Harvard Medical School Goes Virtual for First-Year Students

Harvard Medical School Goes Virtual for First-Year Students
Izzy Hall

You’ve heard of telemedicine. Now get ready for… telemedicalschool?

Harvard Medical School announced last Thursday that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, all first-year medical students will begin classes online come the fall. Returning students will be allowed back to campus to participate in research and clinical training, but first-year students will see their curriculum transformed to virtual learning. The question is, how?

Medical school is both incredibly competitive and incredibly expensive. It’s filled to the brim with coursework, clinical skill labs, real-world observation and frequent exams. Subjects like biochemistry and physiology may be relatively simple to translate to online learning, but how will students master anatomy without studying and dissecting cadavers? And what kind of virtual curriculum could replace that important hands-on experience?

So far, Harvard Medical School has not elaborated on how they will adapt first-year courses to online learning, simply stating their confidence that they can “uphold the excellence that is the signature of a Harvard education.” But transitioning their curriculum may come second to dealing with unhappy students who are paying high tuition rates to get a less-than-ideal medical school experience.

It’s yet to be seen if other medical schools will follow in Harvard’s footsteps, or if they will take another route to protect students and staff and uphold current CDC guidelines. What do you think of virtual medical school? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re interested in pursuing a major in the health field, find scholarships opportunities like the Dr. James L. Hutchinson and Evelyn Ribbs Hutchinson Medical School Scholarship or United Health Foundation Louis Stokes Scholarship by doing a quick and easy scholarship search.

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