Wellness & Resilience
Our holistic wellness program is thoughtfully designed to meet the unique needs of McGovern Medical School students because strong physicians consistently rise to the challenge of achieving the best outcomes – in medicine and in life.
The Office of Admissions and Student Affairs (OASA) is growing a culture of wellness through a longitudinal and holistic program that will promote the importance of health and well-being throughout medical school and beyond. OASA is dedicated to supporting overall success and wellness of all students. With a robust resilience skill set, students will be positioned to optimally serve their communities and actively achieve best patient outcomes.
Our wellness initiative’s holistic approach focuses on three areas of wellness – Personal, Occupational, and Community – with McGovern Societies serving as an all-encompassing central component. Throughout the year, students are offered a variety of sessions that focus on academic assistance, mental health, financial wellness, personal nutrition, cultural competency, service, fitness, and more. McGovern Societies provides students an informal small group to discuss wide ranging topics that promote their personal and occupational well-being while fostering a greater sense of community. In these societies, students are the beneficiaries of mentoring and coaching from a clinical faculty Society Leader, a basic science Faculty Affiliate, and two second and fourth year Peer Mentors.
We function to produce exemplary, patient-centered physicians. We believe that starts with physicians being well, a journey that begins in medical school. Our job is to inspire and empower our students to prioritize their overall well-being.
We do that by planting mindfulness seeds for our students to nurture throughout their career. We support our students in becoming conscious of their well-being needs, prioritizing them, and knowing how to meet those needs.
We equip through role models and customizable, evidence-based programs that meet students where we find them. We offer a holistic suite of resources: academic, physical, mental, professional, financial, diversity, and service.
Step 1 Prep & Pre-Clerkship Resources
Visit our shared drive link.
Step 2 Prep & Clerkship Resources
Disclaimer: This document is intended to provide information for students. Links to third-party web sites and resources are provided as a convenience. UTHealth has not confirmed and makes no representation as to the accuracy of any information contained on a third-party web site. Reference to a third-party web site or resource does not constitute or imply the endorsement or recommendation by UTHealth. A student’s use of this document and/or the third-party links/references provided, is not a guarantee of academic success.
1. Study Planning & Time Management
- Study Plan: make sure you have a disciplined and structured approach regarding how and what you are studying. You need to make time for wellness: sleep, exercise, meals & relaxation time.
- Review your study plan and ensure that you have balanced your study with your wellness time.
- An effective study plan requires ongoing modifications and review, it is a live document and changes need to be made in light of your study and learning preferences and needs. You are most welcome to make an appointment to see me so that we can review your study plan.
- Develop a spreadsheet, notebook, or power point so you can record and review your analyses of questions by actively reviewing question errors and incorporating correct answers, which can then be consistently reviewed on a daily and weekly basis. (Cross reference to Q Banks).
- Structured learning strengthens learning memory (Kelman & Straker, 2000, p.4).
Building in specific review blocks is critical for:
- Distributed practice: review at regular intervals.
- Consistent coverage for each subject area
- Increasing learning and retention through spaced repetition.
- Varied input modality strengthens learning because “information received in different ways (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) is stored differently in the brain . . . and optimizes neural interchange (theoretically)” (Kelman & Straker, 2000, p.5).
Reference: Kelman, E. G., & Straker, K. C. (2000). Study without stress: Mastering medical sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
2. USMLE: Content Description & General Information
As part of your Step 2 preparation it is suggested that you view the USMLE website: https://www.usmle.org/step-2-ck/ and the USMLE bulletin: https://www.usmle.org/bulletin/ for information updates and for information regarding USMLE policies and procedures such as: https://www.usmle.org/step-2-ck/
Eligibility for the USMLE Examinations(PDF)
Applying and Scheduling (PDF)
Examination Day and Testing (PDF)
Scoring and Score Reporting (PDF)
Irregular Behavior (PDF)
New practice questions and helpful information for the Step 2 CK exam is available was posted on USMLE website on May 21 2018.
