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Western University of Health Sciences shares COVID-19 exposure protocols

by Rodney Tanaka

August 21, 2020

Read 3 mins

Western University of Health Sciences, which has campuses in Pomona, California and Lebanon, Oregon, is gaining national recognition from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) for developing two algorithms to help physicians and other health care providers think through issues related to student exposures to COVID-19 at home or while on clinical rotations.

COMP-Northwest Vice Dean John T. Pham, DO

COMP-Northwest Vice Dean and Associate Professor of Family Medicine John T. Pham, DO, who is a member of WesternU’s Coronavirus Response Team (CRT), played a major role in developing the algorithms as an easy way to communicate the complexities of COVID-19 exposure and response.

“As a physician, I like to use algorithms when I am dealing with tough medical cases – a step-by-step play of how to respond to certain situations,” Pham said. “We use this frequently in patient care, and I thought the same process could be applied to thinking through COVID-19 exposure.”

See the algorithms here or posted online:

COVID-19 Exposure Procedure for on Campus or at Home

COVID-19 Exposure Procedure for on Clinical Rotations

Click to view larger.

Tyler Cymet, DO, FACP, FACOFP, Chief of Clinical Education, AACOM, posted the documents online (requires AACOM login) promoting them to the national AACOM audience. AACOM leads and advocates for the osteopathic medical education community to improve the health of the public.

“Students have been infected with COVID-19, and more will become infected in the future. I like that WesternU has addressed these issues in a calm and reasoned fashion and grounded their decision analysis in national guidelines from the CDC,” Cymet said. “It was also nice to break the decision-making down to the simplest and necessary questions that need to be addressed. The algorithms put together by WesternU will likely be used for a long time to come. Even if a fact or two changes, it is easy to put new thinking and new knowledge into the algorithm.”

Pham said the algorithms could be easily adapted to any company, organization or industry.

“It’s good to share our best thinking with the country,” Pham said. “Hopefully, the CRT work will provide guidance to many organizations currently struggling with COVID-19.”

Rob Warren, DO, MBA, Associate Provost for Clinical Affairs and Executive Director for WesternU Health, agrees. “The more information that is shared widely, the better off we all are,” he said.


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