Northern Ontario School of Medicine delivers more doctors to the north
Research suggests doctors trained in northern Ontario stay in northern Ontario
She found that 64 per cent of students who did both their undergraduate and post-graduate training at NOSM were working in urban settings in northern Ontario. And 25 per cent were working in rural northern settings.
Her research revealed 70 per cent of students who did undergraduate training elsewhere — but completed their post-graduate training at NOSM — stayed in northern Ontario.
By comparison, fewer than five per cent of students who did not study at NOSM were working in the north.
"These are pretty big numbers," Wenghofer said. "The big question is 'so how many of them stay? After they've set up practice, will they stay for years? That's the next thing we have to start looking at."
Not always 'a complete gain'
Wenghofer said the numbers don't automatically suggest that everyone in northwestern Ontario will soon have a family doctor.
"As we get new people, of course, there are other people who leave," she said.
"There are other people who retire and move on. It's never a complete gain. The other thing is, of course, where the physicians end up putting their practices. It's not necessarily in a small community."
Still, Wenghofer said the trend is positive.
"Last year was an exceptional year for Thunder Bay specifically because there were 14 new family physicians who started," said Brady Lucas, the City's community relations co-ordinator.
"A large percentage of those, at some point, were involved in the Northern Ontario School of Medicine."
Lucas said only one physician retired during the same period.
"So there's still a positive net," he said.
At least two family physicians have announced plans to retire in 2015, Lucas added, but the city expects to see around five more join the ranks.
NOSM welcomes its 10th anniversary cohort of students this week.
Northern Ontario School of Medicine graduates: Where are they now?
Data from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons shows the number of NOSM grads practising in different locations across the province, as of April, 2015.