CHICAGO – With more than 135,000 resident and fellow physicians caring for patients on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced guidance for residency programs and sponsoring institutions to follow to ensure the safety and well-being of their physicians-in-training. Given the unique role that residents and fellows are assuming during the pandemic, the new guidance aims to help residency programs adequately address the personal, physical and economic stresses that residents and fellows are facing.

“As part of their training, residents and fellows across the country are being heavily relied upon as essential front-line care givers during the COVID-19 pandemic—often assuming roles that aren’t typical to residency training. It is vitally important that residency programs and sponsoring institutions are taking action to ensure these physicians-in-training are kept safe and supported personally and financially throughout the course of the pandemic,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “We encourage residency programs to look to this guidance and put measures in place that will protect residents and fellows as they care for patients on the front lines of the pandemic and simultaneously complete their medical training.” 

The AMA’s guiding principles to help protect resident and fellow physicians responding to COVID-19 are among many resources published as part of the AMA Medical Education COVID-19 Resource Guide. This guidance includes ensuring residency programs have paid leave policies in place for residents who must take unplanned absences if they become ill or require quarantine during COVID-19. With many residents and some fellow physicians working in roles outside of their specialty and sub-specialty training, the guidance also calls for residency programs and sponsoring institutions to provide compensation and malpractice coverage commensurate with their newly defined roles, and ensure they are assessed on and receive credit for this work as part of their training requirements.

The AMA will continue to provide resources to physicians and physicians-in-training to help prepare them to care for patients as the pandemic evolves and protect themselves and their patients from illness. These resources are available on the AMA COVID-19 Resource Center

Media Contact:

Kelly Jakubek

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.