Medical school marks one of the most pivotal periods in the life of a physician. Not only are the four rigorous years a time of immense learning and professional growth, but they are also a stage of great personal development. The majority of medical students who matriculate directly out of college encounter in the new independent lifestyle of the medical student a wealth of decisions over which they previously had little control as an undergraduate—loan budgeting, dining options, living environment. Faced with academic demands and long hours unlike any they have ever before experienced, medical students are universally forced to decide what to keep in their overbooked schedules, and what to eliminate. For many, medical school is the first true taste of independent living and the greater demands of the medical profession; as such, how students react and the habits they develop in these four years is especially formative.
Among medical students across the country, it is often felt that the best or even the only way to survive and succeed amidst the intense academic pressure is to give up all other activities that compete with academics for time—even those activities of great personal importance. Such decisions made in the interest of short-term survival frequently lead to longer-term sacrifices in healthy living, as habits developed in the formative years of medical school are carried into post-graduate training and, ultimately, one’s profession. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Wellness Program was created to counteract this pervasive culture by celebrating student involvement in those activities important to their physical, social, and spiritual wellness. The Wellness Program is a student-run initiative composed of five committees, each supporting a different area of student well-being—physical, emotional/spiritual, interpersonal, academic/professional, and environmental/community. Throughout the year, each Wellness Committee is responsible for supporting student life through various programs and resources for medical students.
The Office of Student Wellness was to help our students achieve and maintain optimal physical and emotional health. An essential aspect of becoming doctors is learning to take care of our own health and work-life balance, thus allowing ourselves to be the best healers that we can be to our patients. The wellness skills learned during the formative years of medical school will help us continue to grow personally and professionally over long careers as practicing physicians. The main mission of our Office is to develop and help implement measures to improve medical students’ wellness. In order to accomplish this goal, we will work together with students, residents, faculty, and staff, fostering collaborations that will lead to a culture of excellence and well-being.
Specific activities of the office include:
• Planning educational events, such as the Annual Wellness Lecture and wellness workshops
• Identifying and enriching mental health-care resources available to students
• Being a triage point for any mental health-related difficulties that may arise during medical school years.
Wellness Resources for Medical Students
Many medical students struggle to manage the unique demands of medical school. Because medical school can be stressful, a variety of resources are readily available to you. Wellness resources for medical students include professional, confidential counseling; stress and time management; comprehensive student health services; help overcoming substance abuse; fitness courses and facilities, including yoga, swimming and personal wellness and fitness courses; and special workshops and courses.
1.Student Health Services
3. Student Access
Student Access supports the University's mission and value of diversity by providing equal access to its programs and services for students who experience a disability.
4.Courses & Workshops
6.Student Debt Counseling and Financial Management
Student focused debt counseling and financial management for current students at AAU. This resource is focused on helping the students at AAU maintain a healthy balance regarding their fiscal responsibilities. One on One counseling and informational sessions are available.