Re: Medical education during COVID-19

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63, No. 2, March 2021, Page 55 Letters COVID-19

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.[1]

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.[2] 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[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.
—Vielka Fernandez
—Priscila Hernandez
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

This letter was submitted in response to “Medical education during COVID-19: Lessons from a pandemic.”


1.    Wong RY. Medical education during COVID-19: Lessons from a pandemic. BCMJ 2020;62:170-171.

2.    Teachers Press Releases, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). Claro and INTEC sign collaboration agreement. Accessed 17 November 2020.

3.    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One Health basics. 2018. Accessed 18 November 2020.

4.    Merchant A, Chastain II P. Role of case reports in modern medical education. Clin Case Rep Rev 2018;4:1-2.

5.    AlRomi N. Human factors in the design of medical simulation tools. Proc Man 2015;3:288-292.

Vielka Fernandez, Priscila Hernandez. Re: Medical education during COVID-19. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 2, March, 2021, Page(s) 55 - Letters, COVID-19.

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