Main photo: Councillor Bob Stone (centre) and former Deputy Mayor Fran Coleman (second from right) welcome Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) third-year students (from left with the location of their placement noted) Charlene Carson (Gravenhurst), Kim Jovanov (Huntsville), Lindsay Ninivirta (Bracebridge), Matthew Kutschke (Huntsville), Gabrielle Erickson (Huntsville), Victoria Domonkos (Gravenhurst), and Lyndsay Greasley (Huntsville).
They are well on their way to becoming physicians, and Muskoka will play a solid part in their education.
Seven third-year medical students from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) were welcomed to the area last week—in Huntsville that meant lunch with Councillor Bob Stone on behalf of Mayor Scott Aitchison, followed by a downtown tour and paddleboarding. Bracebridge hosts a separate welcome celebration.
Four of the students will be spending the next eight months in Huntsville while the other three will be in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst. Also, three first-year residents and three second-year residents are currently spending two years learning in Muskoka.
Huntsville and Bracebridge are both popular communities among NOSM students. There are 13 communities across Northern Ontario where students can be placed based on a lottery system; all seven of those who arrived in Muskoka this year were placed in their first choice.
More than 90 per cent of the doctors associated with Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) will work with the students during their time here. The most involved family doctors, according to NOSM Site Administrative Coordinator, Sue Featherston, are Drs. McLinden, Bozek, Mathies, Rea, Forestell, Small, Eastmure, DeRoode, and Stevenson in Huntsville, and Drs. O’Shaughnessy, Jones, Hemens, Adamson and Hotson in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. The students will also spend time with specialists in surgery, anesthesia, internal medicine, obstetrics, physiatry, sports medicine, the emergency department, and palliative care, as well as with allied health care providers in pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, nursing, the lab, cardio respiratory, and diabetic education.
Clinical placements like these are essential to medical school, noted Featherston, but are important for our community as well because “many of the students have and will continue to return to practice where they learn therefore making physician recruitment much easier.”
Featherson said that a recent study of NOSM graduates found that 94 per cent who completed both their undergrad and postgrad studies at NOSM are now practicing in Northern Ontario; by comparison less than 10 per cent of graduates from all of the other medical schools set up practices in the North.
NOSM, which is a partnership between Laurentian University in Sudbury and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, was established in 2005. Several graduates of the school’s program now practice in Muskoka, including Dr. Stacey Erven and Dr. Nelson Matyasovszky in Huntsville and Dr. Sandi Adamson, Dr. Mike Mason and Dr. Kim Forester in Bracebridge/Gravenhurst. Other students who spent one to six months in Muskoka for an elective and who now practice here include Dr. Andrew Brown (Anesthesia), Dr. Caroline Correia (Family Medicine), Dr. Rebecca Kent (Family Medicine) and Dr. Dan Purcell (Family Medicine and ER).
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