The COVID-19 pandemic has led to profound changes in our personal and professional lives. We often speak of the “CCLCM Family,” and at no time has this concept been more important. First and foremost, we think of the health and welfare of all of us as we weather this storm. COVID-19 has created multiple challenges for all aspects of CCLCM. With these challenges come opportunities. It has been remarkable to see how the CCLCM students, faculty and our administrative team have embodied the Cleveland Clinic mission of patient care, education and research.
In the earliest phase of the COVID pandemic the CCLCM community responded:
- CCLCM students participated in COVID-19 telemedicine efforts. In addition, our students participated in pilot projects in both the ambulatory and inpatient setting to help care for patients virtually while also fulfilling parts of their clinical curriculum.
- Our administrative team and faculty quickly pivoted to transform our curriculum to a virtual platform. All PBL sessions and seminars were converted to a Zoom format. The administrative team partnered with our teaching faculty to ensure a smooth transition under the direction of Chris Moravec, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine.
- Faculty in our clinical education programs, led by Craig Nielsen, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, created virtual learning experiences for students on their core clinical rotations and led a successful reintegration into direct patient care on June 1, 2020.
- Twenty CCLCM students volunteered to help build eLearning content around COVID-19 to be used by Cleveland Clinic clinicians as they train to care for the surge of COVID-19 patients. This effort is being led by Neil Mehta, MBBS, MS, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Curricular Affairs, and Neal Chaisson, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, in conjunction with a team of clinicians in the Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute. This was a heavy lift by everyone involved and holds tremendous promise for clinicians and patients at Cleveland Clinic and around the globe.
- Our student affairs and admissions team, led by Christine Warren, MD, MS, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology, successfully completed the recruitment of our class of 2026 and welcomed this class on July 6, 2021, with a hybrid safe in-person and virtual orientation.
- Linda Graham, MD, Professor of Surgery, helped transition the research curriculum to virtual sessions.
- CCLCM Director Marcy Pardee, RRT, MEd, led the successful transition of our administrative team to work remotely.
- Many students are working with Lara Jehi, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief Research Information Officer, on a clinical research registry related to COVID-19, collecting data on patients who are being tested and who are being treated for COVID-19 at Cleveland Clinic. The students also answered the call for research proposals, submitting 40 innovative research study ideas for the registry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has now been with us for more than a year, without a definitive end in sight. We have seen our Health Education Campus (HEC) transformed into the overflow “Hope Hospital.” Fortunately, Hope Hospital was not needed, and the HEC transitioned back to a unique space devoted exclusively to health education. Our wonderful students, administrative staff and faculty have embraced the challenge of COVID-19. We continue to focus on the best science available and frequent communication to develop strategies to keep the CCLCM community safe and preserve our education mission.