The study of genetics has given us a whole new understanding of ourselves and why we are who we are.

Did you know that 99% of human DNA is the same?

With so much in common genetically, how we respond to what makes us different is our individual choice. Let’s #RespectTheDifference.

At NOSM, we have come together to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, respect, social accountability and wellness. Let’s work in a culture of kindness and #RespectTheDifference. 

Read more about NOSM’s Mission, Vision, and Values.

We invite all Canadian medical schools, the medical sector as a whole, all levels of education, organizations and individuals across Canada to join us in our movement and Respect the DifferenceTM

Together, we can ignite a positive cultural change that is grounded in respect and reaches beyond our individual organizations and into our communities. 

Choose to lead, learn, teach, influence, and advocate with kindness and respect. Be a changemaker.


In 2012, Virginia Mason asked their employees how they respect one another in the workplace. Here’s their “Top 10” list of ways to show respect:

  1. Listen to understand.
  2. Keep your promises.
  3. Be encouraging.
  4. Connect with others.
  5. Express gratitude.
  6. Share information.
  7. Speak up.
  8. Walk in their shoes.
  9. Grow and develop.
  10. Be a team player.

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"I respect the difference."
Will Morin, Anishinaabe Artist, Educator, Knowledge Carrier


"I respect the difference."
Shreedhar Acharya, NOSM Staff Member


Inclusion “is a core element for successfully achieving diversity. Inclusion is achieved by nurturing the climate and culture of the institution through professional development, education, policy, and practice. The objective is creating a climate that fosters belonging, respect, and value for all and encourages engagement and connection throughout the institution and community.” Association of American Medical Colleges

Every now and then, the words diversity and inclusiveness are used interchangeably. They have two different meanings though.

Diversity is about having a variety of individuals whose unique attributes and different viewpoints are valued.

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Diversity “embodies inclusiveness, mutual respect, and multiple perspectives and serves as a catalyst for change resulting in health equity. In this context, we are mindful of all aspects of human differences such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, geography, disability and age.” Association of American Medical Colleges

Your values, beliefs, culture, sexual orientation, family status, health, religion, language, gender, race, identity and other aspects of your lived experience are important. Your unique attributes—your diversity—enhance the School’s learning and work environments.

Educating and employing a diverse group of faculty, researchers, learners, and staff contributes to a collective understanding of the realities of the urban, rural, remote, Francophone, Indigenous and vulnerable communities across Northern Ontario.

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"I respect the difference."
Sarah Jacko, NOSM Staff Member


"I respect the difference."
Monique Larente, NOSM Staff Member

Social Accountability

Since 2003—before the School welcomed its first students—NOSM sought guidance from Indigenous, Francophone, rural and remote communities. By bringing together members from treaty organizations, Elders, physicians, community leaders, nurses and other health-care professionals from across the North, we learned from their uniquely Northern experiences and expertise. The key elements of the School’s community-engaged learning model are a direct result of their contributions.

So in 2005, when NOSM was established, it was born with an explicit socially accountable mandate; a commitment to respond to the cultural diversity of the region, address the health needs of all Northern Ontarians and improve access to quality care through education and research.

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There are differences in the ways we feel well. For example, a busy schedule with a high level of social engagement might help some people feel well. For others, time alone, or carving out private time for family or friends is how they feel well. We encourage you to take the time to define wellness for yourself. Build it into your routine.

At NOSM we respect and support your individual definition of wellness. Evidence-based wellness practices provide support to all individuals in our community. We also seek to understand and recognize the warning signs of individuals who may not be feeling well. Actively checking in with one another, offering tools and resources for wellness, and genuinely caring is an active way to demonstrate respect and kindness. Learn how to access NOSM wellness resources; use and share them without bias and be encouraging to your fellow learners and colleagues.

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"I respect the difference."
Laïla Faivre, NOSM Staff Member