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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on US Emergency Medicine Education: A Needs Assessment for Academic Emergency Medicine Faculty

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Learning Objective: To characterize the challenges and benefits that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided to academic EM faculty.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unpredicted challenges to EM education. The speed of the pandemic and extraordinary clinical burden prevented a coordinated educational response at all levels, including that of faculty development. While COVID-19 research is prolific and ongoing, EM faculty educational impact is yet to be fully explored.

Objectives: To characterize the challenges and benefits that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided to academic EM faculty.

Methods: CORD chartered a COVID-19 Task Force of 18 selected educators to explore the pandemic’s impact on EM. A Modified Delphi process was used to develop multiple survey instruments. This process included a literature search for validated questions and internal piloting with iterative changes. After IRB approval, the faculty survey was distributed to members of CORD during the 2021 Academic Assembly. Using SPSS v26, a descriptive analysis was performed.

Results: Forty-one individuals responded to the survey concerning faculty. Eighteen (43.9%) respondents were program directors, 14 (34.1%) were assistant/associate program directors, four (9.8%) were core faculty, four (9.8%) were clerkship directors, and one individual (2.4%) was involved with faculty development and research. Most respondents were white (87.8%) and women (61%). Table 1 demonstrates the faculty responses for the benefits and challenges of COVID-19 to education. Table 2 notes the impact on the faculty themselves.

Conclusions: While the educational response to the pandemic was felt by faculty to be positive in the utilization of virtual platforms, faculty felt less engaged and less connected. Personally, faculty reported benefitting from numerous sources of human support, including familial, professional, and public. Despite this support, faculty reported the pandemic left them stressed, distressed, and burned out. A limitation of this geographically broad cohort was the number of respondents.

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