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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CORD COVID-19 Task Force Report on the Pandemic Impact on Undergraduate Medical Education

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Learning Objectives: We sought to describe the effects of COVID-19 on UME within EM.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected multiple aspects of Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) beyond infection and illness. Many universities, medical schools, and hospitals instituted policy changes around educational gatherings and clinical participation. State-issued travel restrictions impacted both rotations and altered the Match process.

Objectives: We sought to describe the effects of COVID-19 on UME within EM.

Methods: CORD chartered a COVID-19 Task Force comprised 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 UME survey was distributed to members of CORD during the 2021 Academic Assembly. Using SPSS v26, a descriptive analysis was performed.

Results: Sixty-three individuals responded to the UME survey, with 27 (42.9%) program directors (PDs), 19 (30.2%) assistant/associate PDs, 5 (7.9%) core faculty, 5 (7.9%) clerkship directors, 4 (6.3%) residents/fellows and 3 others (vice chair of education, educational researcher, unknown). Most respondents were white (84.1%) and approximately half identified as women (50.8%). Table 1 provides means and standard deviations for statements displayed from most to least important.

Conclusions: The positive financial impact on medical students was described as the greatest benefit of the pandemic. Virtual technology was varied in its impact: positive for conferences and interviewing but negative as a surrogate for clinical rotations or the ability for students to evaluate residency program culture. The top challenge facing UME was the removal of students from clinical rotations. This may impact residency programs, requiring them to remediate those skills. A limitation of this geographically broad cohort was the number of respondents.

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