NOSM University research: a nexus in understanding
NOSM University was purpose-built to address the health-care needs of people in the North. Naturally, our research aims are focused on the same, though (as is so often the case for us), we are doing things a little differently.
For years, Canadian health research took a “one size fits all” approach. Major research primarily took place in large, urban centres. This meant many questions specifically related to the health of Northerners were going unanswered, including questions about the incidence of chronic disease, outcomes for patients with mental illness and how work in industries such as mining or forestry affects one’s health. Also left unanswered were specific questions about the health of Indigenous and Francophone communities in the North—two groups that have been historically underrepresented in research.
There are things that only targeted Northern research can address. For example, conditions in children in the North, including asthma and skin conditions, are on the rise. Mental health and addictions are some of the region’s greatest challenges. Devastatingly, the Indigenous youth suicide rate is six times higher than that of non-Indigenous youth in Canada.
To continue to refine our understanding of the Northern health picture, we cannot work alone. Through partnerships with local researchers, hospitals, agencies and others doing community-based research across the North, we will fill in gaps in understanding.
Today, there are also many NOSM University faculty members—biologists, immunologists, medical anthropologists, physicians, sociologists and more—who conduct leading-edge health research across the region.
To strengthen research capacity in the North, NOSM University will remain aligned with community research partners and support its own research faculty to ultimately become the nexus of all health research activity in the North.