The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our world in many ways. It has, however, provided us with opportunities to examine how we do things, and in turn think critically bout how we envision changes to improve population health in the future. The high ground policy implications are far reaching.
As with the rest of the world, the Fellowship adapted the logistics of its programming for the 2019-2020 class due to COVID-19 and the uncertain timeline for returning to a safe environment for travel, group meetings, and personal comfort. Following our February session in Fort Worth at UNTHSC-TCOM, we went virtual for the remainder of the program. In collaboration with our co-sponsor, the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, we made the difficult decision to cancel the Fellowship class of 2020-2021 and began the 2021-2022 class virtually.
One of the most meaningful attributes of the program is the bond that forms between the Fellows and the people they engage with throughout the year. Without the connectedness of in-person participation, the Fellowship would lose one of its most critical components.
In place of starting a new class, we approached 2020-2021 as a unique opportunity to re-engage our alumni in a year-long program that:
- Revisited the foundational, high ground principles of the Fellowship,
- Engaged participants in meaningful discussions around important issues facing health care and population health in today’s world, and
- Developed workgroups of alumni around both perennial and emerging issues.
The program fostered a renewed interest in collaborative approaches to the important issues of the day through forging relationships across the alumni, working together towards solutions, advocacy, and renewed fellowship. We focused on supporting the dissemination of information through writing opportunities ranging from articles for professional and academic outlets, to evidence-informed issue briefs and reports.
Given the success of the 2020-2021 OHPF Alumni Fellowship, we will host similar sessions in the future. We encourage alumni to reach out to us by email with ideas.