The Okanagan Charter

Prioritizing health and wellbeing is a leading priority


NOSM University’s focus on wellbeing is guided by the Okanagan Charter, which calls upon the post-secondary sector to “transform the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthen communities and contribute to the wellbeing of people, places, and the planet.”

The guiding principles of the Okanagan Charter are embedded in The NOSM University Challenge 2025.

Since becoming a signatory, NOSM University has made great strides in its commitment to:

  • Living the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Developing a global health strategy founded in principles of social accountability.
  • Making strategic investments in our people, resources, and infrastructure.
  • Encouraging creativity and innovation.
  • Supporting the wellbeing of the NOSM University community

“Research shows us that individuals who are well are more creative, engaged, productive, and have a stronger sense of community,” says Dr. Sarita Verma, President, Vice-Chancellor, Dean, and CEO. “It’s important for the entire NOSM University community to focus on wellness as we look to the future—a future where access to equitable, quality health care for all Northerners is a reality.”

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Dr. Joseph LeBlanc named the inaugural Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. LeBlanc promotes equity, increasing diversity and strengthening the culture of inclusion among staff, faculty, and learners, in collaboration with community and academic partners.


NOSM University’s Health Sciences Library has made available a student-led 2SLGBTQ+ subject guide. With links to online resources, topics range from transgender and intersex health to Two-Spirit resources and resources on gender neutral pronouns and misgendering.

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The NOSM University Action Committee on Climate Change is addressing climate change. As a socially accountable institution that leads through a lens of health equity, NOSM University is planning for curricular changes, expanded research, and increased environmental advocacy to address planetary health.
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A University-wide Respect the Difference movement launched, which we hope ignites a positive culture change that reaches beyond NOSM University and into our communities. The Code of Respect focuses on kindness as a manifestation of the University’s values, while striving towards compassion.

Understanding gender identities aids in delivering inclusive, patient-centered care. Often, pronouns have a gender implied that is not always accurate or needed. Medical students developed a wearable pronoun pin to help spark important conversations about how to correctly use and share one’s pronouns.
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NOSM University’s pledge for sustainable travel was established to encourage conscientious travel arrangements within the University and to promote a work culture of sustainable practices that align with reducing our carbon footprint.

We have also joined the Global Consortium on Climate Change and Health Education.

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NOSM University is one of only seven sites across the country to be selected as an “anchor,” of the national Nourish Health Care Collaborative. The Nourish Collaborative seeks “to tackle interconnected challenges such as health inequity, food insecurity, diet-related chronic disease, and the impacts of climate change.”

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NOSM University recently launched a Virtual Health and Wellness Hub where learners will find resources and helpful tips to support health and wellness. There are many facets of health and wellness, and most are not completely within individual control.

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A new complementary online training module added to was created by the Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l’Ontario in collaboration with NOSM University and is designed for professionals to enhance their ability to provide tailored services to Francophone patients.

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