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More than 160 N.Ontario med school grads practising in the north

NOSM has also graduated over 120 registered dieticians
NOSM students exercise
NOSM student Bridget Jaunzarins wraps up the knee of partner/patient Alexia Presello. Photo by Chris Dawson.

Since 2011, more than 160 family doctors educated by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine have begun to practise in the region.

NOSM officials say that means that approximately 190,000 residents of northern Ontario have improved access to a family physician thanks to the presence of the medical school.

The data was published in the school's recent Report to Northern Ontario 2017.

Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM's founding dean, said the school started tracking the statistics as of 2011 because that was the first year that the first class of students was able to practise independently.

It takes four years to complete the MD program, after which graduates must enter residency in a medical specialty for a period between two and eight years.

That means that NOSM-educated health professionals who enrolled in NOSM's charter class in 2005 began to open up practices in 2011.

Nearly 95 per cent of NOSM graduates who completed both their MD and residency programs at the school currently practise in northern Ontario.

In addition to training doctors, the medical school report says it has graduated 123 registered dieticians, of whom about 90 are working in rural, northern or remote communities in Ontario and other parts of Canada.

Strasser said NOSM's model is proving successful in improving access to healthcare in the region "but there is still much work to be done. Northern Ontario communities continue to face a broad range of health challenges, with some communities continuing to struggle with maintaining medical services."