You are on a remarkable journey on the path to becoming a physician. The path will be a little bit different for each of you. It will be filled with many unique surprises, unexpected rewards, and some unavoidable challenges. It is completely normal to feel anxious or even depressed at times, especially given the many other important things going on in your life in addition to school.
Our goal is to help you have the best journey possible. We are here to help you manage the stresses and challenges you may face. Whether the challenges are big or small, we would like to help.
The UNC SOM Wellness Initiative
The UNC SOM Wellness Initiative was established in 2011 in response to growing concern nationally regarding medical student burnout, depression, substance and alcohol misuse and other issues related to maintaining a healthy balance in life as a medical student and into careers as physicians.
The program, co-run by the Larry Keith Advising Colleges Advisors and Student Advocates, emphasizes wellness from a perspective that promotes balance among academic success, identity as a medical student and a person, relationships, and healthy behaviors.
Components of Wellness Initiative
Individual focused interventions
Advising Meetings: Students meet with their Advisors at least once per semester, where among other topics, wellness and balance issues are discussed. Strategies to promote wellness and balance are discussed as well, and resources for additional support are identified if needed.
Website: Information about wellness related topics are included, as well as resources.
Advising College Activities
Wellness Curriculum: The Advising Colleges Brown Bag Workshop series addresses specific issues related to wellness in medical school. Topics include Maintaining Identity as a Medical Students, Managing Relationships, and career development, in addition to study skills and approaches to academic and clinical development.
College-Sponsored Events: Advising colleges will sponsor events throughout the year for college members as well as for the medical student community. Some may include a healthy competition (for example an open-mic night or field day), while others are for non-competitive recreation. All include some wellness promoting theme. Colleges are also encouraged to host “Wellness Challenges” for the SOM community during the year, the content of which would be up to the College.
The College Cup
Advising Colleges will participate in a friendly competition for the UNC SOM College Cup. Colleges will earn points for sponsoring wellness related events. Colleges will also earn points for each student from their College who attends any wellness-related event offered by College during the year. If an event includes a competition, colleges will earn additional points of a student (or students) from their College wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.
- Wellness Related Event: 100 points for hosting
- College-only event: 50 points
- Good ctizenship points: Varies according to level of commitment
- Event Winner(s): 10, 5, 3 points
- Attendance points: 1 per attendee
- Participation points: Varies according to level of commitment
- Wellness challenges: 50 points
- Challenge Winners: 10, 5, 3 points
Wellness Initiative Evaluation
The “success” of the Wellness Initiative will be determined via several means:
- Baseline and follow up anonymous surveys of medical students as to wellness-promoting behaviors and behaviors and conditions that may detract from balance and wellness
- Participation in Wellness Initiative activities and points earned by Colleges.
- Surveys of College-sponsored activities.
- Surveys of the Advisors and Advising Colleges program.