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The Role of Medical Student Government in Responding to COVID-19.


The COVID-19 outbreak has sown clinical and administrative chaos at academic health centers throughout the country. As COVID-19-related burdens on the health care system and medical schools piled up, questions from medical students far outweighed the capacity of medical school administrators to respond in an adequate or timely manner, leaving students feeling confused and without clear guidance. In this article, incoming and outgoing executive leaders of the University of Michigan Medical School Student Council and medical school deans outline the specific ways they were able to bridge the gap between medical students and administrators in a time of crisis. To illustrate the value of student government during uncertain times, the authors identify the most pressing problems faced by students at each phase of the curriculum-preclerkship, clerkship, and postclerkship-and explain how Student Council leadership partnered with administrators to find creative solutions to these problems and provide guidance to learners. They end by reflecting on the role of student government more broadly, identifying 3 guiding principles of student leadership and how these principles enable effective student representation.

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