Dr. Sarita Verma


NOSM University is a new university. Over the last two decades as a medical school, it has established an international reputation as a socially accountable agent of change, tackling the physician shortage in Northern Ontario. As a government strategy, it has repeatedly demonstrated an unparalleled return on investment as we deliver on our mandate to improve access to health care for the people of Northern Ontario.

Financial sustainability is the slogan of the day in Ontario’s higher education and health-care landscape. In fact, it is headline news, and accountability to the public has never been more important. My special report offers an unprecedented overview of our financial situation, in keeping with the principles of accountability and due diligence.

As Ontario’s Auditor General (AG), reinforces in her Special Report on Laurentian University: “There is a general expectation that public sector and broader public sector organizations that receive significant taxpayer funds operate with transparency, accountability and high standards of governance.”

Good governance requires governors who have the competencies and skills, will ask the tough questions, and will guide NOSM University in its strategies, particularly during tumultuous times like the ones we face in the higher-education and health sectors today.

While we are experiencing growing repercussions of becoming an independent university, we have managed to orchestrate operations and administration while balancing fiduciary responsibility with the ability to deliver our unique mandate.

NOSM University is in a unique position. As you will read in this special report, we will need additional resources to sustain our work and to be successful. Our funding model is complex, and our capacity is limited by the current constraints rendered upon us by the Ontario Government.. Expansion is on the horizon but remains contingent on funding. Without strong government support from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, our expansion, our mission and our future are at risk. This special report is intended to provide an unprecedented level of information to assure our stakeholders and partners that we are doing everything we can to ensure we are accountable and sustainable.

We have been fortunate to have the support of government, donors, teaching hospitals, Francophone and Indigenous communities, and Northern Ontario municipalities—including the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association and the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities—to amplify our advocacy work. It is undeniable that our unique value proposition puts us in good stead and positions us to take bold next steps in our evolution.

With the necessary funding, NOSM University has the opportunity to fundamentally and strategically transform itself to meet the health research, education and health-care demands of both today and tomorrow. We can “throw out the old playbook,” and instead, innovate for the future—and what our legislative Act calls our “special mission.”

We are within striking distance of financial sustainability, and the delta between what we have versus what we need to thrive is within sight. As we go forward, we will collaborate with our Board, the government and communities to be efficient and to demonstrate our financial accountability framework is reliable and robust. At the heart of what we do, we will continue to be driven by social accountability, equity and diversity and the wellness of our people.

As I transition to my retirement I can assure you, we are poised for our transformation as a university in health education, research and leadership, and the future is bright at NOSM University and in Northern Ontario.

Dr. Sarita Verma
President, Vice Chancellor, Dean and CEO
NOSM University