Department of Pediatrics Annual Report – 2020

student write notes in background with books and stethoscope in foreground

Medical Student Education

Developing skills core to the practice of pediatrics

During their major clinical year (MCY), students at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) spend six weeks on the pediatric clerkship, either at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (MSCH) or Harlem Hospital. Under director Marina Catallozzi, MD, and associate director Marguerite Costich, MD, students learn to care for children and families in a variety of patient care settings and develop the clinical skills, diagnostic reasoning, basic management strategies, and interpersonal and communication skills core to the practice of pediatrics. Department faculty members and pediatric residents are involved in every aspect of medical student education, from mentorship and didactic conferences to advising on career directions.

Students are exposed to both normal child development and the role illness plays in the lives of children and families. Their patient care experience is supplemented with daily rounds, conferences, case-based seminars, and team-based learning modules.

In their final year, students can avail themselves of numerous pediatric electives ranging from sub-internships on the general medicine service to virtually all subspecialty divisions within the department.

Annually 10 to 15 graduating medical students choose pediatrics and successfully match at top pediatrics programs around the country.

Learning Through Simulation

A formative Observed Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE) was recently developed in conjunction with MSCH’s Family Advisory Council and Children’s Helping Advisory Team. When clerkships restarted in the summer of 2020, the clerkship team worked with the simulation team and Resident as Teacher leadership to create a telehealth OSCE that focuses on communication and clinical skills in this new and important medium. This is reflective of the important but effective shifts that the clerkship team has had to make to ensure continued and effective teaching for undergraduate medical education in pediatrics during the pandemic.

Columbia COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC)

In response to the pandemic, VP&S suspended clinical rotations for medical students in mid-March 2020. Pediatrics Vice Chair Dr. Catallozzi, along with two other Columbia University Irving Medical Center faculty and two student leaders, established the Columbia COVID-19 Student Service Corps (CSSC), an interprofessional service-learning model to support the health system’s patients and workforce and the local community. More than 2,000 student volunteers from 12 Columbia schools have worked almost two dozen projects, and this model has been extended to 10 national chapters.

Among the projects, CSSC members worked closely with pediatric primary care and subspecialty practices to contact and onboard patients to the telehealth platform. CSSC’s information services arm, in conjunction with pediatric leadership, also developed important informational signs in English and Spanish. Under the guidance of Dr. Catallozzi this team also assembled a redeployment guide for pediatric faculty and trainees in advance of reassignments to adult inpatient medicine or the care of adult patients with COVID-19 at MSCH.