The Vision Statement for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), “Innovative education and research for a healthier north”, captures the passion and philosophy of those of us who work and learn at NOSM. As the Associate Dean, Research I have the pleasure of working with bright and innovative researchers. They tackle tough problems, using research approaches that do not always lend themselves to traditional western research methodologies. Researchers include bench scientists working on chronic and infectious diseases, biomedical scientists tackling difficult health and environmental questions, social scientists studying Indigenous health issues, the complexity of distributed medical education and social accountability and clinical scientists planning better and improved methods for treating patients in rural and remote settings.
While I have been at NOSM I have participated in research focused on a better understanding of recruitment and retention of health care providers in northern and underserviced areas. Together with partners from Northern Europe, NOSM participates in the “Recruit and Retain – Making it Work” project. NOSM’s unique approach to education has demonstrated the importance of training students “in the north for the north”. This and other approaches have provided a model for addressing health work force stability and are now being tested by each of the partners. At NOSM, our project involves collaborating with colleagues in Nunavut on health workforce recruitment and retention. The work contributes to a global effort working to improve health service delivery in rural, remote and underserviced populations through organizations such as Training for Health Equity Network, an international organization, of which NOSM was a founding member.
I have been a member of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute Board of Directors for the past four years as the NOSM representative. The Board provides a great opportunity to see first hand the research being done both at our Hospital and beyond and provides an opportunity to network with researchers, business personnel, entrepreneurs and health care providers. Research involves working with motivated and knowledgeable individuals and the Board provides an opportunity to hear directly from our research scientists, engage in inspiring conversation and plann with a diverse cross-section of colleagues all interested in improving health and health care delivery.
I think people would be surprised to know that our Hospital is an active research site and that the Health Research Institute Board is actively engaged in strategies to promote and advance best practices, based on research evidence and innovation conducted in Thunder Bay. Our research scientists are national and international stars in their fields and the research conducted at the Health Research Institute is known across the world.
I am a Physiologist, with a PhD from McGill University. I did post-doctoral research at Harvard and Tufts New England Medical Centre in Boston. I spent most of my research career as a Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, including eleven years as Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Medicine. I worked as Director of Ethics and the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) before taking the position of Associate Dean Research at NOSM.