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April 23, 2020 | Volume II, Issue 8

Delivering Curriculum During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With clinical rotations for all medical students suspended and classroom learning on hold during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty have pivoted to remote learning–and have rapidly developed several new elective courses–to ensure students receive the education they deserve and acquire the necessary skills to become physicians. 

Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., director of the Foundations level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, says faculty have stepped up to the challenge the pandemic has presented, working with the College’s curriculum and IT teams to transition to remote instruction. Although entry into clerkships has been delayed, a COVID-19 reading month and remote clerkship orientations and Bridge Weeks are ensuring students are ready to hit the ground running when they can enter the clinical environment again. Read more

Pictured above:  Students in the Class of 2022 participate in a remote learning session with Professor of Pediatrics William Raszka, M.D., and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences Elise Everett, M.D., during the Public Health Reading Month portion of their curriculum. (Photo from Emerson Wheeler ’22.)


We are starting to see signs that our efforts at physical distancing are making a difference. The number of new cases being hospitalized may have reached the peak.  Here in Vermont, the peak of our surge is modeled to have either just passed or will be coming up soon. As covered in this newsletter, online medical education continues, as well as clerkship preparation. Forty-nine medical students opted for graduation on April 20, which enables them to head to residencies early if possible. An online graduation for the Class of 2020 will be held on May 17. Look for a link on the College’s home page to view the event.

Essential research, including research related to COVID-19, continues at the College. Faculty and staff, led by Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., played a crucial role in building Vermont’s supply of COVID-19 testing materials. Read more about their work in the latest issue of Larner Medicine.

Our staff and faculty have pitched in to help in this crisis in many ways. Our own Eric Gagnon, director of facilities administration and projects, and Gino Trevisani, M.D., associate professor of surgery, both serve as colonels in the Vermont Army National Guard. The two were recently activated, and each played a major role in designing, building (in four days) and staffing a 400-bed State of Vermont Alternate Healthcare Facility located at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction. This effort has been featured nationally in The Atlantic.

Look to the Larner COVID-19 Stories web page for information about these and other efforts of the Larner community rising to the challenge of the pandemic.