Virtually Possible: Medical Student Rehabilitation Rotations during a Pandemic

Laura Y. Huang, Nathan McKenty, Armando Alvarez, Joslyn Gober, Robert Irwin, Diana Molinares, Chane Price, Andrew Sherman, Timothy Tiu, David R. Gater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic has led to new dilemmas in medical education because of an initial shortage of personal protective equipment, uncertainty regarding disease transmission and treatments, travel restrictions, and social distancing guidelines. These new problems further compound the already existing problem of limited medical student exposure to the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation, particularly for students in medical schools lacking a department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, approximately 50% of medical schools. A virtual medical student physical medicine and rehabilitation rotation was created to mitigate coronavirus 2019-related limitations and impact on medical education. Using audiovisual technology, students had the opportunity to participate in clinical inpatient and outpatient care, live-streamed procedures, and virtual didactics, develop and showcase their clinical knowledge and reasoning skills, and become familiar with the culture of the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program. Adaptive educational approaches, including integration of the flipped classroom model, success, pitfalls, and areas for improvement will be described and discussed. Providing nontraditional methods for physical medicine and rehabilitation education and exposure to medical students is crucial to maintain and promote growth of the field in this unprecedented and increasingly virtual era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-836
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Medical Education
  • Medical Students
  • Physical and Medical Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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