Objective: A tracking study of the undergraduate medical students and postgraduate residents who participated in the Northwestern Ontario Medical Programme (NOMP) during its first 25 years (1972-1997) was conducted to search for factors related to physician recruitment to Northwestern Ontario.
Methods: Annual editions of the Canadian Medical Directory were used to determine how many participants returned to practise in Northwestern Ontario.
Results: A total of 1982 (84.9%) of the 2335 NOMP participants were located using the Canadian Medical Directory. Of those located, 217 (10.9%) had established practice in Northwestern Ontario. Significantly higher recruitment rates (p < 0.001) were found for postgraduate residents (88/410 [21.5%]) than for undergraduates (95/1445 [6.6%]). Undergraduates who returned for multiple placements were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to practise in Northwestern Ontario. Furthermore, significant differences in recruitment rates (p < 0.001) were found among the 5 Ontario medical schools. A "snapshot" of 1999 identified that undergraduate medical students and postgraduate residents who undertook a NOMP placement were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to practise in Northwestern Ontario (odds ratio 7.11, 95% confidence interval 5.11-9.90) than those graduating from Ontario universities who did not experience a NOMP placement.
Conclusions: Analysis of 25 years of student tracking data confirms that NOMP placements were significantly associated with physician recruitment to Northwestern Ontario. Recruitment rates from participation in NOMP were higher for postgraduate residents, undergraduate medical students who returned for multiple placements, and for undergraduate medical students from certain Ontario universities.