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Alastriss

GTA = automatic rejection?

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I have heard a lot bout how if your from a busy city, ie toronto, you are heavily favoured against. But doesn't NOSM realize that our parents are usually the ones who decide where we grow up, not us? I know a lot of people in toronto who hate it and love rural life but could be disadvantaged because of a choice their parents made. Likewise a person living in a rural area does not strongly imply they will want to live in such an area their entire life.

However they really don't have much to go on right? considering a lot of people would try anything just to get into ANY medical school

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How often do you find people who have grown up in the city decide to live in rural setting? Sure, it happens, but I'd imagine not as often as someone who grew up in rural moving back to rural. Also, you have to remember that when they decide to give preference to rural applicants...it is not because they don't like city applicants...it is because they are trying to fill the physician-shortage in rural Ontario.

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I agree. Although it may be true that people who grow up in big cities may desire to work in rural communities, it is simply more likely that those from rural/northern communities will stay there. I don't think that NOSM is discriminating against non-rural applicants, they simply have a mandate to produce doctors who are willing to work in the north and contribute the physician shortage that has become a huge problem here. They have to weed out the applicants who will attend NOSM only because it is a medical school, and run for the hills as soon as their education there is over. They have to find people are equipped to handle working in tiny, rural communities. I don't think many people realize how hard this can be when you have no prior experience with it. Anyway, there were definitely people from larger cities at my interview, so I'm sure they used the interview process to learn about people who really want to work in the north, despite where they are from originally!

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Hey all,

 

Being from the GTA or growing up there does not mean an automatic rejection.

 

I grew up in Toronto and moved to Thunder Bay in my late teens. I completed high school in Thunder Bay, remained here for my undergrad degree and applied to NOSM.

 

At the time I applied, I didn't have any significant advantage since I wasn't "technically" from the North. I had spent about 5 or 6 years here, but the majority of my life had been spent growing up in urban Tdot. I think what may have helped get me in was showing my commitment to staying in TBay and my desire to serve rural communities through ECs and Volunteer work and expressing myself as such.

 

Once you get the interview, it is up to you to show NOSM why they should invest in you so to speak in terms of expressing your willingness to practice in an underserviced northern or rural community.

 

Cheers,

LtD

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this whole concept of rural person staying in rural environment is such complete bollocks, for several reasons.

Assuming that they do not lower the standards ( which they do as indicated in the wording of their rejection letters) once you are in medschool and you get to see the world outside the beloved rural community - which during the clerkships you will, want it or not. Assuming that you are a reasonable person with average motivation and capabilities, you will find the medical experience in rural areas wanting and perhaps even reluctantly will lean to the "big city lights".

On the other hand this does a disservice to the rural communities by enlisting and graduating candidates that are on the average of lesser caliber than the more conventional medschools.

Yes the rural medicine does need workforce but the gaping supply void must be filled by less discriminating means that will afford equality for both the applicants and the communities they are destined to serve.

There are numerous ways of enticing people to practice in rural setting - money is one of them, but so is preparing the docs in a way that does not make practicing alone "out there" intimidating for new grads, providing specific support mechanisms, changing the way the practice is run (group practices in rural communities are a much better way to start and practice - better vacation and off duty conditions of work through shared on call responsibilities etc..)

Regardless of how you address it, it will cost money; I am for spending money that will result in good quality physicians, and not just physicians "more likely to stick around".

 

Regards,

dialntin

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Wow, that last post was entertaining! Just a short response to a few of your statements dialntin:

 

1. "this whole concept of rural person staying in rural environment is such complete bollocks" - Unfortunately, studies done on the backgrounds of current docs working in rural areas do not agree with you.

 

2. "this does a disservice to the rural communities by enlisting and graduating candidates that are on the average of lesser caliber than the more conventional medschools" - I think there were over 2500 applicants this year to NOSM. From meeting and talking with many of them, I think its safe to say that at least 50% of them would make absolutely wonderful physicians. Unfortunately, most won't get the opportunity. But I'm pretty sure that of the 2500, the school will be able to find 56 who won't do a "disservice to rural communities".

