Howard University students share their experiences of persistence and COVID-19 during a panel with U.S. Surgeon General Murthy


WASHINGTON – Howard University Medical and Health Sciences Students Join US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD and President of Howard University Wayne AI Frédéric, MD, to talk about how they persevered during the COVID-19 pandemic and developed ways to protect their personal well-being.

Topics included overcoming vaccine reluctance with loved ones, relief for healthcare workers when vaccines were first rolled out, and frustrations people endured with online learning. , especially Zoom’s burnout. The discussion was captured in an hour-long panel hosted by Howard University and moderated by a White House fellow Garth Walker. The Howard students who participated were fourth-year medical students Stephanie Carter and Trisha lal as good as Yodit Goshu, a junior studying health sciences. A video recording of the roundtable is available here.

Murthy was confirmed in March to serve as the 21st U.S. Surgeon General, returning to the post he previously held under President Obama. He is among the most trusted public health voices in America. He is a renowned physician, researcher, entrepreneur and author of the bestselling book “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”.

Trisha spoke about the challenges associated with starting clinical rotations during a global pandemic. She said she had to focus on self-care when looking for ways to balance her role in the hospital and her life outside of medicine. She also shared how she felt inspired by the doctors she worked with at Howard University Hospital, and noted the collective sense of relief they felt when the vaccines were rolled out. But this same feeling was not always shared outside the hospital.

“Outside of the hospital, I have had many conversations with my friends and family about the vaccine,” Trisha said. “I have had many conversations with my teenage brother about his understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of following social distancing guidelines and the role of science in bringing us back to a level of normalcy. “

Carter also spoke about his experiences hesitating to get vaccinated.

“I talked a lot about my father. We’ve had a lot of conversations about getting the vaccine, ”Carter said. “He’s had prostate cancer twice, had radiation and had surgeries in the past. I kept encouraging him to get the vaccine.

Carter said many medical students have had to debunk myths and misinformation about the disease. But she had to get closer to her father, before finally convincing him to be vaccinated.

“I had to call back [my] father, it was not only a question of protecting oneself but also of not missing memories that [we] could have it together, ”Carter said. “I said, ‘I almost lost you twice. I don’t want to lose you a third time.

Goshu, who is the student council chair for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, shared her frustrations with the transition to online learning.

“There is such a thing as Zoom burnout,” Goshu said. “Everything was online and on Zoom. Classes were on Zoom, meetings were on Zoom, even talking to friends was on Zoom. Collectively, we were tired of having to log into the Zoom course or sitting in front of laptops rather than being able to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. “

She said the panel gave her the opportunity to hear how students’ frustrations weren’t very different from those of others.

“The panel was really amazing because it allowed me to hear the experiences of different people,” Goshu said. “Even hearing from President Frederick and the American Surgeon General, and just hearing the similarities in the lives of the people on the panel gave me a sense of what the rest of society was going through.”


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private research university that includes 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 degree programs leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to excellence in truth and service and has produced one Schwarzman Fellow, three Marshall Fellows, four Rhodes Fellows, 12 Truman Fellows, 25 Pickering Fellows and over 165 Fulbright Fellows. Howard also produces more African American doctorates on campus. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information about Howard University, visit

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