COVID-19 Rapid Response Webinars

Overhead view of an operating room

COVID-19 Rapid Response Webinars

Marc Ascher

This series is designed to support volunteers, staff, partner institutions, and health systems in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Series Details

With a particular focus on challenges in low- and middle-income countries, we are offering the opportunity to learn, discuss ideas and share relevant innovations. Upcoming webinars will focus on:

  • Nursing Student Contributions to the COVID-19 Response

  • Re-Opening Nursing Schools

  • Mental Health and COVID-19

  • Leadership and COVID-19

  • Non-Invasive Ventilation and COVID-19

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Supply Chains

Past Webinars:

Leading Health Care Systems Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an unparalleled crisis in health facilities and their health systems. Leaders faced simultaneous crises of lack of staff, financial shortfalls, and lack of PPE and other supplies The best and worst of health sector leadership was seen; from hospitals that were able to rapidly respond to changing needs to nursing homes that experienced patient abandonment and the failure to report deaths in a timely manner. Six months into the pandemic, it is clear that many countries will have to address the COVID-19 challenge for months or years to come, further stressing health workers and hospital leaders. The leadership sprint is turning into a marathon. 

Restarting Non-Emergent Surgery in LMICs
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the delay or cancellation of tens of thousands of non-emergent essential surgeries. Now that many countries have flattened their COVID-19 curves and increased their health system response capacity, hospitals are planning to restart non-emergent essential surgery. The online event will feature contributions, among others, from Dr. Droussi, a volunteer Plastic Surgeon in Morocco, Dr. Chu, the Director of the Centre for Global Surgery at Stellenbosch University and Dr Nagral, the Director of the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai.

Pathways to Re-Opening Medical Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has shuttered most medical schools and we need to find safe ways to reopen them. Operation Smile, the World Federation of Medical Education, the Association of Medical Schools in Africa (AMSA), the Association for Medical Education in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (AMEEMR), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), World Federation of Medical Education (WFME), International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), and the Asian Medical Student Association International (AMSA International) representatives will come together to share the challenges and solutions we face in reopening medical schools and what the new normal for medical education will be.

COVID-19 and Antithrombotic Treatment
A global consensus is developing that a primary cause of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 is hypercoagulopathy rather than classic Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrom (ARDS). This realization is beginning to transform medicine’s understanding of the COVID-19 disease process and the best treatment approaches at all stages of the disease, both in the hopsital and community. Operation Smile has gathered experts in COVID-19 care and in hematology to discuss the latest findings in COVID-19 hypercoagulopathy and anti-thrombotic treatment. The small panel format is designed to allow ample time for audience Q&A and discussion. It is hoped that participants will gain a better understand of the pathophysiology of COVID-19 hypercoagulopathy and the risks and benefits of putting COVID-19 patients on anti-thrombotic treatment.

Global Medical Student Contributions to the COVID-19 Response
The forum features speakers from the International Surgical Students Network (InciSioN), the Federation of African Medical Students Associations (FAMSA), the European Medical Student’s Association (EMSA), and Students4COVID (S4C), as they discuss the effects of the pandemic on students and trainees globally, student and trainee led COVID-19 initiatives, and contributions of medical students around the world in response to COVID-19.

Anesthesiology/Critical Care: Implications of COVID-19 in LMICs
The global COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm health systems around the world. There is particular concern for low- and middle-income countries due to unmet baseline needs in the health care system. Most educational COVID-19 material are oriented toward high-income countries and can provide contradictory information. The purpose of these webinars is to support partnering hospitals and health systems to properly respond to COVID-19 given low-resource settings.


Our panelists from Africa, South America, and the United States discuss how anesthesiologists are a high-risk group for getting COVID-19 due to intubation and extubation causing aerosolization, and due to anesthesiologist typically in charge of critical care and ventilated patients. Additionally, they will discuss the need to act immediately to create plans to obtain resources needed to protect staff, and prepare facilities for a surge in activity, including workflows to reduce high-risk exposures.