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The role of the medical students in influenza pandemic response

Gina Waight, MD, Abeba Berhane, MD, Lorenzo Orton, MD, Sandro Cinti, MD, John E. Billi, MD, Christopher S. Kim, MD, MBA


Objectives: To better define the role of the medical students in the event of a disaster requiring a surge response in healthcare systems.
Setting: The University of Michigan Medical School and Health System, where staffing plans for a pandemic flu were actively taking place.
Subjects: All medical students at the University of Michigan.
Interventions: The authors surveyed medical students to evaluate how they felt they could contribute during a pandemic flu.
Results: Of the students who completed the survey, 88 percent of the respondents felt that students should formally be incorporated into the health system’s staffing plan during a pandemic. This survey further identified the specific patient care tasks that students felt comfortable performing, which may be of value to medical school and hospital administration that are considering inclusion of medical students into their pandemic planning.
Conclusions: There should be formal inclusion of medical students into health systems’ staffing plans in the case of pandemic flu, as they are valuable first responders who are both willing and able to participate in the pandemic response.


pandemic, influenza, medical education, resources, staffing

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