COVID-19: The Essential Pivot

Apr 8, 2020

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young Like many sectors, science and medicine are pivoting — and fast.

Students are designing apps and coordinating volunteers. Engineers are retooling for medical devices. Lab scientists are laser-focused, scaling up any and all COVID-19 research. 

On the front-lines of the pandemic surge, our clinical faculty and trainees are facing their own essential pivots — as practice guidelines evolve, as specialists are redeployed across the system and as individual providers make critical decisions in patient care.

To make these decisions and transitions effectively, clinicians need access to the right information at the right time. Here’s what the Faculty of Medicine is doing to meet that demand.

Our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) office is working in partnership with each of the Faculty’s clinical departments to be a hub for essential clinical resources related to COVID-19. Led by Associate Dean Prof. Suzan Schneeweiss, the CPD group is developing and curating:

•    Specialty-specific resources and valuable links for busy physicians, including quick ICU training, airway management for suspected COVID-19 cases, and guidelines for care of the paediatric patient.
•    A new webinar series with sessions planned for critical care, virtual care, wellness, paediatrics, and Indigenous and refugee health. The series kicks-off this Friday with a webinar hosted by the Department of Ophthalmology.
•    Other digital resources around broader issues, such as resource allocation, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 communication with patients, and teaching remotely.

These resources are free to all — and are updated continuously. This is intended to complement a secure critical care learning site created by the Critical Care Capacity Steering Committee – Toronto Region.

CPD is also working closely with program directors to retool many practice-related offerings, such as the medical record-keeping program, as engaging and interactive digital workshops. And on a national and international scale, our CPD leaders are working to develop networks and research projects to deepen our understanding of digital teaching and learning, which includes a new Continuing Professional Development COVID-19 Response Fund (application deadline April 27).

The Postgraduate Medical Education office has also curated specific resources for residents who may be redeployed to alternative clinical activities. Furthermore, PGME staff will be partnering with select hospital sites to deliver general sim-based training on personal protective equipment use, as we know that practice makes perfect!

What will education look like in a post-COVID-19 world? Education and clinical practice have undergone seismic shifts in scant few weeks. In the short term, we have much to do to stay informed, to stay safe and to deliver the best possible care. When the pandemic ebbs we will have much to learn from these adaptations-by-necessity.

Today’s pivots may be tomorrow’s wise practices. Stay safe and healthy — and follow @uoftcpd on Twitter for the latest updates and clinical resources.

Trevor Young 
Dean, Faculty of Medicine 
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions  

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