- Be an active, helpful member of your home community. Volunteer to cover childcare needs for neighbors or to check in (by phone/from a distance) on the elderly. If you’re part of a religious community, see if there are ways that you can provide support through them. Check with organizations where you have volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles.
- Use idealist.org, volunteermatch.org, or omprakash.org/ to seek other local options, but be ready for slow responses.
- Idealist article: Nine ways to help others during the coronavirus pandemic
- Look into the volunteer National Medical Reserves Corps branch near you
- Donate blood and volunteer to help the Red Cross address blood delivery and donation support needs in your community. (Remote volunteering options exist for those at high risk.)
- Check to see if Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers in your community. Inquire whether other local organizations focused on supporting the elderly need volunteers; for example, Caring Connections is asking for volunteers willing to deliver groceries in NJ/PA counties to step forward.
- Food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters in most areas are continuing to look for volunteers and have been trying to maintain social distance for their volunteers and those they serve. Feeding America (https://www.feedingamerica.org/) can help students to find their local food pantry.
- Local chapters of the United Way have updated their volunteer opportunities to show all the local non-profits still seeking help.
- Attend a virtual Penn State Prehealth Group Advising Session
- Philadelphia opportunity: Help restaurants distribute food to hunger relief organizations
- State College opportunity: PAWS and Pets Come 1st are both actively looking for volunteers
Remote Volunteering Opportunities
- Communicate with and help mentor/teach those going through crisis
- Operation Warm has a list of 25 ways to volunteer virtually
- Paper-airplanes.org invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”
- Dosomething.org’s nine places to volunteer online and make a real impact
- If you’ve received crisis hotline training, check to see if your community’s crisis hotline could use additional phone or chat volunteers. Many crisis hotlines are overloaded right now.
- Crisis Text Line (requires 30 hours of training)
- Work with underserved and under-resourced youth
- Upchieve: Online tutoring for disadvantaged youth
- Assist in digitizing, transcribing and otherwise contributing to nonprofit organizations
Network with Local Health Professionals
- Once the current situation has stabilized: Contact alum physicians near your home by searching by location in your school’s Alum Directory and on LinkedIn. It will be interesting to talk with them about their experiences as physicians, especially during this time. Shadowing is unlikely to be possible for a while.
Research Professional Schools
- Surf through websites for schools in your chosen profession in your home state
- Attend Virtual Fairs, virtual open houses, and other educational opportunities online (see Upcoming Events on NAAHP homepage)
Engage in free online learning opportunities
- class about pandemics from Harvard
- Class about community change in public health from Johns Hopkins
- Essentials of global health from Yale
- Ivy League free courses list via freecodecamp.org
- Class “An Examination of coronavirus-COVID-19” from St George’s University
- Medical School Headquarters YouTube: premed.tv
- Georgetown offers free MOOCS including Bioethics, Biomedical Big Data, Globalization, or Genomic Medicine.
- Linkedin Learning, Coursera
Do some pre health reflection and journaling
- Premeds: Use the AAMC Anatomy of an Applicant Self Assessment Guide and AACOM’s Qualities of a Successful Medical Student to consider your preparation for medical school and the medical profession.
- Use past secondary application essay prompts as reflection questions.
- Advice about prehealth journaling from Princeton Health Professions Advising; Missouri State University
Read & Listen
- Read books that provide insight about being a doctor, applying to medical school, or learning about other health careers. See the Goodreads.com: Popular Medicine Books list for inspiration or check out these recommendations with reviews :https://limbookclub.weebly.com/ . Advisor recommendations include:
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- Being Mortal
- When Breath Becomes Air
- The Emperor of All Maladies
- My Own Country
- Teeth: Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
- Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Seth Holmes, MD/PhD)
- Sick : The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis – And the People Who Pay the Price
- Read Blog posts from current medical students
- AACOM’s Choose DO Blog is a great place to start.
- Blog post: a 4th Year Medical Student’s response to COVID-19
- Blog Post: a current physician’s response to COVID – 19 & a reminder to future physicians
- in-Training articles related to COVID-19 ethics and preparedness
- A Missionary on Trial – The fascinating story of a young American woman who wanted to do good and serve others. A good read for premedical students who want to go serve in LMICs.
- Food Supply and Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis
- Podcasts are a great way to learn and engage. Here is a list of top 10 podcasts for pre-meds from Diverse Medicine
- Premed Mondays with Dr. Dale: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/premed-mondays-2
- The Short Coat Podcast: http://theshortcoat.com/tag/dave-etler/
- Talking Admissions & Med Student Life hosted by Dr. Benjamin Chan: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/talking-admissions-and-med-student-life/id722416493
- All Access Medical School Admissions podcast with Christian Essman, director of admissions at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
- Dr. Ryan Gray’s podcasts: https://www.medicalschoolhq.net/meded-media
New Resources from MSAR/Aspiring Docs
Anatomy of An Applicant:
- Dominique Tucker provides insights learned from his journey to medical school: “The application cycle can be disillusioning and not-without challenges, not unlike medicine, but remember to be ambitious, surround yourself with good people, work hard and enjoy the moment; you really can do anything.”
