Medical Students’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Experience and recommendations from five countries

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The COVID-19 pandemic has provided medical students around the globe with unique challenges and opportunities. With formal medical school education and training interrupted, medical students sought innovative ways to contribute to their health-care systems and communities. Their responses could be organized into three categories: clinical (remote clinical care and triage, helping in COVID testing or treatment centers, and contact tracing), nonclinical (PPE acquisition, COVID-related policy and research, and supporting vulnerable groups in the community), and educational (creating materials to educate peers, the community, or community health workers). We present examples of responses developed by students from five countries: Brazil, Nepal, the Philippines, Rwanda, and the United States. We discuss the challenges, outcomes, and recommendations for each case. One critical opportunity for growth is strengthening international collaborations. We hope that these examples provide a framework for medical students to plan coordinated and effective responses to the next pandemic, and further medical student engagement in international collaboration.