Examinees planning to take the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) exam are encouraged to review:
Tutorial and Practice Test Items for Multiple-Choice Questions
USMLE Step 2 CK Sample Items booklet (PDF)
USMLE Step 2 CK Content Description and General Information booklet (PDF)
An updated version of the USMLE Score Interpretation Guidelines (SIG) has been posted to the USMLE website:
Topics include: https://www.nbme.org/Schools/Subject-Exams/reports.html
- Description of Examinations
- Understanding Your Score
- Recent Means and Standard Deviations (SDs), 2015-2017
- Norm Table
- Passing Scores
- Precision of Scores
- Guidelines for Use of USMLE Step Scores for Selection Decisions
USMLE: Practice Materials: http://www.usmle.org/practice-materials/
3. USMLE Step 2 document provides an overview of: content outline, specifications, content description and test question formats. This is a key document that describes the course description., provides test specifications: Systems and Processes, Physician Tasks/Competencies, Clinical Knowledge: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) Content & Competency examples:
4. NBME Practice Tests: Comprehensive Clinical Science (Forms 6, 7 & 8)
NBME Subject Exam Guide: https://www.nbme.org/pdf/SubjectExams/SubExamInfoGuide.pdf
Where possible purchase the expanded feedback since it provides evaluative feedback per test and longitudinally so you can look at patterns in performance and compare data. The feedback if applied appropriately, may lead to modifications in your study plan by addressing weak areas and correcting your incorrect answers. Note, it is important to know why your answer was incorrect and record your findings in a note book or spreadsheet for ease of access for regular daily and weekly review. Tracking and analyzing your performance is important to close knowledge gaps and encourages you to be proactive and reflective of where you may need to improve in a strategic way.
Note there is no one approach since each learner has their own knowledge base, skill set and learning approaches which works best for them.
5. Resources: Study Guides and Q Banks
Resources that students report on being useful are outlined below. Please note that each person’s learning style and preference is different so you will need to explore different resources which work best for you.
When using Q Banks it is critical to actively review question errors and correct answers in case they were lucky responses. Use Tutor mode for learning and timed random for test prep. Track your performance & look for patterns regarding errors so that you can address them. Online platforms are useful for digital tracking but you can also make your own as outlined in point 3. Passes in Q Bank may be done in different modes: tutor mode is when you are learning the key concepts and timed random is when you have randomized the questions simulating a test /exam.
Brochert’s Crush Step 2: The Ultimate USMLE Step 2 Review, by Theodore X. O’Connell MD
Step 2 Secrets.
Master the Boards
Kaplan practice tests & Q-banks.
DIT course book& videos
Crush Step II,
First Aid for the USMLE Step II CK
Step-up to USMLE Step 2
First Aid for the USMLE Step 2 CK, Ninth Edition (First Aid USMLE) by Tao Le
Step-Up to Medicine (Step-Up Series) by Steven S. Agabegi
Tips on UMLE questions:
Doctor’s In Training Step 2 CK:
Clerkship Crash Cart: available July 2 2018
Step 2 CK video will be released for purchase in May 2019
USMLE –RX: Step 1 & Step 2:
IM Clerkships/Step 2 Prep: https://www.acponline.org/featured-products/im-essentials
Lecturio: Video selection: https://www.lecturio.com/medical-courses/family-medicine.course#/
Useful information regarding resources for Step 2 CK and number of passes through a Q Bank:
6. Clerkship Resources: Emma Holliday Ramahi
This link has various power points on the following
See also: https://www.aamc.org/
MS-3 Clerkship Survival Guide: Meredith Greer & Sara Hartnett
7. Active Learning Strategies
Incorporate active learning strategies:
- Brosencephalon Flashcards
Other Active Learning Strategies tabulated:
Tracking Active Learning in the Medical School Curriculum: A Learning-Centered Approach
Lise McCoy, Robin K Pettit, Charlyn Kellar, and Christine Morgan Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development
First Published March 22, 2018
8. Step 2 CS Resources: links regarding Step 2 CS
For regular updates, announcements and information visit the USMLE website.