- Sotonye Douglas faced multiple obstacles on her journey to medical school–including growing up in an under-resourced community and initially struggling academically. Her advice to applicants is to do your research, find mentors aligned with your goal, and use your support system when you feel defeated.
Aspiring Docs Diaries Blog:
- Lauren says that “to reapply after rejection is to dare greatly.” Read her story and advice on reapplying to medical school.
- When third-year medical student Emily Lee treats a pregnant patient actively withdrawing from heroin use, she learns the importance of taking care of each patient as a whole, beyond just their physical symptoms.
- Varina Clark writes about the importance of wellness and self-care during COVID-19. She offers advice, encouragement, and reflective questions to consider for medical students and healthcare professionals.
If you have you would like to write for the blog or participate in Inspiring Stories, please contact us at email@example.com. If you know of a medical student who would be a good fit for the Anatomy of an Applicant project, please encourage them to submit their profile for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “Making Rounds” – a documentary about the centrality of communication between physicians and patients in the process of diagnosis, and the overreliance on technology. Made by Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York in 2015
- “Being Mortal” – FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors — himself included — are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.
- Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. It addresses many issues in health care and the website offers many points for discussion and action
- I Choose DO – This short video details a bit what osteopathic medicine is for those who aren’t aware of the profession
- “Vaccines calling the shots” – Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. NOVA takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.
- How are you coping with COVID-19?
Work on Life/“Adulting” Skills
- Do you know how to cook? Offer to cook and deliver a meal to neighbors trying to manage childcare and work obligations at home.
- Develop an at-home exercise routine (this is also good self-care!)
- Take up or revisit a craft or hobby — origami, bike repair, gardening, the instrument or art supplies you put down at the end of high school…
- If you’ve never tracked your budget and expenses before, analyze your spending from the last year and develop a budget moving forward (see Nerdwallet tips)
Engage in Self-Care
- CDC Advice on Managing Anxiety and Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- World Health Organization Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Advice from thewirecutter.com
- Daily meditation and advice from experts via the folks at Ten Percent Happier: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide
Participate in Virtual Seminars or Fairs
- The website of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions has the most comprehensive list of pre-health events around the country. This list includes both in-person and virtual events, but you will notice many in-person events are canceled, and this will continue.
- AAMC Upcoming Webinars: Fee Assistance on 3/19 and Navigating the 2021 AMCAS Application Cycle for Upcoming Applicants on 4/21. There are other pre-recorded webinars.
- Emory Premedical Engagement Program: Admissions Unveiled on 4/21
- April 23: Diversity Healthcare Virtual Fair
- April 23: Exploring Osteopathic Medicine for Pre-Meds
- April 24: Podiatric Medicine Virtual Fair
- April 29: ADEA from Applicant to Practioner
- May 18: AACP Pharmacy School Virtual Fair
- May 19: ADEA GoDental Virtual Fair
- June 2: Optometry Virtual Fair
- June 10: Choose DO Medical School Virtual Expo
- PAEA PA School Virtual Fair
News Stories Highlighting Prehealth/Professional School Student Efforts
- Nurse Strong’: Nursing students step up during time of need, Penn State News, April 20, 2020
- Students 3D print face shields for possible COVID-19 protection, Penn State News, April 20, 2020
- Schreyer Scholars help create nonprofit to distribute masks across the country, Penn State News, April 23, 2020
- Rutgers Medical School Students Mobilize to Support Health Care Workers, Tap Into Somerville, April 15, 2020
- Local Medical Students Team up to Provide Child Care for Health Workers, WAMU, APril 15, 2020
- Doctors in Training: In Limbo, [Princeton] Alumni Med Students Find Ways to Serve, Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 14, 2020
- Clinical training on pause, UC med students find ways to be of service, UC Newsfeed, April 9, 2020
- MN “Covidsitters” organization developed by UMN medical students, STAT News, March 31, 2020
- Chicago Medical Students Form Volunteer Teams, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2020
- Medical Students, Sidelined for Now, Find New Ways to Fight Coronavirus, NYT, March 23, 2020
- Students form Harvard-wide Task Force, The Harvard Crimson, March 20, 2020
- Premed student develops grocery service for seniors, KSBW TV, Las Vegas, March 16, 2020
Updates from the Professions
See NAAHP Clearinghouse: https://www.naahp.org/covid-19hplinks/home
This document has been created cooperatively by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions. It may be distributed to students and others for educational purposes. It should not be reproduced for commercial use.