Vanderbilt Wellness Program model and implementation guide



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Vanderbilt Wellness Program

MODEL AND IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE
Developed for: Institution X
Developed by: Matthew Zackoff, B.S., VMSIV

Beth Ann Sastre, MD, Assistant Professor

Scott Rodgers, MD, Dean of Students

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Corresponding Author: Beth Ann Sastre, MD

elizabeth.a.sastre@vanderbilt.edu

(615) 936 - 3216



Vanderbilt Wellness Program 1

THE NEED FOR WELLNESS 3

Purpose of this guide 4

Bibliography: Unmet Wellness needs in Undergraduate Medical Education 5

History of the Vanderbilt wellness program 6

Demonstrated success 8

IMPROVEMENTS IN MEDICAL SCHOOL WELLNESS AND CAREER COUNSELING: A COMPARISON OF ONE-ON-ONE ADVISING TO AN ADVISORY COLLEGE PROGRAM 8

MEDICAL STUDENT BURNOUT AND THE IMPACT OF A SCHOOL SPONSORED WELLNESS INITIATIVE 9

11

Section II: 12



THE VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM 12

our model 13

FIGURE 2: VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM MODEL 13

TABLE 1: BUILDING COMMUNITY 15

Student Wellness 16

Career Exposure and Counseling 16

Scholarship and Academic Advising 16

Peer Mentoring and Community-Building 17

Service-Learning 17

TABLE 2: SAMPLE COLLEGE MENTOR CALENDAR 17

MONTH EVENTS 17

FACULTY AFFILIATE ADVISORS 18

Encouraging and Supporting Wellness 19

Career Exposure and Counseling 19

STUDENT AFFILIATE ADVISORS 19

ROLES AND EXPECTATIONS: 20

PEER MENTORING PROGRAM: 20

MEETINGS WILL SERVE THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS: 20

THE STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE 22

FIGURE 3: VANDERBILT STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE STRUCTURE 23

TABLE 3: STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE INITIATIVES 24

COMMITTEE EXAMPLE INITIATIVES 24

VMS LIVE: WELLNESS RETREATS 26

TABLE 4: ANNUAL YEAR SPECIFIC RETREATS 26

YEAR THEME 26

FINANCIAL SUPPORT 28

Institutional structures 30

STUDENT BUY-IN 31

Section III: 32

WELLNESS AT YOUR INSTITUTION 32

EXISTING STRUCTURE 33

FACULTY LED MENTORING PROGRAM 33

STUDENT LED PROGRAMMING 33

CORE PRINCIPLE WELLNESS RETREATS 34

DETERMINING SCALE 35

FACULTY LED MENTORING PROGRAM 35

STUDENT LED PROGRAMMING 37

TABLE 5: TYPICAL UNIVERSAL SOURCES OF STUDENT DISTRESS 37

TABLE 6: USEFUL STRATEGIES FOR BRANDING 38

CORE PRINCIPLE WELLNESS RETREATS 39

Institutional BUY-IN 41

FACULTY AND STUDENT BUY-IN 43

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FLOWSHEETs 44

FIGURE 4: FACULTY LED MENTORING PROGRAM 44

FIGURE 5: STUDENT LED PROGRAMMING 44

FIGURE 6: CORE WELLNESS PRINCIPLE RETREATS 44

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE 45

FIGURE 7: IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE 45

Section IV: 46

ESTABLISHMENT OF A WELLNESS COMMUNITY 46

WELLNESS ORGANIZATIONS within medical colleges (wowmc) 47

Program effectiveness 47

varying models for success 48

leaders of a changing culture 48



FIGURES AND TABLES:
FIGURE 1: VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM COMPONENTS 7

FIGURE 2: VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM MODEL Error: Reference source not found3

FIGURE 3: VANDERBILT STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE STRUCTURE Error: Reference source not found2

FIGURE 4: FACULTY LED MENTORING PROGRAM 41

FIGURE 5: STUDENT LED PROGRAMMING 42

FIGURE 6: CORE WELLNESS PRINCIPLE RETREATS 42

FIGURE 7: IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE 43
TABLE 1: BUILDING COMMUNITY Error: Reference source not found15

