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.

WMed Wellness Pie


  • 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. For additional information regarding the program requirements, please email wellness@med.wmich.edu.

    Along with the Distinction Program, medical students learn about 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/Counseling Support Services).
    • 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
    • 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 Series

    In 2020 and 2021, we offered (and recorded) full-day symposiums featuring keynote speakers Farr Curlin, MD, and Aviad Haramati, PhD, along with local chaplains, community religions leaders, and physicians speaking about how they integrate spirituality into their clinical practice. In addition, we provided information regarding spiritual assessment, an overview of the Fetzer Institute’s study on the state of spirituality in the United States, and an opportunity to experience multiple self-care practices.

    For 2022, we are pleased to offer a noontime Spirituality and Medicine Symposium Series this fall. We hope you can join us for the following events:

    • Kama Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Rootead on Wednesday, October 5, 12:00-1:00
    • Chaplains Benjamin Schaefer (Ascension Borgess) and Doug Vardell (Bronson Methodist Hospital) Wednesday, November 9, 12:00-1:00
    • Ron Epstein, MD, author of “Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity”  on Wednesday, December 7, 12:00-1:00
  • Wellness Offerings

    Yoga, and meditation offerings are available to WMed employees (including residents/fellows) and students. We also have on-site fitness opportunities available upon request, and hope to bring back our popular salad bars in these next months.

    Class descriptions are below. Refer to the Wellness calendar for specific dates.

    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. As small groups are interested in this session returning, please reach out and we’ll schedule a day/time that is convenient for you.
    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. Sessions are also livestreamed and recorded, and posted on Microsoft Teams.
    Mindfulness Meditation In this 15-minute practice, participants are guided in a mindfulness meditation. We're glad to come to any meeting, class, or gathering. Feel free to reach out and we'll make it happen at a time that is convenient for you.
  • Wellness Workshops

    Opportunities to learn more about a variety of wellness topics are available to all members of the WMed community through Wellness Workshops. Additional information regarding dates, times, and registration will be included in the weekly Wellness/Culture emails. Be on the lookout for workshop details on the following topics and more:

    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 Tuesday, March 7, 2023
    Time 3:00-4:30 p.m.


    Topic Stress Management and Burnout Prevention

    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 Tuesday, January 10, 2023
    Time 3:00-4:30 p.m.


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

    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 Tuesday, May 9, 2023
    Time 3:00-4:30 p.m.


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

    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 Tuesday, November 15, 2022
    Time 3:00-4:30 p.m.
  • Wellness Noontime Series

    Opportunities to learn more about a variety of wellness topics are available to all members of the WMed community through Wellness Noontime events. MEDU credit/Well-Being in Medicine Distinction Credit is available for students. A list of the topics we’ve featured is below and many are recorded and available to view.

    The Curious Recent History of Psychedelics as Therapeutics (Part 2): Existential Anxiety, Mark Goetting, MD Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Perspectives on Whole-Person/Whole-Woman Care, Paula Sokhna Heathyre Mabin Wednesday, August 24, 2022, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Creating an emotion regulation toolkit & engaging your stress-o-meter, Chris Haymaker, PhD Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Financial Wellness: Budgeting with today's technology, Katelyn Huntington from Consumers Credit Union Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Exercise Encouragements for Ourselves and Our Patients, Robert Baker, MD, PhD Wednesday, January 4, 2023, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Sleep Hygiene, Alice Doe, MD Wednesday, January 11, 2023, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Functional Medicine & Nutrition, Ramona Wallace, DO Wednesday, January 18, 2023, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Self-Confidence, Grit, and Perseverance, TED Talk Speaker Ivan Joseph, PhD Wednesday, February 15, 2023, Noon-1:00 p.m.

    Other featured 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)
    • Applying Functional Medicine in clinical practice by looking or the "root cause" (Ramona Wallace, DO)
    • The Curious Modern Story of Psychedelics as Therapeutics (Mark Goetting, MD; Alicia Aleardi, MD; Parker Crutchfield, PhD)
    • An introduction to cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (Alice Doe, MD)
    • Art of Empowerment (Aubrey Jewel Rodgers, MA)
    • Performance Psychology: Take-aways for student learning and clinical success (Zeljka Vidic, PhD)

    *Annual presentation

  • CoreWellness App and Wellness Challenges

    We’re excited to be rolling out the CoreWellness App this summer at WMed. This app will provide both a benchmarked well-being assessment and curricular programming across the dimensions of physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, occupational, financial, and environmental well-being. Please reach out to wellness@med.wmich.edu if you need the login information to access the App.

  • EAP/Emergency/Counseling and Support Services

    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.

    Counseling and Support Services

    Additional information regarding counseling and support services can be found by logging in to the WMed Portal (Login required).

  • Burnout and Suicide Prevention

    WMed Suicide Prevention and Well-Being Promotion Symposium

    Register Here

    WMed Suicide Prevention and Well-Being Promotion Symposium - September 2022Suicide Prevention & Well-Being Promotion Symposium

    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): mywellbeingindex.org

    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.

    We are excited to be bringing back 3-hour Well-Being Ambassador Trainings this summer at a location near campus. Reach out to wellness@med.wmich.edu for additional information.