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Med Teach. 2013 Jun;35(6):490-6. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.774334. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

Transforming health professional education through social accountability: Canada's Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

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Northern Ontario School of Medicine, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.



The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has a social accountability mandate to contribute to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario. NOSM recruits students from Northern Ontario or similar backgrounds and provides Distributed Community Engaged Learning in over 70 clinical and community settings located in the region, a vast underserved rural part of Canada.


NOSM and the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR) used mixed methods studies to track NOSM medical learners and dietetic interns, and to assess the socioeconomic impact of NOSM.


Ninety-one percent of all MD students come from Northern Ontario with substantial inclusion of Aboriginal (7%) and Francophone (22%) students. Sixty-one percent of MD graduates have chosen family practice (predominantly rural) training. The socioeconomic impact of NOSM included new economic activity, more than double the School's budget; enhanced retention and recruitment for the universities and hospital/health services; and a sense of empowerment among community participants attributable in large part to NOSM.


There are signs that NOSM is successful in graduating health professionals who have the skills and desire to practice in rural/remote communities and that NOSM is having a largely positive socioeconomic impact on Northern Ontario.

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