wellness imageA new wellness and resiliency program offered as an enhancement to the McGovern Medical School educational experience is underway for the entering first-year students.

Created by the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs, the Student Wellness and Resilience Program was born out of a student survey administered last year, which revealed surprising findings about our medical students’ wellness.

With more than 460 McGovern medical school student respondents, 57 percent of those surveyed reported distressing anxiety, 14 percent reporting panic attacks, and 19 percent reporting suicidal ideation or suicide plan.

“While we understand these numbers are typical for medical school students across the country, they are nonetheless alarming, and we immediately created a plan to support our students in these areas. We want to be more proactive and not just reactive,” explained LaTanya Love, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and admissions.

The new program features six components:

  • Enhanced Master Advisory Program (McGovern Societies)
  • Occupational Development
  • Professionalism and Leadership
  • Personal Health and Self-Care
  • Interpersonal Growth
  • Cultural and Environmental Proficiency

All first-year students are initiated into the program as members of one of 30 named McGovern Societies. Each society, named for a prominent benefactor or leader of McGovern Medical School, is headed by a clinical faculty member and comprised of 8-10 first-year students in addition to second- and fourth-year medical school students who serve as mentors in medicine. Faculty affiliates from the basic science departments also are involved in the program, providing additional mentoring and support.

The societies will meet frequently to address academic resources and successful learning styles, student stress, professionalism, career counseling and leadership. The goal is to create relationships within these societies that will continue beyond medical school.

Highlights of the year-round student wellness program include a wellness fair Sept. 14 and a day of service March 16. There also will be a guest lecturer in October, Dr. Liselotte N. Dyrbye, from Mayo Clinic who is widely published on medical student stressors.

“This is an interactive, hands-on program,” Love said. “We expect students to be engaged in their community and, with our guidance and help, to take action for their wellness.”