TABLE 2: SAMPLE COLLEGE MENTOR CALENDAR 17

TABLE 3: STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE INITIATIVES Error: Reference source not found3

TABLE 4: ANNUAL YEAR SPECIFIC RETREATS 24

TABLE 5: TYPICAL UNIVERSAL SOURCES OF STUDENT DISTRESS Error: Reference source not found5

TABLE 6: USEFUL STRATEGIES FOR BRANDING Error: Reference source not found6

Section I:

THE NEED FOR WELLNESS
Purpose of this guide
Since the development and implementation of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine Wellness Program, institutions across the country have been interested in developing similar programs. Some have developed their own systems to address medical student wellness while others have opted to incorporate the time-tested Vanderbilt model into the structure of their institution.

While the development of new structures and programs can lead to better strategies for addressing medical student wellness, for many institutions starting from scratch is a daunting task and, frankly, we feel an unnecessary one.

It is our belief that the Vanderbilt model of a school sponsored wellness initiative, the Vanderbilt School of Medicine Wellness Program, has had a tremendous impact over its five years in existence. It is a major, if not the leading, factor for many students’ decisions to come to Vanderbilt. Students openly admit to a 'culture of wellness' at Vanderbilt that makes achieving a degree in medicine a unique experience. This, we feel, translates to more effective residents and overall more successful physicians, a worthy investment by any measure.

We hope that you are able to make use of this guide as you initiate or expand medical student wellness programming at your institution. The contents not only illustrate the Vanderbilt model for wellness programming, but offer a step-by-step approach for evaluation the needs of your institution and walking you through the process of implementing the key components of a wellness initiative tailored to your institution’s needs.

We invite you to explore this guide and hopefully gain the insight and tools necessary to make medical student wellness a priority at your institution.

Sincerely,

Matthew Zackoff, VMSIV Beth Ann Sastre, MD

Co-President Faculty Advisor

Vanderbilt Student Wellness Program 2011-2012 Vanderbilt Student Wellness Program

Bibliography: Unmet Wellness needs in Undergraduate Medical Education

Drolet, B., & Rodgers, S., (2010). A comprehensive medical student wellness program- design and implementation at vanderbilt school of medicine. Academic Medicine, 85(1), 103-110.

Dyrbye, L.N., Thomas, M.R., Massie, F.S., Power, D.V., & Eacker, A., Harper, W., Durning, S., Moutier, C., Szydio, D.W., Novotny, P.J., Sloan, J.A., Shanafelt, T.D., (2008). Burnout and suicidal ideation among U.S. medical students. Annals of Internal Medicine, 149, 334-341.

Estabrook, K. (2008). Medical student health promotion: the increasing role of medical students. Academic Psychiatry, 32(1), 65-68.

Ghodasara SL, Davidson MA, Reich MS, Savoie CV, Rodgers SM (2011). Assessing student mental health at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Academic Medicine,86(1):116-21

Lee, J., & Graham, A.V. (2001). Students' perception of medical school stress and their evaluation of a wellness elective. Medical Education, 35, 652-659.

Sastre, EA et all (2010). Improvements in medical school wellness and career counseling: a comparison of one-on-one advising to and Advisory College Program. Medical Teacher 2010 32:10, e429-e435 

Thomas, M.R., Dyrbye, L.N., Huntington, J.L., Lawson, K.L., & Novotny, P.J., Sloan, J.A., Shanafelt, T.D., (2007). How do distress and well-being relate to medical student empathy? A multicenter study. Society of General Internal Medicine, 22, 177-183.

History of the Vanderbilt wellness program

The Vanderbilt Wellness Program was first developed in the Fall of 2005. A group of interested students along with the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Scott Rodgers, met to discuss the need to address medical student wellness at Vanderbilt. From these series of meetings the Student Wellness Committee (SWC) was born. Over the next several months, this committee developed the model for the Wellness Program that officially rolled out in the Fall of 2006.