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Hi All!

 

Studies do show that students with rural backgrounds, education in rural areas, and res training will enhance doctor retention in rural/northern/remote areas. I would agree with this. NOSM is just playing the best odds by recruiting students from rural backgrounds. This does not mean that a student admitted from Northern Ontario is going to stay in the region 100%.

The argument is that they are simply more likely too.

 

What do I think? Well I will be honest I really do not know anymore. After I left the interview I started to think back to my Sociology classes (ascribed status vs achieved status). If you are from a rural community - simply cause you were born there - do you have the right to be awarded extra points cause you have the ascribed status of a rural student? Well let's face it I would not be getting an interview if NOSM did not do that. Neither would many of the other students and in fact many students currently attending NOSM might not have found a place in any other school in the country.

 

Needless to say, I feel that all medical schools discriminate one way or another (direct or indirect). I am awarded extra points cause I was able to have an experience that urban kids could not. Is this fair? *sigh* Like I said I just do not know. I guess if urban students are interested in applying to NOSM they can try to gain rural experience by moving to a rural community. In my interview feedback they told me that my application was really good and that to increase my chances I could move to NO (i think she said for 4 years and I would be considered a resident). So urban students do not despair and get in contact with the school to see how long it would take to be considered a NO resident.

 

The other thing is that I believe that NOSM will do an excellent job in training doctors to excel in rural/remote/northern environments. Roles of family physicians are much more comprehensive in rural communities and they must learn to be resourceful in an environment that is short of hospitals/drs/etc. One complaint many drs have is they feel like they are not adequately trained to live and work in rural environments. Well if NOSM teaches doctors how to excel in these environments and if medical students have an opportunity to live at least during their undergrad MD and residency training they will also learn to appreciate rural living. I mean I learned how to appreciate urban living in a few years, so why can not the opposite be true? If this is all true then is it not possible that a urban student might just happen to love working and living in NO?

 

So really I am not too sure if it is fair or not to discriminate against urban kids or for nicer words that get less people worked up you could say favor kids from rural backgrounds. HOWEVER, i will say (like many interviewees discussed with me this year) it is not necessary to interview 400 people for 56 spots. This is NOSM's third year now and they should take that into consideration - no more excuses about how we do not know what to expect. NOSM has a good idea now. Last year many people said that too many oops were being interviewed for very few spots. This year I heard from Northern Ontario students saying that even they felt that 400 was unecessary. In the past two years NOSM has never even the top 86 students. That means over 300 rejections post interview. We know that pre interview those ranked from 300-400 even with one of the best interviews are probably struggling and most likely not getting in. So why bother? Especially when I have been told that there is not much seperation in the interview. Interviews cost money, just on NOSM i have spent close to 4000 dollars now.

Thank you to NOSM students as always, so informative and very welcoming during the interview. You guys should be credited.

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dialntin,

True... some might find the rural med experience "lacking", but I know many who seek out this kind of opportunity. When you're a rural GP on call for the ER, you manage EVERYTHING - pediatric seizures, acute MIs, major traumas, assaults, obstetrics, sepsis... these are all things I saw when on my rural family med rotation. You are the first one to lay eyes on these patients and stabilize them before sending them to the tertiary centre.

 

Some people love that sort of responsibility and experience (compared to being a GP in the city, who would never see that sort of thing without doing an extra year of ER training). In fact, one of my classmates (grew up in Edmonton) is currently tied to the city by her husband's job, but can't wait to move to a rural setting. 2 years after finishing her residency, she feels like her skills are growing "rusty" practicing in her downtown clinic.

 

Lifestyle means a lot, and not everyone is drawn to the bright lights of the big city when they're first exposed. I asked some of my rural preceptors if it didn't bother them to not have a CT-scanner or cath lab and to only have surgeons and radiologists visit once/week. They simply told me that it's a different kind of medicine - and the kind the prefer. They were good doctors (some of the best I've worked with)... in no way second rate.

