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March 2020


I hope you’ve experienced safety, health, and calm throughout the tumultuous times we are seeing. Many questions are posed by our current situation, namely what the reorganization of the current curriculum for institutions nationwide means for our students. Most institutions are creating some form of distance learning for their pre-clerkship students, however the clerkship students are experiencing the most shake-ups, with some having classes cancelled, some moving to online clerkships, and some still returning to work. An email has been sent out by the OSR that summarizes what schools are taking what measures if you are interested or need information.

Those that are applying this year are sure to have questions. Depending on the specialty, many professional societies have already released guidance specifying to their programs the uncertain times we are in and what that means for the applicants in that field. This includes changes to interviewing, away rotations, letters of recommendation, and more depending on the specialty of interest. I encourage you to read what these societies have to say, but know that they are working on systems to make them as fair as possible given the circumstances.

 I am sure I will not be the first to inform you about the impending changes made to Step 1 scoring. With the news many reactions, some positive and some negative, were felt and heard by all stakeholders and across all of medical education. Many legitimate questions have yet to be answered including if Step 2 will be as emphasized as Step 1 has been, if there will be an actionable emphasis on holistic residency applications, and what this means for curriculum overall given a now different target for pre-clerkship education. Unfortunately, with the PDC cancelled, I am unable to interact with you in person and gauge our concerns from the source, however never forget you can reach out to me at any time with feedback.

Other areas continuing to see work is the First Generation Toolkit work that has been occurring through the UME Section Steering Committee for over a year now. We had great success with submissions with the toolkit being accepted at every GEA regional meeting before their unfortunate cancellation as well. Nevertheless the original goal of posting the toolkit online is moving forward in due time. In addition we have been working towards communicating the student concerns regarding residency interview offers being so tightly timegated with the relevant parties. As with many things it is a slow moving process, but we are doing our absolute best.

The coming months are certainly going to be a trial for the medical community at large. Don’t forget to love one another.
 

Jacob Altholz
OSR National Delegate for Medical Education
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine
Jacob.altholz@usuhs.edu

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