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MD Program

Office of Medical Student Wellness

The Office of Medical Student Wellness provides student life advising, wellness programming and learning environment initiatives to enable students to thrive academically and personally throughout their medical school experience. Our aim is to foster a safe and supportive learning environment.

  • The following principles inform our work:
  • To empower students to develop their professional identity, and find meaning within their medical school experience
  • To enable students to succeed as lifelong leaders
  • To embrace the value of diversity and personal growth throughout the journey
  • To encourage self-care, resiliency, wellness and the pursuit of one’s passions
  • To engage all individuals in the promotion of a sense of belonging within the community

Student Life Advising

The Associate Deans with the Office of Medical Student Wellness are confidential resources to help students resolve personal issues that may affect academic life. They are points of contact for students who wish to discuss sensitive or personal topics or to obtain advice of a non-academic nature.

Students are encouraged to bring issues that impact their life decisions, well-being and academic performance. Issues appropriate for OMSW include the following:

  • Interpersonal conflicts or misunderstandings
  • Struggles with the stresses of school, family or social life
  • Uncertain career direction
  • Questions regarding professionalism

The Associate Deans are also available to discuss the possible need for referral for:

  • Medical care
  • Psychological therapy
  • Drug/alcohol dependency treatment
  • Tutoring
  • Study skills improvement
  • Harassment
  • Financial problems
  • Legal advice

Confidentiality Policy

The freedom to discuss concerns without there being any influence on a student’s evaluation or grade is an essential component of our work at OMSW. As a general rule, we provide a confidential environment.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that unlike discussions with an attorney, psychiatrist, ombudsperson or clergy, communications to OMSW are not shielded by law. There are situations where the University may be required to take some action to address these concerns and we may need to disclose. These include concerns relating to race and gender discrimination, sexual harassment or the personal safety of the student/others.


Wellness and Mental Health Resources


Mistreatment

In 2010, the Stanford School of Medicine leadership was concerned that the rate of mistreatment reported by our graduating medical students on the annual AAMC GQ had increased over prior years.  It was decided to redouble efforts to improve the learning climate for students, underscoring our school’s zero tolerance for inappropriate treatment of learners.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) lists these behaviors as mistreatment on the annual Graduation Questionnaire that is sent to each student in the nation who is graduating from medical school:

  • Publicly humiliated
  • Required to perform personal services
  • Physically harmed or threatened with physical harm
  • Subjected to unwanted sexual advances
  • Asked to exchange sexual favors for grades or other rewards
  • Denied opportunities for training or rewards based solely on gender, race or ethnicity, or sexual orientation
  • Received lower evaluations or grades solely because of gender, race or ethnicity, or sexual orientation
  • Subjected to offensive remarks because of gender, race or ethnicity, or sexual orientation

Reporting a Mistreatment Issue

If you experience or witness mistreatment, we encourage you to report it through one of the options.

  1. Contact the Office of Medical Student Wellness directly by email
  2. Report incidents via MedHub. Students can report on the end-of-course or clerkship evaluation through MedHub.OMSW receives the report. Egregious incidents are addressed promptly.
  3. Report incidents (including by patient) directly in Qualtrics. Students can report can report at the time of the incident instead of end-of-course or clerkship evaluations. OMSW receives the report. Egregious incidents are addressed promptly.
  4. Complete a SAFE report through the hospital SAFE reporting system. Reports referencing student mistreatment are sent directly to OMSW. They are kept confidential and addressed quickly. 
  5. Clinical students can submit delayed paper reports during RCM (INDE 297).

Respectful Environment and Mistreatment Committee (REMC)

The Respectful Environment and Mistreatment Committee (REMC) was created to educate and raise awareness of our standards for respectful educator conduct, to enable a procedure by which students can report concerns of student mistreatment without fear of retaliation and to address solutions of these concerns. For more information please review the Respectful Environment and Mistreatment Policy. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Medical Student Wellness at somwellness@stanford.edu.

How REMC Responds to Mistreatment

When a student expresses a concern of mistreatment, it is brought to REMC in a blinded fashion so that the student (and educator, if named) remains anonymous. REMC’s response depends on whether the source of the mistreatment is named and the severity of the mistreatment. If the source is named, action is taken according to the Mistreatment Response Pyramid. If the source is not named, the Clerkship Director informs the department about the reported mistreatment and initiates learning climate improvements. Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the pyramid apply when an educator has been named more than one time.

Team of Coaches

The team of coaches are trained to deliver mistreatment feedback. These coaches are respected nonsupervisory, senior faculty who are selected from different departments.  The training for coaches focuses on methods of sharing anonymous, delayed, negative feedback based on perception, discouraging retaliatory and defensive thoughts, encouraging self-reflection and avoiding educator demoralization.


Policies & Protocols

The School of Medicine participates in a group medical disability policy in which student's are automatically enrolled.  A mandatory $40 fee is assessed during winter quarter and cannot be waived. The fee is reflected as “Pre-Enrolled Med Disblty Ins” on your student account. Students who qualify for long term disability receive monthly benefits of $1,500 to $2,000 (based on their year of training), and student loan payoff provision of up to $225,000. If you have questions, or need to file a claim, please contact Margaret Govea in the Office of Medical Student Wellness at govea@stanford.edu or (650) 721-3963.


Programs & Events


Curricular Initiatives

Pre-clerkship Curriculum

OMSW participates in New Student Orientation by leading a session entitled Promoting Personal Wellness and staffing several wellness-related tables at the Resource Fair. We also encourage students to register for wellness elective courses, and we provide additional curricular resources and support for sensitive topics identified in the pre-clerkship curriculum.

Clerkship Curriculum

OMSW hosts the annual Transition to Clerkship Retreat at Fat the end of Quarter 6. The purpose of this annual retreat for students transitioning from the pre-clerkship to clerkship curriculum is to celebrate the completion of their classroom education and learn about life in clerkships. Additionally, students have the opportunity to interact with faculty leaders from their first clerkship and attend a keynote talk pertaining to their shift from the classroom to clinical settings. Past keynote speakers  include authors and experts in wellness.

  • 2014: Carol Dweck, PhD - Developing a Growth Mindset  
  • 2016 and 2017: Lucy Kalanithi, MD - Coping with Planned and Unplanned Transitions
  • 2018: Tait Shanafelt, MD - Building Resiliency to Avoid Physician Burnout
  • 2019: Dereca Blackmon - Having Difficult Conversations with Positive Outcomes & Jane Lemaire, MD - Why Physician Wellness Matters
  • 2020: Abraham Verghese, MD - Medicine: Unchanged Through Antiquity
  • 2021: Lee Jones, MD - Change, Challenges, & Progress: Connection and Well-Being are not Optimal & Paloma Marin-Nevarez, MD:The Most Important Question of Medical School, and Other Tidbits of Advice from a Current Intern
  • 2022: Arghavan Salles, MD, PhD - Clerkship Survival: How to Remain Yourself Through Medical Training

OMSW also co-facilitates Rounds for clerkship students to facilitate reflection on their interactions with patients.


Student Leadership

Student wellness leaders are change agents within the School of Medicine, building a culture of holistic well‐being by developing initiatives that promote sense of belonging, student empowerment, and self-care. We empower medical students and the broader medical school community to reach their full potential and be bold in their commitment to self‐care and service to others.

OMSW collaborates closely with the Stanford Medical Student Association Wellness Team, a group of students within the medical student governing body who also focus on promoting wellness. Since 2014, student wellness leaders have been instrumental in helping to plan OMSW’s major events and have also developed their own programs including reflection groups, a big sib program, and an advice guide for first-year students.


Student Wellness Research

A critical component of OMSW’s work involves ongoing assessment of medical students’ wellness needs and evaluation of our wellness programs.


Contact Us

  • If the matter is urgent, please call 650-723-6661, identify yourself as a medical student, and the page operator will call Dr. Honkanen's or Dr. Smith-Coggins' cell phone.
  • Margaret Govea
  • Director, Medical Student Wellness
  • MSOB X1C40, 1265 Welch Road
  • Phone: (650) 721-3963
  • govea@stanford.edu
  • Sophia White
  • Student Services Specialist
  • Wellness and Mental Health Team
  • MSOB X1C42, 1265 Welch Road
  • sophiaew@stanford.edu