 

Also, as mentioned... many FM grads do feel inadequately prepared to work in a remote setting. A lot of people I know have done rural locums as a "sink or swim" sort of thing - If they can handle that, they can handle anything. Rural locums are also very financially lucrative for a new family med grad before they settle down in practice and start paying their office overhead

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Either way that you look at it it's discrimination. I personally don't care about the odds or what studies say, if any big city university did the exact same thing, nobody would have it. Wouldn't it be odd if for example UofT only allowed applicants from the "city" because they're more likely to stay in the city? sounds silly right? yet NOSM is doing the exact same thing

 

The goal of med school is to train good doctors and I'm sticking with that argument. And I totally agree with the poster who brought up the issue of money, believe me money works wonders.

 

Qualified people shouldn't be disadvantaged just because of where they live. NOSM is playing a game of politics speculating "well if so and so did this or lives here than they're more likely to this". I'd rather drives hundreds of miles to seek a "city" doctor than go to a underqualified doctor in a rural community, with mediocre undergraduate marks, who happened to beat out other highly qualified "city" applicants because of where they grew up. Gimme a break! the more I think about it the more i realize how ridiculous it really is

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Wouldn't it be odd if for example UofT only allowed applicants from the "city" because they're more likely to stay in the city?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example Ottawa had a ladder of GPA cut-offs depending on whether the applicant was Franco-Ontarien, from the Outaouais region, from an underserviced area, etc, etc, etc?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example UWO was more flexible on MCAT cut-offs for residents of SW Ontario than for other applicants?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example U Manitoba reserved 90% of the seats in the class for residents of Manitoba?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example U Calgary gave preference to Albertan applicants?

 

;)

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Wouldn't it be odd if for example Ottawa had a ladder of GPA cut-offs depending on whether the applicant was Franco-Ontarien, from the Outaouais region, from an underserviced area, etc, etc, etc?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example UWO was more flexible on MCAT cut-offs for residents of SW Ontario than for other applicants?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example U Manitoba reserved 90% of the seats in the class for residents of Manitoba?

 

Wouldn't it be odd if for example U Calgary gave preference to Albertan applicants?

 

;)

i was going to mention other schools guidelines as well but seeing that this THREAD IS ABOUT NOSM I decided not to

but thanks for saving me some time and posting it yourself

;)

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another point I'd like to make, your comparison is weak

 

other schools do not put as much weight on those guildelines as NOSM does

 

take for example UWO's lower MCAT cutoffs for southern ontario residents. It only differs by one point and that's only one aspect of he entire selection process.

Second, people have control over their MCAT scores, whereas people do not have control over where they grew up! heck give me a time machine and i'll try to make my way to timmins...

 

Third, UWO takes so many non-sourthern ontario residents, whereas NOSM doesn't (it's all relative), the same point can be made for University of ottawa

 

I think you have taken my argument too literally, yes most schools do have restrictions but they're not as stringent as NOSM's.

 

I have yet to hear anyone complain about UWO's lower mcat requirements for southern ontario residents, yet i've heard tons of complaints about NOSM's ridiculous criterion.

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Needless to say, I feel that all medical schools discriminate one way or another (direct or indirect). I am awarded extra points cause I was able to have an experience that urban kids could not. Is this fair? *sigh* Like I said I just do not know. I guess if urban students are interested in applying to NOSM they can try to gain rural experience by moving to a rural community.

 

 

I thought this was a very good point and I'd like to present a contrasting example to explain why. A huge part of getting in to medical school is volunteer experiences and all those impressive things most applicants have on their resume. These experiences are a HUGE priviledge that not everyone can afford. To volunteer abroad, we have to take time out of our summers that would would normally spend making money to pay for school (or possibly time off school, losing scholarship money). A lot of the organizations that organize this type of experience are student based in schools with high income students, and these organizations often do not exist in schools that serve more rural, northern students who are often in lower income brackets. It would be extremely difficult for these students to attend a more prestigious school with more volunteer opportunities or could quit their jobs during the summer and the school year to devote more time to the sorts of things that medschools want to see on a resume. This would help them gain the experiences that conventional medschools see as valuable, but could be impossible given their circumstances.

