Today, PA Rotary joined forces with the Rotary Club of Sault Ste Marie.  President Megan Wigmore, pictured, who welcomed all and highlighted her very active club’s successes. From our end President Krysta Logozzo Daniele returned the favour with greetings and highlights from Thunder Bay.
A very healthy 49 Rotarians joined in for today’s informative presentation, see below.  Co-hosts were Nilah Moss (SSM) and Kevin Holloway (PA Rotary).
Dr. Jaro Kotalik introduced our accomplished and well-regarded speaker, Dr. Sarita Verma, who began as Dean, President and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in July 2019. 
Dr Verma, is hailed by her peers as one of the true “top docs” in Canada, having had a distinguished career first in law with the foreign service (the UNHC for Refugees) then medicine with a major focus on medical education at U of T and elsewhere. She is clearly well-placed to lead NOSM.  Her talk laid out NOSM’s great success as a unique, stand-alone not-for-profit medical school whose mandate is to address the challenges of providing medical care in Northern Ontario. 
With refreshing candour, she stated simply that when it came to health, “everything is worse” in Northern Ontario.  Then she delved in what NOSM is doing about that, how it is succeeding and what more it wants to do.
She dealt with the new NOSM Mission, Vision and Values Statement and how the unique focus on student demographics matter:  the current class profile shows 92% are from Northern Ontario, 38% from Remote and Rural location, 12% are Indigenous and23% Francophone.  Furthermore, 68% are female, 32% male. Many have gone on to practice in Northern Ontario – a staggering 235,200 patients in Northern Ontario have a family physician who completed their MD at NOSM!
NOSM has a model of “Distributed Community Engaged Learning” with extensive partnerships and collaborations throughout the north with some 100 participating organizations based out of the 2 LUs (Lakehead and Laurentian Universities).  The 2021- 2025 Strategic Plan looks at many challenges going forward.  The North is still plagued by higher rates of health care provider burnout, chronic diseases, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide and more. Specialist consultants are in chronic shortage.
Another of NOSM’s interesting initiatives is the “Rural Generalist Pathway – with the long-term aim of recruiting potential rural doctors straight out of high school to follow a ten year path through undergrad through medical school and residency if they commit to practice in rural or remote locations. 
Dr. Verma directs her considerable energy on a variety of issues to meet the challenges. 
The presentation was immensely informative. A stimulating Q & A followed and Dr. Verma was thanked by SSM Rotarian Daniel Sharp.
A break out session then allowed each Club to wrap up chat separately – with the odd cross-pollinator happy to meet and learn from the sister club.  A great meeting for all concerned!
#NOSM  #LakeheadUniversity #LaurentianUniversity #DrSaritaVerma #RotarySSM  #Rotary #PARotaary