ComMed, or Integrated Health Science Field Work at Khon Kaen University (KKU) Thailand, is an Inter-Professional Education program for undergraduate students from 6 schools: Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Pharmaceutical Science, and Veterinary Medicine at KKU and the College of Asian Scholars. In 2020, this was the 38th annual event in which 694 third- and fourth-year students, and over 70 academic staffs from various schools, joined forces as a health team to conduct community surveys and health promotion activities in a rural area.
Normally, students would have to spend 7-10 days in rural villages, overnight staying at the villagers’ homes to understand the community’s folkways and complicated context of people’s illnesses. But due to COVID-19 last year, the ‘new normal’ practice has been implemented, while we must fulfil the original course’s objectives and learning outcomes.
In 2020, a group of mixed 56-58 students from different schools was arranged in 12 clusters within 12 villages under the supervision of 5-6 academic staff members. The program orientation and meetings were provided online via the website, ZOOM meetings, and Google Classroom Platform which was offered manually for students, video clips, documents, and various information manuals. All academic activities in university and villages were designed to guard against the spread of COVID-19: social distancing, facial mask wearing, hand washing, early detection of signs and symptoms, telemedicine communication, and staying away from the villages. This new normal practice could encourage students to achieve learning community health amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic all over the world.