The program sought to help alleviate student stress and subsequent hardship by focusing on three core principles: mentoring and advising, student leadership, and personal growth. This led to the three-pronged model of the Vanderbilt Wellness Program: the Colleges to target mentoring and advising, the Student Wellness Committee to provide for student leadership, and VMS Live (Wellness Retreats) to address personal growth. Although these three aspects of the Wellness Program function as independent entities, they have considerable overlap in order to reach the common goal of promoting and nurturing medical student wellness.



FIGURE 1: VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM COMPONENTS

Drolet, B., & Rodgers, S., (2010). A comprehensive medical student wellness program-

design and implementation at vanderbilt school of medicine. Academic Medicine, 85(1), 103-110.
The above-mentioned components of the Wellness Program were implemented independently and in several phases over the first few years of the program’s existence. The Colleges were launched for the arrival of students in 2007, and initially involved only the first- and second-year classes. After strongly positive feedback, The Colleges were expanded to all four classes and continue to be a major presence within the medical school today. The Student Wellness Committee initially consisted of only two students in 2005, expanded in its second year with increased funding, and by 2009 secured an annual operating budget of $10,000. Lastly, the VMS Live: Wellness Retreats were piloted in 2007 with the first year class. Secondary to a strong response by the students, they were expanded yearly to eventually encompass all four years by 2011.

Over its time in existence, there have been subtle changes to various aspects of this system, but the core structure and purpose remain the same: establishing mentoring communities, nurturing personal growth, and directing programming with the purpose of addressing medical student well-being. For additional details on the initial development and implementation of the Vanderbilt Wellness Program, please see the original paper published in Academic Medicine (see bibliography on page 6).

Demonstrated success
Since the implementation of Vanderbilt's Wellness Program, evaluation of the program has been a vital component of its continued development. The following information is taken from two major evaluations of the program cited in the bibliography on page 6.

IMPROVEMENTS IN MEDICAL SCHOOL WELLNESS AND CAREER COUNSELING: A COMPARISON OF ONE-ON-ONE ADVISING TO AN ADVISORY COLLEGE PROGRAM

During the transition from a one-on –one advising system to the newly designed Advisory College program, a survey was developed to compare the two programs. First year students in Vanderbilt's new Advisory College Program and second and third year students in a traditional one-on-one faculty advisor program were asked to complete a survey evaluating their experiences with their respective programs.


    1. The proportion of students who knew their advisors was significantly higher among the students in the Advisory College Program: 100% vs. 78%

    2. When comparing the number of contacts between students and their advisors:

Faculty Advisor Program: 56% were never contacted

5% were contacted greater than or equal to 5 times

Advisory College Program: 100% were contacted at least once by their advisors

55% were contacted greater than or equal to 5 times



    1. When comparing meaningful contacts:

Faculty Advisor Program: 53% had no meaningful contacts

25% had greater than 2 meaningful contacts in the past year

Advisory College Program: 87% had greater than 2 meaningful contacts in the past year


    1. 94% of students in both programs agreed that wellness and career advising was important to them

- "Are you satisfied with how well your advisor promoted wellness":

Faculty Advisor Program: 27% agreed or strongly agreed

Advisory College Program: 72% agreed or strongly agreed (p<0.001)

- "Are you satisfied with how well your advisor promoted career counseling":

Faculty Advisor Program: 22% agreed or strongly agreed

Advisory College Program: 43% agreed or strongly agreed (p<0.001)

- "I am satisfied with the overall advisory system":

Faculty Advisor Program: 24% agreed or strongly agreed

Advisory College Program: 67% agreed or strongly agreed (p<0.001)

MEDICAL STUDENT BURNOUT AND THE IMPACT OF A SCHOOL SPONSORED WELLNESS INITIATIVE

In 2011, as the Vanderbilt Wellness Program reached five years in existence, leaders of the program sought to evaluate the Wellness Program’s effectiveness at addressing a common outcome of medical student distress: burnout. All Vanderbilt medical students were asked to complete a survey evaluating students’ level of burnout, depression, quality of life, stressors, life events, and sources of support. Students were then asked questions to gauge both knowledge of and participation in various aspects of the Vanderbilt Wellness Program. Lastly, students were asked to rate their perceived level of burnout as well as the impact of each component of the Wellness Program on their perceived level of burnout.


