Hard Rock Medical is a great reason to support TVO

The clever television series, Hard Rock Medical, debuted last Sunday on Ontario’s own TVO network and what a wonderful thing it is to see our own backyard and institutions featured in a quality TV series.

As a story in last week’s paper said, Hard Rock Medical is based on the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) whose local tangible success we are able to see as several young people from Manitoulin Island have already completed their medical training there, or are in the process of doing so and at least one of them is established in family medicine practice in his home community.

NOSM came about with dual campuses at Laurentian University in Sudbury and at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University after many years of lobbying for an institution that would primarily train Northern medical students who would be more likely to remain in the North to practice and help to address the ongoing concern about lack of medical services in Northern Ontario.

It’s exciting to watch the Sunday evening series (they’ll air at 8 pm each week and there are a dozen more to come) demonstrating not only the Hard Rock Medical’s take on NOSM’s unique medical educational model, but to see landmarks (the front of downtown Sudbury’s Coulson Hotel featured prominently in a scene last Sunday) with which we are familiar, and even a local face or two as Island actor John Hawke had a small role in the first episode.

As the series develops and repeats and as more and more people see it, it should also serve to give not only young people but also others with various life experiences the notion of considering a career in medicine. That is one of the messages of the series: the medical students at Hard Rock Medical come from a wide variety of social, educational and prior career backgrounds.

The TVO organization is also cleverly taking the opportunity to fundraise for the network as, following the conclusion of the first episode, members of the cast showed up in a short commercial that supports the work of TVO, of which Hard Rock Medical is a unique regional example, and encouraged viewers to support TVO by making a donation either by phoning 1-800-463-6886 or online via the website www.tvo.org.

This is a sound marketing idea, no doubt aimed primarily at a Northern audience, because this is the first time in recent memory that Ontario’s own television network has itself undertaken a dramatic series for adults and they have chosen both a Northern theme and a Northern setting.

We hope they are successful in marrying this fundraising initiative to the series, using its own actors to make the pitch and ask for support.

TVO remains an important institution and, with more efforts like this one, can only become more so.

TVO relies on community support. It is, similar to the MS Chi-Cheemaun, not fully funded by the Ontario government, and people who feel such an educational network is important for Ontarians are expected to help keep it on the air.

Hard Rock Medical is a great example of just why TVO should remain viable and why we should, as individuals and businesses, directly support it financially as much as we are able.