About NOSM Education Research Communities
About NOSM

About NOSM

Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.   

When the School welcomed its first MD students in September 2005, it became the first new medical school in Canada in over 30 years, and only the second new medical school in North America during a similar period.  It is the first Canadian medical school hosted by two universities, over 1,000 kilometres apart.  NOSM serves as the faculty of medicine for Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury.  The School has developed and delivers a distinctive model of distributed, community-engaged, and socially accountable, medical education.  In addition, NOSM is the only Canadian medical school to be established as a stand-alone, not-for-profit corporation, with its own Board of Directors and corporate by-laws.   

Across the region, NOSM learners (medical students, residents, and learners from other health disciplines such as rehabilitation sciences, dietetics, and physician assistants), are gaining relevant clinical experience under the guidance of health professionals in community hospitals, clinics, and family practices.  The School brings together over 70 community partners, over 1000 clinical, human, and medical sciences stipendiary faculty, and more than 200 employees. 

NOSM's success is very much a result of many partnerships and collaborations with individuals, communities and organizations including Aboriginal and Francophone, hospitals and health services, physicians and other health professionals, universities and colleges, information communication technology organizations, and other medical schools. 

With learners distributed across the North, communities have a vital role in welcoming and supporting students so that they develop a better understanding of living and working in a Northern Ontario community. 

NOSM is a made-in-the-North solution that is attracting attention from around the world for its innovative model of community-engaged medical education and research, while staying true to its social accountability mandate of contributing to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario. 


Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North.


The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.  

NOSM will accomplish this by:​

  • Being socially accountable to the needs and the diversity of the populations of Northern Ontario
  • Actively involving Aboriginal, Francophone, remote, rural and underserviced communities
  • ​Leading and conducting research activities that positively impact the health of those living in Northern communities
  • Fostering a positive learning environment for learners, faculty, and staff
  • Achieving an integrated, collaborative approach to education, learning, and programming
  • Increasing the number of physicians and health professionals with the leadership, knowledge and skills to practice in Northern Ontario


The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) encourages ingenuity, creativity, a culture of inquiry and discovery, and the importance of learning from others in every aspect of the School’s education, research, social accountability, and corporate mandates. NOSM uses innovative approaches to ensure continuous improvement of our distributed model of education and research. 

Social Accountability 
NOSM adheres to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of the Social Accountability of Medical Schools as “the obligation to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region and the nation that they have a mandate to serve. The priority health concerns are to be identified jointly by governments, health care organizations, health professionals and the public.” As part of its social accountability mandate, NOSM has the responsibility to engage stakeholders at all levels of its broad community. 

NOSM pursues education and research goals in close partnership with its host universities. Collaboration and partnership is also important to NOSM with its teaching hospitals, community physicians, health professional clinical teachers, health system stakeholders, and communities it serves. NOSM values the insights, contributions, and support of its many partners that work to improve the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario. NOSM recognizes that collaboration is both a process and outcome that engages different perspectives to better understand complex problems, and leads to the development of integrative solutions that could not be accomplished by any single person or organization. 

NOSM fosters inclusiveness by supporting an environment which embraces differences in staff, faculty and learners and respectfully creates value from the differences of all members of the NOSM community, in order to leverage talent and foster both individual and organizational excellence. 

NOSM’s faculty, staff, and learners seek to learn and listen to one another respectfully and communicate openly. NOSM’s staff, faculty, and learners treat others and their ideas in a manner that conveys respect as differences are discussed, fosters an open academic debate, and which respects academic freedom.

Academic Principles

NOSM’s Academic programs, in both research and education, support NOSM’s vision, mission and values and uphold the School’s social accountability mandate through the delivery of programs that respond to the health needs of the communities that NOSM serves.

In keeping with its vision to provide Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North, Distributed Community Engaged Learning (DCEL) continues as NOSM’s distinct model of education and research. The Academic Principles create a framework for the development, delivery and evaluation of the School’s academic programs.

The term interprofessionalism includes the key features of participation, collaboration and collegial decision-making processes to improve learning, patient care and research activities.

Integration is the combination and interaction of individuals, groups and programs around common purposes to create meaningful experiences and address life-long learning and the continuum of education of health professionals.

Community Engagement
Community engagement is the conceptual and pragmatic understanding of the dynamics of communities in Northern Ontario (geographical, social, cultural, linguistic and communities of practice) and the creation of meaningful, enduring partnerships involving all Northern Ontario communities and NOSM, the hallmark of which is integrated networks of education and research.

NOSM embraces the social, cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity and richness of the Peoples of Northern Ontario and strives to be inclusive of and reflect that richness.

Generalism is a broad, holistic and integrated view and approach to activities, values and knowledge in educational, organizational and patient care activities.

Continuity encompasses an approach to educational experiences from undergraduate through to continuing health professional development, as well as research that recognizes transitions between professional educational stages in a synergistic way.

Dedication to Inquiry
The process of inquiry is central to the role and identity of the School as it defines our commitment to the creation, augmentation and validation of knowledge.

Professional Identity Formation
“Each individual’s journey from layperson to skilled professional is unique and is affected by “who they are” at the beginning and “who they wish to become.” Identity formation is a dynamic process achieved through socialization; it results in individuals joining the medical [health professional] community of practice.”


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