Imagine going to the doctor's office and not having to wait.
That's a future Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) dean Dr. Roger Strasser is trying to bring about through the medical school's new Seats for Success campaign.
“The reason for the school existing is the shortage of doctors,” he said.
“You have to wait a long time to see a doctor. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had so many doctors that the doctors are waiting for the patients, and seats in the waiting rooms are empty?
“It's the idea behind Seats for Success – to provide the funds to ensure we have plenty of doctors in the future.”
NOSM will be selling symbolic seats for $60 each through the Seats for Success campaign. Donors can choose to support research, medical equipment or student bursaries at NOSM.
A bursary fund was set up when the school first opened in 2005. Donations have reached $20 million, and the interest is used to support students.
“The vast majority of them are receiving financial assistance,” Strasser said. “That helps to ensure they can focus on their studies and not be distracted by financial concerns.”
However, with the global financial crisis, there's been a lower return in investment in recent years, which means NOSM isn't able to give students as much money as it did when the school first opened.
That's why Strasser is hoping to boost the bursary fund's capital to $40 million.
“These days we also encourage people to think about not just giving money that's for endowment, but is actually expendable funds so there's a more immediate effect in terms of financial aid going to students,” he said.
The medical school is also looking to purchase simulation equipment with which students can practise their trade, as well as other types of medical equipment.
“The doctors in the emergency department at Health Sciences North are actually world leaders in the use of ultrasound in the emergency medicine setting,” Strasser said.
“They've been training other doctors across Canada and internationally for quite some time. Now we include that into the curriculum of the program, so we need equipment for our medical students to use.”
NOSM is already boosting the number of doctors practising in the region, he said. Two-hundred-twenty newly minted doctors have already graduated from the medical school's undergraduate program, and many others have gone through NOSM's residency programs.
“We already have doctors who are graduates of NOSM providing health care in the North, including in Sudbury,” Strasser said.
For more information about the Seats for Success campaign, phone NOSM at 705-662-7154 or visit www.nosm.ca.