Rural physicians award NOSM its tenth Rural Medical Education Award

Press release

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) was honoured by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada(SRPC) with the Rural Medical Education Award on April 13, 2021. This was the tenth time that NOSM has been recognized with this award.

Each year, the Rural Medical Education Award is presented to a Canadian medical school that encourages students to pursue further training in rural medicine. It is awarded to the MD program that has matched the most graduates to rural family medicine programs as reported by the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) process.

According to CaRMS data for 2020, 78 per cent of NOSM’s graduating MD class matched to a rural family medicine residency program.

Dr. Sarah Newbery, Assistant Dean of Physician Workforce Strategy at NOSM, accepted the Rural Medical Education Award on behalf of the School during the SRPC’s 28th Annual Rural and Remote Medicine Course.

“This award is special to NOSM because rural medical education plays a huge part in our strategy to address the health disparities of our region,” says Dr. Newbery. “NOSM has been a success and has obviously had an impact in Northern Ontario but we are facing an unpredictable and fragile Northern physician workforce. Through new pathways, including the Rural Generalist Pathway, we are working to bridge the significant gaps that exist.”

NOSM advocates for sustainable solutions for health human resources in Northern Ontario, through evidence-based strategies and health-care service models. By preparing, attracting and retaining health-care professionals, the School will improve access to equitable, high-quality health care in the North with an aim to eliminate the gaps.

The SRPC also honoured NOSM faculty Drs. Roy Kirkpartrick, Stephen Viherjoki and Barb Zelek with individual awards.

Dr. Roy Kirkpatrick, NOSM Section Chair of Surgery and a general surgeon in Huntsville, Ontario, received the Rural Specialist Merit Award.  Presented to a specialist living and working in rural Canada, this award recognizes the demonstrated long-term commitment to serving one’s community.

Dr. Stephen Viherjoki, Assistant Professor at NOSM and family physician practising in Dryden, Ontario received a Rural Service Award in recognition of his service to a rural Canadian community for 10 or more years.

Dr. Barb Zelek, NOSM Clinical Sciences Division Head and family physician practising in Marathon, Ontario, received the Rural Mentorship Award. This award is presented to a rural physician that demonstrates outstanding commitment to mentoring and supporting future rural physicians, and/or rural physicians already in practice.

“I’m proud and humbled by the dedication of our faculty. NOSM is fortunate to have brilliant and compassionate people who take on leadership roles to serve the health needs of Northern Ontario,” says Dr. William McCready, Special Advisor and Senior Associate Dean.

In its strategic plan, The NOSM Challenge 2025, the School has identified Transforming Health Human Resource planning as its first strategic priority.

Read more about NOSM’s Rural Generalist Pathway and the School’s plans to transform health human resource planning.

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