Social distancing, travel bans, closed labs, closed testing centers, virtual meetings, and PPE. All of these factors quickly come to mind when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, amid the changed landscape brought on by the pandemic, health professions programs across the United States and the world have to continue with the admissions and selection processes in order to carefully select the next group of individuals who will be trained as health care providers for our diverse communities. How will the different health professions programs make informed decisions about whom to admit in the face of the challenges brought on by SARS-CoV-2?
To address this question at the beginning of the admissions cycle, the International Association of Medical Science Educators will host a three-part webinar series starting on September 3. The series will begin with Drs. Christina Grabowski and Lelia Harrison providing information on changes to medical school admissions. They will present data from the AAMC on how medical schools across the US are adapting their admissions requirements and admissions format to the current environment as well as discuss strategies to conduct multiple mini-interviews virtually. On September 10 we will hear how admissions to both the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs are navigating restrictions brought about by the pandemic. Jeremy Turkall will discuss adjustments made across DPT programs and PTCAS. Erika Brooks will provide insight into adjustments made to the Physician Assistant application process from a national perspective including CASPA. Dr. Thomas O’Shea will discuss these adjustments from a PA program perspective. The series will conclude on September 17 with a presentation by Maya Hammoud and Versha Pleasant discussing the impact of the pandemic on residency interviews and resident selection both from the perspective of faculty as well as that of residents. This session will discuss the challenges when transitioning to virtual interviews and clarify the impact of COVID-19 related interruptions in USMLE testing on selecting the next class of PGY-1s including potential effects on selecting diverse applicants.
The overall goal of this series is to provide faculty involved in admissions with hands-on tips as well as insight into the strategies developed to ensure the continuity of a rigorous admissions process.