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VSLO® Program Updates

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We are committed to providing regular VSLO program updates through the VSLO listserv, email and on this page. Please visit this page regularly and if you have any questions, email the VSLO team at: visitingstudents@aamc.org.

Last Updated February 18, 2021


Message from The VSLO Team


Dear VSLO Colleagues,

As we approach the new application season and adapt to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we are pleased to share our VSLO COVID-19 Resources page. We hope that the information we have compiled here will be helpful to you as you plan for the upcoming visiting student season.

The Coalition for Physician Accountability, with a membership spanning the academic medicine community – including the AAMC, released updated recommendations on January 25. We encourage you to review the recommendations carefully (see link to guidance and additional information below) and take them into consideration as you develop your own policies and guidelines. As with the Coalition’s previous guidance, these recommendations are intended to supplement, but not supersede, the independent judgment of a medical school, sponsoring institution or residency program regarding the preparation of learners. A common approach to the upcoming visiting student season will foster a clear and equitable environment for students. The Coalition plans to provide an update on the intended August 1 start date by April 15.
Finally, as we look ahead to the coming weeks, we would like to remind you that we will be sending you an institutional user survey. Your feedback and insight are extremely valuable to us and we hope you will participate! As we navigate another visiting student season uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to continuing to partner together to make it a successful one.

Thank you and stay safe,

The VSLO Team

VSLO Technical Guidance

Host Institutions

Updating Your Information

Please ensure that any changes to your institutional policies are accurately reflected in the VSLO application service. We recommend that you update the following as needed:

  • Your institution information
  • Your institution’s upcoming important dates
  • Elective information

Preparing Your Upcoming Elective Catalogs

As you review your elective offerings, please indicate the instruction type for each opportunity. Students can filter electives by virtual, in-person, and hybrid opportunities as they commence their elective searches.

Home Institutions

Sharing Your Away Rotation Guidance with Your Students

We know that many institutions are reflecting on the recent Coalition guidelines and are having internal institutional discussions about the upcoming visiting student season. As you adjust your institutional policies, we encourage you to clarify policies for your own students to set their expectations for away rotations this season based on the Coalition’s recommendations.

Updating AAMC Profile for Students

Please note that after inviting your students to access the application service, the email address associated with students’ AAMC profile will be updated in the application service. For institutions with policies requiring students to use an institution-hosted (.edu) email address rather than a personal email address, students will need to ensure that they have supplied the appropriate email address in their AAMC profile.

VSLO Program Updates

Coalition Recommendations for the Visiting Student 2021-2022 Application Season

On January 25, the Coalition for Physician Accountability released updated recommendations on medical student away rotations in the 2021-22 academic year. Like the Coalition’s previous guidance, these new recommendations are intended to add to, but not supersede, the independent judgment of a medical school, sponsoring institution or residency program regarding the immediate needs of its patients and preparation of its learners. 

However, as students rely upon predictable, common practices across schools and programs as they prepare to transition to residency, a shared approach to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will greatly reduce unnecessary confusion, stress, and inequity among students, while promoting a more successful 2021-22 residency selection process for all.

Additionally, the working group will continue to monitor the available information and plans to provide an update to the community no later than April 15, 2021, either confirming that August 1 remains an acceptable start date, or creating a new start date.

Here is the section of the new guidance that directly impacts visiting student rotations: 

The working group recommends that for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year (ending June 30, 2021), away rotations be discouraged, except under the following circumstances:

  • Learners who have a specialty interest and do not have access to a clinical experience with a residency program in that specialty in their school’s system.
  • Learners for whom an away rotation is required for graduation or accreditation requirements.

The guidance further recommends for the 2021-22 academic yearaway rotations resume no earlier than August 1, 2021, with the following guidance:

  • After April 15, learners may begin applying for and scheduling in-person away rotations with a start date of August 1, 2021, or later.
  • Programs hosting learners for away rotations are encouraged to adhere to May 1 as the date to begin processing away rotation applications that begin on or after August 1.
  • Given the compressed timeline paired with an inadequate quantity of electives available for completion, medical schools are encouraged to limit approved away rotations in any specialty to one per learner, except in cases where additional rotations are needed to complete graduation or accreditation requirements. Residency programs are encouraged to take into consideration if a learner exceeded the one away rotation limit during the residency selection process.

Programs may continue to offer virtual electives to provide opportunities for learners to explore the specialty and program.

AAMC Resources for Medical Educators

Current Guidance and Recommendations

Coalition for Physician Accountability  
Updated Recommendations on Away Rotations for Medical Education Institutions of LCME®- Accredited, U.S. Osteopathic, and Non-U.S. Medical School Applicants

A Catalyst for Change: Promoting Health Equity in Global Medical Education in the Post COVID-19 Era
What the elimination of a major medical licensing exam — Step 2 CS — means for students and schools

Recruitment Cycle: Issues for Programs Considering Diversity and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Work to Relaunch USMLE Step 2 CS Discontinued

Additional Resources and Articles of Interest
Mapping the New Politics of Care: Vaccine Allocation Phase 1a
Medical Students’ Reflections on the Recent Changes to the USMLE Step Exams
Clinician Well-Being Resources During COVID-19

Upcoming Events
Consortium of Universities for Global Health Virtual Conference: Addressing Critical Gaps in Global Health and Development

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