In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to combat its spread, the MD-PhD program leadership was unable to bring undergraduates to the Tri-I campus for the summer. However, unwilling to cancel the program entirely, and dedicated to its mission of increasing the diversity of physician-scientists, Gateways leadership opted to create a version of the program that could be delivered remotely.
With only a few weeks to pivot away from the research centered summer already planned, Drs. Catharine Boothroyd and Benjamin Levitt, working closely with a group of MD-PhD student mentors, assembled a six week program of professional and academic development, advising, and networking activities and workshops. Fifth year MD-PhD students, Nneoma Adaku and Ariana Rabinowitsch, after having planned a summer's worth of journal club readings for the traditional Gateways, put together a collection of COVID-19 focused articles that would be accessible to the undergraduates and ran a virtual journal club during the summer.
Additionally, MD-PhD students organized faculty and student panels, multiple Problem-Based Learning (PBL) sessions, and served as Big Sib mentors for the Gateways students.
Gateways 2020 students, along with the 2019 cohort, were invited to the Tri-I MD-PhD Invited Lecture delivered by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed during the summer and heard keynote speaker from Dr. Joe Amprey, MD, PhD, (Tri-I Class of 2004) during their final workshop.
As so many things in 2020, this was an atypical Gateways program, but, absence of lab-work notwithsanding, a succesful one.