Wellness

Your overall health and wellness is of paramount importance to us. The  Office of Student Affairs and the Washington University School of Medicine provide a number of services and opportunities to help you maintain wellness in all aspects of your life.  The Student Support Services (SSS) is a student-led organization that is charged with a Student Wellness Initiative (SWI), an on-going focus on promoting these services and opportunities, as well as creating their own. In the spring of each academic year, a Wellness Week is held to engage students in wellness activities of all sorts.  Below are some of what’s available to you as a Washington University medical student to maintain wellness in your life.

Mental – Emotional Health

  • Student Health Services physicians and psychologists are available to help students cope with any mental health issue. For details of services and insurance coverage, please contact Student Health Services.
  • A Mental Health Panel Discussion is provided each year for the 1st year class as part of the Practice of Medicine course.  Campus psychologists will present information about Student Health Services and what is offered, while a panel of students and faculty discuss first hand their experiences with mental and emotional health in a medical school setting.  This has been a powerful and well-received session for 1st year students, held each spring. 
  • The Anatomy Dialogue Session in students’ first semester addresses their experience of working with their ‘first patient’.  The anatomy lab can be a source of anxiety and reflection for students who encounter human cadavers for the first time.  While human dissection can be a psychologically stressful, most students ultimately report the course to be a uniquely fulfilling experience in which students learn empathy, coping skills, and professionalism.  This session allows students to discuss their questions, concerns, coping strategies and gain insight from each other and peer students from previous cohorts.
  • Compassionate Care Rounds are monthly sessions for third year students.  As clinicians, the role played in observing and supporting patients and families through difficult situations, including suffering and death, can take a toll on us emotionally.  The ability to talk about such struggles in a supportive environment can help us deal with these emotions and develop coping skills that will benefit us throughout our careers.  Your Clerkship Directors have given permission for you to be absent from clinical duties during this time, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this important opportunity.Compassionate Care Rounds are student-led and confidential.  No one who will be evaluating you will be present, and nothing said in these settings will impact your evaluation.
  • Mindfulness & MBSR are prevalent on our campus, with a Mindfulness Meditation group that practices once weekly, as well as a 3-week MBSR Training targeted at M2’s as they prepare for their Step 1 exam, led by a certified MBSR Instructor.
  • The WUSM Arts Commission is an umbrella group that recognizes our students many spectacular artistic talents, promotes and encourages them to continue to engage those interests and hobbies through a variety of outlets: quarterly Coffeehouse Events occur where students perform musical numbers, poetry readings, and more; a Photography group meets and explores this art form, along with a Film group as well; a yearly literary publication, the Hippocrene Magazine, is created and published by this group; and every year an annual Art Show is put on by the group, where artistic submissions ranging all mediums are accepted from students, faculty and staff.

Physical Health

  • Washington University’s Student Health Services provides students with efficient, accessible, high-quality medical care to address health issues. Contact Student Health Services for more information.
  • The Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC), located on the second floor of Olin Residence Hall, is a fitness facility available at no cost exclusively for students of the School of Medicine. It provides a variety of cardio machines and weights.
  • Washington University has optimal proximity to Forest Park, one of St. Louis’ most treasured resources.  The park offers miles of biking and running trails, as well as numerous athletic fields.
  • The Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center on the Washington University Danforth Campus offers recreation courts, an elevated track, pool, weight room, large-group exercise studio and dark room, and more – all at no cost to students.
  • Intramurals: Medical students may participate in a full range of competitive sports through the university-wide Intramurals Program operated out of the Danforth Campus.
  • Yoga Club: The medical student-run Yoga Club offers weekly classes led by hired professional Yoga instructors, for a nominal joining fee.
  • WUSM Fit is an umbrella of student-led Student Groups that consists of climbing, tennis, bowling, and more.

Mental – Academic Health

  • The Office of Student Affairs recognizes just how rigorous the curriculum at the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) is.  It is important, then, for students to take special care of their intellectual health in such a competitive and challenging environment.  WUSM offers academic support through a variety of outlets, including general advising, career advising, mentorship, test prep, and research opportunities
  • Recognizing the rigorous curriculum that exists at Washington University School of Medicine, the Office of Education has attempted to reduce the stresses it brings by making both first and second years Pass/Fail.
  • WUSM has a Learning Specialist that is provided at no cost to any student wishing to understand, hone, improve, or even just affirm their learning and studying habits and style.

Social Health

  • Every year, Washington University School of Medicine’s first-year students conceive, write, edit and publish their personal guide to the School and the city for next year’s incoming class. Called the Dis-Orientation Guide, this publication is the last word on everything you need to know.
  • Washington University medical students are enterprising and creative in their pursuit of meaningful endeavors outside of academic life. They have established and operate roughly 55 groups, whose missions range from community service to professional development to pure fun.
  • The Graduate Professional Council (GPC) is a university-wide graduate student organization that represents more than 6,000 graduate and professional students from all eight schools at Washington University in St. Louis. GPC offers programming to help graduate students meet each other and to assist with personal and professional development.
  • Academic Societies were established in 1985 to provide opportunity for students to engage in meaningful activities with fellow students and faculty outside of the classroom setting.  Each student and faculty member is assigned to a society, and each society will hold 2-4 events over the course of the year.
  • MedBall is an annual formal dinner/dance held in March. Along with dinner, the event features a band and DJ for a night full of dancing and fun for both medical students and faculty. This event, going on its 17th year, is a unique forum to promote interaction between faculty and medical students outside of the classroom and hospital.

Spiritual Health

  • Newly completed in 2018, a beautiful Interfaith Chapel is available to all students as a quiet, prayerful, and/or meditative space.  There is also an Interfaith Office, where advisers and ministers from various faith groups share office hours at various times throughout every week, to be available for interactions as students wish.
  • Christian Medical Association is a student-run organization offering students a vehicle for fellowship, Bible study and prayer.
  • Jewish Medical Student Association (JMSA) is a student-run organization offering all students the opportunity to experience and learn about Jewish culture and religious celebrations.
  • University-wide organizations: Several student religious groups operate on the Danforth Campus and welcome students from all over the university community.
  • Yoga Club: The student-run Yoga Club offers weekly classes for a nominal joining fee.

Financial Health