University of Saskatchewan professor offers interactive COVID-19 course to health professionals

·2 min read

A University of Saskatchewan professor is offering a specialized online course on COVID-19 for health professionals.

Epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine says it's vital to learn about the medical aspects of COVID, but health professionals also need to keep current on the latest local and international trends, as well as public attitudes.

Muhajarine is teaching part of the online course, but he's also recruited an array of professionals to both teach and take the class.

It's one of the only classes of its kind in Canada.

"We have researchers, but we also have highly trained health professionals and clinicians seeing patients. We all have something to contribute," Muhajarine said.

"This mix of people, both the guest teachers as well as students, makes for a very lively, very stimulating, high impact learning situation."

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press
Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press

Muhajarine said that with the soaring infection rates across Canada, there is a temptation to throw all of society's efforts and resources into hospital care. But to prevent spread in the first place, and to spend limited health dollars where they're most needed, research and information sharing is key.

Vaidehi Pisolkar, a second-year doctoral student and researcher in the U of S department of community health and epidemiology, is taking the course. Pisolkar is studying COVID-19 trends in school-aged children. She wanted to learn more about the cultural differences that can influence infection rates.

She said the course has been an amazing source of the most current data and that the diversity of lecturers and classmates has helped her to approach her research in new ways.

"These are real experts in so many fields. It's very holistic," she said.

"I have learned a tremendous amount. It's been a great experience. You can look at things from so many lenses."

Saskatchewan has seeing record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions in recent days.

New restrictions were recently announced. They include mandatory indoor masks in most locations, but groups representing doctors, nurses and pharmacists say much more needs to be done.