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NOSM University/YouTube screen shot, May 24, 2024

Historic graduation class from NOSM University

By Randy Thoms May 27, 2024 | 1:05 PM

There are 69 new physicians from NOSM University.

Convocations ceremonies were held in Thunder Bay and Sudbury last week.

It is the largest class to graduate from the University in its 19-year history.

This was also the final ceremony for Dr. Sarita Verma, who announced last fall that she would not be continuing as President, Dean, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer after this year.

Dr. Verma says it held special significance for her.

“This is actually the class that I’ve journeyed through with. And we went through massive changes of the pandemic and having to manage becoming a university which was you know a bit rocky,” says Dr. Verma.

“And then we went on to establishing ourselves in Thunder Bay and Sudbury and watching you become amazing physicians.”

The University also welcomed its first graduates of a new Masters of Medical Studies program.

These two new MMS graduates, who are already MDs, demonstrated their abilities to conduct the highest calibre of medical research.

“The MMS graduates are incredible leaders in evidence-based health care. They are an example to their medical colleagues. Throughout their careers, they will truly set the bar for exceptional health research that benefits Northern Ontario,” says Dr. Verma.

The ceremonies were presided over by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, renowned Indigenous child rights activist and NOSM University’s inaugural Chancellor.

“I am so very proud of NOSM University and of all of you as graduates,” Dr. Blackstone said to the graduates.

“This University is very different. It changes hard science into loving science. It changes hospitals into community spaces, and the gift that comes from that is talented and loving doctors to serve the people of Northern Ontario across Canada and probably around the world.”

Many of the graduates will go on to do their residency.

Dr. Verma says many will be staying in northern Ontario. 

“Finishing residency could be two years if it’s family medicine, usually up to five years if it’s a Royal College specialty, and of course, many people go on to do sub-specialties like Cardiology, is another three years on top of that and fellowship.

Thirty-eight of the graduating students have been matched to family medicine.

All of the grads participated in a white jacket ceremony, which Dr. Verma adopted from other universities.

These newest alumni bring the total number of NOSM University’s MD graduates to 971, of whom 80 are Indigenous and 198 are Francophone.