Residency Leadership Lessons From the Epicenter of the COVID-19 Surge

Elaine Rabin, James Willis, Dorian Alexander, Eric Steinberg, Arlene Chung, Miriam Kulkarni, Chen He, Saumil Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Emergency medicine residency program directors (PDs) in areas hit hardest by the initial U.S. COVID-19 pandemic surge faced novel and rapidly evolving organizational, educational, and resident wellness challenges. Despite variations in residency size, hospital setting, and patient population, PDs from eight residencies in “the epicenter” found uniformity in many of the lessons learned. Here we present those lessons and suggestions for high-yield preparation for running a residency during a surge. Of particular importance were frequent, transparent communication and stepwise staffing plans. Illness of residents and other staff occurred early and were substantially reduced as personal protective equipment protocols tightened. Wellness was compromised by anxiety and illness, with varying timelines. New, rich educational opportunities emerged. All programs declared ACGME pandemic status but remained able to maintain some educational offerings. Planning ahead for future surges can significantly reduce the real-time burden for residency leadership, which is particularly important as clinical demands on leadership may also increase with a surge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalAEM Education and Training
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


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