 

 

I was able to have an experience that urban kids could not. Is this fair?

 

No, maybe it's not fair, but all schools discriminate against some populations, whether they are those in a low income bracket/in locations with few opportunities or those who don't have the priviledge of living in a rural, remote, or northern community. They do this because they are trying to find people with the skills to become the kind of doctor the school is trying to produce. Well, NOSM is trying to produce doctors for the north. It can be a hard, cruel, depressing place to live if you don't know how to find the beauty in it. The best way to learn how to do that is to live there. Get over it. This is the only school in Canada that recognizes that there is potential in a completely overlooked population that is routinely cheated out of higher education by limitations in finances or opportunities.

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i was going to mention other schools guidelines as well but seeing that this THREAD IS ABOUT NOSM I decided not to

but thanks for saving me some time and posting it yourself

;)

 

So why did you bring U Toronto into the discussion?

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It is true that NOSM does give extra points to applicants from Northern/Rural areas. However, this is part of their mandate from the government. The whole reason the school was funded and created was to fill a need within Northern Ontario and Canada in general. Rural areas across the country are in dire need of physicians. I have lived in Sudbury all my life and there are many friends of mine who do not have a family physician. Research has proven that creating bonds between a physician and a community increases their likelihood of them staying in that community. Recruiting med students from rural areas is a way they are attempting to get a step-up on this "community-bonding" (my phrase..rough i know.) This is in much the same way other schools use high MCAT scores to select students. The MCAT is not a guarantee that someone will be a good doctor and can handle the material, however it increases the likelihood of selecting students who can.

Many of the comments here are hurtful and disrespectful in my opinion to the community and people of Northern Ontario who have put their energy and in many cases, their money behind NOSM. To imply that the students are less than any other school is sour grapes. Its true that the majority of the people at the school are from rural/Northern roots, but the majority of people who apply to medical school are higher-achievers than the average anyways.

If I saw someone who received an interview at NOSM and was accepted and attended the school and had criticisms, it would carry a lot more weight then someone who either a) didn't apply, B) applied and didn't get an interview. If I am not selected to attend the school I will be disappointed but I won't turn to anger or rationalization, I'll just work harder and reapply next year. All schools set their own criteria in order to find students that work for them, and their goals. This is not unfair or discriminatory, it's good sense. I seriously doubt that in all honesty there are many people out there who are from Toronto or a very large city and who have NEVER lived in the north or a rural community and who have NO connections to rural/northern communities, who if selected to attend NOSM would not leave after 4 years. To some, being in a particular med school (NOSM) is a means to an end, to others, this is the end, the goal. They intend to stay in the north.

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I completely agree with you Northern Dude. NOSM was created to address the physician shortage in northern/rural Ontario and it seems that is achieved by admitting a proportion of students with a northern/rural background. This does not mean these students are any less qualified than any other applicant! People are ignorant to the unique health needs of the north, and the type of person it takes to practice there. People also need to get over the fact that NOSM accepts different types of students. Just because it is different, does not make it wrong, or discriminatory. It was created to address a need. Come to Northern Ontario and try to find a family doc or wait 12 hours in the ER then tell me that NOSM's mandate is wrong.

 

Also, since when are northern/rural physicians less intelligent or less educated than those practicing in urban settings?? This notion (which has been implied throughout this thread) is ridiculous!!!! There are plenty of gifted physicians working in northern/rural Ontario, as well as plenty of perspective northern/rural students who will become intelligent, outstanding doctors serving their community. They will not receive less of an education studying at NOSM, nor will they be lesser doctors for practicing in the north. Northern/rural physicians are just as likely to be involved in research as well, perhaps focusing on the needs of their community though.

