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Northern Ontario School of Medicine moving forward with new status, new name

Medical school will be staying in Sudbury and Thunder Bay
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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) file photo

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is no longer associated with Sudbury's Laurentian University, which is undergoing a financial restructuring process. 

With this new status, NOSM University (the new name) becomes the first stand-alone medical university in Canada. 

NOSM was created in 2005. It was associated with Laurentian University (LU) in Sudbury and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay for the purpose of conferring medical degrees to graduates. 

The change that came with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University Act 2021, means NOSM University can now grant those degrees on its own. 

And despite the change, NOSM is not going anywhere. 

"As a university, NOSM will not be leaving Thunder Bay or Sudbury and will build on its collaborative relationships with Laurentian University and Lakehead University," said a news release.  

NOSM CEO and Dean Dr. Sarita Verma said the medical school will continue to operate, albeit independently, in Sudbury and Thunder Bay.

"Really, I don't know where those rumours start," said Verma in a recent radio interview. "You know, honestly, stop scaring people."

Verma said the school has a commitment to both communities with faculty, staff and students. 

In the news release, NOSM said most things will stay the same.

The school will continue to receive 90 per cent of its operating funds directly from Queen's Park. Verma said the school would still be able to apply for and receive research grants, only this time, the revenue will go directly to NOSM University, instead of to LU. 

NOSM will continue to handle the administration of its own staff and faculty, curriculum, labs and equipment, and provide support and graduate its own learners. It will continue to provide its own finance, IT, research and libraries, said the news release.

Academically, Verma said NOSM University would continue to collaborate with Laurentian and Lakehead for what she termed “hybrid courses”, with the University of Sudbury for some Francophone courses, as well as with Collège Boréal, with l'Université de Hearst, Nipissing University, Algoma University, and Confederation College.

NOSM will also remain deeply committed to its partnerships with Indigenous, Francophone, rural and remote communities that have been critical to NOSM’s mission and success, said the release.

Also, the partnerships and collaborations with more than 500 organizations, 90-plus communities, and more than 1,800 clinical, human and medical sciences faculty dispersed across all of Northern Ontario will continue.

NOSM has recently renewed affiliations with the two Academic Health Science Centres, Health Sciences North in Sudbury and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and partners with Lakehead University, Laurentian University, Health Sciences North, Health Sciences North Research Institute, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute in the Northern Ontario Health Innovation Cluster.

NOSM also said it "will join some of the world’s highest ranked medical schools that are freestanding medical universities and all fully accredited including: Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the University of Vienna, the Mayo, and Kaiser Permanente institutions in the United States."

NOSM University said more information and community consultations on change will be communicated and carried out during the summer months. 

– Sudbury.com