After careful consideration, we have made the very difficult decision to suspend the Department of Surgery OR and Clinic Shadowing Programs for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. As you may be aware, we have made significant strides to improve the program for our faculty volunteers and student shadowers, which makes us especially disappointed to have to postpone each of these programs.
However, as we continue to navigate these difficult times, we can come to the agreement that each day, week, and month are subject to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this level of variability, we do not anticipate that we will be able continue to offer this program for the foreseeable future and feel that it is crucial to prioritize the health of our students, members of our department, and the community at this time.
As our efforts will help us flatten the curve, and hopefully land us on the winning side of this, we still do not anticipate that our services will be a conducive learning or exploratory environment for shadowing. Eventually, as we are able to transition our current mindset towards normalcy, and catching up, we must also provide meaningful experiences for our UWSMPH clinical medical students.
Our current plan is to lift the suspension in January 2021 and send communication in November if we feel that this is still feasible as determined at that time. If we determine that we are indeed able to proceed with the program in the new year, both clinic and shadowing applications will be reopened by the end of November. Of course, if we are able to return to our baseline sooner than expected, we will lift the restrictions and send an update before then to reinstate the programs.
We recognize the disappointment that prospective students and members of our department are sure to feel given this information, but we are hopeful that by making the difficult decision now will help us plan for a better program in 2021. For students specifically, we hope that given this information in advance, you can plan your summer and fall schedules accordingly, in hopes to better accommodate a shadowing opportunity in the spring.
We will continue to keep our website updated at this time so please feel free to check this for any changes.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information. All replies will be forwarded to our department shadowing team at email@example.com.
Paul DiMusto, MD
Director of Surgical Shadowing Program
Department of Surgery
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health