NAAHP Prehealth Opportunities During the Pandemic Ideas Summary
- Be an active, helpful member of your home community.
- Volunteer to cover childcare needs for neighbors or to check in (by phone/from a distance) on the elderly.
- If you’re part of a religious community, see if there are ways that you can provide support through them.
- Check with organizations where you have volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles.
- Use idealist.org, volunteermatch.org, or omprakash.org to seek other local options, but be ready for slow responses.
- Idealist article: Nine ways to help others during the coronavirus pandemic (https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/help-others-coronavirus)
- Look into the volunteer National Medical Reserves Corps branch near you
- Donate blood and volunteer to help the Red Cross address blood delivery and donation support needs in your community. (Remote volunteering options exist for those at high risk.)
- Check to see if Meals on Wheels needs more volunteers in your community. Inquire whether other local organizations focused on supporting the elderly need volunteers; for example, Caring Connections is asking for volunteers willing to deliver groceries in NJ/PA counties to step forward.
- Food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters in most areas are continuing to look for volunteers and have been trying to maintain social distance for their volunteers and those they serve. Feeding America can help students to find their local food pantry.
- Many chapters of the United Way have updated their volunteer opportunities to show all the local nonprofits seeking help.
- Check with your college’s office that coordinates community service for any opportunities that they recommend
- Brighten A Day connects volunteers to seniors and hospitalized children who are in need of some cheer
- Operation Warm has a list of 25 ways to volunteer virtually
- Paper-airplanes.org invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”
- Dosomething.org’s nine places to volunteer online and make a real impact
- If you’ve received crisis hotline training, check to see if your community’s crisis hotline could use additional phone or chat volunteers. Many crisis hotlines are overloaded right now.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Crisis Text Line (requires 30 hours of training)
- The TREVOR Project – supports LGBTQ youth
- Work with underserved and under-resourced youth
- Upchieve: Online tutoring for disadvantaged youth
- Assist in digitizing, transcribing and otherwise contributing to nonprofit organizations
- Amnesty Decoders
- Digital Smithsonian Museum
- Project Gutenberg free ebooks service
- Zooniverse crowd-sourced research
- Assist with the upcoming election
- Participate in voter registration efforts: www.rockthevote.org/get-involved/
- 100 Ways to Get Involved: www.lwv.org/blog/100-days-and-100-ways-get-ready-election-day
- Sign up to be a poll worker: https://www.workelections.com/
- Physiocamp seeks volunteers to provide online health/science education through “Telecamps”
- Telehealth Access for Seniors, shared by Mimi Hsu, UVM student coordinator
Network with Local Health Professionals
- Once the current situation has stabilized: Contact alum physicians near your home by searching by location in your school’s alumni directory and on LinkedIn. It will be interesting to talk with them about their experiences as physicians, especially during this time. Of course, they may be far too busy to connect with you due to being stretched thin by the pandemic. Consider seeking out retired physicians who are watching this unfold, or medical students who are currently not allowed on the wards. Shadowing is unlikely to be possible in the near future.
Research Professional Schools
- Surf through websites for schools in your chosen profession in your home state
- Medical school links are available below:
- Watch this video to learn about osteopathic medicine.
- For other professions, check NAAHP Links of Interest
Engage in free online learning opportunities
- Class about pandemics from Harvard
- Class about community change in public health from Johns Hopkins
- Essentials of global health from Yale
- NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences COVID-19 related courses
- Ivy League free courses list via freecodecamp.org
- Class “An Examination of coronavirus-COVID-19” from St George’s University
- Medical School Headquarters YouTube: premed.tv
- Georgetown offers free MOOCS including Bioethics, Biomedical Big Data, Globalization, or Genomic Medicine.
- FluentU’s list of recommended resources to learn Medical Spanish (some free, some paid)
- Linkedin Learning, Coursera
Do some pre–health reflection and journaling
- Premeds: Use the AAMC Anatomy of an Applicant Self Assessment Guide and AACOM’s Qualities of a Successful Medical Student to consider your preparation for medical school and the medical profession.
- Use past secondary application essay prompts as reflection questions.
