Opportunistic physiology: inserting physiology and pathophysiology content into virtually delivered clinical rotations

Thad E Wilson, Minal Mulye, Samina Akbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is important to reinforce physiology and pathophysiology concepts during clinical rotations, which traditionally occur after the foundational sciences in the US medical school system. We took an opportunistic approach when the COVID-19 pandemic forced our content into virtual delivery mode, as clinical medical education required a shift to nonpatient contact. We describe our experience in building a 2-wk course that consisted of online small groups during  week 1  and panels and cases during  week 2 . The physiology content involved faculty-vetted resources, along with both discrete and open-ended focus questions for each learning objective. The course also included mechanical ventilation, and the physiologist utilized discussion points and developed a formative quiz to emphasize the physiology correlates, in addition to the very clinical aspects of mechanical ventilation. There were pathophysiology opportunities with pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and multiple-organ system dysfunction among the clinical correlates. Review and recall of the foundational sciences occurred, allowing links between the pre-clerkship and clerkship years that were previously undiscovered in our institution. This virtually delivered medical curriculum related to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19 is timely, carries high student interest, and can benefit medical students and the communities they serve.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • medical education


  • Medical Education

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