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AAMC Supports Hiatus in Student Clinical Rotations

The Association of American Medical Colleges has issued guidance in strong support of medical schools pausing all student clinical rotations until at least March 31. The document was issued with a letter Tuesday, March 17.

At Northeast Ohio Medical University, the decision by the College of Medicine leadership to temporarily suspend all third- and fourth-year clinical rotations has already gone into effect, to be reassessed by March 29.

John E. Prescott, M.D., the chief academic officer of the AAMC, issued a guidance document and explained in an accompanying letter, “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.”

The question of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health care providers was also raised by Elisabeth Young, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, in the FAQS attached to a March 15 email to students. Dr. Young explained then, “In large part, the decision to limit students in clinical environments is related to a national shortage of PPE.” Our students’ safety is, of course, paramount, notes Dr. Young.

Following is the letter from Dr. Prescott.

Dear COD Colleagues,

The AAMC has issued new guidance for medical student clinical rotations. Please see attached.

The guidance strongly supports that, effective immediately, medical schools pause all student clinical rotations until at least March 31. 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.

All the best,

John
John E. Prescott, M.D.
Chief Academic Officer
Association of American Medical Colleges