- Advice about prehealth journaling from Princeton Health Professions Advising; Missouri State University
Read & Listen & Watch
- Insight into physicians’ lives and motivation via podcasts and YouTube videos
- D.O. or DO not: conversations with osteopathic physicians: https://www.doordonotpodcast.com/
- Health Careers with Dr. Marn: https://hcwithdrmarn.com/
- University of Colorado School of Medicine Virtual Shadowing video series: email Bre McKercher at Breanna.McKercher@cuanschutz.edu for a link.
- Read books that provide insight about being a doctor, applying to medical school, or learning about other health careers.
- Book lists:
- Book recommendations from advisors:
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
- Being Mortal
- When Breath Becomes Air
- The Emperor of All Maladies
- My Own Country
- Teeth: Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
- Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Seth Holmes, MD/PhD)
- Read Blog posts from current medical students
- Podcasts are a great way to learn and engage.
- All Access Medical School Admissions podcast with Christian Essman, director of admissions at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
- Top 10 podcasts for pre-meds from Diverse Medicine
- Premed Mondays with Dr. Dale: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/premed-mondays-2
- The Short Coat Podcast: http://theshortcoat.com/tag/dave-etler/
- Talking Admissions & Med Student Life hosted by Dr. Benjamin Chan: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/talking-admissions-and-med-student-life/id722416493
- Watch documentaries
- Making Rounds features cardiologists at Mt. Sinai
- Vaccines:Calling the Shots
- Lenox Hill docuseries on Netflix
Learn more about racism and structural inequality in health care
- Prioritizing Equity video series from the American Medical Association
- Epidemics and the African American Community video series from the Hutchins Center Project on Race and Gender in Science and Medicine
- What the Racial Data Show: The pandemic seems to be hitting people of color the hardest. The Atlantic, April 2020
- Duke University School of Medicine Antiracism Resources
- Harvard University Countway Library Antiracism and Health Reading List
- Peggy McIntosh TEDTalk: How to recognize your white privilege — and use it to fight inequality
- Justice in June: a starting place for individuals trying to become better allies
- Vox’s video “The US Medical System Is Still Haunted by Slavery”
Participate in Virtual Seminars, Fairs, and Info Sessions
- The website of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions maintains a comprehensive list of pre-health events around the country, including many virtual events. Programs are welcomed to post their events free of charge.
Work on Life/“Adulting” Skills
- Do you know how to cook? Offer to cook and deliver a meal to neighbors trying to manage childcare and work obligations at home.
- Develop an at-home exercise routine (this is also good self-care!)
- Take up or revisit a craft or hobby — origami, bike repair, gardening, the instrument or art supplies you put down at the end of high school…
- If you’ve never tracked your budget and expenses before, analyze your spending from the last year and develop a budget moving forward (see Nerdwallet tips)
Engage in Self-Care
- CDC Advice on Managing Anxiety and Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- World Health Organization Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Advice from thewirecutter.com
- Daily meditation and advice from experts via the folks at Ten Percent Happier: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide
News Stories Highlighting Student Efforts During the Pandemic
- With video calls and an army of volunteers, this 15-year-old is battling pandemic loneliness in nursing homes, Washington Post, October 2020
- Rutgers Medical School Students Mobilize to Support Health Care Workers, Tap Into Somerville, April 15, 2020
- Local Medical Students Team up to Provide Child Care for Health Workers, WAMU, APril 15, 2020
- Doctors in Training: In Limbo, [Princeton] Alumni Med Students Find Ways to Serve, Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 14, 2020
- Clinical training on pause, UC med students find ways to be of service, UC Newsfeed, April 9, 2020
- MN “Covidsitters” organization developed by UMN medical students, STAT News, March 31, 2020
- Chicago Medical Students Form Volunteer Teams, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2020
- Medical Students, Sidelined for Now, Find New Ways to Fight Coronavirus, NYT, March 23, 2020
- Students form Harvard-wide Task Force, The Harvard Crimson, March 20, 2020
- Premed student develops grocery service for seniors, KSBW TV, Las Vegas, March 16, 2020
Updates from the Professions
See NAAHP Clearinghouse: https://www.naahp.org/covid-19hplinks/home
This document has been created cooperatively by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions. It may be distributed to students and others for educational purposes. It should not be reproduced for commercial use.