    1. When attempting to determine whether participation in the Wellness Program led to decreased burnout using a dose-response model, it was found that there was no significant correlation between participation with any of the Maslach Burnout Inventory components:



However, when assessing the perceived degree of relief of burnout from the various components of the wellness program, trends suggest that as perception of the usefulness of the Wellness Program increased, burnout decreased:



The study also supported the regularly held belief that a “culture of wellness” exists at Vanderbilt, which plays a role in the reason students are able to make wellness a priority:



In addition, the study demonstrates that there is considerable variability in the degree to which students are meeting their wellness needs; however, a majority of students believe that the Vanderbilt Wellness Program plays a role in assisting them to meet those wellness needs:

Section II:

THE VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM

our model

The Vanderbilt Wellness Program consists of three key components: the Colleges, the Student Wellness Committee, and VMS Live (further described below). As shown in figure 1, these three facets of the Wellness Program are housed in the Office of Student Affairs and the Dean of Student Affairs coordinates the overall program. In this manner, the leaders of each facet of the Wellness Program function autonomously to develop programming, however there is oversight from a single administrator to ensure accountability. While each component of the Wellness Program is independent, their programming is often intertwined due to the common goal of all three arms of the program: to promote and facilitate medical student wellness.

FIGURE 2: VANDERBILT WELLNESS PROGRAM MODELinsertedimage

Drolet, B., & Rodgers, S., (2010). A comprehensive medical student wellness program-

design and implementation at vanderbilt school of medicine. Academic Medicine, 85(1), 103-110.

THE COLLEGES

Immediately upon the creation of the Wellness Program, it was recognized that development of a strong advising program was a requirement for success. In the past a large group of faculty served as faculty advisors to one or two students per class. Understandably, although these faculty members were dedicated to student mentoring, their level of involvement and support was variable. The decision was therefore made to seek out a select few faculty members and support their mentorship of larger groups of students. By providing protected time and financial support for these faculty, all students could become part of a more uniform and more effective advising program.

Vanderbilt selected eight faculty members and divided them into four pairs assigned to co-direct four Advisory Colleges. Each College consists of one-quarter of the students from each medical school class. With an average class size of 100 students, this means that each College has approximately 25 first years, 25 second years, etc. This configuration of the Colleges lends itself to the creation of campus-wide community since each College is composed of students from every year of training and students remain in their same College for the duration of their medical school education. The Colleges’ selection of their own unique color, mascot and crest further adds to the sense of community and identity within each College that contributes significantly to the effectiveness of its mentoring capabilities.

Medical students within each College are further subdivided into mentoring families. These families are generated through a process called the first-year-second-year match, which takes place prior to the arrival of incoming first year students. Every year students from the second year class are 'matched' with an incoming first year student based on a linking characteristic (i.e. undergraduate university, major activity of interest, outside experience, etc.). This pairing leads to a natural mentoring relationship that continues beyond that first year. With each subsequent year, incoming students are paired with rising second years thus joining existing families thereby adding more sources of mentoring and support.

It is the goal of the Colleges to support mentorship and to provide a home within a home for medical students at Vanderbilt. To achieve those ends, the Colleges utilize three key groups of personnel with very specific roles and expectations: College Mentors, Faculty Affiliate Advisors, and Student Affiliate Advisors (see Figure 1). It is through these key faculty and student positions described below working along with the family structure described above to facilitate mentoring and generate a strong sense of community that the Colleges have been so successful and well received.

THE COLLEGE MENTORS

Initially the role of these College Mentors was to support and mentor students from the standpoint of helping them to combat the stressors of medical school. They served as the go-to faculty members for advice, thus giving students access to someone who had been there before and made it out to the other-side. These mentoring relationships were just what students had been looking for: a faculty member dedicated to supporting them through four of the most stressful years of their lives. Of course, the close mentoring relationship that exists between the College Mentors and students does not develop overnight. Below are some examples of how the College Mentors work to encourage the community atmosphere within their colleges, thus facilitating greater communication and development of the mentoring relationship:

