Northern European Countries to Learn From Canada’s Strategies to Attract Health Professionals to Underserviced Areas

by Rachel Brown | Jan 15, 2014

NOSM Hosts International Recruit and Retain Conference

Thunder Bay, Canada - January 15, 2014 - Recruiting and retaining health-care professionals for rural and remote communities is an ongoing challenge in many parts of the world. Beginning today, Canada’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is hosting an international conference aimed at sharing strategies for attracting health-care professionals and other public sector workers to underserved areas. The conference will conclude on Friday, January 17, 2014.

The Canadian Recruit and Retain Conference, taking place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, brings together international delegates from several northern European countries to discuss best practices for ensuring that people living in remote communities benefit from high-quality health care. The conference is part of the Recruit and Retain project funded by the European Union, of which NOSM is the only non-European partner.

NOSM’s inclusion in the Recruit and Retain project stems from its social accountability mandate responding to the health-care needs of rural and remote communities in Northern Ontario. Since it opened in 2005, NOSM’s made-in-the-North solution has garnered international recognition for its unique and effective model. In a very short time, NOSM has become a world leader in community-engaged medical education and research, while staying true to its social accountability mandate of contributing to improving the health of the people and communities of Northern Ontario.

“I am very excited about working with our international partners,” explains Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean. “We all have the same goal in mind: ensuring that people – no matter where they live – have equal access to quality medical care. I am sincerely looking forward to sharing the experiences of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and hearing more about the strategies of our European collaborators.”

Conference participants include policy makers, educators, and health professionals from across Europe and Canada, including representation from the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement’s (CFHI) Northern, Rural or Remote Pan-Provincial Collaboration who will share how the Collaboration is uniting regions across five provinces to address common health care challenges. 

 CFHI is providing in-kind support for the conference, where many of the European project partners in attendance are from European agencies equivalent to the Canadian regional health authority partners that make up the Collaboration.

The other participating countries are Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.

“The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is pleased to support this conference focusing on the recruitment and retention of health-care professionals in rural and remote communities,” says Maureen O’Neil, President, CFHI.  “Bringing together Canadian and international experts to share best practices for improving health care aligns perfectly with CFHI’s focus on spreading health care innovations across jurisdictions.”

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The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to healthcare improvement and transformation for Canadians. CFHI collaborates with governments, policy-makers, and health system leaders to convert evidence and innovative practices into actionable policies, programs, tools and leadership development. CFHI is funded through an agreement with the Government of Canada.

For further information, please contact:

Kimberley Larkin                                       
Communications Officer
Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Paulette Roberge
Senior Communications Specialist
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement