Student Wellness & Support
Well-being is critical to the medical profession and it begins with strong support for medical students as future physicians. Medical school is a time of tremendous excitement, challenge and growth. We aim to help you balance your personal needs with your professional obligations and to help guide you towards making good choices that will sustain you throughout medical school and during your future career. Medical student well-being at Tufts has several components including those that are woven into the curriculum, those that are “co-curricular” and components that are entirely extracurricular in nature. We hope you will take advantage of the many programs and offerings we have including emotional support through our free, confidential counseling program (both in person on the Boston campus and by phone when you’re on rotations), our robust Wellness Offerings from our Wellness Advisor, Sharon Snaggs Gendron (including wellness breaks, hikes, stress-less week, nutrition on the fly and many more), our curricular program (Practical Approaches to Wellness), our peer-led mindfulness program (COMPASS), our Healer’s Art elective (for first-year students) and both formal/informal meetings with members of our student affairs and educational affairs staff (including lunches with Dean Epstein and “Walk and Talks” with Dean Kuhlik, among other things).
Mental Health Counseling
Tufts recognizes the importance of easy access to confidential mental health counseling. For non-emergent issues, our counselors from our TalkOne2One program are available on campus, five days/week as well as by phone for students who are engaged in clerkships and not available to meet in person. Counselors are also available by phone 24 hours/day, 7 days/week for urgent issues. Please call 1-800-756-3124 to schedule an appointment. We highly encourage students to participate in the counseling program and emphasize that counseling is part of a comprehensive wellness strategy.
Student Wellness Advising & Activities
Our on-campus Wellness Advisor, Sharon “Snaggs” Gendron has developed a strong program comprised of activities (on campus and off-campus), support groups, lunch talks, wellness gatherings and tips that are a wonderful way to connect with your peers and keep your perspective. She will have you sign a wellness contract during orientation, will give you advice through a bi-monthly newsletter and support you through one-on-one meetings. She can be reached through the Office of Student Advisory and Health Administration at 617-636-2700.
Curricular Wellness Programs
Practical Approaches to Wellness (PAWs) is a series of talks and workshops for first-year students. Many of these sessions are required and include high volume learning, healthy sleep, physiology of stress and meditation, managing money, nutrition on the fly, navigating relationships during medical school, alcohol and substance misuse, recognizing depression in yourself and others and impostor syndrome.
COMPASS: Co-leader Orientation in Mindfulness for Patients and Student Support (COMPASS) is a mindfulness-based stress reduction and support program for incoming first year students. Taking place in optional, biweekly groups during fall of the first year curriculum, COMPASS teaches students techniques to reduce stress and enhance coping and studying skills. Groups are co-led by two second-year student volunteers who have gone through an intensive training to prepare them for this role. Contact the Office of Educational Affairs for more info.
Healer’s Art: The Healer's Art is an optional 15-hour elective for first year medical students. The course explores the topic of humanism in medicine using an innovative discovery model, encouraging medical students to consider and discuss themes such as sustaining idealism and altruism; cultivating compassion; healing loss; and, preventing stress and burnout. Through large and small group discussion facilitated by specially trained faculty, Healer's Art takes an interactive and contemplative approach to enabling students to perceive the personal and universal meaning in their daily experience of medicine.
Personal Professional Development Thread: Wellness is a theme that runs longitudinally within the PPD thread and is implemented through our Coaching program. All students are assigned a physician coach who will work with them throughout their entire time at Tufts. The coach is responsible for assisting with professional development and for helping students maintain balance and wellness.