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Pandemic course giving medical students hands-on experience



AUGUSTA, Ga. — When the COVID-19 pandemic began, students at the Medical College of Georgia wanted to step in and help. However, they were no longer allowed in hospitals and could not directly treat COVID-19 patients. Within 11 days, faculty created a pandemic elective course allowing students to research and learn about the virus while sharing their knowledge with others.

“It gave students the opportunity to fill leadership positions and really make a difference in the community,” Amanda Delgado, a second year MCG medical student, described.

Many students, including, Amanda Delgado and Joe Elengickal, jumped on the opportunity. They and their classmates set up the MCG COVID-19 response website and social media pages to update Augusta residents on the pandemic. Other students began working at COVID-19 testing sites. When vaccines were approved, Delgado volunteered to administer them.

“The responsibility of medical students is to take what we’ve learned from the pandemic and use it to further our own education,” Delgado said.

“I wanted to help where I could,” Joe Elengickal, a second year MCG medical student, added. “The pandemic elective gave me an opportunity to do so.”

Students never anticipated that a pandemic would be part of their medical school experience. Their mentors say it will help them become excellent doctors.

“We have very talented and bright students,” Dr. Rodger MacArthur, an infectious diseases physician at MCG, says. “All of us, who are older, are in really good hands. I’m very confident about that. Our students will make great physicians.”