 

People need to open their minds to the evidence behind this school's mandate, and not be so quick to judge it as discriminatory because they are bitter.

:confused:

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rural/northern students are underrepresented at all the other medical schools combined. rural/northern students are overrepresented at NOSM.

 

i fail to see the problem.

 

i find it hilarious the sense of entitlement some brats have about getting into medical school and how the system is stacked against them. try thinking about how on average the opportunities to put together a great medical school application are different in rural vs. urban areas.

 

also the insinuation that NOSM students are somehow second-rate because we only got in due to geographic factors is insulting and you should be ashamed of yourself. many of us got into multiple other medical schools and chose to come to NOSM. i know a lot of great people from cities and most of my friends are from big cities, but one of the things i like most about NOSM is we don't have the spoiled rich urbanite medical student type which seems to exist in varying proportions almost everywhere else. we've got great down-to-earth students from all walks of life who don't have to hide in an ivory tower and who care about patients more than themselves. makes me so glad i chose this school.

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Some interesting points guys!

 

I would like to add. I do NOT believe that Drs from NOSM will be inferior in any way to other medical schools because I trust the training. I have seen the school and it is amazing.

 

I would like to add that the comment made by some (urban students can not cut it in rural communties) is not necessarily true. I grew up in a small town and majority of he health professionals are from urban areas. They love it and have adjusted.

 

As far as Dr. shortage problems. Do what dentistry did - flood the system. Infact, that is in my opinion, a very effective way to have people entering rural practice. Even though it is indirectly forced from competition in urban areas. (obviously opening a medical school like NOSM helps tremendously).

 

For those that think that it is UNFAIR to favor rural applicants, do you also believe that it is unfair to favor certain ethic groups like Francophones? For those who think it is not unfair to favor certain ethic groups would it be okay to open medical schools in Canada that are trying to meet the needs of minority groups like Chinese/EIndian, by favoring students from these backgrounds?

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I am glad that some of you found my post "entertaining" and to those of you who complain about it being sour grapes - I did not post it with intent to put down any of the NOSM students, future grads etc. I am sure that through training and owing to the system of checks/exams the school will produce the level of the graduate that will be adequate for the needs of the rural Ontario, as intended.

Nevertheless, the admission policy is one of the most discriminatory. All comparisons failed to bring up the point that your place of birth/prolonged residency during adolescence are the circumstances beyond your control. However, knowing French in a bilingual country, scoring highly on MCATs and having high GPA are absolutely fair game in the admission process. So is the motivation, and rationale to go to a particular school, including a school that tries to produce rural physicians.

My only problem is that that objective can be achieved by LESS discriminatory and boneheaded policies than there are in place at NOSM. Now think about it. If, as some of you pointed out, there are redeeming features in practicing rural medicine - why should that chance be closed to the city folks?

Let me also respond to the statements questioning the validity of assertion than NOSM relaxes its academic standards. Just for your record, a letter, I was privileged to read last year from NOSM goes something like this"...due to a high number of applicants (insert the usual text)...however we give preference to rural applicants , this rejection is in no way a reflection on your strength as an applicant, in fact, the average GPA for the candidate receiving an interview is 3.6."

 

I am reciting it off of my memory, but I could post the exact text if someone is really keen to see it.

It was also highhandedly remarked that among 2600 candidates they will be able to select EXCELLENT students. May be so, but Queens does that before rejecting 2100 of them pre-interview based on their NON-ACADEMIC characteristics.

 

Good luck to all of you, and to rephrase a famous saying - don't hate the applicant hate the admissions guidelines.

 

PS: I live in TO for 6 years, still without a family doc, could definitely use one for all the taxes that I ve paid before undergrad.

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rural/northern students are underrepresented at all the other medical schools combined. rural/northern students are overrepresented at NOSM.

 

i fail to see the problem.

