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Dr. Roger Strasser, dean and CEO of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. (Samantha Samson/CBC News) Undergraduate and post-graduate students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth (UMMSD) will now be able to exchange program ideas and information to help improve the health and educational opportunities of First Nations, Metis and Native Americans in both northern Ontario and Minnesota.

"This meeting will bring together a spectrum of experts whose insights and ideas will help fulfil the school’s mandate to provide culturally safe care and education to these populations," said dean and CEO of NOSM, Roger Strasser.

According to a written statement, on Thursday, April 19, leaders, faculty, staff and community stakeholders met in Thunder Bay, Ont. to discuss the project and determine how it relates to their perspective institutions.

Based on the model of Centre of American Indian and Minority Health at UMMSD, the program will help exchange knowledge about the current issues face by Indigenous people, compare models for health research and examine each school’s ties to and with Indigenous communities.

"Indigenous peoples in Canada and the U.S. have a lower health status, disproportionately higher disease burden and lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous populations," said NOSM’s interim director of Indigenous Affairs, Darrel Manitowabi.

"This project addresses this problem by developing and improving existing Indigenous health profession programs, sharing knowledge and experience on providing culturally sensitive-care and mentorship."

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