The Future Will See You Now

Pregnant female in front of a plane in the snowstorm waiting to fly to a medical appointment

NOSM University has emerged as one of the most important and unique players in Canadian medical education—and donors are looking North. 

In 2015, journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell tweeted, “If billionaires don’t step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion.”

The quip took aim at an historic $400 million donation to Harvard University’s already-enormous endowment fund. Today, it is a fund worth a staggering $50 billion.

Gladwell’s point is, in part, that giving to an educational institution with such a significant financial portfolio doesn’t exactly have the same impact as giving to one that is equally deserving but not as well established.

In the U.S. and Canada alike, endowments are almost entirely funded through philanthropic giving, and as an investment vehicle for universities, they are meant to yield a stable and growing source of income. They are absolutely critical to the success of universities for a number of reasons, not the least of which are student financial aid and academic research.

In the case of NOSM University, it has not had 100 years or more to build its well-deserved reputation, prestige, donor cachet, and an endowment fund worth billions. NOSM University only came into being a year ago.

That’s why it is both important and impressive that NOSM University has raised millions in the last year toward its own burgeoning Student Endowment Fund. As the youngest and perhaps most divergent player in the medical education space, visionary philanthropists are seeing value in our model and our results—and they are investing in our learners.

The Future Will See You Now is NOSM University’s awareness campaign to help raise the first $50 million for our nascent Student Endowment Fund. The tagline plays on the old phrase, “the doctor will see you now,” but instead, alludes to Northern Ontario’s future doctors, and to the very future of medical education.

Whether featured prominently in The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business or in an ad at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto, the message has clearly reached and resonated with donors, as has the hard work of NOSM University’s Advancement team. One such donor, the FDC Foundation, entrusted NOSM University with a landmark gift of $10 million in matching funds—and the foundation is based in southern Ontario.

“We are hoping this gift will ignite support from other donors to alleviate student debt and encourage more students to pursue careers as future health-care professionals in Northern Ontario,” the FDC Foundation noted.

No matter where you’re from, supporting NOSM University is an investment into the future of medical education in Canada—and beyond. Our distributed model is lean and delivers at the patient level. We know that by gathering local research data, we can establish clinical services directly linked to the immediate needs of the community, which is both right and more cost-effective. With vision and planning, this transformative model—supported by remarkable collaborations with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), Indigenous and Francophone, remote, rural communities and allied health partners, along with scientists and clinicians in practice—is emerging as a cohesive ecosystem within which learners and communities will flourish.

With the highest admittance rate of Indigenous MD students in the country, NOSM University’s work in and research with rural and remote and Indigenous communities will no doubt help to inform best practices across Canada and internationally. We are setting the health equity bar very high with our dedicated Centre for Social Accountability, and smart money knows that health injustice is an issue of which we all own a piece.

NOSM University dares to imagine a future with a strong health-care system without doctor shortage in Northern Ontario, and everyone has access to the culturally competent care they deserve, closer to home. We are exploring a future in which NOSM University will deliver new opportunities in research and education, and flexible learning experiences tailored to exactly what students want to achieve. We also imagine a future in which student debt-loads—roughly twice that of medical faculties across the country—are alleviated, so that new doctors don’t have to decide between a bigger paycheck and a calling to serve the North. All of this starts with investing in NOSM University’s students.

The future will see you now.

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