It has been a little over one year since Kathryn’s death, and a little less than six months since we shared the final report with Dean Charney titled, The Dean’s Task Force on the Learning Environment: Enhancing Well-Being and Changing Culture. We are proud of how much progress has been made in that time frame, and exceptionally proud of the close collaboration between students and the School leadership in working towards our shared goals. We are also excited that 2018 will continue the trend of enhancing and expanding wellness resources for our students.
Below you will find brief descriptions of key components that are already in place. We anticipate another expansion of mental health resources in the coming year, as well as the creation of a dedicated Center for Learning and Development that will house these and other resources.
Resilience Curriculum (PEERS Program)
The resilience and well-being curriculum is a structured program to cultivate resilience and well-being among medical students. The sessions take place nine times throughout the four years of medical school. The material targets challenges specific to each progressing stage of medical education and builds on previous content and skills.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
The MHFA course is run by the City of New York and gives individuals the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. An eight-hour training will occur on site and be mandatory for all first-year medical students.
Throughout the twelfth and thirteenth floors of Annenberg, there are posters with information about well-being resources at ISMMS and the PERMA model.
The PERMA model is a well-being theory that engages individuals in positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement strategies. The model and its components were discussed by Drs. Karani and Gliatto in a session for first-year medical students titled, “Optimizing Your Performance.”
Aron Hall Wellness Corner
The Aron Hall Wellness Corner is being created in memory of Kathryn Stascavage. When finished, the space will be a place for students to relax and reflect. The corner will feature updated furniture and a small library of meaningful resources recommended by and for students.
Hosted by the IcahnBeWell Committee, each Wednesday in Aron Hall, students have the opportunity to drink tea, eat cookies and chat about what’s going on in a safe and supportive space with their peers.
Wellness Resource Guide
IcahnBeWell, in conjunction with the Levy librarians, has curated a resource guide with reading lists, podcasts, apps, and videos for you.
Our goal is to have two mindfulness sessions in each of the first two years of medical school. The first wave of sessions will help us determine the appropriate placement of these sessions.
Increased Number of Advisors
The Faculty Advisor is an essential member of Student Affairs and provides career, academic, professional and personal guidance to medical students across the continuum of their education. The number of Faculty Advisors is being increased from seven to a total of ten, allowing for smaller advisor-to-advisee ratios for more individualized attention and for smaller Advisory Cohort Sessions during InFocus weeks.
Expanding Support in Student-Trainee Mental Health
This increase in the number of Psychiatrists and Psychologists available to students and trainees began with a modest increase in 2017, and will be followed by more substantial incremental increases in each of the next two to three years.
Social Work Support—Advising with Annual Check-ins
All medical students at the Icahn School of Medicine will be invited to participate in an annual one-on-one meeting with a social worker in order help students assess their own sense of wellness, to strategize how to maintain or improve wellness during the course of training, and to learn about resources for thriving both academically and personally. The social worker will be referred to as the “Wellness Advisor.”
Changed Grade Distribution
As of academic year 2016-17 the grade distribution for Year 3 clerkships is 40 percent honors, 40 percent High Pass, and 20 percent Pass. This more aligns with average distributions nationally and allows more students to be recognized for their academic excellence.
Our goal is to continue this momentum to ensure that every student and trainee gets the support they need to foster and nurture their development as a person and as a future physician.
The Department of Medical Education