 

i find it hilarious the sense of entitlement some brats have about getting into medical school and how the system is stacked against them. try thinking about how on average the opportunities to put together a great medical school application are different in rural vs. urban areas.

 

also the insinuation that NOSM students are somehow second-rate because we only got in due to geographic factors is insulting and you should be ashamed of yourself. many of us got into multiple other medical schools and chose to come to NOSM. i know a lot of great people from cities and most of my friends are from big cities, but one of the things i like most about NOSM is we don't have the spoiled rich urbanite medical student type which seems to exist in varying proportions almost everywhere else. we've got great down-to-earth students from all walks of life who don't have to hide in an ivory tower and who care about patients more than themselves. makes me so glad i chose this school.

 

"NOSM students are somehow second-rate because we only got in due to geographic factors is insulting and you should be ashamed of yourself."

 

nobody posted such a thing, you just assumed that's what people were saying

 

"but one of the things i like most about NOSM is we don't have the spoiled rich urbanite medical student type which seems to exist in varying proportions almost everywhere else."

 

way to be hypocritical, you go on about how every assumes NOSM students are underachievers and how that is wrong, yet here you go ranting on about rich uranite medical student types...

 

gimme a break

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Some interesting points guys!

 

I would like to add. I do NOT believe that Drs from NOSM will be inferior in any way to other medical schools because I trust the training. I have seen the school and it is amazing.

 

I would like to add that the comment made by some (urban students can not cut it in rural communties) is not necessarily true. I grew up in a small town and majority of he health professionals are from urban areas. They love it and have adjusted.

 

As far as Dr. shortage problems. Do what dentistry did - flood the system. Infact, that is in my opinion, a very effective way to have people entering rural practice. Even though it is indirectly forced from competition in urban areas. (obviously opening a medical school like NOSM helps tremendously).

 

For those that think that it is UNFAIR to favor rural applicants, do you also believe that it is unfair to favor certain ethic groups like Francophones? For those who think it is not unfair to favor certain ethic groups would it be okay to open medical schools in Canada that are trying to meet the needs of minority groups like Chinese/EIndian, by favoring students from these backgrounds?

 

"For those that think that it is UNFAIR to favor rural applicants, do you also believe that it is unfair to favor certain ethic groups like Francophones? For those who think it is not unfair to favor certain ethic groups would it be okay to open medical schools in Canada that are trying to meet the needs of minority groups like Chinese/EIndian, by favoring students from these backgrounds? "

 

yes, but as i mentioned before in a previous point, we're talking about NOSM and by far it's NOSM that has the most stringent requirements. If other schools in canada opened up trying the meet the needs of minority groups, then I'd be just as critical towards them than I am with NOSM.

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I completely agree with you Northern Dude. NOSM was created to address the physician shortage in northern/rural Ontario and it seems that is achieved by admitting a proportion of students with a northern/rural background. This does not mean these students are any less qualified than any other applicant! People are ignorant to the unique health needs of the north, and the type of person it takes to practice there. People also need to get over the fact that NOSM accepts different types of students. Just because it is different, does not make it wrong, or discriminatory. It was created to address a need. Come to Northern Ontario and try to find a family doc or wait 12 hours in the ER then tell me that NOSM's mandate is wrong.

 

Also, since when are northern/rural physicians less intelligent or less educated than those practicing in urban settings?? This notion (which has been implied throughout this thread) is ridiculous!!!! There are plenty of gifted physicians working in northern/rural Ontario, as well as plenty of perspective northern/rural students who will become intelligent, outstanding doctors serving their community. They will not receive less of an education studying at NOSM, nor will they be lesser doctors for practicing in the north. Northern/rural physicians are just as likely to be involved in research as well, perhaps focusing on the needs of their community though.

 

People need to open their minds to the evidence behind this school's mandate, and not be so quick to judge it as discriminatory because they are bitter.

:confused:

 

"Also, since when are northern/rural physicians less intelligent or less educated than those practicing in urban settings?? "

 

again, nobody mentioned that rural physicians are less intelligent...

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