Original Article

Participation in a Longitudinal Seminar Series Increases Medical Student Engagement with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Katherine M. Naeger, MD, Kaelyn C. Cummins, MD, Prathit A. Kulkarni, MD


Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic required a multifaceted response by healthcare professionals. Medical students played only a limited role in the early response, resulting in feelings of disengagement. The authors developed a discussion-based elective course reviewing the COVID-19 response to address this gap in medical student education.

Methods: Preclinical medical students enrolled in this elective participated in weekly virtual interactive seminars led by expert faculty members. Students completed a final survey quantifying their understanding of the overall COVID-19 response, knowledge of its individual facets, and their feelings of personal engagement on a Likert scale from 1 to 5, with 5 representing the most understanding or engagement. The differences in mean scores on “precourse” and “postcourse” surveys were compared.

Results: A total of 65 students enrolled in the elective. Students demonstrated significant improvement in perceived holistic understanding of the response of the medical field to the COVID-19 pandemic (P < 0.001) and in feelings of personal engagement with the pandemic (P < 0.001). In addition, students reported a significantly increased understanding of each facet of the pandemic response covered in the course (8 questions; all P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Preclinical medical student participation in a discussion-based seminar course reviewing the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased feelings of engagement with and understanding of the response of the medical field to the pandemic.
Posted in: Infectious Disease100

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Table. Final course survey responses of 35 preclinical medical students enrolled in an elective course covering the COVID-19 pandemic response in Houston, Texas: August–September 2020

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