Expansion at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is expected to help with the region’s shortage of physicians.
The province has announced an added 30 medical degrees and 41 residency spots at NOSM over the next five years.
According to the university’s estimates, more than 300 physicians are needed in the north, not including retirements that may take place over the next five years.
Citing doctor shortages, council in North Bay passed a motion back in mid-January calling on the province to expand capacity at NOSM.
“We got such a good positive response from all communities to increase the amount of students that NOSM is looking after,” says councillor Bill Vrebosch, who authored the motion. “It shows that we do have a need and that NOSM is willing to answer it.”
Vrebosch is welcoming the expanded capacity.
“I’m happy with anything NOSM gets. It’s positive,” he says. ”We’re trying to increase the number of students coming out of there because we know there’s a big lack (of doctors) in the north. I’m a strong believer that if students come from the north they may stay in the north.”
NOSM’s latest strategic plan will move forward with addressing the urgent physician workforce shortage, innovate health professions education and strengthen research capacity.
Dr. Sarita Verma, President and CEO of NOSM, says this is an exciting time for them with the expansion and becoming an independent medical university on April 1.
“This is another important step in transforming the health-care system in Northern Ontario to eliminate the gaps in health human resources and create equitable access to care,” says Dr. Verma.
NOSM currently enrolls 64 MD students and 60 first-year residents per year.