Student Response Initiatives: A Case Study of COVID-19 at Washington University

Med Sci Educ. 2021 Feb 9;1-5. doi: 10.1007/s40670-021-01225-x. Online ahead of print.


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted medical education worldwide, leading medical students to organize response initiatives. This paper summarizes the Washington University Medical Student COVID-19 Response (WUMS-CR) and shares lessons to guide future initiatives. We used a three-principle framework of community needs assessment, faculty mentorship, and partnership with pre-existing organizations to address needs in St. Louis, including contact tracing and childcare. In total, over 12,000 h were volunteered across 15+ projects. Overall, student response initiatives should use appropriate frameworks to guide projects and should capitalize on volunteer participation, speed and flexibility, and the diversity of student interests and skills for maximal impact.

Keywords: COVID-19; Community Service; Medical Student Response; Volunteering.