TABLE 1: BUILDING COMMUNITY

- College Welcoming Parties - at local parks, homes of College Mentors

- Regular study breaks before exams - class specific, always with food

- Annual college wide social gatherings - local restaurants, parks

- College family dinners - homes of College Mentors

- Regular weekly office hours - open and casual and private opportunities

- Cheerleaders-in-chief for College Cup

With regards to the how mentoring occurs, College Mentors makes themselves available to students in a variety of venues. They readily engage students in individual meetings as well as offer regular office hours allowing small groups to discuss a range of topics. Often College Mentors are sought out for study skills advice or to serve as research mentors, as well as for general personal growth advice in regards to various transitions in medical school training and the medical profession as a whole. College Mentors are regular advocates for students, helping to provide a broader context at promotions committee meetings and supporting them in life challenges that may arise.

While these College Mentors chief roles are to provide support, direction and encouragement to the medical students within their college, they are also responsible for having tough conversations with students who are faltering on an academic or a personal level. For example, when students are noted to have alcohol problems, difficulties with interpersonal social skills, deficits in empathy or who just seem to be withdrawing from the social milieu around them, it is the College Mentors who reach out to these students to set goals and create action plans. Vanderbilt Medical School has come to rely heavily on the strength of the relationship formed between College Mentors and their students as a tool to effectively reach those students in need of additional assistance. The roles and expectations of the College Mentors are summarized below:

Student Wellness



      • Assist with major transitions such as starting medical school, beginning third-year ward rotations, and preparing for graduation and residency.

      • Participate as small-group leaders in all Wellness Retreats

      • Meet individually with each student within the College on a regular basis throughout medical school in order to facilitate students’ self-assessment of their own state of wellness and develop goals and plans for maintenance of personal wellness.

      • Participate in College events focused on maintaining personal wellness

      • Serve as proponents of the ideals of Wellness - balance, fitness, support, mental health - in their interactions with students in all environments

Career Exposure and Counseling

  • Meet individually with each student within the College on a regular basis throughout their medical school career to offer guidance, advice and direction in the area of career selection.

  • Facilitate the establishment of mentoring relationships between students and other clinical and research faculty within their areas of interests.

  • Offer shadowing experiences for pre-clinical interested students

  • Serve as mock interviewers for senior students preparing for residency interviews

Scholarship and Academic Advising

      • Meet individually with each student within the College on a regular basis throughout their medical school career to develop Personalized Learning Plans to encourage academic growth.

      • Advise students regarding healthy study habits and academic goal-setting as well as provide structures of support for students struggling academically.

Peer Mentoring and Community-Building

      • Arrange College-wide meetings on a regular basis to promote community –building within the College and between students of different academic years

      • Support the established peer-mentoring program by selecting senior leaders to serve as SAAs, and providing peer-mentoring avenues to benefit both preclinical and clinical students.

Service-Learning

      • Participate and encourage student participation in college-wide service-projects and activities to address needs in the local community

      • Encourage each student to actively engage in their own personal service-learning projects based on individual interests, exposures, and career-goals.

While the Colleges were designed to allow for some standardization in the mentoring received by Vanderbilt medical students, there is some variation in how College Mentors have sought to create that mentoring community. While some events are college-wide in order to facilitate peer-peer mentoring, others are class-specific in order to target more specific needs. In addition, individual meetings between Mentors and students (more scheduled in the first two years and more ad hoc in the latter two years) provide the foundation for mentorship and guidance provided by the Colleges to all medical students. Below is an example of how one set of College Mentors have allocated time and resources over the course of a year in pursuit of encouraging medical student well-being:

TABLE 2: SAMPLE COLLEGE MENTOR CALENDAR

MONTH EVENTS

August: Welcoming Party (College-wide)

Bowling Night (Third Year students)

Review of Personal Statements & CVs (Fourth Year students)

September: Study Break (First Year students)

College Cup (Inter-collegiate competition and event)

Individual meetings with all First Year students

Pizza Night (Second Year Students)

October: Study Break (First Year Students)

Pumpkin-Carving event (College-wide, families included)

Individual meetings with all Second Year students

Pizza Night (Third Year students)

November: Small-Group Dinners at Mentors’ homes (College-wide)

Study Break (Second Year students)

