THUNDER BAY, ON - February 10, 2010 - The Northern Ontario School of Medicine announced its economic impact statement titled “Exploring the Socio-Economic Impact of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine” Tuesday at a simulcast press release in Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Dr. Bruce Minore (shown left) interviewed many people from different backgrounds and communities in the north the interviews form the backbone of the report. One of the common themes he often encountered was the tremendous sense of pride that we now have medical schools in Sudbury and in Thunder Bay. Both Laurentian and Lakehead Universities have become enhanced with the presence of the NOSM. As a result enrollment at the institutions is increasing. He went on to say that many students felt that by attending these institutions they would have a better chance of enrollment into the NOSM. Dr. Minore suggested that these perceptions were ill founded and there is no favoritism displayed when it comes to selecting candidates to the NOSM.
While there are big dollar figures for the NOSM and this money would not have been spent in the North if there was no medical school located here, Minore points out that the very presence of the school is making other things possible in the region. Our regional hospital, the CRC (Centre for Collaborative research) the University, Corporate partners and of course the NOSM are all heavily invested in medical research right here in the city. Since these ventures are not funded by NOSM they cannot be included in the report. Indeed at Lakehead University interest in pursuing post-graduate studies has grown over the years. It is because of the state of the art facilities, and all of the pieces of infrastructure this work must have are all falling into place in our city. The value of all this activity is difficult to value.
Dr. Fred Gilbert is the “last of the original administrators who advocated for the NOSM” Now looking back on a career at LU, the must see the NOSM and its first graduating class with a sense of lifetime accomplishment. He views his work as the first chapter in the history of the NOSM. The operating budget for the NOSM is $36M a year and by the time the money is re-spent in the community it has about twice the economic impact. Most of this money is spent in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, but money as bee spent in outlying communities, converting regular hospitals to teaching facilities for NOSM. Up to 450 full time equivalent jobs have been created by NOSM in the region. It is hoped that beyond the economic impact, graduates from NOSM will stay in the north as practicing physicians.
While Dr. Gilbert’s career may be winding down he has left a kettle full of ideas on full boil for his successor. The great success of NOSM has shown what the north can be and many ideas for other ventures are beginning to take shape. As he said;”this is the first chapter”.