and mentorship within the School and community.

“Mélanie-Rose and Alison are fantastic leaders with a strong commitment to promoting access to health care, Indigenous culture, anti-racism, equity and inclusion,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, Dean, President and CEO of NOSM. “They are compassionate individuals who have made a real difference and will continue to do so as future physicians in Northern Ontario.”

Each student will receive the prestigious award of $20,000 and a professional development budget of $3,750 and are supported with networking resources. The students will become active members of the Indigenous Reference Group and the Indigenous Health Education Committee at NOSM during the fourth year of their MD program. As student members, they provide insight and actionable items to support future Indigenous health learners at NOSM and in Northern Ontario.

Social accountability is a core value at NOSM and is instilled in students and learners throughout their educational experience. Both award recipients expressed gratitude and their personal commitment to advancing social accountability in health care.

“Thank you for this award. I am truly honoured,” says Mélanie-Rose Frappier, who also holds an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies. “Health and culture are my passions, and I plan to include both Western and Indigenous ways of thinking and healing in my future practice. I truly believe that in order to heal we must focus on all aspects of health including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.”

“As a future Indigenous family physician in Northern Ontario, I have an important advocacy role in Indigenous health leadership. I intend to continue to support Indigenous students, advocate for changes that improve health disparities, and foster culturally safe environments for all Indigenous patients,” says Alison Lewis. “Thank you for this incredible opportunity.”

NOSM received a donation from CIBC in May 2020 to establish this new initiative designed to promote and recognize Indigenous learner leadership and mentorship. These awards will also improve learning and networking opportunities available to recipients.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is an award-winning socially accountable medical school renowned for its innovative model of distributed, community-engaged education and research. With a focus on diversity, inclusion, and advocacy for health equity, NOSM relies on the commitment and expertise of the peoples and communities of Northern Ontario to educate health-care professionals to practise in Indigenous, Francophone, rural, remote and underserved communities.