Left to right are NOSM dean Dr. Roger Strasser, and Bruce Soar, Acting High Commissioner of the Australia High Commission to Canada.
The honour is in recognition of Strasser’s contributions to improving the health care of people living in rural and remote communities in developed and developing nations as an educator, researcher and practitioner.He was appointed NOSM’s founding dean in September 2002 and reappointed for a five-year term in June 2009.
Strasser has assembled a strong administrative team and worked to address the unique health-care challenges of Northern Ontario. He has spearheaded the creation of a medical school with an innovative model of distributed medical education that draws on the commitment, expertise and generosity of people in communities across the North.
Training and graduating physicians and health professionals with a particular understanding of, and affinity for, people in Northern, rural, and remote settings is a key component of the school’s mandate to be socially accountable to the cultural diversity of the region it serves.
Under Strasser’s leadership, and with each year since the school’s official opening in 2005, there has been increasing recognition of NOSM’s innovative approaches to medical education from medical faculties around the world. The school is fast becoming a must-see location for medical educators to learn about NOSM’s curriculum, model for distributed community engaged learning, and use of new technology to advance medical education.
Prior to his appointment with NOSM, Strasser was professor of rural health for Monash University and head of the Monash University School of Rural Health in Australia. Between 1992 and 2004, he served as chair of the Working Party on Rural Practice of Wonca, the World Organization of Family Doctors. In November 2002, he was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners in recognition of his world leadership in the field of rural health and in March 2003, he received the Louis Ariotti Award for excellence and innovation in rural and remote health in Australia.
He is also the recipient of the prestigious Fellow of Wonca award, presented in October 2004 in recognition of his outstanding service to Wonca and family medicine around the world.
In April 2005, Australia’s Monash University held a special ceremony to re-name its auditorium in Dr. Strasser’s honour. The Roger Strasser Auditorium at the Latrobe Regional Hospital pays tribute to his contribution to the development of rural medical education programs in Australia and around the world. In 2006, Strasser was named the inaugural winner of the Small, Rural and Northern Award of Excellence by the Ontario Hospital Association and also received the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine Life Fellowship Award for outstanding and meritorious service to Rural and Remote Medicine in Australia.