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.

Resident-Led Committees

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.

Wellness Committee

This committee develops and oversees multiple resident-led initiatives that focus on improving resident wellness and increasing connectedness within the program. This includes planning and organizing activities for Wellness Tuesdays (see below), program picnics, and other program-sponsored wellness activities. Additionally, the committee oversees the resident social chairs, who are responsible for planning a wide variety of other social activities.

Wellness Tuesdays

On the last Tuesday of every month, part of the didactics time is dedicated completely to resident wellness. Once a month, different residents are chosen to give a “Meaning in Medicine” presentation, in which they discuss powerful patient interactions that have affected them during their journey through medicine and what those interactions have meant to them since.

After this discussion, residents divide into “Wellness Interest Groups.” These groups create avenues to interact with peers in a more relaxed and non-clinical environment by bringing together residents with common interests. These groups typically have 5 or more residents.

Notable Wellness Interest Groups over the past several years have included:

  • Spa/Relaxation (Mani/Pedi)
  • Fun and Fit Friends
  • Board Games
  • Meditation
  • Video Games
  • New Parents
  • Stimulating Conversation

Social Life

Social chairs from the Wellness Committee help to coordinate and plan a wide range of resident-led social events, community initiatives, and advocacy opportunities. Events have included the following:

  • Psychiatry-themed movie nights
  • Intramural sports
  • Trivia nights and social hour
  • Weekly journal club
  • Monthly book club
  • Play dates for residents with children
  • Community service projects
  • NAMI Out of the Darkness walk
  • Lobbying at State Capitol

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.

Faculty Mentors

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 4 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.