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Thunder Bay NOSM U student named medical student of the year

Nusha Ramsoondar aims to practise as a rural family physician
Nusha Ramsoondar, a student at NOSM University in Thunder Bay, is the Ontario College of Family Physicians' medical student of the year

THUNDER BAY — A student who lives in Thunder Bay and studies at NOSM University was surprised just to be nominated for the award, but now she's the Ontario College of Family Physicians' 2023 medical student of the year.

In making the announcement, the college said Nusha Ramsoondar exemplifies the vital role that family doctors play across Ontario.

The award goes to a student who's seen to be an emerging leader and advocate for family medicine, and who has made contributions to family medicine and/or primary care in areas such as patient care, peer support, advocacy, community service, research and education.

Now in her fourth year at NOSM University, Ramsoondar aspires to be be a rural family physician, after developing a passion for it while on placement in northern communities such as Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Timmins.

"It's a little bit of everything, you know. You feel a little bit like a jack-of-all-trades, and I like that a lot. Family medicine, especially rural family medicine, lets me do a range of services and keep up a range of skills for patients when there's a little bit less access to specialists," she told TBnewswatch in an interview.

Ramsoondar said she also a deep interest in helping vulnerable and marginalized populations.

"I was lucky to be involved in some research since the first year at NOSM on improving social accountability in medicine ... and I'm still working on it today. Hopefully I get to continue doing that work in residency."

She said the research focuses on creating frameworks and evidence briefs on why all the factors related to social accountability are important, how they improve health outcomes for patients, and "why it's important to actually take the time, consider making changes to your practice, and improving the standard of care that we can provide to patients."

Ramsoondar was nominated by a fellow student who described her as "an incredibly motivated and creative medical learner" looking to help people through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion.  

"She has already been involved in leadership and educational roles that showcase the important role physicians play in providing patient-centred care, peer support, community advocacy and research," her nominee wrote.

She has served as the inaugural vice-president of equity and inclusion for the NOSM student council, and is currently part of the SAFE for Health Institutions' research team where she has focused on creating new opportunities for marginalized learners while exploring equity-oriented social accountability.

Ramsoondar is keeping her options open in terms of where she'd like to begin her practice, but said it will be "somewhere in Northern Ontario, maybe somewhere a little bit smaller, just because I do like smaller towns."

To start with at least, she hopes to serve as a locum doctor, which will allow her to travel and treat patients in various communities across the North.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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