Educational leadership in the time of a pandemic: Lessons from two institutions

Eva M. Aagaard, Mark Earnest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Over the course of a few weeks in March, COVID-19 upended the daily lives of Americans. Academic Medical Centers became a center-point for the response to the virus. Leaders within academic medical centers faced twin challenges of responding to the needs of the patients we serve while managing radical changes within their own institutions, including the educational mission. In this article, we describe some key themes identified and lessons learned as educational leaders during this time. We draw from the experiences of two institutions- one public and one private. These lessons learned fall into the broad categories of leadership decision-making and communication and included the importance of principled decision-making, a connected leadership team, and effective communication both within leadership and to the broader institutional community. The consequences of these responses resulted in a renewed recognition for us as educational leaders of the interdependence of our tripartide academic fates, the importance of academic medical centers as anchor institutions and advocates for our community, and the resilience and ingenuity of our students. We provide examples of these lessons and themes and make recommendations for how to approach educational decision-making in the “new normal” of living with COVID-19 for the immediate future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalFASEB BioAdvances
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • COVID-19
  • academic medicine
  • communication
  • decision-making
  • education
  • leadership


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