The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it unprecedented challenges. We, at the TRP, have adapted swiftly to ensure that the program continues to be delivered smoothly. This is a personal memoir of how our Program Coordinator, Yasman Mohammadzadeh has been dealing with the current landscape.
Yasman Mohammadzadeh, TRP Program Coordinator, May 2020
As one of the program coordinators for the Translational Research Program, going virtual has been an extremely fun and memorable journey. COVID-19 provided us an opportunity to adapt and go virtual, and adaptability is one of the competencies TRP strives to instill in our students. With the help of my amazing team and students, we have been able to take our classes, workshops, seminars, and social events virtual.
One virtual coordination experience that stands out during this transition was when I was asked to help one of my instructors help create break out rooms during one of her lessons. Break out rooms are easy; the added twist was that she wanted to constantly interchange her speakers between rooms. As the moderator, I had the task of keeping track of what rooms the speakers were in, what rooms they’ve been in, and what rooms to go into next. With some coordination with the instructor, the process went smoothly. The speakers were delighted, and the students enjoyed the experience. Even in these unprecedented times, we ensure that our students’ learning and graduate experience is upheld.
One of my fears about going virtual was that we were going to lose our ‘TRP Socials’. As a program, we like to get together with our community [students, alumni, instructors, guest speakers, community translators] to not only enjoy each other’s company but also learn from our diverse communities. Networking and knowledge transfer are key aspects of our program. This was a great way for our current and graduated students to get to know each other, for our students to network with industry experts outside of the classroom, and for the translational community to grow. Having to stand six feet from someone makes that a little difficult. However, after the first week of being virtual, one of our students suggested we have an online-TRP-social. The TRP team and students met and brainstormed a few ideas on the different events we can hold via Zoom (talent shows, trivia night, movie nights). After a round of test runs, TRP successfully held its second virtual Social recently.
Being able to see our team, instructors, and students, come together to create opportunities, even during a pandemic, has been an amazing experience for me. I look forward to seeing what else we come up with!
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Yasman Mohammadzadeh wants to improve access to healthcare. With a background of biology and having studied Health Management, she aims to improve patient access to community- and government-run programs. She is working to redirect resources and shift healthcare policies to better support the needs of our community. She envisions a healthcare system that reflects and assists our diverse population.
The Translational Research International Partnership [T.R.I.P] is a pan-institutional “global classroom” for health innovation. As the program coordinator, Yasman is responsible for communicating between multiple institutions, creating a global curriculum, with learning objectives, standards, and a universal mission.