The Canadian working group
Canadian Team Member Biography
Dr. Roger Strasser, AM
Dean and CEO
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Dr. Roger Strasser is a leader in the global reform of health professional education. Recognizing the importance of context and community in medical education and research, Dr. Strasser has gained an international reputation for developing and refining novel strategies to train health professionals in and for rural communities. As a result of his formative work in his field, Dr. Strasser has become one of the world’s foremost authorities in rural, socially accountable medical education, as well as a sought-after speaker and advisor.
In September 2002, Dr. Strasser was selected to lead the creation of the first medical school in Canada in over 35 years—the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM). NOSM is the first Canadian medical school established with an explicit social accountability mandate to improve the health of the people and communities of the region it serves. Thanks to its unique model of distributed, community-engaged medical learning, NOSM is supporting recruitment, retention, and socio-economic development in historically underserved communities across the geographically vast region of Northern Ontario. In ten short years, NOSM has grown from a little-known school in rural Canada to a leader that other medical schools across the world look to emulate—a testament to both Dr. Strasser’s leadership, and the strength of the team that he has assembled.
In addition to his role as Dean and CEO at NOSM, Dr. Strasser is one of the few Professors of Rural Health in the world. He is leading a growing body of research relating to socially accountable health professional education, recruitment and retention of health professionals, and rural health service delivery models.
Prior to moving to Northern Ontario in 2002 with his wife of over 30 years, Dr. Sarah Strasser, and their five children, Dr. Roger Strasser was the Head of the Monash University School of Rural Health in Australia and had an international role with the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) as Chair of the Working Party on Rural Practice from 1992-2004.
Jennifer Wakegijig, MBA RD
Manager of Program Development and Strategic Initiatives
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Jennifer has experience at all levels of health services, including front line clinical care in both Inuit and First Nations communities, and administrative and public health roles in government at the regional, territorial and federal levels. After the completion of an MBA in 2015, Jennifer now works as the Manager of Program Development and Strategic Initiatives for the Office of the Dean at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
It is her goal to provide positive strategic leadership where it can make a difference to the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. She promotes collaborative approaches to policy and program development, to ensure their fit in Northern contexts and to support the best possible outcomes.
Executive Director, Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre
Canadian northerners face a number of challenging circumstances when it comes to health, but there are also tremendous strengths in communities to address local health concerns, such as a willingness to work together, traditions and customs that support healthy lifestyles and activity, and strong cultural pride.
Drawing upon existing community strengths and resources, and building capacity to conduct research in the North, is the key to addressing a number of health concerns presently and over the coming years. For this reason, Gwen founded the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre (AHRN-NU). The goal of Qaujigiartiit is to enable health research to be conducted locally, by Nunavummiut, in a supportive, safe, culturally-sensitive and ethical environment.
The Centre promotes a model in which Inuit Qaujimajatuangit and western science knowledge are incorporated into initiatives that address health concerns, create healthy environments, and improve the health of Nunavummiut.
Dr. Penny Moody-Corbett
Dr. Moody-Corbett gained extensive experience in health and health research during her eleven-year post as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University, as well as during her time as a senior member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). While at Memorial she also served as a member of the senior executive team providing advice and guidance to the Dean and faculty on research opportunities, as well as graduate training.
Dr. Moody-Corbett was a member and chair of numerous committees and was involved in a number of large grant opportunities, including successful CFI and Genome Canada grants, which led to a new multimillion dollar genetics research and teaching facility at Memorial. As an independent investigator, she studied electrical properties in nerve and muscle.
Dr. Moody-Corbett continues neuroscience research through collaborative work, studying the influence of diet and exercise on cognitive function during aging. She has expanded her scholarly interests in the fields of ethics, health policy and patient-oriented research.
Dr. Moody-Corbett has a number of publications in biomedical science, ethics, education, and health research programming. She taught at the undergraduate and graduate level in physiology, neuroscience, research integrity, and grantsmanship.