Wellness

Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD
Associate Dean for Culture and Wellness

The WMed Wellness Initiative was launched in 2019 to expand our school’s promotion of well-being and excellence at both an individual and organizational level. Our mission is to support, educate, and inspire all members of the medical school community to nurture mind-body-spirit wellness for themselves, others, and the community as a whole. This focus goes hand-in-hand with WMed’s mission to train competent and compassionate physicians who seek to treat the whole patient. By bringing wellness to the forefront, we help create a healthy climate which supports all members of the WMed community to embody our Values in Action.

WMed Wellness Initiative


The wellness of all within the WMed community is paramount to our mission at the medical school. We seek to provide our employees with the resources they need to support work-life balance and give our students and residents/fellows the tools to navigate the rigors of undergraduate and graduate medical education.

As you review our wellness offerings and resources, feel free to reach out with any questions.

For a schedule of weekly WMed Wellness offerings, refer to the Wellness Calendar or check your email inbox for regular updates.

  • COVID-19 Personal Support

    As we focus on the needs of our patients, learners, and colleagues, we must not lose sight of the need to take care of ourselves. Part of our attention and time, at all times but especially now, needs to be on making sure we are as resilient as we can be individually. The following resources are available to support WMed employees, students, and their loved ones.

    WMed EAP: Please refer to the EAP/Emergency Accordion for information on accessing immediate and confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services that are accessible 24/7/365.

    Community Mental Health Providers: Offering telehealth services and having a familiarity with the WMed community


    Critical Incident Response Team: Offering debriefings and crisis support. Contact michael.redinger@med.wmich.edu/708.250.1965(c) or karen.horneffer-ginter@med.wmich.edu/269.779.2094(c)

    KAMA & MedMates: Offering support to significant others and family members of physician providers and residents/fellows/students. Contact the Kalamazoo Area Medical Alliance at https://www.kalamazooama.org/ and MedMates at https://www.facebook.com/groups/medmates/


    Together, we overcome.

  • Medical School (UME) Curriculum and Well-Being in Medicine Distinction Program

    Guiding Principles

    The WMed Wellness Curriculum is guided by the importance of skill development in three areas:

    • Identifying and implementing personal well-being strategies
    • Evaluating strategies & obstacles regarding integration into patient care
    • Demonstrating wellness leadership by contributing toward and promoting a culture of wellness at WMed and in future work/community settings


    Across our Undergraduate Medical Education, these principles inform our wellness curricular topics, which are organized into three content areas: 

    • Professional and Personal Well-Being
    • Mind-Body Medicine 
    • Arts/Humanities/Spirituality


    We are pleased to announce that beginning in the fall of 2020, students can elect to graduate with a “Distinction in Well-Being in Medicine” by meeting a series of elective requirements. This program is based on our commitment to prepare graduates to be leaders and advocates for creating systemic change to support lifelong physician well-being. Program requirements can be accessed on Teams (see the Team named “Well-Being in Medicine Distinction Program Requirements”)

    Along with the Distinction Program, medical students are exposed to these topics throughout their “Profession of Medicine” longitudinal course and within each of their Transition Blocks. Additionally, elective courses (e.g., Mind-Body Medicine, Spirituality and Medicine, Explorations in Professional/Personal Well-Being, Well-Being Promotion and Advocacy) and voluntary co-curricular activities are available.

  • GME Wellness Resources

    The ACGME requirements for “Well-Being” are addressed across our Residency Programs. Each residency and fellowship program determines how best to integrate wellness didactics and activities based on their schedule and specialty needs. In addition, the following resources are made available to all residents and programs:

