HISTORY of the Northeastern Ontario Family Medicine Residency

and Undergraduate and Postgraduate Elective Training Programs.

In 1990 the Ministry of Health in Ontario announced the funding of two new residency training programs to "train and retain" physicians in Northern communities

At the same time the Northern Ontario Heritage Foundation announced that they would make available a 4.5 million dollar grant to build, furnish and equip a Health Science Resource Centre on the grounds of Laurentian University campus. The terms of the Grant specified that this new facility would only house health related learning programs and that a major portion of the total space would be earmarked as being reserved for the medical training programs.

The Northeastern Ontario Residency Training Program started on July 1, 1991 with six residents enrolled in a two year training program and 1 resident enrolled in one year specialty training program in Emergency Medicine. (This program is available to residents after the completion of their basic two years of Family Medicine training.)

As of July 1, 1995, the program trains 26 residents: 24 enrolled in a two year family medicine residency training program (NOFM) and 2 residents enrolled in a one year specialty training program in Emergency Medicine (NOFM/EM).

The teaching program is academically affiliated with the medical school of the University of Ottawa and the administrative and teaching resource facility is situated in the Health Science Education Resource Centre on the campus of Laurentian University.

In the spring of 1995, the Ministries of Northern Development and Mines together with the Ministry of Health funded the expansion of the program, which now enables us to offer elective training experiences to both undergraduate medical trainees and residents of the five medical schools in Ontario.

During the first year of operation of this program (NEP), 65 elective core clinical training placements, of a minimum of four weeks duration, were completed. By July of 1997, this program will accommodate 100 clinical placements per year.

In January 1996, Dr. Miguel Bonin, one of the chief residents of the NOFM residency training program made a presentation to the panel of government representatives in regards to Bill 26.

Dr. Bonin was quoted in the local paper of January 21 1996, as saying:

"The basis of this program being based in Sudbury is that you are more likely to practice in cities where you have done a part of your training. We are saying that, take Northerners put them in Medical School, train them back up here in the North and they are likely to stay and stay for a long time."

The programs' performance to date appears to prove this statement and so far our statistics indicate that of the three graduating classes, as of June 1995, which includes a total of 35 physicians, 77 percent of those are now practising in Northeastern Ontario, rural or small town Canada, 14 percent are in urban centres and 6 percent are continuing training. The data for the remaining 3 percent is not available.

The teaching programs have been governed by a Steering Committee and recently this Committee has formed an incorporated organization called: The Northeastern Ontario Medical Education Corporation, NOMEC.

NOMEC's goal is to determine what the specific needs are for the various communities which make up the Northeastern Ontario region, whether their needs are to recruit physicians or to attract other allied health professionals, and to lobby the government to award the funding to expand the training programs required for Northern Ontario.

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