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This Is What We Do: Academic Medicine Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented time in our history.  

Throughout the past two years, health care workers, educators, and researchers have moved quickly to address the most significant public health crisis in a century — developing therapeutics and treatments, providing patient care in the midst of supply shortages and staff members often stressed beyond capacity, and moving into a remote environment for learning.

In our documentary, Bon Ku, MD, the Marta and Robert Adelson Professor in Medicine and Design at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, speaks with doctors, educators, students, and others across the academic medicine community about how they learned, innovated, and supported each other and their communities during the pandemic. From virtual learning to the speed of getting a vaccine, academic medicine has risen to every challenge because as medical professionals, this is what we do.

This is the story of the pandemic through the eyes of academic medicine.  


Full documentary

Featuring (in order of appearance): 

Bon Ku, MD
Marta and Robert Adelson Professor in Medicine and Design, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Dennis Murphy
IU Health

Jamilah Dula-Crawford
University of California, San Francisco

Earic Bonner, MD
Vidant Health

Timothy Delitt, MD
UW Medicine

Karen Rheuban, MD
UVA Health

William Bornstein, MD, PhD
Emory Healthcare

Janis M. Orlowski, MD, MACP
Chief Health Care Officer, AAMC


Alison J. Whelan, MD
Chief Academic Officer, AAMC

Taiwo Alonge, MD, MPH
Yale University School of Medicine

Christle Nwora, MD
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Ross McKinney Jr., MD
Chief Scientific Officer, AAMC

Karey Sutton, PhD
Director of Health Equity Research Workforce, AAMC
Director of Research, AAMC Center for Health Justice

Philip Alberti, PhD
Founding Director, AAMC Center for Health Justice

David J. Skorton, MD
President and CEO, AAMC

More Stories From the COVID-19 Pandemic

Organizations from across academic medicine shared their COVID-19 experience with us. Discover how academic institutions across the United States and Canada responded to the pandemic and learn how to join our virtual community to share your institution’s story below.

The first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Nova Scotia on December 15, 2020.

How Dalhousie Has Played a Key Role in Nova Scotia's Vaccination Efforts

The Life Sciences Research Institute at Dalhousie University became one of Nova Scotia’s 10 cold storage sites as vaccines began rolling out across Canada.

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ECU delivers health care to rural and underserved communities

During the pandemic, East Carolina University took its care to places where it was hard for local doctors and other health care professionals to get to patients. (02:09)

Logo for the Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education

Creative Expressions During Times of Uncertainty

The AAMC collected stories, reflections, and poetry, both oral and written, from health care professionals about their experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for racial justice.

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Two nurses looking at a screen

Voices of COVID

Throughout the pandemic, Stanford Medicine reported on how members of the Stanford community were responding to COVID-19, whether it was through innovation in processes, caring for patients’ families, or keeping workers protected when supplies were depleted.

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A nurse injecting vaccine into a patient's arm

A Shot in the Arm

The University of Houston partnered with Walgreens to ensure its frontline workers and most vulnerable populations received vaccines. The University of Houston partnered with Walgreens to ensure its frontline workers and most vulnerable populations received vaccines.

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COVID-19 Vaccination: Day One at UI Health Care

University of Iowa (UI) Health Care shows the first day it began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to its employees. (02:44)

Founding Dean of Western Michigan University, Dr. Hal B. Jenson, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from M2 Koby Buth during vaccination clinic at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center.

WMed Employees and Students Log More Than 1,800 Hours Volunteering at Kalamazoo County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

At the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, faculty, students, and staff from Western Michigan University were key in helping to vaccinate the community.

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Discover More Stories 

To watch more videos from the COVID-19 pandemic, follow us on YouTube.

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 Interested in Sharing your Story?

Join our virtual community to share your institution’s COVID-19 experience. Registration required.

Join the Community