During the pandemic, online lecture series helps fill gaps in training for urology residents


The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of healthcare—including sharp drops in educational opportunities for resident physicians in training. In response, urology training programs across the United States joined forces to develop a multi-institutional online video lecture collaboration, according to a special article in Urology Practice, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

Called “Urology Collaborative Online Video Didactics”—Urology COViD for short—the online lecture series has been a runaway success in the urology world, with thousands of views and overwhelmingly positive reviews from trainees and educators. Lindsay A. Hampson, Assistant Professor of Urology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and colleagues share their experience with the development and initial evaluation of the groundbreaking lecture series.

Urology Programs Team Up to Replace Educational Opportunities Lost to Coronavirus

An overlooked effect of drastic declines in routine clinical care has been the loss of invaluable training opportunities for resident physicians. This may be especially true in surgical specialties such as urology, as many hospitals have only recently started to resume operations other than emergency or urgent surgery.

Spurred by an example from another surgical subspecialty (otolaryngology), the urology residents at UCSF brought the idea to Dr. Hampson. The following day Dr. Hampson conceptualized Urology COViD and reached out to program directors at eight academic training programs: UCSF, University of Washington, University of California-Davis, Stanford University, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and University of Virginia. There was immediate buy-in, with programs across the country facing the same issues with how to train residents during decreased clinical volume and changing educational contexts.

Within a week the UCSF team had created a new website (urologycovid.ucsf.edu/) and launched Urology COViD as a “urology-specific collaborative didactic series.” Almost immediately, there was a significant influx of collaborating programs from across the country; by the end of the first week of lectures, volunteer faculty had filled all 84 available lecture slots. The following week, a month-long waiting list was filled.

Consisting of a 45-minute lecture followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session, lectures are delivered live over the Zoom platform in webinar format, including interactive features. All lectures are subsequently posted on the website for viewing via YouTube.

By any measure, Urology COViD has been a smashing success, with lectures delivered by faculty from 35 institutions. The twice-daily webinars have been seen by an average of more than 470 viewers live on Zoom. Within the first two weeks, there were more than 7,000 views of the lecture recordings on YouTube.

More than 90 percent of users leaving feedback on the lecture series and videos have left above average or excellent ratings. More than 80 percent said the series provided a sense of “community connectedness” during a time of social isolation. “All (100 percent) of the viewers surveyed in this study indicated that they would like to see the series continue into the future,” the researchers write.

Urology COViD is resuming in September and is expected to provide continued educational opportunities even after the pandemic ends. “There will be a time in the future when we are back in the operating rooms, clinics and lecture halls,” Dr. Hampson and colleagues conclude. “We hope that this series can evolve and persist so that these new collaborative educational efforts can outlast the pandemic and continue to provide a source of shared knowledge, resident teaching, and community building for our diverse field.”