Response to COVID

Training During COVID-19

Despite these strange and trying times, here at MGH we are committed to providing our trainees with high quality training without forfeiting their health or safety. While the rates of COVID-19 in the state of Massachusetts are now among the lowest in the country, we are continuing to follow certain precautions for the time being.

Anatomic Pathology

In early March, as cases started peaking in Massachusetts and the hospital changed their policies to limit elective procedures, the AP services and residency program modified their operations in several ways to provide for continuity of care while preserving the safety of all department members. 

- All residents’ working spaces were reassigned to provide adequate social distancing, a system that is still in place. 

- Provided meals (lunch) were modified to an individually packed format and maintained for all in-house residents. 

- During the peak of the surge in Massachusetts, most residents were assigned to work from home. 

- A team of trainees (a senior and a junior resident, with a third one on back-up hold) were considered essential personnel and covered the frozen sections and autopsy services. Procedures in these sections were modified to ensure adequate safety precautions, guided by our hospital’s infection control team.  

- All other services were covered by attendings, but residents still participated on their originally scheduled rotations by logging into remote sign out daily, via Microsoft Teams or Zoom. 

- All consensus conferences and tumor boards were transitioned to a virtual format, and links were provided to all trainees. Residents and fellows were able to attend different conferences during the day, regardless of their originally scheduled rotation, to maximize learning while working from home.  

- All didactic conferences were maintained and transitioned to a virtual format  

- Residents were also encouraged to use other educational materials available online, which were curated in our internal page, Learn Pathology. Materials hosted in this site include our large collection of virtual slides grouped into study sets, which is accessible from anywhere. 

Now that we are all back to work in the hospital, some of our measures to ensure everyone’s safety are still in place, including remote sign out and virtual conferences, as well as physically distant desk distribution. At the same time, we continue to take steps to maintain the high standard of education that we are known for at MGH. To facilitate a positive experience, each resident (and most faculty members) has been provided with their own webcam and microphone to use at their desk.  By now, our residents and faculty have become well versed in using Zoom and Microsoft Teams!

Clinical Pathology

During the COVID-19 surge the CP residency program restructured its curriculum in the following ways:

- All teaching conferences and resident meetings immediately transitioned to an online format 

- A rotation schedule was established for the Microbiology and Chemistry lab rotation, to minimize exposure and ensure safe distancing. This allowed time for the residents working remotely to contribute to a series of COVID-19-related research projects and community studies. Residents were actively involved in the validation and verification of various in-house COVID-19 laboratory tests. 

- The Transfusion Medicine service came up with detailed guidelines to minimize exposure of residents and fellows to potential COVID-19 cases. Daily rounds and teaching conferences became virtual. Residents and fellows were able to remain on site, as safe distancing in our new resident room was secured. 

- The Molecular Pathology rotation managed to come up with an entirely new, virtual curriculum in the course of few days. The residents and fellows initiated and contributed to COVID-19 research projects and community studies, in collaboration with the Microbiology residents. 

- The Coagulation service became fully virtual with previewing, sign outs, and teaching all occurring remotely. Thus, despite the increase in volume of samples, service remained unaffected. Residents set up and completed their own clinical studies on COVID-19 and coagulopathies.

- Residents on research electives devoted their time to the validation of COVID-19 tests putting together a multidisciplinary team across various MGH departments and the administration of the City of Boston. 


COVID-19 Research and Projects

Trainee Publications
Faculty Publications