Our Focus on Wellness
Wellness has different meanings for each resident. With this in mind, our program uses a myriad of methods to foster a culture of connectedness and wellbeing among residents throughout their four years of training. It begins with investment from program leadership. Our Program Director, Dr. Jason Schillerstrom, welcomes ways he can support residents and maintains an open-door policy to discuss any questions, concerns, or issues. He also encourages residents to support each other. The Associate Program Directors are also highly supportive of resident wellness.
Residency Program Evaluation Committee (RPEC) Annual Retreat
The RPEC retreat is two-day residency-wide retreat, usually held at a notable location in San Antonio (Sea World, San Antonio Zoo, The Pearl, etc.) All residents are excused from clinical responsibilities during this time, including call. The focus is to promote a sense of community, team building, and, most importantly, program improvement. Residents discuss challenges in the program and advocate for actionable improvements to create a more fulfilling residency experience. Each year, ideas developed at RPEC translate into meaningful program improvements.
A major aspect of resident wellness is the ability to have a voice in the program. Resident-led committees allow residents to participate in program improvement and advocate for residents’ needs. Each committee has a resident chair, resident volunteers, and a faculty supervisor.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee
This goal of this committee is to help to build community for residents who are interested in making change in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The projects are driven by the passions of the members and organized in the subcommittees Outreach/Local community (which encompasses advocacy and volunteer opportunities as well), Recruitment and Retention of Underrepresented in Medicine, and Education. Initiatives are often designed to work together with the other wellness committees in efforts to weave these principles into the fabric of our program.
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Committee
This committee provides a framework for residents interested in in QI/PS projects, community advocacy work, and research. The goal is to facilitate high quality initiatives that can be sustained over time through resident and faculty engagement, as well as education and resource sharing.
Education Curriculum Committee
The purpose of this committee is to evaluate and improve our residency’s didactic curriculum and other educational opportunities. The goal is to create a robust academic training that not only aligns with ACGME standards, but is also reflective of the interests of our residents.
This committee develops and oversees multiple resident-led initiatives that focus on improving resident wellness and increasing resident connectedness within the program. This includes planning and organizing activities for Wellness Tuesdays, social events, and reoccurring (monthly or weekly) wellness activities.
The committee is led by two Wellness Chairs, and consists of the Wellness Social Chairs, Wellness Interest Group Leaders, and Intern Wellness Representatives. The Wellness Social Chairs are responsible for planning a wide variety of social activities for all residents, while the Wellness Interest Group Leaders organize activities on wellness days. Intern Representatives report the wellness of their co-interns and help the program make wellness initiatives specific for their class.
On the last Tuesday of every month, part of the didactics and noon conference time is dedicated completely to resident wellness. Residents can usually head straight to their wellness activities and have three to four hours to engage in various “Wellness Interest Groups.” These groups create avenues to interact with peers in a more relaxed environment by bringing together residents with common interests. Most wellness groups have at least 5 members who meet regularly, and many have more. Residents can go to different wellness groups and try them all out or stick with their favorite. There are always opportunities to start new wellness groups as well.
Notable Wellness Interest Groups over the past several years have included:
- Foodie and Gamer Kids
- Spa Relaxation
- Hiking Group
- Art & Lo-Fi
- Mind Body Connections
- Board Games
- Stimulating Conversation
- Pet Parents
Social chairs from the Wellness Committee help to coordinate and plan a wide range of resident-led social events. In addition, there are regularly occuring events, which happen either weekly or monthly. These events help residents to establish a habit of regular wellness activities and self-care. Some of these events have included the following:
- Psychiatry movie nights
- Intramural sports
- Trivia Night at the Flying Saucer
- Journal club
- Book club
- Play dates for residents with children
- Community service projects
- NAMI walks
- Running Club
- Bible Study
- Outdoor Pick-Up Sand Volleyball
- Walking/Unicycling/Longboarding Group
Intern Specific Support
Intern Welcome BBQ
At the beginning of each year, our program director, Dr. Schillerstrom, invites all interns, residents, and their families to his house for a welcome to the new academic year. The interns get to meet some of the faculty and other residents while enjoying wonderful home-cooked Texas-style barbecue.
Each intern is paired with a faculty mentor. This is to allow for the intern to feel supported during their transition into residency and to have an avenue to address any questions, concerns, or issues they might have. There is dedicated time at the end of Wellness Tuesdays to allow for the interns and their mentor to meet.
Intern Success “Houses”
Interns are divided into 5 different “houses”, which are each overseen by a chief resident. They meet monthly to check in, get to know each other better, and discuss how intern year is going. The goal is to provide the interns with academic, career, and personal guidance to help smooth the transition from medical school to residency.
Residents will have the opportunity to moonlight at University Hospital & Clarity Guidance Center starting during the latter half of the PGY-2 year.