COVID-19

There’s no denying it, COVID-19 hit NYC (and us) hard.

Between March and May 2020, over 5,000 COVID-19 patients were admitted to CUIMC and our residents stepped up to the front lines.

Despite the devastation of this disease, the pandemic showed us what we as a program are capable of. It brought us together. It made us better physicians.

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Our faculty stepped up and donated dinner to the residents. Every. Single. Night.

Our chief worked tirelessly to ensure our residents were protected and supported even during the most challenging times.

A former medicine co-resident designed 3D printed face shields for our residents.

Our neuroinfectious disease faculty jumped into action trying to understand this disease and its neurologic manifestations.

Yes, it was a challenging and devastating time. But we came out of it stronger.


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Genna Waldman, MD
Neurology Chief Resident, 2019-2020 (and current epilepsy fellow!)… deserves a medal for her amazing leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with department and program leadership, she restructured our entire residency (and department) overnight. While it was necessary to redeploy our residents to the COVID-19 units, she worked tirelessly to ensure they had time off to rest and recuperate. Genna made certain that our education in neurology did not stop and that even if residents were pulled off elective they got it back in their schedule later, to not miss those opportunities. She could often be found in her office late at night, making adjustments to schedules so our residents could sleep (even though we’re not sure she did). It’s no wonder they call her the “Wartime chief.”


 

Research

Teleneurology

As COVID-19 cases increased, we began seeing neurologic manifestations. From multiple cases of PRES, to strokes in patents without other risk factors, to demyelinating neuropathies - our residents and attendings immediately sprung into action researching whether these were simply associations or true manifestations of this awful disease. See below for an incredible sampling of the important work our residents and attendings did (and continue to do). Teleneurology was not a new concept in our program. We launched a program through our resident continuity clinic in 2018 with the goal of increasing our access, improving care for patients with poor mobility, and innovating the way we deliver care. The pandemic simply fast-forwarded our expansion as we switched to 100% teleneurology overnight. While we have now restarted in-person visits, we plan to maintain a significant portion of teleneurology in our practice.

Educational Innovations

Collaboration

During the peak of the pandemic, we launched a new multispeciality conference dedicated to discussing COVID-19 patients with encephalopathy and coma. An immense amount of learning, understanding, and research came out of this conference. Fortunately, we are seeing very few COVID-19 patients these days, but we found the conference so educational that we have expanded it to include non-COVID-19 patients and made it a permanent monthly conference.
We also moved all our conferences onto virtual platforms, jumped into the social media world, incorporated remote audience-response features, and continue to think of new and innovative ways to deliver education.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it is that medicine depends on teamwork, and we are fortunate to have an incredible team here! Many outpatient providers stepped up and joined our residents on the inpatient services. Our attendings jumped in to help - from rounding on medical ICU patients to covering ALL stroke codes via telestroke - we were all in it together. We worked closely with other residency programs to distribute residents from all specialties throughout the hospital. We even began collaborations with other hospitals and healthcare organizations to better understand the neurologic manifestations of COVID-19.