Other Step 2 CS resources
Careers in Medicine
Biannually, a formal seminar will be held to introduce the Careers in Medicine (CiM) program available through the AAMC, which guides students through the elements of career planning, including self-understanding, exploring a variety of medical careers, and finally choosing a specialty to meet their career objectives. Students will be required to complete assessment tools in tandem with their interactions with Specialty Advisors, the Academic Coach and Student Affairs Dean preparing to write the MSPE.
OASA will be implementing the AAMC Careers in Medicine program to aid in educating medical students about specialty options and ultimately empower their career selection. Click here to visit the Careers in Medicine site and learn about a variety of assessments to help identify best fits, specialty details including salary and lifestyle, compare qualifications, and much more!
The AAMC’s FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) program provides free resources to help you make wise financial decisions. Whether you’re thinking about how to afford medical school, applying for student loans, or determining your loan repayment options, you’ll find unbiased, reliable guidance from FIRST.
Need help creating and managing a budget, click here for advice from Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.
For any questions about your financial aid, contact the Student Financial Services at 713.500.3860 or visit their website.
The overarching mission of the McGovern Society Advisory Program is to inculcate in our students a sense of responsibility to attend to their own self-care, wellness and resilience and to cultivate and promote throughout the McGovern Medical School a palpable and sustainable culture of wellness, resilience and professionalism.
Strategically housed in and administered by the McGovern Medical School (MMS) Office of Admissions and Student Affairs (OASA), the McGovern Societies Advisory Program is intentionally compartmentalized from the more traditional, didactic and graded components of the curriculum. As such, the McGovern Societies are an integrated, seamless mentoring and advising system uniquely positioned to supply an educational space where a free exchange of information, reflections, and resources can occur to support our students’ wellness, resilience and professionalism. The relationships that are fostered will often pre-date admissions and continue through matriculation, graduation and well beyond. Issues pertaining to medical education, well-being, resilience, the hidden curriculum and professionalism can be organically dissected in a safe, confidential environment without concern for academic repercussions. The faculty participants are carefully selected for service as McGovern Society Leaders as they must have the requisite knowledge to sagely advise without alienating; to counsel in a manner that is able to be received by the advisee; to mentor across a broad range of interests; and to persist throughout the duration of the medical education of each member in their society.
Each McGovern Society is initially comprised of eight to ten MSIs, who prior to matriculation, are assigned to a group that is led and advised by a clinical faculty member by whom, when possible, they were interviewed. Students will maintain membership in that community throughout their undergraduate medical education. Leaders are assisted by two MSII students and one MSIV student (known as McGovern Society Peer Mentors). The McGovern Societies meet on scheduled days at noon with lunch provided, eight times during year one and four times during year two. Attendance is mandatory. During the third and fourth years, students will remain attached to their originally assigned Society, but will also be mentored by a specialty advisor based on career interests.
The health and well-being of our students is paramount to us at McGovern Medical School. To serve our students we have a licensed Psychiatrist who carries out assessments and prescribes medications. Our psychologist performs psychological testing and counsels on various topics. All visits are confidential and not shared with Student Affairs or faculty unless you indicate so. Call 713-500-5171 for an appointment.
Our Psychiatrist is available at Student Health on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. An on call Psychiatrist is available after hours if needed. Please call our after-hours number at 713.500.5173 if you need assistance after 5:00 p.m.
Our two licensed Psychologists have experience in numerous setting such as hospitals, schools, and universities. They counsel on a variety of topics including but not limited to stress management, personal conflicts, and family related problems. They are available Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Student Health.
