Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD
Assistant Dean for Wellness

In partnership with the Fetzer Institute, 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 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.

  • UME and GME Wellness Curricula

    Guiding Principles

    The WMed Wellness Curricula are 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 and Graduate Medical Education, these principles inform our wellness curricular topics, which are organized into five content areas: 

    • Personal well-being
    • Mind-body tools 
    • Resilience strategies 
    • Values/spirituality/creativity reflection
    • Professional wellness

    Medical students are exposed to these topics throughout their “Professions of Medicine” longitudinal course and within each of the four Transition Blocks. Additionally, elective courses and voluntary co-curricular activities are available.  

    The ACGME requirements for “Well-Being” are addressed across our Residency Programs, with a particular emphasis on burnout prevention skills. Additional wellness content is tailored to meet the specialty and scheduling needs of each program.

  • Weekly Wellness Offerings

    Weekly fitness, yoga, and meditation offerings occur at both the Upjohn and Oakland Campuses and are available to all WMed employees and students. Registration is required and can be done through the “Upcoming Wellness Events” link. Contracted classes through West Hills and Down Dog Yoga will require a co-pay of $5 (employees) and $3 (students) and can be paid through the CE Cloud portal when signing up. Employee co-pays will be automatically reimbursed from available wellness stipend funds quarterly. All classes will be offered at no-cost during the months of May and June as a free trial.

    A general schedule and class descriptions are below. Refer to the Wellness calendar for locations and weekly updates to the schedule.

    W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus

    Day Time Offering
    Monday 12:10-12:50 p.m. West Hills Group Fitness Training

    12:10-12:50 p.m.

    Down Dog Yoga

    • 12:10-12:50 p.m.
    • 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (4th Wednesday of each month)
    • West Hills Group Fitness Training
    • Chair Massage
    Thursday 12:15-12:45 p.m. Mid-Day Renewal: Guided Meditation and Simple Stretches (Horneffer-Ginter)
    Friday 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (2nd Friday of each month) Chair Massage

    Oakland Drive Campus

    Day Time Offering
    Monday 12:15-12:45 p.m. Mid-Day Renewal: Guided Meditation and Simple Stretches (Horneffer-GInter)
    Tuesday 12:30-12:55 p.m. Mindfulness Meditation (Schauer)
    • 7:00-7:30 a.m.
    • 12:10-12:50 p.m.
    • Mindfulness Meditation (Schauer)
    • West Hills Group Fitness Training
    Thursday 12:10-12:50 p.m. Down Dog Yoga
    • 12:10-12:55 p.m.
    • 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (2nd Friday of each month)
    • 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (4th Friday of each month
    • West Hills Group Fitness Training
    • Chair Massage
    • Chair Massage

    Class Descriptions and Cost

    Offering Description Cost
    West Hills Group Fitness Training This 40-minute workout offers a circuit-style format using strength training mixed in with high-intensity interval training. All fitness levels welcome

    Employees: $5

    Students: $3

    Down Dog Yoga This 40-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).

    Employees: $5

    Students: $3

    Mindfulness Meditation In this 30-minute class, participants will be guided in a mindfulness meditation. All levels of experience are welcome. No cost
    Mid-Day Renewal: Guided Meditation and Simple Stretches This 30-minute class will begin with the opportunity for some simple stretches (work clothes are fine), followed by a guided meditation to help recharge for the rest of the day. All levels of experience are welcome. No cost
    Chair Massage Back, neck and shoulder massage. To sign up, e-mail  annette.fox@med.wmich.edu. $1 per minute
  • Wellness Learning/Development

    Opportunities to learn more about a variety of wellness topics are available to all members of the WMed community through bi-monthly Wellness Workshops and monthly Lunch and Learns. Below is a list of upcoming offerings with links to register.

    CE Wellness Workshops

    1.5 CE hours are available for each session. Please refer to the Wellness calendar for location and registration information. Workshops are available to all WMed employees at no cost.

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

    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 Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    Presenters Horneffer-Ginter


    Topic Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practices and Benefits of Being in the Here and Now

    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, September 4, 2019, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus
    Presenters Schauer and Horneffer-Ginter


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

    The act of “giving thanks” can sometimes seem over-rated and annoyingly forced upon us, however, research has consistently demonstrated the benefit of authentic gratitude practices and perspectives in fostering emotional well-being. In this workshop, we’ll explore several daily practices and address how to relate to the inevitable times in life when gratitude isn’t possible. 

    Date/Time Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    Presenter Horneffer-Ginter


    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/Time Friday, January 17, 2020, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus
    Presenter Daudert and Horneffer-Ginter


    Topic Self-Compassion: How Best to Support Ourselves Through Life's Ups and Downs

    We live in a culture where excessive and unproductive self-criticism is all too common and, unfortunately, can lead to burnout. This session addresses the three components of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness and explores practices to promote emotional well-being. 

    Date/Time Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    Presenter Horneffer-Ginter


    Topic Maximizing 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 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, May 6, 2020, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus
    Presenter Horneffer-Ginter


    Lunch and Learns

    All Lunch & Learns are offered at no cost. Please refer to the Wellness calendar for location and registration information.

