NOSM and Lakehead researchers receiving $330k from the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund

September 9, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Researchers from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and Lakehead University are receiving more than $330,000 from the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) for projects that will benefit health-care workers and immigrants.

Dr. Erin Cameron, Dr. Diana Uranijik, Dr. Brianne Wood and John Hogenbirk have received $250,000 from the OHCRIF. Their study, Working models for human capital planning in Northern Ontario: a model for the primary healthcare workforce, will focus on human capital planning in Northern Ontario’s primary care sector.

The study aims to build a consensus model of community-specific needs, recognizing that primary care in the North often includes emergency department coverage and in-patient care. The team will investigate how the workforce of Northern Ontario is evolving differently from that of the rest of Ontario, and will examine models of planning for workforce sustainability involving different demographics and different conditions of health-care demand.

Dr. Cameron, NOSM Assistant Professor, says: “It is an ambitious project, but study findings could help inform provincial agencies, workforce planning boards, communities, employers such as hospitals, primary-care providers, health-care education institutions, Ontario Health Teams, and others to better plan for and respond to community and employer needs within a primary health-care setting.”

This collaborative project builds on existing relationships between NOSM, the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR) – Laurentian, and partners from Northern Ontario communities, health-care facilities, and other organizations.

Dr. Cameron and Dr. Wood, postdoctoral fellow, are leading the team from NOSM while Dr. Urajnik, Director, and Hogenbirk, Associate Director, are leading the team from CRaNHR. Community representatives, members of the Northern Ontario Workforce Planning Boards, the Northern Policy Institute, Lakehead University, Laurentian University, and other organizations are also key collaborators on the project.

On another project, Dr. Kathy Sanderson and her team are receiving $83,093 for research that examines how community and organizational welcoming affects the retention and recruitment of new immigrants.

Dr. Sanderson and her team from the Faculty of Business are looking for local employers and community leaders to get involved and share their experience in this area. To find out how you can participate, visit

“With the slow population growth in Northwestern Ontario, employers are relying on new immigrants to fill both labour and professional positions,” Dr. Sanderson says.

“While many employers have been successful recruiting new immigrants to the area, long-term retention has been challenging,” she adds.

“We are thrilled to be working with the communities of Atikokan, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay to address issues of welcoming and inclusion, with the goal of developing regional strategies to increase human capital.”

Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, says he is excited to see the research outcomes of these important projects.

“Congratulations to our NOSM and Lakehead researchers, and thank you to OHCRIF for supporting these projects,” he says. “Both respond to issues that are unique to our region and will yield meaningful results for improving health-care services and economic development locally and regionally.”  

Both projects are funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.


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For further information, please contact:

Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate
Lakehead University
Phone: (807) 343-8177


Kim Latimer
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Phone: 807-621-4303


Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high-quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research. NOSM’s 15th annual Northern Health Research Conference is going virtual! Join us on Monday, October 2 at 9:00 a.m. with keynote speaker, Dr. Erin Cameron. Learn more at