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Outcomes of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine's distributed medical education programmes: protocol for a longitudinal comparative multicohort study
  1. John C Hogenbirk1,
  2. Margaret G French1,
  3. Patrick E Timony1,
  4. Roger P Strasser2,
  5. Dan Hunt2,3,
  6. Raymond W Pong1
  1. 1Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University, Sudbury, and Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to John C Hogenbirk; jhogenbirk{at}


Introduction The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has a social accountability mandate to serve the healthcare needs of the people of Northern Ontario, Canada. A multiyear, multimethod tracking study of medical students and postgraduate residents is being conducted by the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR) in conjunction with NOSM starting in 2005 when NOSM first enrolled students. The objective is to understand how NOSM's selection criteria and medical education programmes set in rural and northern communities affect early career decision-making by physicians with respect to their choice of medical discipline, practice location, medical services and procedures, inclusion of medically underserved patient populations and practice structure.

Methods and analysis This prospective comparative longitudinal study follows multiple cohorts from entry into medical education programmes at the undergraduate (UG) level (56–64 students per year at NOSM) or postgraduate (PG) level (40–60 residents per year at NOSM, including UGs from other medical schools and 30–40 NOSM UGs who go to other schools for their residency training) and continues at least 5 years into independent practice. The study compares learners who experience NOSM UG and NOSM PG education with those who experience NOSM UG education alone or NOSM PG education alone. Within these groups, the study also compares learners in family medicine with those in other specialties. Data will be analysed using descriptive statistics, χ2 tests, logistic regression, and hierarchical log-linear models.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was granted by the Research Ethics Boards of Laurentian University (REB #2010-08-03 and #2012-01-09) and Lakehead University (REB #031 11-12 Romeo File #1462056). Results will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, presented at one or more scientific conferences, and shared with policymakers and decision-makers and the public through 4-page research summaries and social media such as Twitter (@CRaNHR, @NOSM) or Facebook.

  • medically underserved areas
  • medical students
  • internship and residency
  • social responsibility

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