• CHFM and ADFM have an ongoing effort to collect the stories of departments and residency programs during the COVID pandemic. Below are the stories collected so far. This is an ongoing project, that is always accepting new stories.

    University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Family and Community Medicine

    “With the onset of COVID a lot of schools were going virtual, and places for students to get hours were closing,” noted Joe Crozier, executive director of North Alabama AHEC. “At the same time, we were setting up COVID testing sites in our rural areas and decided to offer the opportunity to our scholars in North Alabama.” 

    Duke University Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

    University of Maryland Department of Family and Community Medicine

    Maine Medical Center Family Medicine

    “The family medicine residents worked hard, harder than any of us could possibly imagine. They were assigned (and even volunteered) for extra hospital shifts and a few helped staff the ICU. Initially, there was a lot of fear about seeing hospitalized COVID patients, but one of our chief residents rallied the team by drawing parallels to the beginning of the HIV epidemic. We refused to be those doctors who turned their backs on people in need. This wasn’t just part of the job, it’s who we are … it’s our mission and our values.” - Dr. Elisabeth Wilson

    Oregon Health & Science University Department of Family Medicine

    “Unsurprisingly, well-resourced communities and health care systems are experiencing better outcomes than under-resourced ones during the pandemic,” says Erik Brodt, M.D., center director and assistant professor of family medicine, School of Medicine. “The Indian Health Service operates with funding of approximately $4,000 per capita, while the national average is approximately $10,000 per capita. The burden of COVID-19 on Indian Country will likely be grave.”

    Center for the History of Family Medicine COVID-19 Oral History Project

    “I really felt useful because I was at a small rural community hospital,” says Megan Haughton, a fourth-year medical student at Pacific Northwest University in Yakima, Washington. “There was just a lot of work to do.” This situation changed from April through July when she spent 17 weeks completing classes online. She continues, “It was weird to not get hands-on patient experience during that time.” When asked what skills she thought family doctors needed to help their patients fight the pandemic, she quickly replied, “To listen and to remain a calm voice giving them facts and statistics. Use a whole-person approach by supporting them emotionally and physically. Ask questions with kindness and curiosity rather than judgment knowing that some of them may have a lot of anxiety.”

    Working primarily in precepting with the McLaren Flint Family Medicine Residency Program in Flint, Michigan, Dr. Paul Lazar felt the initial surge at the nursing home where his residents would normally come in for five mornings a week. That ended with COVID. He explains, “We had a major outbreak…plum scary…more than 10 of my patients either died or were hospitalized…many came back with serious problems…couldn’t send the patients out to specialists…taking care of problems we had never faced before.” He acknowledges that COVID accelerated the critical care knowledge and skill of the residency program. Many of the residents volunteered to attend in the critical care units at the hospital.

    “At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, there was nothing in terms of actual in-person learning for the medical students and a lot of residents,” explains Dr. Selim Wahhab Sheikh, an assistant clinical professor at the Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center. “It was difficult and challenging, especially trying to get as much clinical experience without actually having them see patients,” he says.

    Interested in sharing your department's story?

    Please contact:

    Natalie Gaspard, CHFM Manager

    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway

    Leawood, KS 66211

    Telephone: (800) 274-2237

    Email: Natalie Gaspard