The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) announced its first chancellor and board of governors on Thursday.
18 governors with various education and backgrounds were selected, including the inaugural chancellor.
Cindy Blackstock, an Indigenous activist and McGill University professor, was chosen as the university’s chancellor.
Dr. Sarita Verma, NOSM University president, said Blackstock’s name kept coming up when they were looking at eligible candidates.
“We wanted to be sure there was synergy amongst her values and ours and it’s so obvious,” she added.
Blackstock said she was honored to be selected for the role, adding that her passion for equality led her to this role.
“That no person, living in a remote or rural community is left behind by a universal healthcare system,” Blackstock said.
“That people receive the loving and respectful healthcare that honors their diverse experiences.”
Verma told CTV News there were over 100 applicants to go through, which wasn’t easy.
“You want to be sure you have that balance-east, west, gender, Indigenous, francophone,” she said, adding that the people chosen checked off all the boxes in terms of what they were looking for.
With new leadership and official recognition under its belt, Verma Said the university is a blank canvas. She said she visualizes northern Ontario universities collaborating to address the healthcare worker shortage in the province.
“I see us creating a matrix, a very powerful matrix, that will get that voice heard at Queen’s Park,” said Verma.
The first medical university was formerly a part of Laurentian and Lakehead universities and applied for standalone status last year. It was formerly recognized as a university on April 1.
NOSM was first established in 2002 to address the doctor shortage in northern Ontario.