Wellness is an extremely important component of residency and is a top priority of our program leadership. From one-on-one interactions between residents and faculty to institution-wide wellness initiatives, the culture here at WashU is set up to promote resident wellbeing.
Wellness: within the residency program and division
Each year, one of our PGY5 residents serves as Wellness & Education Chief, where half of his/her chief responsibilities include the promotion of wellness among the residents. We also have a division-wide wellness chair, Mary Bertrand, MD.
The wellness chief organizes social events open to all residents and fellows one to two times per month. These are planned ahead of time for days/nights when most residents are not scheduled to work. Some of our recent events have included going to see a show together at The MUNY (an outdoor theatre in Forest Park), having a picnic at Tower Grove Park, grabbing a beer together after work at a local brewery and an ice cream social complete with AMAZING homemade ice cream from one of our PGY4s, Carley!
Other social events among the residents range from casual get-togethers for coffee to beautifully-executed baby showers! Whatever the occasion, we all truly enjoy spending time together.
Soe Mar, MD, MBBS, MRCP, our program director, also regularly hosts resident get togethers at her home, always with incredible homemade food for all and cocktails made by bartender Jon, her husband. Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, our division chair, hosts division-wide gatherings at her home as well, where all residents are always welcome.
Many of our daily noon conferences are dedicated to wellness activities. Some examples include group meditation, difficult-case debriefs, resident wellness “check-in” sessions and annual presentations on positive psychology and strategies for improving sleep/fatigue.
Our faculty are incredibly approachable and willing to listen and help with any wellness-related concerns. With our resident workspace within feet of faculty members’ offices, we can literally pop in to discuss any issue at any time. Dr. Mar, our program director, regularly cooks for us — along with her husband Jon. The rest of our faculty also generously anonymously donate to sponsor lunches for us twice per week. In addition, we have designated faculty members that take patient parent calls for us from 4:30-5:30pm every day, to ensure that residents get signed out in a timely manner and the on-call resident can start call smoothly.
Wellness: within the institution
Head to the WashU GME Wellness website for more information. We will highlight some of the key initiatives below, but we strongly encourage you to check out the website as well as this is a HUGE compilation of resources for residents.
WashU GME has an appointed wellness chair, Jenny Duncan, MD. Each residency program at WashU has a wellness champion that attends monthly meetings with Dr. Duncan to discuss resident wellness initiatives and ways for improvement.
Wellness champions send out emails with a calendar of local events of the week to all residents. The GME also sponsors institution-wide events including a scavenger hunt and fitness challenges. Development of a narrative medicine club and cross-program small group dinners are in progress.
All WashU residents are offered free and confidential mental health services with psychology and psychiatry. The scheduling system for counseling is all online and is quick, easy and timely. Many of us in child neurology actively take advantage of these services and highly recommend them.
Residents are offered discounts at a number of local gyms/fitness centers, as well as membership at the BJC Move center, which includes access to physical trainers, group fitness classes and use of the facility located just a few minutes’ drive from the hospital.