Adapting to the new normal – The Impact of COVID-19 on Post MD Education

The COVID-19 global pandemic required Post MD Education to quickly develop and deliver medical education in a new way. PGME undertook two main initiatives early in the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure optimum resident and fellow support and involvement. All learner-facing PGME office activities were quickly transitioned online, including the complex logistics of registering learners from around the world and providing one-on-one wellness support through the Post MD Wellness office. Although travel and VISA application restrictions complicated these processes, over 80% of new international trainees eventually arrived.

PGME also worked closely with our hospital sites and many external partners to redeploy PG learners. In order to ensure this response was done in alignment with appropriate regulations and constraints, a set of principles and a procedural guide that prioritized patient care and learner safety yet also respected educational continuity was developed. The TASHNe sub-committee was critical in addressing and implementing this redeployment strategy which resulted in over 250 residents providing service outside of their program or rotation during the first wave of the pandemic.

COVID-19 resulted in the cancelation and postponement of many live conferences and programs. While the CPD Office had a long history of offering webinar-style online programs, the complexity of delivering conferences that replicated attending a live in-person event required a major pivot. CPD had to rapidly develop capacity and expertise in the delivery of digital conferences and programs.

Recognizing the importance of delivering a high-quality learner experience, CPD procured a conference platform that allowed for integrated live-streaming of sessions, workshops, attendee networking, posters, and sponsor exhibit halls. Digital conference delivery more resembles a live television broadcast than a traditional hotel-based conference. This shift necessitated the retooling of the existing CPD team into digital producers, technical directors and stage managers.

The move to a digital space also opened up opportunities for new program and conference formats. For example, one group reworked their annual conference format into a 22-part series which featured over 300 presenters. Another group developed a year-long series that will culminate into a replica of their annual meeting. CPD also partnered with a number of national specialty societies and associations.