Wayne State alumna creates virtual course for Saudi physicians who want to help combat COVID-19

tahani almugbel
Tahani Almugbel

Combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) has required an unmatched effort in the healthcare industry. Medical students graduated early, physicians came out of retirement, and healthcare providers isolated themselves from family and crossed state borders all to join the front lines of the pandemic. 

Tahani Almugbel, Ph.D. ‘20, a recent alumna of the Wayne State University College of Education, is making it easier for physicians in Saudi Arabia to join the battle. An instructional design manager at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, she was tasked to lead a team of instructional and graphic designers to create a free, virtual course for physicians on COVID-19 infection and prevention. The team collaborated with doctors in emergency medicine and intensive care in Saudi Arabia, and with help from the United States Society of Critical Care Medicine, launched the website and the first phase of the program within days. 

“This course targets physicians who haven’t received prior formal critical care training but want to help,” Almugbel said. 

The COVID-19 Critical Care Crash Course consists of three milestones: e-learning of COVID-19 infection prevention and critical care; attending webinars with consultants in critical care medicine and infectious diseases, complete with assessments to test participants’ knowledge; and lastly, participating in practice trials at simulation centers. Those who complete the training will receive a certificate that allows them to assist healthcare providers under direct supervision of intensivists to ensure safe patient care. 

More than 10,000 physicians have completed phase 1, and another 22,000 have registered, Almugbel said. 

“The training is important because it is part of the national preparedness plan,” she said. “It will help the health system to be ready if the COVID-19 cases go up dramatically in Saudia Arabia.” 

Almugbel and the team continue to enhance the practical parts of the course through gamification and simulations. 

While this isn’t the jumpstart Almugbel had envisioned for her career, she’s glad to have successfully defended her dissertation, so she can now devote 100 percent of her expertise to the COVID-19 efforts. 

By Kristy Case, web editor/writer for the Wayne State University Graduate School. 

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