Behind every superhero is a great researcher.

Behind every superhero is a great researcher.

Northern Ontario has many opportunities to expand NOSM learning sites. We will develop stronger relationships, explore new sites, align clinical education leadership with administration and broaden the Academic Health Sciences Network in the North. New research opportunities implemented this year are strengthening research capacity in Northern Ontario. We are growing research networks, fostering opportunities and expansion of research programs and are gaining recognition nationally.

The Northern Network of Emergency Medicine Research continues to build research capacity in the region for clinicians and learners. NOSM faculty member, Dr. Robert Ohle, is a founding member of the Northern Network and of the Network of Canadian Emergency Medicine Researchers, which offers mentorship and support to emergency medicine researchers across Canada. Dr. Ohle has connected Health Sciences North (HSN) and Health Sciences North Research Institute (HSNRI) to build this national project, securing approximately $4 million in peer-reviewed funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Ontario Research Fund for a COVID-19 registry that looks at emergency department patterns in the global pandemic.

NOSM’s Centre for Social Accountability (CFSA) continued to advance social accountability globally and locally. Globally, NOSM was one of ten medical schools who participated in piloting a new international social accountability assessment tool (ISAT); now gaining recognition by the World Health Organisation. The CFSA will also be the home of a new International Steering Committee on Social Accountability and Accreditation, with representatives from around the world. Locally, the Centre’s two research hubs—MERLIN and NORTHH—continue to make progress towards advancing local research priorities and collaborations. NORTHH—NOSM’s Research Toward Health Hub—is the first practice-based learning and research network to offer unique Northern Ontario health primary-care, population-based datasets. It will also prioritize Indigenous data sovereignty.

Two new advisory committees launched this year; the Global Health and International Relations, and Climate Change. The NOSM Advisory Council on Climate Change (NACCC) is established to provide advice to the Dean about the impact of climate change on the health of people in Northern Ontario. NOSM commits to: developing educational content, resources, and information on a wide variety of climate and health topics to inform and change curriculum; the decarbonization of activities and administration; enabling healthier lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions; and, investing in evidence-based research and improved surveillance of the health impacts of climate change. 

The Master of Medical Studies program has more than doubled the intake of students this year, welcoming eight clinician-researchers, each gaining access to foundational research skills to address pressing health care issues in Northern Ontario.

The future of health education in Northern Ontario is an interprofessional Pan-Northern medical university with regional medical campuses, led by an integrated, sustainable health-care system. Being Canada’s first stand-alone medical university brings an opportunity for improved clinical education coordination, clear points of contact, further research, more identified community networks, and the establishment of distinct regional hubs for the university to expand the reach to improve teaching, learning and training. New regulations established by the government will guide the breadth, scope and expansion plans of the new university.

There is much potential to chart greater progress toward improving the health-care research, health education research, and academic networks all with the aim to improve the health system in Northern Ontario. 

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