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College of Medicine issues guidance on away rotations for medical students

The following information was sent to College of Medicine faculty and medical students from Terry Wolpaw, MD, MPHE, Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, on June 4, 2020:

The Coalition for Physician Accountability, a national group of organizations involved with medical education and accreditation, came together to create national guidelines for away or audition electives during the 2020-21 residency application cycle. Safety and equity across all medical schools and their students during this coming residency cycle were the underlying reasons for the national position guidelines.

Interim dean Dr. Kevin Black has made the following decision for Penn State College of Medicine, consistent with the Coalition guidelines for the 2020-21 residency application cycle.

Penn State College of Medicine medical students in the Class of 2021 will not do away rotations until after February 28, 2021, at the earliest. We also will not permit students from other schools to do visiting rotations at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center until after February 28, 2021, at the earliest. Resident, medical school and physician assistant program interviews will be virtual for the 2020-21 application cycle.

There may be rare circumstances where we will assess the request from an outside institution for a limited number of student rotations at HMC. The Coalition on Physician Responsibility acknowledges that learners who do not have access in their own institution to a clinical experience with a residency program in their specialty interest may reach out regionally for an away rotation.

The pillars of this decision are that the entire recruitment and match process needs to be fair, equitable and safe. Those who are still in the highest impact areas for COVID will be at a disadvantage if others are doing away electives and interviewing in person. There will be no away rotation of fourth-year medical students – coming or going – in our institution until after the resident match commitments are finalized by the students and the programs. In addition, all interviews for Penn State College of Medicine programs (undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education and physician assistant) will be virtual this year.

Thank you for your support of our students who are applying to residency programs in the 2020-21 residency application cycle in this unprecedented time of COVID-19.

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