VCOM Carolinas Research Day 2023

Biomedical Studies

Testimonials about the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2022 1 Ghazal Becker OMS-2, 2 Emily Ranta OMS-2, 4 Victoria Reyes MD, 2 Riddhi Shah OMS-2 ,

2 Alexis Stoner, PhD MPH, 3 H. Dean Sutphin, PhD (1) VCOM-LA, (2) VCOM-CC , (3) VCOM-VA, (4) UNITEC

Abstract # BIOM-3




Question 1: Personal Beliefs and Knowledge About COVID-19 ❖ Decrease in academic opportunities and performance ❖ Mental health impacts ❖ Social limitations “[COVID -19] has prevented me from connecting with my peers at VCOM and has hindered a majority of the learning experiences I had hoped to get out of medical school.” Question 2: Perspectives On The Interventions and Prevention Initiatives Taken In Respondent's Region ❖ Positive view on initiatives and policies overall (international) ❖ Disapprove of the initiatives and policies in place (United States) ❖ Thankful for availability of vaccinations ❖ Negative impact caused by politics on the initiatives taken “ In El Salvador , the pandemic has been well controlled with different health measures that were imposed from the beginning and thanks to the education provided to people about this virus, these measures have been maintained and have allowed the pandemic to be (at a national level) well controlled.” Question 3: Perspectives On The Interventions and Prevention Initiatives Taken In Other Countries “I have limited information or knowledge about COVID -19 prevention initiatives and interventions in other countries aside from what I have read in the news. It is difficult to reach a consensus based on news articles or the data presented within them when it is unclear how widespread testing may or may not be in these other countries.” – US VCOM Auburn Question 4: Perspectives On Social Media and News Outlet Presentation of COVID-19 ❖ Negative view of social media due to it not being scientific and/or spreading false information ❖ Negative view on social media due to political reasons ❖ Neutral view on social media due, seeing positives and negatives Social Media did a good job of presenting both fronts (sides/extremes) in a sensationalized way, but heavily refrained from being a good way to receive or convey scientific information on the issue. – US VCOM Virginia ❖ CDC ❖ Social Media ❖ WHO (international>US) Question 5: Sources Used to Obtain Information ❖ Unfamiliar with other countries’ initiatives ❖ Strict precautions in other countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Globally, medical students were required to adapt to this new environment and have been personally affected in several ways. In 2022, students were influenced by social media and informative news outlets. They adapted to restrictions, formed personal beliefs about the pandemic, and gained knowledge about the virus. As medical students with an osteopathic focus, we questioned how our peers in the U.S. and in international settings have been impacted over the course of the pandemic, focusing on their minds, bodies, and spirits. This thematic study focuses on comparing testimonials from students enrolled in four U.S. based medical schools and three international medical schools. These testimonials include medical students' knowledge about the coronavirus and their perspectives on the policies and the initiatives taken. Additionally, testimonials addressed the effect of COVID-19 on students’ personal lives, sources used for updated information, and how students thought social media presented the pandemic. ❖ Subjects for this study were selected from cohorts of medical students enrolled in a course entitled “ Global Seminar for Health and Environment .” ❖ Students were enrolled in this course during the 2022 academic year. ❖ Eligible campuses include: ➢ VCOM-VA (Blacksburg, Virginia) ➢ VCOM-CC (Spartanburg, South Carolina) ➢ VCOM-AU (Auburn, Alabama) ➢ VCOM-LA (Monroe, Louisiana) ➢ El Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) ➢ Universidad Evangélica de El Salvador (San Salvador, El Salvador) ➢ Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) Participants Participants 1. What are your personal beliefs and knowledge of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19? How has it affected you at a personal level? 2. What is your perspective on the interventions and prevention initiatives that have been taken in your country, region, and city? What would you change , if any? 3. What is your perspective for the interventions and prevention initiatives of other countries or regions? What knowledge or information you obtain your information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19? 4. How has social media and news outlets presented the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 in your country, region, city? How has that affected you ? 5. From what sources do you obtain your information on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19? Survey Questions

Conclusion The COVID 19 pandemic affected medical students in the U.S., as well as internationally. This pandemic has affected student´s education and learning experiences, personal health, family´s health and finances, mental health and limited their social interactions both in 2022. This study was limited by the number of student responses received both internationally and in the United States. We would like future analysis to be focused on student´s response to changing policy structures with increasing vaccination rates and returns to normalcy. This study indicates changes in medical student's perspective in the year of 2022. With respect to personal beliefs and knowledge about COVID-19, the 2022 survey showed medical students believed they had less academic opportunities and more social limitations and mental health impacts. With respect to initiatives and prevention in the respondent's country, the responses demonstrated varying answers of approval and disapproval. International students were more likely to have positive views on their own country’s initiative, while students from the United States were more often displeased or disapproved of the policies in their country. With respect to initiatives and prevention in other countries, across the board the students felt unfamiliar with other countries’ initiatives. Additionally, for those student who did have some idea on other countries’ initiatives, many felt the precautions taken by other countries were too strict. With respect to perspectives on social media and news outlets, both international and United State’s students found social media to be negative and a contributor of false information or political expansion. Finally, with respect to sources used to obtained information, the responses overwhelming used the CDC followed by social media and the WHO.


We would like to acknowledge Dr. Stoner, Dr. Sutphin and Ms. Ana Jones for their assistance and guidance as we completed this study. We would also like to acknowledge our fellow medical students among the participating medical schools for their participation in this study. This study was approved by VCOM IRB.


2 0 2 3 R e s e a r c h R e c o g n i t i o n D a y

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