Mock Interviews (Fourth Year students)

December: Study Break (First Year students)

Holiday Party (College-wide)

January: Billiards event (Third Year students)

Career Day (First and Second Year students)

February: “Winter Blues” Night-out (College-wide)

March: Study Break (First Year students)

The Match (Fourth Year students)

Individual meetings with all First Year students

April: Pizza Night (Third Year students)

5K Fundraiser (Intercollegiate service-project)

May: Graduation Events (Fourth Year students)

End-of-Year Party (College-wide)

June: Step I Boards Study Breaks (Rising Third year students)

Residency Preparations sessions (Rising Fourth year students)

July: Intro to the Wards (Rising Third year students)

Mid-summer Pool Party (Rising Second year students)

The role of these faculty mentors recently has been upgraded to involve a larger academic component. These select faculty will now be more directly involved as small group leaders in discussions of the humanistic and professional aspects of medicine during preclinical courses. This offers even greater opportunity to demonstrate the need to be well as a physician in order to be successful in this profession. Additionally, utilizing the College Mentors as teachers in these official medical school courses emphasizes to preclinical students the importance and legitimacy of this wellness program at Vanderbilt. Involvement in the official curriculum will also provide the College Mentors with increased access to students’ grades and evaluations which will enable them to help address academic concerns and better address the unique needs of individual students. These added responsibilities have been accompanied by increased administrative and financial support for the position, to be discussed further in the Section II: Financial Support.

FACULTY AFFILIATE ADVISORS

As the College Mentors were being sought, the search team discovered that many more faculty members wanted to be involved in the program than could serve as official College Mentors. Subsequently they created faculty affiliate advisor (FAA) positions which provided these select faculty members with the opportunity for extensive participation in mentorship of students. The role of the FAA was designed to focus on two central themes: wellness and career counseling.

Today, FAAs are a key component of the Colleges and they play an amazing supportive role for the College Mentors and serve students in a variety of ways. Although the FAAs do not receive salary support for their work, they have more flexibility and autonomy to be as involved as they wish within the College system. The roles and expectations of encouraging and supporting wellness and providing career exposure and counseling as described in the official Vanderbilt Faculty Affiliate Advisor Program Roles and Expectations are seen below:

Encouraging and Supporting Wellness


  • Resource for College Mentors to be called on for assistance with College event conception, planning, and implementation

  • Serve as faculty family heads within the Colleges

  • Proponents of the ideals of Wellness - balance, fitness, support, mental health - in their interactions with students in all environments (especially on the wards)

Career Exposure and Counseling

  • Offer shadowing experiences for pre-clinical interested students

  • Serve as mock interviewers for senior students preparing for residency interviews

STUDENT AFFILIATE ADVISORS

In addition to the faculty/student mentoring relationship, a major source of support in medical school comes from fellow students. Specifically, senior students who have very recently dealt with the same struggles and stressors can be an effective resource. Much of this mentoring relationship is naturally supported by the family structure of the Colleges. However, prior to the creation of the College system, much like what was seen with the prior faculty advising system, there was remarkable variability in terms of the quantity as well as the quality of peer-support that students were receiving.

To address this concern the Student Affiliate Advisor (SAA) Program was developed. Very similar to the College Mentor structure but on a smaller scale, a select number of senior students from each College are selected to serve as SAAs for a year. Their role is to encourage and support students’ personal wellness efforts as well as to provide key participation and support in all College and Wellness Program events. Their roles and expectations are further described in the official Vanderbilt Student Affiliate Advisor Program Roles and Expectations seen below:

ROLES AND EXPECTATIONS:



  • Go-to senior students for the College Mentors

  • Student head of a College family made up of students from all four years

- This consists of coordinating the annual family dinner in addition to responsibilities described in the Peer Mentoring Program below.