We are excited to announce a new wellness tool available to all students, faculty, and staff at UTH. TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), is an interactive, self-guided, web-based program that consists of tools and educational materials to help you learn about and change how you think and feel. It addresses common concerns such as stress, sadness, living with pain, drug/alcohol use, and relationship/communication issues. After enrolling with your UTH email address, you will have free, unlimited, 24/7 access to research-based modules, practice activities, and the Mindfulness Library. Your work completed in this self-guided program is completely private, and you can complete as many or as few activities as you desire.
To get started, visit the link below to take a brief survey that will provide you with module suggestions for you to explore first:
Enter your UTH email to sign up during your first visit and fill out your personal information. No enrollment key necessary!
UTHealth’s educational reputation has been built on the tradition of providing students with the highest quality of education and preparing them to be leaders in their respective fields. We also strive to give our students access to resources that foster their academic success and also their personal wellness. In addition to our campus Counseling Center, we are pleased to offer I-M-U-T, a 24 hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year service now available for all UTHealth students. This hotline was established to further support wellness in our student community and expand students’ network of immediate responders in times of crisis or imminent threat.
Student are encouraged to call the I-M-U-T hotline for assistance with personal crisis or situations they deem threatening or dangerous – and they will be in direct contact with professional behavioral health and wellness services in real-time. This program offers our students crisis response and triage services for timely, effective assessment and intervention.
Proper nutrition is fundamental to any wellness plan. Food fuels our bodies and minds; simply put, good input equals good output. For help starting your balanced eating routine, start here
- Academic concerns: Dr. Lahoti 713-500-5163, Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5160, or Dr. Tuchaai 713-500-5160
- Accommodations/Disabilities: Dr. McNeese 713-500-5163
- Admissions Interview Schedule: Laura Avery 713-500-5642
- Bursar’s Office: 713-500-3088
- Careers in Medicine: Nicole Dubuque 713-500-5044 or Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5160
- Commencement: Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5160
- Diversity & Inclusion: Luna Hernandez 713-500-5177
- Dual Degree Programs: MD/MPH Dr. Benjamins 713-500-5663 and Ms. Piller 713-500-9507 https://med.uth.edu/dualdegreeprograms/mdmph/ ; MD/MBA – Dr. Bungo 713-500-5532, https://med.uth.edu/dualdegreeprograms/mdmba/; MD/PhD – Dr. Milewicz 713-500-6725, https://gsbs.uth.edu/mdphd/
- Educational Programs [Office of] [including free tutoring]: 713-500-5140
- Escort [leaving bldg. at night, etc.]: Security 713-792-2890
- Exams [including make-ups]: Jamie Munsinger 713-500-5167
- Excused Absences: Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5170 or Nicole Dubuque 713-500-5044
- FERPA: Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5170
- Financial aid/Emergency Loans: Financial Aid Office 713-500-3860
- Health Insurance: Auxiliary Enterprises 713-500-8400
- Learning Resource Center [LRC]: 713-500-5145
- Library: TMC 713-795-4200
- Mental Health: Student Counseling Service 713-500-3327; I-M-U-T 713-500-4688
- MSI/MSII General Information: Passport Program Advisor/Coach
- MSIII Scheduling: Yolanda Bell 713-500-5165 or Anthony Darby 713-500-5158
- MSIV Scheduling [including away electives]: Nicole Dubuque 713-500-5044 or Anthony Darby 713-500-5158
- Needlesticks: 713-500-OUCH (24/7)
- Parking [Students]: Denise Pinales 713-500-5118
- Police – UT [Campus Police]: 713-792-2890
- Rec Center [Knight Road]: 713-500-8420
- Registrar’s Office [including name changes]: 713-500-3388 or 3336
- Research: Dr. Rosenfeld 713-500-7435
- Scholarly Concentrations: Dr. Ownby 713-500-5131 & Dr. Rosenfeld 713-500-7435
- Security Desk: 713-500-5895
- Student Evaluation & Promotions Committee (SEPC): Dr. McDowelle 713-500-5160
- Student Health Clinic: 130 UT Prof. Bldg – 713-500-5171; Non-Life Threatening Emergencies Call 713-500-5173
- Student Mistreatment: information and reporting link – https://med.uth.edu/admissions/student-affairs/anonymous-reporting-of-student-mistreatment/
- Step Preparation/Study Skills/Time Management/Learning Style Assessments: Dr. Tuchaai, contact Denise Pinales (713-500-5118) to schedule appointment
- Student Organizations: Yolanda Bell 713-500-5165
- USMLE: Yolanda Bell 713-500-5165 or Dr. Tuchaai 713-500-5160
- Verification of Enrollment: Nicole Dubuque 713-500-5044 or Noemi Giron 713-500-5166
- Wellness & Resilience: Hanna “Honey” Ghirmay 713-500-5033
Self-Care through Meditation, Yoga, and Therapeutic Massage
To buttress and to help sustain a palpable culture of wellness while, positioning our students to derive maximum benefit from the wellness initiatives provided in the other components of the program, we would like to offer personal health and self-care services at the medical school for a nominal fee.
