COVID-19 has upended everything we have known, revealing things that many of us had taken for granted prior to the pandemic, from going out to eat to traveling internationally. Here at VIA, we have had to cancel all of our in-person programs, but this spring, we will be offering our first online Exploring Health Care Program. Running from March 21-27, 2021, the program will use COVID-19 as a special lens through which to explore health care issues. Here is a sneak preview of the program, with an overview of several topics and guest speakers:
Particularly in the US, the pandemic has exposed fault lines in the health care system and worsened the existing disparities. One of our guest speakers will be Dr. Justin Morgan. As Medical Director of the Curry Senior Center, a non-profit community organization that provides services for low-income and homeless seniors, Dr. Morgan is committed to providing quality health care for vulnerable communities. He is also a dedicated educator who enjoys inspiring the next generation of health care professionals, like EHC participants! As one EHC alum put it, Dr. Morgan is “really kind” and helped boost her confidence in having conversations in English about health care.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients continue to receive treatment for other illnesses and conditions. For example, organ donation and transplantation have continued to take place. In fact, Donor Network West, an organ procurement organization for Northern California and Northern Nevada, achieved its highest monthly donor record in its history this past July: 43 organ donors. During the virtual EHC program, Donor Network West will be hosting a panel discussion featuring organ recipients and family members of donors. This is a unique opportunity for participants to hear their stories and experiences. Many participants in past EHC programs have said that the organ transplantation panel is one of their highlights. As one alum noted, the panelists’ “feelings and words influence me a lot” and made them think differently about organ transplantation.
Schools and universities have had to adapt, albeit imperfectly, in response to COVID-19. During the program, participants will get a chance to chat with current American medical students, including those at Stanford, and hear how their medical education has been impacted by the pandemic. Participants also have the opportunity to engage in casual, small-group discussions on any topic that they are interested in. Previous EHC participants have enjoyed this opportunity and have come away inspired and more motivated to pursue their studies.
Apply by January 31, 2021, to join the March 21-27 Exploring Health Care Program!