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Women's Health Education Program Scholars' Projects

Medical Care and Education in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analysis and Discussion on Equity in Health Care and Medical Education

WHEP Scholar Maureen Farrell

WHEP Scholar Maureen Farrell
Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2022

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) pandemic brought about wide-sweeping unprecedented changes to health care, education and society at large. Hospitals and medical providers were burdened with large populations of critically ill patients dying from a novel virus. Medical schools were challenged with providing for the education and well-being of pre-clinical and clinical students during an unprecedented public health crisis that necessitated the adaptation of medical school curriculum to a remote learning platform almost overnight. Patients and students faced great challenges and adversity, and unfortunately those from underrepresented minority and low-income backgrounds were most gravely affected in both settings.

This thesis highlights the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients and the provision of medical care as well as the effects on medical students and education with special attention to the adverse impacts on the most vulnerable groups. The pandemic magnified pre-existing disparities in health care as well as providing greater obstacles for medical students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds with limited resources. It also revolutionized the way hospitals administer care and schools provide medical education, utilizing remote platforms in telehealth and online classrooms for medical education. Despite the challenges, it is critical for both health care institutions and medical schools to adapt their systems for global health crises and emergencies.

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