The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health threat that has challenged medical schools across the world to rapidly transition from conventional classroom training to virtual learning environments. As proposed by Dr Wong in his article (BCMJ 2020;62:170-171), the strategies posed to secure medical training during this pandemic should be principle-based, forward-looking, and compassionate.
As medical students in the Dominican Republic, we have witnessed firsthand the effects of this pandemic in our professional formation. New obstacles—such as limited access to reliable Internet connections, faculty members and students without experience in virtual learning, and feelings of anxiety due to isolation and the unknown future—can affect the quality and delivery of medical education.
In low- and middle-income nations, available resources can be scarce, and medical schools should be creative when addressing the challenges experienced by faculty members and students. To ensure access to reliable Internet connections, some programs in the Dominican Republic have developed formal agreements with telecommunication companies. Although the long-term impact of these agreements is unknown, they will surely offer valuable learning opportunities to students from urban and rural areas alike, while also providing faculty members with the tools to strengthen teachers’ skills. By fostering intersectoral cooperation between medical schools and telecommunication companies, the One Health concept can be applied in a practical setting.
Additionally, when virtual simulations are integrated into didactic coursework, medical students can enhance their problem-solving and decision-making abilities on essential clinical topics, and educators can provide feedback on their academic performance. As faculty members must remain up-to-date on the use of virtual interfaces, quarterly training sessions can familiarize them to minimize anxiety due to technological complexities.
In light of these challenging circumstances in virtual learning, medical education must take advantage of innovative technologies to improve student competitiveness and prepare them for emerging health threats.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This letter was submitted in response to “Medical education during COVID-19: Lessons from a pandemic.”
2. Teachers Press Releases, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). Claro and INTEC sign collaboration agreement. Accessed 17 November 2020. www.intec.edu.do/en/notas-de-prensa-profesorados/item/claro-e-intec-firman-acuerdo-de-colaboracion.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One Health basics. 2018. Accessed 18 November 2020. www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/index.html.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org