    • The Mayo Well-Being Index, which serves as a confidential screening tool for assessing burnout and well-being, can be accessed anytime. More information can be found by logging in to the WMed Portal.
    • WMed EAP services, including coaching and counseling support offered in person, by phone, or by text (for additional information, refer to the section on EAP/Emergency).
    • Annual WMed fitness/wellness stipend, which can be used toward gym memberships, yoga classes, and other fitness-related activities (contact HR for additional information).
    • Wellness Initiative offerings, including guided meditation (online & recorded), fitness classes, yoga classes,  check-in opportunities, wellness challenges, CE wellness workshops, and lunch & learns (these will be recorded throughout this year to make available at your convenience).
    • Culture initiatives
    • Additional COVID-related supports including additional online well-being check-in opportunities, on-call support, and a critical incidence response team (refer to the COVID-19 Personal Support section for additional information) 
    • Faculty/Resident-led wellness committees
    • MedMates


    Feel free to email wellness@med.wmich.edu with any additional requests or ideas you’d like to partner on to create here at WMed.

  • Spirituality and Medicine Symposium
    Spirituality and Medicine Symposium
    Registration for the Spirituality and Medicine Symposium will open in August 2021.

    SAVE THE DATE!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Registration opens in August

    This year’s Spirituality and Medicine Symposium: Inspiring and advancing whole-person care will be taking place in-person at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus and will be livestreamed on Miscrosoft Teams.

    Symposium Description: The importance of addressing spirituality as a standard part of medical care has been advocated for in scholarly research. However, less attention has been given to the practical aspects of how this can best be implemented and what obstacles stand in the way of effectively providing whole-person care. This year’s symposium addresses several key topics regarding the integration of spirituality into heath care: 

    • The potential of mind-body-spirit programming in medical schools 
    • Current trends in spiritual beliefs in the U.S. and their implications for effective spiritual assessment
    • The impact of COVID-19 on integrating spirituality into health care, and
    • The importance of provider spiritual self-care


    We hope you can join us to learn about these topics, engage in interdisciplinary conversation, and try a sampling of spiritual practices to support self-care. 

  • Wellness Offerings

    Fitness, yoga, and meditation offerings are available to WMed employees (including residents/fellows) and students. 

    Class descriptions are below. Refer to the Wellness calendar for specific dates. Currently, all offerings are occurring online via Microsoft Teams. 

    Class Descriptions

    Offering Description
    West Hills Group Fitness Training This 50-minute workout offers a circuit-style format using strength training mixed in with high-intensity interval training. All fitness levels welcome.
    Down Dog Yoga This 60-minute class offers a balance of energizing and relaxing yoga poses and sequences aimed to meet the needs of those new to yoga and those with previous experience. Please bring a yoga mat (there will be a few extra mats on-hand if needed).
    Mindfulness Meditation In this 15-minute practice, participants will be guided in a mindfulness meditation. All levels of experience are welcome.
  • Wellness Workshops

    Opportunities to learn more about a variety of wellness topics are available to all members of the WMed community through Wellness Workshops.

    The list of topics below is also listed in the Wellness calendar. To register and have calendar invites sent to you, please e-mail wellness@med.wmich.edu. CE Credit is available for each session*.

    Topic Annual Spirituality and Medicine Symposium: Inspiring and Advancing Whole-Person Care
    Description

    The importance of addressing spirituality as a standard part of medical care has been advocated for in scholarly research. However, less attention has been given to the practical aspects of how this can best be implemented and what obstacles stand in the way of effectively providing whole-person care. This year’s symposium addresses several key topics regarding the integration of spirituality into heath care: 

    • The potential of mind-body-spirit programming in medical schools 
    • Current trends in spiritual beliefs in the U.S. and their implications for effective spiritual assessment
    • The impact of COVID-19 on integrating spirituality into health care, and
    • The importance of provider spiritual self-care

    We hope you can join us to learn about these topics, engage in interdisciplinary conversation, and try a sampling of spiritual practices to support self-care. 

    Date/Time Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Auditorium and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Practicing Gratitude: The Why and How of Giving Thanks and What to Do When You're Just Not Feeling It
    Description

    This workshop offers an overview of the popular practice of mindfulness by considering its importance, benefits, and forms. We’ll explore several mindfulness activities and assist participants in identifying a daily practice to try out.  

    Date/Time Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Stress Management and Burnout Prevention
    Description

    Stress affects us all. You may notice symptoms of stress when disciplining your kids, during busy times at work, when managing your finances, or when coping with a challenging relationship. Stress is everywhere. And while a little stress is OK -- some stress is actually beneficial -- too much stress can wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically. This session helps to define what stress is, estimate your stress level through the use of a quick self-assessment, and then offers techniques to reduce, relieve, and manage the stress level in your life.

    Date/Time Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus Media Room and Online Via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Identifying and Embracing Our Strengths: A Simple Tool for Improving Our Well-Being
    Description

    Identifying our character strengths and exploring ways of integrating them into the challenging, boring, and enjoyable aspects of our day can be a wonderful way of enhancing our well-being. We’ll start our time in this workshop taking the VIA Strengths Survey and discuss the usefulness of this tool. 

    Date/Time Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Maximizing Resilience, Well-Being and Happiness: Actions We Can Take to Better Our Lives
    Description

    This workshop provides an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on various dimension of your well-being - what you most value and how you spend your time—in order to identify actions you can take to improve your mind-body-spirit, resilience, and wellness. We’ll also draw on key principles from the positive psychology field to explore how they can help maximize our self-care activities. 

    Date/Time Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practices and Benefits of Being in the Here and Now
    Description This workshop offers an overview of the popular practice of mindfulness by considering its importance, benefits, and forms. We’ll explore several mindfulness activities and assist participants in identifying a daily practice to try out.  
    Date/Time 2022 Date To Be Determined



    *In support of improving patient care, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. Credit amount subject to change. 

  • Wellness Noontime Series

    Opportunities to learn more about a variety of wellness topics are available to all members of the WMed community through monthly Wellness Noontime events. MEDU credit/Well-Being in Medicine Distinction Credit is available for students. We hope you will bring your lunch and join us in-person or virtually for these informative presentations. They will also be recorded.

    The 2021-2022 Wellness Noontime Series will kick off on Wednesday, September 1, 12:00-1:00. See dates and topics below:

    Topic Performance Psychology: Take-aways for student learning and clinical success
    Presenter Zeljka Vidic, PhD
    Objectives
    • Describe the main tenants of performance psychology and their relevance to medical school learning and clinical environments
    • Apply at least one key principle from performance psychology to improve one’s own academic and clinical performance
    • Explain how resilience improves performance capacity across disciplines
    Date/Time Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Art of Empowerment
    Presenter Aubrey Jewel Rodgers, MA
    Objectives
    • Identify how the arts can be used to promote cultural awareness and racial equity
    • Reflect on the relevance of incorporating the arts into one's "self-care" and "work/life balance" activities
    • Recognize the learning incentives driving the AAMC’s FRAHME initiative
    Date/Time Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Food as Medicine: KVCC Culinary School Community Outreach Program
    Presenter Lizzie Luchsinger
    Objectives
    • Describe the philosophy underlying the “Food as Medicine” initiative
    • Identify one or more culinary strategies to apply to one’s own personal well-being plan
    • Recognize the role that food properties, along with social determinants of health regarding geographic and economic access to fresh foods, has on patients’ health outcomes.
    Date/Time Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic The Curious Modern Story of Psychedelics as Therapeutics
    Presenter Mark Goetting, MD; Mike Redinger, MD; Parker Crutchfield, PhD
    Objectives
    • Review the rise, fall, and resurrection of psychedelics in mental health post-WWII
    • Summarize the known pharmacologic effects of psilocybin, LDA and MDMA
    • Discussion recent clinical trials and ethical considerations
    Date/Time Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Exercise encouragements for ourselves and our patients
    Presenter Robert Baker, MD, PhD
    Objectives
    • Understand the implications of the recent Department of Health and Human Services ‘Physical Activity for Americans’ guidelines for self-care and patient care
    • Describe the key physical and emotional benefits of engaging in regular exercise
    • Identify one exercise activity to engage in this winter in order to support personal well-being
    Date/Time Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic An introduction to cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia
    Presenter Alice Doe, MD
    Objectives
    • Identify the primary causes of sleep disturbances and how they motivate patients to seek treatment
    • Explain what cognitive-behavioral steps can be taken to improve sleep hygiene and consider adopting one healthy habit
    • Describe the main physical and emotional consequences associated with adequate and inadequate sleep habits
    Date/Time Wednesday, January 19, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