    Participants who sign up for Lunch and Learns a week in advance will receive a one-time email from Jimmy Johns the day before the event inviting them to purchase lunch as part of a group delivery to the Lunch and Learn location. This convenience is entirely optional.

    Topic Date/Time Location Presenter
    Your WMed Benefits: Resources You Don't Want to Overlook
    • Wednesday, May 15, 2019, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    • Friday, May 17, 2019, Noon-1:00 p.m.
    • Oakland Drive Campus
    • W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    Brooke Kolodzieczyk, WMed Human Resources
    Mindfulness: The What, Why, and How of Starting a Practice Today Tuesday, June 11, 2019 Oakland Drive Campus Schauer and Horneffer-Ginter
    Innovative Approaches to Workplace Wellness - or How a Hospital Came to Open a Grocery Store Wednesday, August 14, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Rob Oakleaf and Grant Fletcher, Bronson Methodist Hospital
    You'll Never Sit the Same Way Again: The Wisdom of Chair Ergonomics
    • Wednesday, September 11, 2019
    • Monday, September 16, 2019
    • Oakland Drive Campus
    • W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    Charlie Decker
    Food as Medicine: The Vision of the KVCC Community Culinary & Nutrition Program Wednesday, October 16, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Lizzie Luchsinger
    The $2 Jean Day Country-Line/Contra Dancing Extravaganza: Most Spirited Dancer Chooses the Donation's Destination Friday, November 1, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Jim Ratliff
    The Art of Healing: A Visual Journey into the Transformative Power of Visual Art Across Patient Populations Friday, November 22, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Gay Walker
    What in the World is Ayurveda? An Introduction to Yoga's Sister Tradition of Lifestyle and Nutritional Well-Being Wednesday, December 18, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Kara Aubin
  • Wellness Challenges
    Each month, a new Wellness Challenge will be announced with the opportunity to earn some WMed swag. Stay tuned to the Wellness calendar and the Insider Newsletter for more details.
  • EAP & Emergency Services

    Our Employee Assistance Program, MyLibertyAssist, is a free, confidential, voluntary support service that is fully accessible to employees, 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. MyLibertyAssist is completely confidential and 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.

    MyLibertyAssist is available by telephone or website 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access services by calling 866.695.6327 or online by logging on to workhealthlife.com/MLAEAP. This website also provides resources to find a therapist or psychiatrist who is available through these benefits. Additional information about MyLibertyAssist is available from our Human Resources Benefits Specialist at 269.337.4479.

    Emergency Mental Health Services 

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

  • Burnout Prevention Resources

    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

  • Well-Being Ambassador Trainings

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

    • Physical activity
    • Nutrition/functional medicine
    • Sleep hygiene 
    • Stress-management and burnout prevention
    • Character strengths
    • Resilience
    • Psychological balance/internal dynamics
    • Wellness assessment
    • Mindfulness, relaxation, and reflection practices
    • Self-compassion, empathy, and presence
    • Spirituality and health
    • Medical humanism
    • Multiculturalism and wellness
    • Systems dynamics
    • Wellness leadership 

    Participants are 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. Trainings involve a day at Fetzer’s Seasons Retreat Center along with sessions at WMed. For faculty, staff, and residents/fellows, 10 CE hours are available. For students, trainings are offered as an M1/M2 elective.

    • Letters of interest for fall trainings due on August 15, 2019
    • Letters of interest for winter trainings due on November 15, 2019
    • Letters of interest for February electives are due on January 15, 2020

    Fall Trainings

    • Introduction: Thursday, November 7, 2019, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, or Monday, November 11, 2019, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Oakland Drive Campus.
    • Retreat: Wedesday, November 20, 2019, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Fetzer Seasons Retreat Center
    • Wrap-Up: Friday, December 6, 2018, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus


    • Introduction: Thursday, November 21, 2019, 10:00 a.m.-Noon, Oakland Drive Campus, or Friday, November 22, 2019, 2:00-4:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    • Retreat: Thurs 12/5 9:00-4:00 Fetzer’s Seasons Retreat Center
    • Wrap-Up: Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus

    Winter Trainings

    • Introduction: Monday, February 10, 2020, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    • Retreat: Thursday, February 20, 2020, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Fetzer Seasons Retreat Center
    • Wrap-Up: Thursday, March 5, 2020, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus


    • Introduction: Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus
    • Retreat: Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Fetzer Seasons Retreat Center
    • Wrap-Up: Thursday, March 12, 2020, 3:00-5:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus

    Student Electives

    M2 Elective: Week of February 3, 2020

    M1 Elective: Week of February 10, 2020


  • Spirituality and Health

    The Fetzer Institute: Spirituality is an essential component of whole person well-being. We are proud to be partnering with the Fetzer Institute in our Wellness Initiative, a philanthropic organization that has been a leader in whole person health for decades. Please refer to their site for additional sources of inspiration. Learn more at https://www.fetzer.org.

    ISAAC: Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy & Action in the Community (ISAAC) is an interfaith organizing network of congregations and strategic partners working together to build a more just community. For more information, please visit https://isaackalamazoo.org/.

  • Interest Groups

    Spirituality and Health Book Club

    Our first book will be Kate Bowler’s “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved.” More details will be available in September 2019.

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