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The campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is seen from the air on a sunny day.

The mission of the Penn State College of Medicine COVID-19 MD Student Response project is to identify gaps in our health care system and utilize these gaps as leverage points upon which students can build the structural frameworks necessary to reduce burden on clinicians and the health system.

Students interested in submitting a new task force may do so using the contact form linked below. If you are a faculty member or student of an outside institution, we welcome questions and feedback.

Contact Us

Penn State College of Medicine students and faculty have partnered with a number of organizations for a virtual 5K fundraiser. You can find more information here.

Task Forces

  • Contact Tracer Process

    Students will assist in developing a standard operating procedure for COVID-19 contract tracing for Penn State Health. Students will be tasked with remotely interviewing COVID cases and their direct contacts to ensure that proper quarantine measures are taken.

    Read a Penn State Health News story about the contact tracing team.

  • Discharge Patient Navigation

    Students will assist in outreaching to the recently discharged patients from all services including COVID-19 care from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to help mitigate and reduce re-admissions during the pandemic. Medical students will act as patient navigators under the supervision of nurse care managers to reach out to patients to provide health education, re-emphasize post-discharge instructions, and answer or direct a patient to appropriate resources if they have any questions or concerns.

  • Evidence Curator and Consultants

    Students will develop a continuously updated resource database regarding COVID-19. The database will cover thirteen topics including: Clinical Science, Organizational Communication, Community and Population Health, Basic Science, Health Systems and Economics, Policy, Legal, Finance, Technology, Mental Health, State College, Media Communications, and Social Media. Students will be tasked with remotely gathering recent pieces of information to assemble one coherent database. This database will be updated three times a week for provider and public use.

  • Hospital Volunteer Outreach

    Students will assist in reaching out to the volunteers of Penn State Health to help mitigate social isolation during the pandemic by giving adult volunteers an avenue of social contact. Medical students will spend time getting to know and befriend our hospital volunteers, learning their stories and getting to know members of our health system that they may not normally interact with on a day-to-day basis of clinical care and learning. Students may also help assist/direct volunteers to appropriate resources if they have medical or food security concerns.

  • Medical Education

    The COVID-19 crisis imposes serious challenges to the execution of medical education regardless whether a student is in pre-clinical courses or immersive clerkship experiences. Due to safety and resource concerns that have arisen in the setting of COVID-19, modified education experiences and modes of delivery are required. This task force will work with teams to modify education experiences at Penn State such that medical education is not interrupted in these challenging times.

  • Medical Supply Shortage Solutions

    Students will assist Penn State’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI), MASC Engineering Team at University Park and internal procurement channels to obtain medical supplies that are in critical shortage (as determined by Penn State Health leadership) and develop new alternatives for fulfilling these needs. Medical students will engage in research activities that propel adoption of new techniques or fulfillment of medical supply limitations.

  • On-Demand Screening

    The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced the need for telehealth initiatives in order to screen and triage patients who have symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19 infection. By screening the patients using a telehealth hotline, we can decrease the number of possibly infectious patients who present to the emergency room and outpatient clinics. This will result in a more efficient use of health care resources, while minimizing possible infectious exposure to healthcare workers and patients.

  • Outpatient Follow-Up

    The goal of the Covid-19 Outpatient Follow-Up Group is to monitor patients who test positive for the novel virus and are sheltering at home. By utilizing phone interviews, students are able to help physicians understand a patient’s progression of disease with frequent check in calls. The phone calls gather information about how a patient’s symptoms are changing as well as their capacity to maintain proper isolation and quarantine guidelines for their household.

  • University Park Patient Outreach

    The purpose of the Covid-19 UP patient outreach program is to contact patients and address any concerns or issues they are having through information sharing and coordination with their primary care providers. These patients have social and medical needs that places them at an increased risk of suffering from covid-19 complications. The goal during these calls is to assess any challenges that they may be facing.

Contact Tracer Process

Students will assist in developing a standard operating procedure for COVID-19 contract tracing for Penn State Health. Students will be tasked with remotely interviewing COVID cases and their direct contacts to ensure that proper quarantine measures are taken.

Read a Penn State Health News story about the contact tracing team.

Discharge Patient Navigation

Students will assist in outreaching to the recently discharged patients from all services including COVID-19 care from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to help mitigate and reduce re-admissions during the pandemic. Medical students will act as patient navigators under the supervision of nurse care managers to reach out to patients to provide health education, re-emphasize post-discharge instructions, and answer or direct a patient to appropriate resources if they have any questions or concerns.

Evidence Curator and Consultants

Students will develop a continuously updated resource database regarding COVID-19. The database will cover thirteen topics including: Clinical Science, Organizational Communication, Community and Population Health, Basic Science, Health Systems and Economics, Policy, Legal, Finance, Technology, Mental Health, State College, Media Communications, and Social Media. Students will be tasked with remotely gathering recent pieces of information to assemble one coherent database. This database will be updated three times a week for provider and public use.

Hospital Volunteer Outreach

Students will assist in reaching out to the volunteers of Penn State Health to help mitigate social isolation during the pandemic by giving adult volunteers an avenue of social contact. Medical students will spend time getting to know and befriend our hospital volunteers, learning their stories and getting to know members of our health system that they may not normally interact with on a day-to-day basis of clinical care and learning. Students may also help assist/direct volunteers to appropriate resources if they have medical or food security concerns.

Medical Education

The COVID-19 crisis imposes serious challenges to the execution of medical education regardless whether a student is in pre-clinical courses or immersive clerkship experiences. Due to safety and resource concerns that have arisen in the setting of COVID-19, modified education experiences and modes of delivery are required. This task force will work with teams to modify education experiences at Penn State such that medical education is not interrupted in these challenging times.

Medical Supply Shortage Solutions

Students will assist Penn State’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI), MASC Engineering Team at University Park and internal procurement channels to obtain medical supplies that are in critical shortage (as determined by Penn State Health leadership) and develop new alternatives for fulfilling these needs. Medical students will engage in research activities that propel adoption of new techniques or fulfillment of medical supply limitations.

On-Demand Screening

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced the need for telehealth initiatives in order to screen and triage patients who have symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19 infection. By screening the patients using a telehealth hotline, we can decrease the number of possibly infectious patients who present to the emergency room and outpatient clinics. This will result in a more efficient use of health care resources, while minimizing possible infectious exposure to healthcare workers and patients.

Outpatient Follow-Up

The goal of the Covid-19 Outpatient Follow-Up Group is to monitor patients who test positive for the novel virus and are sheltering at home. By utilizing phone interviews, students are able to help physicians understand a patient’s progression of disease with frequent check in calls. The phone calls gather information about how a patient’s symptoms are changing as well as their capacity to maintain proper isolation and quarantine guidelines for their household.

University Park Patient Outreach

The purpose of the Covid-19 UP patient outreach program is to contact patients and address any concerns or issues they are having through information sharing and coordination with their primary care providers. These patients have social and medical needs that places them at an increased risk of suffering from covid-19 complications. The goal during these calls is to assess any challenges that they may be facing.

Student & Faculty Directors