Program Director’s Corner – June 2020
APDEM COVID-19 Task Force: Updates
The SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus has changed the medical landscape for the near future, and perhaps forever. Those of us in medical education have been particularly affected. We worry about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on ourselves, our families and our patients, but also must consider the needs of our trainees. In parts of the country that have been hardest hit, endocrine fellows and teaching faculty have been redeployed to internal medicine and critical care services. Fellowship didactics have been moved to the cloud – with grand rounds, core lectures and journal clubs taking place virtually via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Our patient care and fellows’ clinics have also moved online – with new words being incorporated into our medical lexicon – words like Doxy.me and Doximity. Our inpatient services have also been transformed, with some programs seeing significant increases in consult service volumes, sometimes requiring new ‘COVID’ services. And while we attend to the here and now, we are all looking anxiously forward toward the future and wondering how the pandemic will affect the upcoming fellowship interview season.
In an effort to help endocrine program directors across the country address these concerns, APDEM has developed a COVID-19 Task Force. The Task Force, chaired by Dr. David Lieb (Eastern Virginia Medical School) and Chris McCartney, with oversight by APDEM president Andrew Gianoukakis, is made up of a diverse group of APDEM members from across the country. The members represent small and large programs, as well as programs in geographic locations with varying degrees of COVID-19 prevalence.
After our first meeting in early May, the Task Force developed four subcommittees to follow up on action items that the group felt were top priority. These subcommittees include members of the COVID-19 Task Force, an APDEM Council representative, and other APDEM members that were interested in participating. Each subcommittee had a conference call during which they developed documents and recommendations to bring back to the Task Force. Details regarding each subcommittee and some of their work thus far are below.
1. Pandemic Emergency Status Subcommittee
Co-chairs: Vafa Tabatabaie and Aaron Schulman
- Authored a letter to the ACGME advocating that fellows’ time as endocrinologists be protected, and that endocrine program directors have a say in when and how their fellows are redeployed to internal medicine services (LINK)
- Developed recommend practices for programs that have declared or are considering declaring ACGME Stage 3 Pandemic Status (LINK)
2. 2021 Fellow Recruitment Subcommittee
Co-chairs: Saira Khan and Marina Charitou
- Developing and administered a survey for endocrine program directors and fellows regarding virtual interviewing for the upcoming recruitment season
- Crafting recommendations for the 2020 interview season (LINK)
- Creating an online toolkit for virtual interviews (LINK)
3. Fellow Didactics Subcommittee
Co-chairs: Deepika Reddy and Ricardo Correa
- Developing a plan for regional didactic programs to help programs develop shared educational content
- Updated a previously circulated APDEM list of educational resources made available to program directors and trainees by endocrine organizations/societies (LINK)
4. Patient Care Subcommittee
Co-chairs: Stephanie Smooke Praw and Emily Szmuilowicz
- Developed recommendations for PD’s regarding fellow-driven care during the COVID-19 era – including outpatient, inpatient and procedural recommendations (LINK)
The subcommittees and the Task Force have been very busy over the last month, creating content and recommendations for APDEM members to utilize during these busy, difficult times. Some of their work is already available on the APDEM website, and some will be discussed at the upcoming Annual APDEM Meeting on June 18th.
We are proud of the work that the Task Force has accomplished and appreciate all of the input we have received from APDEM members.
Andrew G. Gianoukakis, MD
David C. Lieb, MD
Chair, APDEM COVID-19 Task Force
Christopher R. McCartney, MD
Co-chair, APDEM COVID-19 Task Force