Special Events

NOSM’s 2016 PSI Visiting Scholar: Dr. Frank Sullivan

“If you want smart young people to be committed to working in rural areas then you should recruit people who have grown up in rural areas.” – Dr. Frank Sullivan

Rural Ontario continues to face many serious health concerns that need to be better understood and resolved with the help of clinical research. To address this issue, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is making clinical research a central focus of their Strategic Plan (2015-2020).

In support of this initiative, PSI Foundation funded NOSM’s 2016 Visiting Scholar Program, which intended to:

  • Connect an experienced researcher to the institution as a role model
  • Offer educational opportunities to physicians interested in research
  • Aid in the development of their research skills and/or a research project of their own
  • Identify people interested in research funding

This year, Dr. Frank Sullivan, who is currently the director of the University of Toronto Practice Based Research Network, was announced as NOSM’s 2016 PSI Visiting Scholar. His primary research focus is on the application of health informatics clinical decisions in primary care, which was inspired by the dilemma of physicians having three unanswered questions for every two consultations with patients.

The visit was an overwhelming success on a number of levels. Dr. Sullivan engaged students, physicians, residents, health care professionals and faculty throughout his tour of rural communities in Northern Ontario. Specifically, he delivered a keynote presentation at the Northern Health Research Conference, which addressed how evidence based medicine and research can influence practice. A short documentary highlighting the visit is provided below along with a link to Dr. Sullivan’s keynote presentation.


PSI is engaged in receiving grants application from NOSM as they are a new institution in a unique position to make research a big focus now. Dr. Sullivan noted that this is extremely beneficial to rural healthcare as the more physicians engaged and trained in rural areas, the more likely they are committed to stay and practice in rural areas.

Although great strides have been made to build interest in research in the rural north, many challenges still exist, including the lack of structure, skills and resources. Fortunately, there is a great deal of determination among faculty and staff at NOSM to support this initiative.

If you’re interested in learning more about research opportunities at NOSM, please direct all your questions and concerns to Dr. David MacLean, Assistant Dean, Research at dmaclean@nosm.ca. All other inquiries about the content of this article can be directed to the Post Grant Coordinator, Nuvi Dhaliwal at dhaliwal.n@psifoudnation.org.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Sullivan, please click on the following link:

The Scope, Northern Health Research