  • Assist with College and Wellness events:

- College Welcome Parties and other events

- College Cup

  • Peer Mentoring Program

The Peer Mentoring Program, only recently developed and implemented, was designed to foster relationships between senior and pre-clinical students who traditionally did not have much interaction with each other. Through this program, senior students can serve as a valuable source of support and perspective. The official Vanderbilt Peer Mentoring Program Structure and Guidelines is seen below:

PEER MENTORING PROGRAM:

The purpose of this program is to foster relationships between preclinical and senior students, as fourth year students are a valuable resource for support and perspective. The fourth year student (who will receive the title of Student Affiliated Advisor - SAA) will arrange individualized meetings with first and second year students lasting 15-30 minutes. The meetings will be centered on the pillars of wellness and will follow the theme of the yearly retreats. These meetings will also give students the opportunity to set wellness goals for the year.

MEETINGS WILL SERVE THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS:



  • A screening tool for academic concerns

- In the case of a student with academic concerns, a meeting with an academic tutor will be set up to discuss study skills on a separate occasion.

  • A time for reflection on a theme (students will have encountered this theme at their annual retreat)

- First year: thriving v. surviving

- Second year: motivated abilities

  • Establish/Discuss Wellness Goals

- SAA will discuss the feasibility of such goals

- Develop strategies to accomplish said goals

- If previous goals are not being achieved, consider possible reasons why

  • Discuss sources of support

  • Discuss sources available for mental health concerns

  • Discuss Student Safety Net Program for concerning behavior

- SAA is available for contact if student has concerns about their own or a peer’s behavior.

- This can provide an outlet to intervene on dangerous or inappropriate behavior (ex: excessive drinking) without involving faculty directly.

Serving as an SAA is an opportunity for students to demonstrate a commitment to mentorship and to foster beneficial relationships with underclassmen. They are a vital component of the Colleges, serving as a source of manpower and support that increases the effectiveness of a vast array of programming.


THE STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE

The Student Wellness Committee was the initial driving force behind the creation of the Vanderbilt Wellness Program - a group of students who believed strongly in the importance of encouraging wellness during medical school and considered ways to achieve this goal. That same focus exists today with the current mission statement of the Student Wellness Committee below:

To promote and facilitate the lifelong pursuit of balance, healthy lifestyle, community, and mental well-being while supporting the current and future needs of Vanderbilt Medical Students.”

This goal mirrors that of the Colleges but approaches it from a completely different direction through the efforts of students working through the various subcommittees to be described further below.

The leadership of the Student Wellness Committee, currently held by two fourth year medical student co-presidents, is charged with two main purposes: first, to provide organizational oversight of the subcommittee chairs encompassing the Student Wellness Committee (i.e. overseeing student led programming) and, secondly, to coordinate the efforts of the other two components of the Wellness Program (the Colleges and VMS Live). It is for this reason that two senior students are selected to lead this crucial component of the Wellness Program - ensuring the successful integration of all three components. In addition, several other senior students are tapped by the Wellness Presidents to play key roles coordinating other initiatives developed by the Student Wellness Committee such as providing support for students during USMLE Step I and formalizing the mentorship provided to preclinical students by senior students. This group of select senior students constitutes the Wellness Advisory Council.

Serving with the Wellness Presidents and the Wellness Advisory Council are subcommittee chairs filled currently by second year medical students. These chairs have complete autonomy over their subcommittee (however, with funding controlled by the Presidents) allowing for an unprecedented amount of programming autonomy for students. While there are several key events, described below, which remain consistent from year to year, this autonomy has led to a wide variety of programming that attempts to find new and improved ways to reach out and support students on a variety of fronts.

There are five subcommittees, each with a different focus but with inevitably much overlap. They consist of physical wellness (a.k.a. Body), intellectual wellness (a.k.a. Mentoring), interpersonal wellness (a.k.a. Social), emotional and spiritual wellness (a.k.a. Mind), and environmental wellness (a.k.a. Community) subcommittees. Together, as shown in figure 2, these five subcommittees cover the key of aspects that require balance to allow a person to be well.



FIGURE 3: VANDERBILT STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE STRUCTURE

Drolet, B., & Rodgers, S., (2010). A comprehensive medical student wellness program-

design and implementation at vanderbilt school of medicine. Academic Medicine, 85(1), 103-110.