     

    Topic Applying Functional Medicine in clinical practice by looking or the "root cause"
    Presenter Ramona Wallace, DO
    Description
    • Describe the key opportunities in addressing “root causes” with patients
    • Reflect on one’s own eating and lifestyle habits and identify one action that can be taken to improve one’s personal well-being
    • Identify the unique contribution functional medicine brings to integrating nutrition and lifestyle medicine into patient care
    Date/Time Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Room 212 and Online via Microsoft Teams

    Previous topics have included:

    • Your WMed Benefits: Resources You Don't Want to Overlook (Brooke Kolodzieczyk, WMed Human Resources)
    • Mindfulness: The What, Why, and How of Starting a Practice Today (Schauer & Horneffer-Ginter)
    • Innovative Approaches to Workplace Wellness - or How a Hospital Came to Open a Grocery Store (Rob Oakleaf and Grant Fletcher, Bronson Methodist Hospital)
    • Food as Medicine: The Vision of the KVCC Community Culinary & Nutrition Program (Lizzie Luchsinger)
    • What in the World is Ayurveda? An Introduction to Yoga's Sister Tradition of Lifestyle and Nutritional Well-Being (Kara Aubin)
    • The Art of Healing: A Visual Journey into the Transformative Power of Visual Art Across Patient Populations (Gay Walker)
    • Empower: Why We Need Heroes Who Look Like Us (Aubrey Jewel Rodgers)
    • Time Management Perspectives in the Health Care Encounter (Nancy Radcliff)
    • Musical Artist Series: Presented in Collaboration with The Gilmore (Ronnie Cung)
    • Get Moving: Exercise Encouragements for Ourselves and Our Patients (Robert Baker, MD)
    • Healthy Eating Tips for Ourselves and Our Patients: Takeaways from Functional Medicine (Ramona Wallace, DO)
    • Healing Art from Syrian Refugee Campus in Jordan: A Glimpse into a Frontline Intervention with Providers and Refugees (Tom Holmes, PhD)
    • How to Get a Good Sleep: Sleep Hygiene for Ourselves and Our Patients (Alice Doe, MD)
    • COVID-19 Ethics: A conversation about the evolving ethical considerations of the pandemic (Parker Crutchfield, PhD)
    • Sports Performance, Medicine, and Resilience: What Athletes Can Teach Us (Zeljka Vidic, PhD; Donovan Roy, EdD)
  • Wellness Challenges
    Be on the lookout for upcoming Wellness Challenges, including the return of WMed Wellness Bingo.
  • EAP/Emergency

    Employee Assistance Program (Lincoln Financial)

    The medical school Employee Assistance Program (EAP), EmployeeConnect, is a confidential and voluntary support service that is fully accessible to students and immediate household members to help find solutions to their challenges, and in a manner that is best suited to individual preferences, comfort level, and lifestyle.

    EmployeeConnect is completely confidential within the limits of the law. No one at the medical school will know that you have used the program unless you choose to share that information. There is no cost to use EmployeeConnect.

    The medical school contracts with Lincoln Financial for EmployeeConnect, which provides a wide range of services including:

    • Short-term professional counseling for support for personal and emotional issues including stress, anger, death and dying, and alcohol and substance abuse. You may choose the counseling delivery option that makes is most comfortable including telephone, online chat, or in-person.
    • Family support services connects you with a Family Support Specialist for personalized assistance with family planning, parenting, childcare, eldercare, daily living support, and more.
    • Legal support services provide telephone or in-person consultation with attorneys to address legal questions surrounding divorce, custody, adoption, real estate, debt, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant issues, and more.
    • Financial support services provide consultation with financial professionals to address financial questions surrounding budgeting, debt management, tax issues, and more.


    EmployeeConnect is a confidential service that is available by telephone or website 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees or students may access EmployeeConnect services by calling 1.855.327.4463 or online by logging on to GuidanceResources.com. Login credentials are Username: LFGSupport and Password: LFGSupport1. This website also provides resources to find a therapist or psychiatrist who is available through these benefits.

    EmployeeConnect can provide in-the-moment support over the phone. For counseling services, an intake is conducted by phone and a search is conducted to identify a local counselor participating in the EmployeeConnect, which can take about two days. Typically, five visits are offered at no cost. Additional services are charged to the student’s or employee’s health insurance. 

    Emergency Mental Health Services 

    For emergency behavioral and mental health crises, employees and students can access the Gryphon Place 24‑hour community HelpLine at 269.381.4357.

  • Burnout Prevention

    In response to increasing concerns about the risk of burnout within the field of medicine, many national organizations have developed resources for students, residents, and professionals at all stages of their career. The following links contain assessment tools and information to offer support if you’re struggling yourself or concerned about colleagues or loved ones. 

    Locally, WMed offers mental health resources to those in need, along with Bronson Hospital’s 24/7 confidential Physician Help Line at 269.341.6999.   

    Survey Measures

    Well-being Index (quick, free, anonymous and linked to resources): https://www.mededwebs.com/well-being-index

    Burnout Prevention Resources

    AMA Steps Forward: Preventing Physician Burnout: https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/physician-burnout

    AMA Steps Forward: Preventing Resident/Fellow Burnout: https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/physician-wellness

    Medscape Physician Burnout Course: https://www.medscape.com/courses/business/100012?src=wnl_pba_180922_mscpmrk_pbanew&uac=232252HR&impID=1746233&faf=1

    ACGME physician well-being resources: https://www.acgme.org/What-We-Do/Initiatives/Physician-Well-Being/Resources

    JED Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/what-we-do/teens-young-adults/

    Resiliency Resources

    VIA Strengths Survey: https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey

    National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Physician Well-Being and Resilience: https://nam.edu/initiatives/clinician-resilience-and-well-being/

    AMA Steps Forward: Joy in Medicine for Physicians: https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/joy-in-medicine

    AMA Steps Forward: Physician Resilience: https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/improving-physician-resilience

    Physicians Then and Now: Research by Alumni Faculty Dr. Dunstone

    Dr. Dunstone discusses his 30-year follow up to one of the first research projects conducted on the topic of “provider satisfaction,” right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Click HERE to watch a brief interview of Dr. Dunstone, which was presented at the 2021 International Conference on Physician Health (ICPH).

  • Well-Being Ambassador Trainings

    In order to foster involvement, leadership, and maximal impact, WMed, in partnership with the Fetzer Institute, offered Well-Being Ambassador Trainings in 2019-2020. These trainings covered key concepts, strategies, and resources across 15 facets of mind-body-spirit wellness:  

    • Physical activity/Nature
    • Nutrition/Functional Medicine
    • Sleep Hygiene 
    • Stress-Management and Burnout Prevention
    • Character Strengths
    • Resilience
    • Internal Dynamics
    • Wellness Assessment
    • Mindfulness
    • Spirituality & Meaning/Purpose
    • Medical Humanism
    • Multiculturalism and Health Equity
    • Complexity Theory & Systems Dynamics
    • Wellness Leadership 


    Participants were asked to reflect on the application of this content in relation to their own well-being and to identify ways in which they can promote individual and institutional wellness in their daily interactions with colleagues, students, patients, and community members. Stay tuned for announcements regarding future opportunities.

  • Interest Groups

    Are you interested in bringing together others at WMed around a hobby, activity you love, or book club idea? We can help. Email wellness@med.wmich.edu and we’ll assist with getting the word out.