When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global health emergency, Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (COMs) debated the role of medical students during this developing pandemic. Initially, the discussion included whether medical students were essential personnel contributing to meaningful patient care. Many questions arose regarding how COVID-19 would affect medical education and if the changes would be temporary or continue for a significant period of time. Due to the lack of availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a decreased focus on clinical education within many healthcare settings, in March the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) declared that medical students were not essential personnel and recommended that COMs take a 'pause' and remove students from the clinical environment. This 'pause' would allow COMs time to assess where medical education could continue, to define the critical pieces of clinical education that required a clinical environment and to address how medical students could contribute during the pandemic. The AACOM Clinical Educators group began to meet on a weekly basis during this time so that Clinical Deans from Osteopathic medical schools across the country could collaborate, share ideas, discuss current challenges, and co-create a system to deliver medical education realizing the limitations of in-person clinical training.
COVID-19, curriculum assessment, curriculum planning, in-person rotations, medical education, ward rotations
Heiles K, Sheridan V, Hendriksz T, Giusti R, Cemet TC. When the Clinical Environment Is Closed to Students: The Harsh Reality of COVID-19 and Implications for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. Cureus. 2020; 12(12). doi: 10.7759/cureus.12044.