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Sudbury families lead effort to support Northern Ontario’s medical students

They help raise $600,000 for NOSM University to give students while endowments remain in flux for 2022

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A group of prominent Sudbury families, corporations with ties to the North, and philanthropists have raised $600,000 for NOSM University students for the 2022 academic year.

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“We are extremely grateful to these community-minded leaders who have stepped up to help NOSM University students — your future doctors and allied health professionals — at a critical time,” Dr. Sarita Verma, president, vice-chancellor, dean and CEO of NOSM University, said in a letter.

In more good news, the school announced that following the Laurentian University creditors vote on Sept. 14, Laurentian will free up $14.6 million in endowments for future allocation of student bursaries at NOSM University. The money had been tied up while Laurentian restructured its finances due to heavy debts.

“This is good news for NOSM University and for our future students,” Dr. Verma said. “NOSM University bursaries have been frozen to students in northeastern Ontario since (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) proceedings began in 2021.

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“Without the quick commitment and support of these compassionate leaders, our students would not have had access to bursaries this year. My sincere thanks to all of them, with the guidance of Dr. Rayudu Koka and Mr. Gerry Lougheed Jr. Our students will benefit from your generosity.”

The group consists of the FDC Foundation, Lougheed Family Foundation, the Métis Nation of Ontario, Gerry Perdue, Power Corporation of Canada and Technica Mining.

NOSM University is based in Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Its MD students graduate with nearly double the debt load of other medical school graduates across the country. As part of the university’s social accountability mandate, students are in large part recruited from the North, for the North, and often do not have access to the same financial and social means as students in the south.

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Now that NOSM University has the green light from the province to add another 30 medical degrees and 41 residency spots over the next five years, building a robust Student Endowment Fund is all the more urgent, the school said.

Since 2005, NOSM University said it has been delivering on its mandate. It has produced 838 MDs, 65 of whom self-identify as Indigenous and 171 of whom self-identify as Francophone. More than half of these health-care practitioners have stayed in Northern Ontario. It is estimated that 340,000 people have received care from a NOSM graduate.

“Although there is much to show for its short history, the need for doctors in Northern Ontario is still great with a shortage of more than 350 physicians today,” NOSM added.

To support NOSM University student financial aid, visit nosm.ca.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SudburyStar

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