Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Life during the pandemic: an international photo-elicitation study with medical students

  • Dworkin, M.1, 2
  • Akintayo, T.3
  • Calem, D.2
  • Doran, C.2
  • Guth, A.2
  • Kamami, E. M.4
  • Kar, J.5
  • LaRosa, J.2
  • Liu, J. C. Jr.6
  • Pérez Jiménez, I. N.7
  • Frasso, R.2
  • 1 Brown University, Providence, RI, USA , Providence (United States)
  • 2 Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA , Philadelphia (United States)
  • 3 Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria , Ife (Nigeria)
  • 4 Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA , Philadelphia (United States)
  • 5 New Vision University School of Medicine, Tbilisi, Georgia , Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • 6 Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Medical University of Bahrain, Busaiteen, Bahrain , Busaiteen (Bahrain)
  • 7 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Medicina, Mexico City, Mexico , Mexico City (Mexico)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Apr 27, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-021-02684-x
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic is a global event with unprecedented impact on individuals and communities around the world. The purpose of this study is to use a modified photo-elicitation methodology to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of medical students and their communities around the world.MethodsParticipating medical students were asked to take photographs for 14 days. In lieu of an interview, which is customary for photo-elicitation projects, participants were asked to share a reflection (a paragraph or two) for each photograph they contributed to the study.ResultsBetween April 27th, 2020 and May 11th, 2020 26 students from 19 medical schools across 13 countries shared photographs and reflections. Qualitative analysis of written reflections revealed that medical students felt the impact of the pandemic on several levels 1) individual, 2) interpersonal, 3) educational, and 4) societal.ConclusionsThe COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of medical students on multiple levels. As individuals, students felt emotional distress but found resilience through physical activity and the establishment of new routines. Many students felt isolated as their interpersonal relationships were confined due to social distancing measures. These feelings could be combated with new educational initiatives focused on group collaboration. Lastly, students reflecting on the larger societal implications were concerned with the economic ramifications of the virus and its impact on their future. This study brought together students from several different countries to engage in an applied learning program as a model for equitable global health research.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times