Future of Education or Present Reality: MD Anderson Cancer Center Hematopathology Virtual Educational Platform under Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2021-0195-SA. Online ahead of print.


Context - The main focus of education in most pathology residency and subspecialty pathology fellowships is the light microscopic examination of pathology specimens. Classes with multiheaded scopes are the most popular among pathology trainees. Until recently, it was difficult to us to imagine that this educational approach could change. In the beginning of March 2020 our country faced a serious challenge, which all of us now known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The rules of social distancing and work from home were applied. These types of restrictions were implemented in almost all parts of our life including work and pathology education. Objective - To share our experience in the Department of Hematopathology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center during COVID-19 pandemic. We describe our experience in modifying our approaches to education. We show how we overcame many obstacles to learning by building one of the largest virtual hematopathology educational platforms via Cisco WebEx and using social media, in particular Twitter. These tools facilitated the learning of hematopathology by medical students, pathology trainees, and practicing pathologists from all over the world. Data Sources - During the three months of the pandemic (April, May and June 2020), we evaluated the visitors' attendance to MD Anderson Cancer Center Hematopathology Virtual Educational Platform using data collected by Cisco WebEx website. For examination of the impact of the hematopathology community on Twitter on medical education the analytic metrics obtained from Symplur LLC (www.symplur.com, 04/27/2020) were used via its Symplur Signals program. Conclusions - Our experience using the MD Anderson Hematopathology Virtual Platform showed that there is substantial, global interest and desire for virtual hematopathology education, especially during the pandemic time.