Each of these subcommittees strive to live up to the Student Wellness Committee's mission to 'promote and facilitate the lifelong pursuit' of wellness and to 'support the needs' of Vanderbilt Medical Students. There are four key components of that goal, the first being to promote. Students selected to serve as subcommittee chairs need to be more than effective event planners; these students need to exude wellness so that people will 'buy' what they're 'selling'. That is to say that they must convince extremely busy and stressed medical students that wellness is not only important but is actually achievable based on their own example.

Secondly, the programming aspect of the Student Wellness Committee is focused on providing exposure and opportunity to partake in activities that students can then incorporate into their own routine for maintaining wellness. This is a key point that cannot be stressed enough. The purpose is not to fill medical school with event after activity after seminar that by pure attendance leads to a well individual; rather the goal is to create targeted programming to provide exposure and the opportunity to experience different activities that can contribute towards the goal of being well if a student subsequently incorporates that activity into his or her life.

Another key aspect of the mission of the SWC is the idea of lifelong wellness. While medical school is a rigorous environment with numerous stressors and constant time constraints; intern year, residency, and future practice as an attending all come with their own stressors and time commitments. While work and training will certainly continue to become more enjoyable as students and residents move closer to their desired career goal, there will continue to be massive time constraints requiring effective time management. If a student cannot make time for activities and endeavors that are vital to staying well, it is very unlikely that as a resident or attending physician they will be able to achieve balance in their lives. For that reason it is vital that students take the time in medical school to determine what it is they need in their lives to stay balanced and move towards wellness so that they can carry that forward as they progress in their careers. It is our belief that a physician cannot effectively take care of others if they are not taking care of themselves, and the Student Wellness Committee serves on the front lines of addressing that issue.

Lastly, the SWC is also committed to supporting students as they deal with medical school specific stressors such as Gross Anatomy, preparing for the USMLE exams, and transitioning to the wards. As such, the SWC organizes and delivers a multitude of resources to directly assist with these stressors and plays a vital role in ushering medical students through the twists, turns, and trials of a medical education. A representative list of the programming offered by the Student Wellness Committee from the official Vanderbilt Student Wellness Committee Charter is seen below; however it is important to remember that this list includes only those key cornerstone initiatives that occur every year, and is not exhaustive of the multitude of other events and initiatives that arise as student concerns and needs vary from year to year:

TABLE 3: STUDENT WELLNESS COMMITTEE INITIATIVES

COMMITTEE EXAMPLE INITIATIVES

Wellness Advisory SAA Peer Mentoring Program, SAA Student Safety Net,

Council Targeted Support Initiatives

Body College Cup, Commodore Challenge, Personalized Fitness Goals

VMS Cookbook, Running Club, Swim Club

Mentoring VMS Buddy Match, Study Tips/Course/Boards Panels,

Practice Anatomy and Histology Practicals

Mind Ask a Psychiatrist Forum, Art Therapy Sessions,

Yoga Workshops

Social Boards Study Breaks, Light Hall Lock-In, Night at the Gallery,

School Mixers, Game Watches

Community Wellness Bulletin Board, Safety Alerts, Student Space Renovations,

Community Service Initiatives


VMS LIVE: WELLNESS RETREATS

The VMS Live program is a longitudinal curriculum adjunct designed to support personal growth and reflection through a series of workshops over the four years of medical school. The curriculum of these sessions has three specific goals:


  1. To provide a forum through which faculty model self-care as the ultimate goal for being able to supply compassionate patient care.

  2. To construct a context for each student to contemplate his or her life as a person. This serves as the engine for his or her life as a physician.

  3. To foster open dialogue and discussion of issues related to cultivating life-giving relationships, which are central to all compassionate healthcare.

The purpose of the program is to guide students through a process of self-discovery through which they will identify their abilities, convictions, and values. This process gives students the skills and knowledge to incorporate personal needs and life goals into their future practice of medicine.

These workshops take place over annual half-day long retreats at locations distant from the Vanderbilt campus. Each retreat consists of large group sessions led by the VMS Live organizer as well as small group sessions led by the College Mentors. Student attendance is required at these events, and the retreats are universally well received. Below are the themes for each respective year's retreat:

TABLE 4: ANNUAL YEAR SPECIFIC RETREATS

YEAR THEME



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