An award for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine could be a good sign for people looking for a doctor in the rural north.

For the fourth year in a row, the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada has awarded the school top spot in the country for sending its graduates into rural practice training.

Undergraduate medical students learn about the challenges of practising outside of large city centres.

That training is good news in the north, as it's generally a good indicator of where those soon-to-be-doctors will set up shop, said Dr. Bill McCready, the associate dean of Faculty Affairs at NOSM in Thunder Bay.

"About 65 per cent of those individuals end up in rural practice for at least a portion of their careers," he said.

"That's a much higher percentage of individuals who don't get that kind of exposure in their training period."

McCready noted the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was competing for honours against well-established rural training programs as far away as Alberta and British Columbia.