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Medical Management of COVID-19

Last Updated: April 30, 2020


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Medicine’s Medical Management of COVID-19 Course was originally created to prepare students to re-enter the clinical setting knowledgeable about COVID and equipped with clinical skills to deliver care in an evolving health care system. The UNC-CH School of Medicine (SOM) has partnered with NC Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) to create a flexible program for an interprofessional audience, that includes current healthcare professionals as well as health professional students. Educators can choose to use all or parts of the topics and activities. 
The entire course can be delivered virtually and includes various virtual modalities including recorded speakers, small group activities, readings, modules, and reflective writing. In the original design, participants attended synchronous lectures 1-2 times per week and virtual small group sessions. Faculty can review these taped recordings and engage students in discussion questions aimed to elicit thinking about their roles in their specific profession and also how teamwork through interprofessional practice can enhance health. This course content was developed in late March 2020. Given the rapid pace of discovery around COVID-19, it is imperative to review the latest recommendations from leading organizations (CDC, NIH, etc.) and update content as indicated and to best suit the needs of one’s learners. 

In the basic science component, students will learn about the virology, pathogenesis and impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the host immune response. The basic science section provides foundational knowledge about the clinical manifestations, progression of the illness, laboratory and image findings of COVID-19 as well as vaccine development and treatment clinical trials. Participants will gain a robust understanding of current recommendations for triage, evaluation, outpatient, inpatient and ICU management and treatment of COVID-19 infections with attention to special subpopulation management (pregnancy, pediatrics, geriatrics, comorbidities, low resource settings). The course will prompt participants to explore the broader social and economic impact of the virus on various populations. Participants will examine the public health implications of the pandemic and the allocation of resources (PPE, ventilators, healthcare providers, hospital beds), and will explore the various methods of patient encounters during a time of ‘social distancing’ as well as sustained implementation of these strategies. The virtual care components of this elective provide skills in virtual care, triage, and patient education. The COVID-19 course emphasizes personal wellness; participants are encouraged to build a weekly schedule for wellness activities and reflect upon their own wellness goals. 

The final component of the original SOM COVID-19 course included an emphasis on service learning and community engagement. To fulfill this component, the UNC-CH SOM partnered with the UNC Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice to form the Carolina COVID-19 Service Corps (CSSC). Carolina CSSC is an interprofessional service-learning program that increases the capacity of health professions students to address the needs of health systems and communities across NC. As part of the original course, students were asked to complete 2 hours of service per week (8 hours total) through the Carolina CSSC. Elements of the course draw upon work from national partners (including Harvard Medical School and Columbia University Irving Medical Center). Attributions are noted within the course content and associated links.


Sarah Smithson, MD MPH, University of North Carolina School of Medicine (Sarah_Smithson@med.unc.edu)
Johanna Foster, MPA, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Stephen Bogdewic, PhD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine