Medical students at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) and COMP-Northwest have secured a front row seat with physicians from around the world to learn the latest in the care and treatment of COVID-19. At the onset of the pandemic, COMP partnered with Global Offsite Care to enable their students to participate in virtual Global Grand Rounds. Each week in these Rounds, practicing physicians in multiple cities across 10 countries come together to share their experiences as they battle COVID-19 within their hospitals, clinics and communities.

“The most remarkable aspect of this opportunity is that our medical students are learning about this novel disease in real time with practicing physicians from around the world,” said Di Lacey, Associate Vice President for the WesternU Oregon campus in Lebanon, Oregon. “The exchange between these generations of medical professionals is incredible. Our ‘future physicians’ openly embrace telemedicine and quickly leverage the ability to share emerging best practice around the globe via digital communication platforms. This pandemic is happening on their watch and opportunities like this position them to confidently lead the medicine of tomorrow.”

COMP medical students join physicians from the Bahamas, Haiti, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to discuss the latest medical information on COVID-19 patients.

“During the Global Grand Rounds, students are part of the medical community, which happens to be international,” said COMP Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine Emmanuel Katsaros, DO. “They learn not only about the latest management of medical conditions affecting COVID-19 patients, but they also gain an international perspective on patient care, have a greater understanding of the human toll this disease causes, and experience the hope that caregivers can provide.”

Third-year COMP-Northwest student Fengxin (Jane) Li, BA, presents “Ethics in the Context of COVID-19” at Global Grand Rounds.

Medical students present weekly on the COVID-19 topic featured in the case presentation for Grand Rounds. Topics have included anticoagulation, convalescent plasma therapy, proning protocols, antiviral medications, co-morbidities, medical ethics and end-of-life considerations. “Immediately after the rounds, students also participate by presenting to the Global Grand Rounds audience on specific medical topics and are able to receive valuable feedback from a variety of specialists and stimulate discussion among the participants,” Katsaros said.

Global Grand Rounds are organized by Jim Gude, MD, Medical Director of Global OffSite Care and a clinical professor of medicine at both COMP and the University of California San Francisco.

“Our weekly Global Grand Rounds now include the Western University of Health Sciences medical students from both their California and Oregon campuses. They experience telemedicine as a tool which will sharpen their own medical practices and will revolutionize the world practice of medicine,” Gude said.

Triple-boarded in Pulmonology, Critical Care and Internal Medicine, Dr. Gude is a specialist with over 30 years of experience in teaching physicians. He served as a residency program director in Sonoma County, California for 25 years and now teaches physicians through distance learning in over 10 countries worldwide.

Gude was a founding member of Global Offsite Care as a nonprofit organization in partnership with Rotary International to provide underserved countries with telemedicine equipment, training and pro bono consultation services across the globe. Currently they have established telemedicine services in Nahan, India; Panchkula, India; Nepal; Shanghai, China; Yenagoa, Nigeria; Jos, Nigeria; Kolwezi, DRC; Kabale, Uganda; Nyabihu, Rwanda; Karoi, Zimbabwe; Eleuthera, Bahamas and St. Marc, Haiti.

“The COVID outbreak has validated the worth and permanence of telemedicine, and I believe as adoption proliferates, as demonstrated by the medical students at WesternU, that soon telemedicine will be synonymous with medicine,” said Jeff Dunbar, CEO of Offsite Care, Inc.