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Educational Value of Student Participation in Obstetric Public Health Outreach Project During COVID-19 Pandemic

Purpose: To assess the educational experiences of a student-led obstetric public health outreach program implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City (NYC).

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, obstetric patients were vulnerable to poor outcomes from disruptions in care. Concurrently, nearly all healthcare students in NYC had clinical activities suspended, and were consequently unable to contribute directly to care or learn first-hand about the pandemic. Columbia University obstetric faculty and students developed a program to mobilize health professions students to support pregnant patients receiving care at a network of Medicaid clinics.

Methods: Student-volunteers were recruited from Columbia University medical, nursing, and public health schools to make outreach calls to obstetric patients. Volunteers completed surveys tracking program metrics including number of calls, medical escalations, and telehealth support referrals. Program evaluation was conducted via an anonymous survey and volunteer interviews.

During the project (March-May 2020), 115 volunteers made 1501 calls and spoke with 943 of 1259 patients with an average answer rate of 75%. Volunteers reported improved clinical skills in providing public health guidance (100%), developing rapport over the phone (91%), identifying and escalating clinically concerning symptoms (71% and 57% respectively), learning about institutional changes during the pandemic (95%), and providing reassurance when appropriate (95%) after participation in the project.

Discussions: This public health outreach program effectively mobilized health professions students to reach at-risk patients. Student-volunteers gained valuable experience providing clinical guidance, triaging patient concerns, and coordinating a public health intervention that may assist them in their future careers as health professionals.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Student, Resident, Clerkship Director, Patient Care, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, Practice-Based Learning & Improvement, CME, UME, Team-Based Learning, Public Health, General Ob-Gyn,

General Information

Student,Resident,Clerkship Director,
Patient Care,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,Practice-Based Learning & Improvement,
Team-Based Learning,Public Health,
Clinical Focus
General Ob-Gyn,

Author Information

Brianna Hickey, BA, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Laura Lynch, BSN-RN, MPH; Anna Staniczenko, MD, MSc; Devon Rupley, MD

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