Benefits of meditation include increased sense of relations, improved quality of sleep, a clearer and quieter mind, greater emotional well-being, enhanced cognitive ability, and more.
Got meditation? Visit the McGovern Center.
Coping Skills Sessions
Brown bag lunches on anxiety, depression and time management will be offered each semester as will improved third year orientation for the transition into clinical training.
Therapy animal programs are becoming more and more popular as the human-animal bond continues to prove physically, physiologically and psychologically beneficial to overall health and wellness of people who participate. While some universities bring dogs in at particularly stressful times for students, such as finals or orientation, others provide animal therapy as a regular part of their service.
We bring registered and insured therapy dogs, provided by one of the Houston area Pet Therapy Service Providers, and accompanied by trained owners, into McGovern Medical School for two hour sessions on three days during finals week and then once monthly during the remainder of the academic year.
The goal of the Pet Therapy program is to help students relax and relieve stress while studying for finals, and to promote health and wellness for students at MMS.
Interested in decreasing clutter and stress? Consider minimalism.
Managing your time allows you to regain a sense of control that can be lost when overwhelmed by stress. Need tips to manage your time and prevent stress, click here.
Find the Good
At the end of each day, spend a few minutes identifying 3 good things that happened. This daily activity can cause a change in perspective, growing your general appreciation of life’s happenings and minimizing temptations to focus on the negative. With an optimistic outlook, we are empowered to face and manage existing stress elements with a greater fortitude. #AttitudeOfGratitude
Student W&R Committee
The Student Wellness and Resilience (W&R) Committee is an assembly of students representing all four years united to promote health and well-being at McGovern. This committee convenes regularly to develop, enhance, and implement various wellness initiatives; below are some highlights.
Emergency Preparedness Guides
Resources prepared by students to support students:
Fall Wellness Fair
An annual event with 10 stations featuring flu shots, financial wellness information, relaxation activities, nutrition assessments, fitness challenges, a service project, and more.
A hash-tag initiative that sparks friendly competition among McGovern Societies via donation drives, social media posts, and random acts of kindness.
McGovern Societies Review Team
A subcommittee charged to evaluate the effectiveness of McGovern Societies – the clinical faculty-led advisory groups that emphasize wellness and career preparation.
This project serves to connect McGovern students through shared experiences, provide tangible solutions to common dilemmas, and positively impact the well-being of students in the clinical years.
Spring Wellness Week
A lunch-and-learn series which includes presentations from a nutritionist and mindfulness specialist, along with interactive sessions that include stress-relief activities, music interventions, and yoga!
Fitness, nutrition, and stress-relief strategies are disseminated to the student body through social media. Additionally, social media serves as a conduit to share the #HumansofMcGovern project which introduces and connects members of the McGovern family with the objective of fostering a greater sense of community. Visit us on Facebook and Instagram for inspired wellness related content!
A monthly newsletter that serves to positively impact the well-being of the McGovern student community by highlighting a myriad of wellness-related content. Please click below to view past issues.