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Important Guidance for Medical Students on Clinical Rotations During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

March 17, 2020

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AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Chief Academic Officer John E. Prescott, MD, issued the following statement on new guidelines for medical schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

"The AAMC has issued new guidance for medical student clinical rotations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The AAMC strongly supports medical schools pausing all student clinical rotations, effective immediately, until at least March 31. First and foremost, this temporary suspension will allow medical schools a window of opportunity to develop and implement appropriate programs to fully educate all their students for their return to clinical rotations with (a) up-to-date information on COVID-19; and (b) appropriate steps in place to ensure their own and their patients’ safety. This pause will allow the medical education community, including learners, to develop appropriate educational strategies and alternative clinical experiences to best assure safe, meaningful clinical learning for students. It will also help with current concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment.

Given the increasing likelihood of community spread very widely, we believe a unified response across institutions on this issue is appropriate. 

As the guidance document states, we are committed to working with medical schools to minimize negative impacts on students and support schools in making the necessary curricular adjustments. We will continue to update these guidelines as the situation evolves.

We must all work together to rise to the challenge of this unprecedented pandemic. Thank you in advance for continuing to share your solutions, support your students, and care for your community."

The AAMC issued additional guidance on Monday, March 23, on voluntary participation of medical students in direct patient care activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The AAMC is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 155 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.

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