Associate Dean's Message - October 8, 2018
Last week I participated on a panel at a “Graduate Education in Medical Science” symposium at the University of Toronto. The panel topic, Student Support and Engagement, focused on how institutions are working to provide students with the support structures and programs to ensure their success. One topic that was discussed quite in-depth was student wellness and how we are we responding to the needs of students. My peers from Harvard and the University of Toronto concurred with my observation that the major issues revolved around the stress of work/life balance, intra-lab relationships and student-mentor communications. While we did not find the magic answer, we are all addressing student wellness in different ways.
Here at Sackler, in addition to the services provided by Snaggs Gendron, our Wellness Advisor, I am pleased to announce a new student organization sREFS (Sackler Resources for Easing Friction and Stress). This student led program will train PhD students in conflict resolution, stress management, and mental health awareness who will then provide voluntary, private peer support to the graduate community. Their mission is to provide a graduate student resource to help students negotiate difficult situations and cope with the stressors of graduate school. SREFS would serve a unique need by employing volunteers that can truly empathize with the graduate student experience. Additionally, they will communicate common themes and concerns to me in order to improve the student experience. The sREFS founders are interested in feedback regarding this venture. Please complete the survey or contact Alyssa DiLeo regarding your thoughts as well as if you would be interested in being part of an executive board or as a peer advisor. . As always, if you have any concerns, questions or ideas about student wellness, either personally or program/school-wide, do not hesitate to contact me.