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.

  • Wellness Offerings

    Fitness, yoga, and meditation offerings are available to WMed employees and students. Contracted classes through West Hills and Down Dog Yoga require a participant fee of $3 for residents/fellows and $5 for faculty/staff. Classes are offered at no cost to students as participant fees come from the student wellness allowance. For your convenience, no pre-registration is necessary. Instead, reimbursable participant fees can be pre-paid either for a single event or in bundles ($5 x 3, 6, 9, or 12 for faculty/staff; $3 X 4 for residents/fellows) through the CE Cloud portal.  You will then be given an activity code to submit by text on the same business day for each noontime or evening event you attend. When purchasing bundles, employees will be asked if they would like reimbursement from eligible fitness/wellness stipend funds. These reimbursements will be issued quarterly—no additional receipts need to be submitted. 

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

    Please note that WMed Residents/Fellows (only) can also use $3 reimbursable pre-paid participant fees for any regularly scheduled yoga class at Down Dog Yoga by showing their WMed ID. 

    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

    Faculty/Staff: $5

    Residents/Fellows: $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).

    Faculty/Staff: $5

    Residents/Fellows: $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

    This 15- to 30-minute offering (which can include guided meditation and/or simple stretches) can be requested at a date, time, and campus location that is convenient for you and your colleagues.  Reach out to wellness@med.wmich.edu to schedule a Mid-Day Renewal session.

    No cost
    Chair Massage Back, neck and shoulder massage. To sign up, e-mail annette.fox@med.wmich.edu. Currently available at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. and Oakland Drive campuses as listed in the Wellness Calendar. $1 per minute
  • CE Wellness Workshops

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

    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 24, 2020, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus
    Presenter Daudert and Horneffer-Ginter


    Topic Time Management When You Have NO Time!

    We live in a culture in which “being busy” and “having too much to do” are common states of existence. Much of this we can’t control—but some of it we can. In this workshop, we’ll look at how time management can serve as a helpful tool and what it looks like when we’re short on time. We’ll also identify the difference between “urgent” and “important” tasks and consider ways that our mental chatter impacts our management of time.

    Date/Time Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location Oakland Drive Campus Media Room
    Presenter Nancy Radcliff, RN


    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, June 3, 2020, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
    Location W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus, Classroom 211
    Presenter Horneffer-Ginter
  • Lunch and Learns

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

    Bring your lunch and join us for these informative presentations. All Lunch & Learns are offered at no cost. Please refer to the Wellness calendar for location and registration information.

    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
    Food as Medicine: The Vision of the KVCC Community Culinary & Nutrition Program Wednesday, October 16, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Lizzie Luchsinger
    What in the World is Ayurveda? An Introduction to Yoga's Sister Tradition of Lifestyle and Nutritional Well-Being Wednesday, December 11, 2019 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Kara Aubin
    The Art of Healing: A Visual Journey into the Transformative Power of Visual Art Across Patient Populations Wednesday, February 19, 2020 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus Gay Walker
    Musical Artist Series: Presented in Collaboration with The Gilmore Wednesday, April 15, 2020 W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus

    Come learn more about the AAMC New “FRAHME” Initiative (The Fundamental Role of the Arts and Humanities in Medical Education) and be treated to some beautiful live music. Perfect timing with the Gilmore Keyboard Festival being just around the corner. 

  • 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.
  • Wellness Tips

    The benefits of Turmeric—Thoughts from new faculty member, Ramona Wallace, D.O.

    We all deserve a life of vitality! The pursuit of feeling better is why people seek out many avenues of obtaining wellness. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies are used by 38% of adults and 12% of children according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. Americans spent more than $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on CAM. The 2018 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that 75% of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. An interesting fact from the same article was the Turmeric emerged as the second most popular herbal/botanical supplement. 

    Turmeric is a great place to start a discussion on how to create health. This vibrant yellow spice originated from Ayurvedic healing in India, 500BC. It's a rhizome similar to ginger. What's the hype? Turmeric's major active components are the curcuminoids, iron, potassium, fatty acids, and the polysaccharides ukonans A-D. It has been promoted to help with inflammation and other disease states. If this has peaked your interest, more information can be found in this article (Int J Biochem Cell Biol.) 

    A simple way to consume Turmeric is to sprinkle it on your favorite dish, or cook up a batch of coconut milk rice (2 cups rice, 1 ½ cups water, 1 can coconut milk, salt to taste) and add it in.

    Disclaimer: Please discuss with a trained professional that understands the risks and benefits of this supplement as it relates to you as an individual.

  • 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, purpose 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 physicians, faculty, nurses, staff, and residents/fellows, 8 CE hours will be available. For students, trainings are offered as an M1/M2 elective. Interested participants are asked to submit a brief letter of interest to their chair/supervisor and to Karen Horneffer-Ginter.

    Winter Trainings

    Option 1
    • Introduction: Monday, February 10, 2020, 3:00-4:00 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, 3:00-4:00 p.m., W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus

    Option 2

    • Introduction: Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 3:00-4:00 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, 3:00-4:00 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.