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COVID-19 Elective Highlights Medical Student Contributions in Rapidly Changing Health Care Environment

Photo by: Susan Merrell; After two months of quarantine, medical students go on rounds in the UCSF Intensive Care Unit at Parnassus.

Photo by: Susan Merrell; After two months of quarantine, medical students go on rounds in the UCSF Intensive Care Unit at Parnassus.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary suspension of clinical rotations for many medical students, the School of Medicine developed a COVID-19 Elective to give medical students the opportunity to contribute to health care systems undergoing rapid change and adaptation. More than 126 UCSF medical students participated in 38 projects that spearheaded blood drives, supported patients with limited English proficiency, and examined how COVID disproportionately affects Latinx patients, as part of this elective. The elective was led by faculty and staff in the Clinical Microsystem Clerkship, and is described by student leaders Maria Castro, Lucia Calthorpe, Sophie McAllister, and Christopher Johnson in an Academic Medicine article titled “Lessons from Learners: Adapting Medical Student Education during and Post-COVID-19” (in press) Please see below for a snapshot of additional faculty-mentored student publications to date.

Safety-Net Hospitals as Community Anchors in COVID-19 

Authors: Lucia Calthorpe, MPhil, Eric Isaacs, MD, and Anna Chang, MD
Journal of Patient Experience
Full article

This article highlights the role of medical students participating in the COVID elective in helping care for vulnerable patients at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. 

Stories Highlight Struggles of Patients with Limited English Proficiency

Authors: Natalie K. Kucirek, BA, Nicholas J. Thomas, BA , Joshua S. Norman, BA, Priyanka Athavale, MS, Katrin Jaradeh, BS, Esther Y. Hsiang, MD MBA, and Lev Malevanchik, MD
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Full article

Through experiences with hospital visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline trainees uncovered patient stories highlighting the unique challenges that patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) face in the hospital, particularly their vulnerability to social isolation. A trainee-led videoconferencing initiative facilitating social calls between patients at UCSF and their loved ones proved especially helpful in reducing the disconnection that patients with LEP experience in the hospital. 

The Adoption of Video Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic by VA Home Based Primary Care

Authors: Mike K.W. Cheng, MD, Theresa A. Allison, MD, PhD, Brian McSteen and Chloe Cattle, Daphne T. Lo, MD, MAEd.
Journal of the American Geriatric Society
Full article

This letter to the editor describes the rapid adoption of telehealth services at the San Francisco VA and provides a blueprint for implementing similar changes at other VA health care systems across the country.

Emergency Blood Drives During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A New Model of Collaboration among UCSF Leadership, Medical Students, and a Community Partner

Authors: Anya Greenberg, MBA, Hope Schwartz, AB, Nicholas Hooks, BA, Clifford Lowell, MD, PhD & John Roberts, MD
NEJM Catalyst
Full article

In response to a potential blood shortage triggered by a shelter-in-place order in the San Francisco area, a multidisciplinary team at an academic medical center partnered with a major blood provider to create a safe and sustainable blood drive model during the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of a broad effort to disseminate this model, they describe the process in this case study.

Community Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Disproportionately Affects the Latinx Population During Shelter-in-Place in San Francisco

Authors: Gabriel Chamie, Carina Marquez, Emily Crawford, James Peng, Maya Petersen, Daniel Schwab, Joshua Schwab, Jackie Martinez, Diane Jones, Douglas Black, Monica Gandhi, Andrew D Kerkhoff, Vivek Jain, Francesco Sergi, Jon Jacobo, Susana Rojas, Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Tracy Gallardo-Brown, Ayesha Appa, Charles Chiu, Mary Rodgers, John Hackett, Jr, CLIAhub Consortium, Amy Kistler, Samantha Hao, Jack Kamm, David Dynerman, Joshua Batson, Bryan Greenhouse, Joe DeRisi, Diane V Havlir
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Full article

This study tested close to 3,953 people for COVID-19 during San Francisco’s shelter-in-place mandate and found that risk factors for recent infection were Latinx ethnicity, inability to shelter in place and maintain income, frontline service work, unemployment, and household income less than $50,000/year. 

Patient Perceptions on Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Low-Acuity Surgery During COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Christopher L. Johnson, MA, Hope Schwartz, Anya Greenberg, MBA, Sophia Hernandez, Ogonna N. Nnamani Silva, MD, Laura E. Wong, MD, PhD, Deborah B. Martins, MD, Jeanette M. Broering, PhD, MPH, RN, Sandhya B. Kumar, MD, Tasce Bongiovanni, MD, MPP, Elizabeth C. Wick, MD, and Sanziana A. Roman, MD, FACS
Journal of Surgical Research
Full article

This study characterized patient-reported concerns about undergoing surgical procedures during the pandemic. With a cross-sectional survey to 135 patients who had surgical procedures postponed at the onset of the pandemic, authors discovered barriers and disparities in surgical care access. 

Please note: Additional articles will be published in the next several months by medical students Rachel Yang, Zoe Lyon, Marissa Savoie, Sarah Schear, Pooja Lalchandani and others.