At a time when medical expertise is most needed, COVID-19 has disrupted medical education around the globe. We made the difficult decision in late March to cancel our May teaching trip due to the rapidly developing concerns and travel restrictions at that time. This is the first trip cancellation for TAAAC-EM in our 10 year history and while disappointing, we are so grateful to our community of previous teaching delegates for helping us immediately pivot to virtual teaching. In collaboration with our EM colleagues throughout Ethiopia we have begun to virtually deliver some of the educational activities that are so foundational to our partnership. We have been focusing our collective efforts on three main areas:

1) Postgraduate Teaching: Our colleagues at AAU requested our support in ensuring that postgraduate education remains on track despite the pandemic. In response, we have created a twice-weekly postgraduate teaching schedule. Past TAAAC-EM delegates immediately answered the call for teachers and quickly volunteered to fill the roster. Thanks to them, we are supporting the AAU EM faculty and residents by delivering teaching sessions via Zoom, culminating (as TAAAC-EM trips always do) with a journal club held on the last Friday of the month.

2) Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Our colleagues in Ethiopia have identified several COVID-related topics that would be helpful to cover through CPD teaching. To date we have delivered two sessions, the first focusing on PPE and protecting yourself as an emergency physician, and the second focusing on airway management of COVID patients. We hope to continue these CPD sessions for faculty once weekly throughout the month of June and are developing topics based on our colleagues’ suggestions as to what is most relevant to them.

3) Wellness: It is a stressful time to be an emergency physician anywhere in the world, and more important than ever to be able to share the burden of that uncertainty with colleagues. Dr. James Maskalyk, TAAAC-EM Strategic Director, has been leading virtual wellness sessions for EM physicians in Addis and Toronto. The goal of these sessions is to discuss strategies for staying well in the midst of the pandemic and beyond, but also to provide an important forum to share challenges, successes, and stand in solidarity with one another.

Dr. James Maskalyk on wellness: CBC Radio, The Current