- Be an active, helpful member of your home community.
- Volunteer to cover childcare needs for neighbors or to check in (by phone/from a distance) on the elderly.
- If you’re part of a religious community, see if there are ways that you can provide support through them.
- Check with organizations where you have volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles.
- Check with your college’s office that coordinates community service for any opportunities that they recommend
- Brighten A Day connects volunteers to seniors and hospitalized children who are in need of some cheer
- Operation Warm has a list of 25 ways to volunteer virtually
- Paper-airplanes.org invites volunteers to provide online tutoring to “bridge gaps in language, higher education, and professional skills training for conflict-affected individuals”
- Dosomething.org’s nine places to volunteer online and make a real impact
- If you’ve received crisis hotline training, check to see if your community’s crisis hotline could use additional phone or chat volunteers. Many crisis hotlines are overloaded right now.
- Work with underserved and under-resourced youth
- Upchieve: Online tutoring for disadvantaged youth
- Assist in digitizing, transcribing and otherwise contributing to nonprofit organizations
Network with Local Health Professionals
- Once the current situation has stabilized: Contact alum physicians near your home by searching by location in your school’s alumni directory and on LinkedIn. It will be interesting to talk with them about their experiences as physicians, especially during this time. Of course, they may be far too busy to connect with you due to being stretched thin by the pandemic. Consider seeking out retired physicians who are watching this unfold, or medical students who are currently not allowed on the wards. Shadowing is unlikely to be possible in the near future.
Research Professional Schools
- Surf through websites for schools in your chosen profession in your home state
- Medical school links are available below:
- Watch this video to learn about osteopathic medicine.
Engage in free online learning opportunities
Do some pre-health reflection and journaling
Read & Listen & Watch
- Insight into physicians’ lives and patient cases via YouTube videos and other virtual shadowing opportunities.
- Physician / health professional podcasts:
- Read books that provide insight about being a doctor, applying to medical school, or learning about other health careers.
- Book recommendations from advisors:
- Read Blog posts from current medical students
- Podcasts are a great way to learn and engage.
Learn more about racism and structural inequality in health care
Participate in Virtual Seminars, Fairs, and Info Sessions
Work on Life/“Adulting” Skills
- Do you know how to cook? Offer to cook and deliver a meal to neighbors trying to manage childcare and work obligations at home.
- Develop an at-home exercise routine (this is also good self-care!)
- Take up or revisit a craft or hobby -- origami, bike repair, gardening, the instrument or art supplies you put down at the end of high school…
- If you’ve never tracked your budget and expenses before, analyze your spending from the last year and develop a budget moving forward (see Nerdwallet tips)
Engage in Self-Care
News Stories Highlighting Student Efforts During the Pandemic
- Students help with COVID testing, help keep campus safe, U of Nebraska Omaha, February 2021
- Clear Face Mask Drive For Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Organized By Family Medicine Staff, University of Michigan Medicine, June 4, 2020
- Side gigs for good during COVID-19, Penn Today, May 21, 2020
- A College Student is Making Lip-Readable Face Masks for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, Prevention, Apr 12, 2020
- How hundreds of medical students are staying useful during COVID-19, Michigan Radio, MAR 31, 2020
- With video calls and an army of volunteers, this 15-year-old is battling pandemic loneliness in nursing homes, Washington Post, October 2020
- Rutgers Medical School Students Mobilize to Support Health Care Workers, Tap Into Somerville, April 15, 2020
- Local Medical Students Team up to Provide Child Care for Health Workers, WAMU, April 15, 2020
- Doctors in Training: In Limbo, [Princeton] Alumni Med Students Find Ways to Serve, Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 14, 2020
- Clinical training on pause, UC med students find ways to be of service, UC Newsfeed, April 9, 2020
- MN “Covidsitters” organization developed by UMN medical students, STAT News, March 31, 2020
- Chicago Medical Students Form Volunteer Teams, Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2020
- Medical Students, Sidelined for Now, Find New Ways to Fight Coronavirus, NYT, March 23, 2020
- Students form Harvard-wide Task Force, The Harvard Crimson, March 20, 2020
- Premed student develops grocery service for seniors, KSBW TV, Las Vegas, March 16, 2020
Updates from the Professions
Check out these powerpoint decks created by Brooke Sheetz at The University of Alabama Huntsville! She invites you to tweak them for your own use:
This document was created cooperatively by members of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions to support prehealth students who wanted to gain relevant clinical and volunteer experience during the pandemic.
This document may be distributed to students and others for educational purposes. It should not be reproduced for commercial use.
NAAHP members have suggested these resources -- NAAHP does not officially endorse or support any specific programs represented here.
NAAHP Ideas for Prehealth Students