We are committed to fostering a culture of wellness that will follow students throughout their careers. The medical school offers countless wellness-themed events throughout the year, including wellness breaks before each exam, and Wellness Week, an entire week dedicated to wellness activities. During these events, students engage with wellness activities and programming like healthy snacks, movie nights, wellness seminars, and even therapy dogs! We also has a fitness facility for students to use with treadmills, weight-lifting machines, and a group exercise room.
Several students are members of the Wellness Committee, a student-led, administration-supported group that aims to provide wellness education, programming, and activities to our students. The Wellness Committee has identified six facets of wellness: Physical, social, mental, financial, spiritual-cultural, and community wellness.
Additionally, there are several student interest groups at the medical school that incorporate student wellness into their overall focus and mission.
- Arts in Medicine (AIM)
The Arts and Medicine group aims to facilitate a link between medical students and the arts. Our goal is to create a space where students can engage in personal expression, reflection and growth. By developing their creative, observational and technical skills, we hope to have a positive impact on the quality of life of these medical students and their community.
We hope to have a recurring event series that consists of students making art in a guided structure. These meeting are intended to be a safe outlet for expression, but also relaxing and fun. In addition, we hope to organize workshops, lectures and field trips in order to expose students to different modalities of art.
- Dermatology Interest Group
With warmer weather approaching the Dermatology Interest Group would love to share skin cancer prevention tips.
Skin Cancer Screening and Prevention
Whether you’re stepping out to greet the sweltering summer heat or inches of freshly fallen snow under your boots, wearing sunscreen is an essential step in your daily routine to minimize exposure to ultraviolet radiation and reduce the risk of skin cancer. We see many months of snow in Michigan, and rays from above and below, bouncing off of the snow on the ground, can multiply one’s UV exposure. Talking statistics, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancer diagnoses combined. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old.
Damage from UV exposure is cumulative and years of damage increase the risk of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). These cancers occur on sun-exposed areas of skin. Perhaps sooner, you might notice signs of premature photoaging and red-hot burns from UVA and UVB rays. UV exposure that leads to sunburn has proven to play a strong role in developing melanoma, the most dangerous of the three most common types of skin cancer. Five or more sunburns more than doubles your risk of developing potentially deadly melanoma.
Thankfully, skin cancer is also highly preventable and highly treatable. No matter the age, it’s important and never too late to start practicing good sun habits to take care of your skin, our body’s largest and most exposed organ. These include protecting yourself from natural UV rays, examining yourself for any new or changing spots or moles, seeing a primary care provider or dermatologist for a thorough skin check, and avoiding indoor tanning devices.
What can I do to protect my skin daily?
When you anticipate being outside, sun protection should include the recommended liberal frequent application of broadspectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, wearing sun-protectant clothing (i.e. a wide-brim hat), and seeking shade. This is especially important during hours of intense sun, between 10AM and 2PM. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, and more frequently if activities include heavy sweating or swimming. A common myth is that taking these steps increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is already highly prevalent in Michigan. In fact, dermatologists recommend an appropriate diet and supplements to achieve adequate levels.
How can I conduct a self-skin exam?
While doing a self-skin exam, remembering the signs of melanoma can simple as your A, B, C, D, and E’s.
- Asymmetry: One-half of the spot is unlike the other.
- Border: Borders of the spot are uneven or poorly defined.
- Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next.
- Diameter: The spot is 6mm or greater (~ size of a pencil eraser).
- Evolving: The spot’s size, shape, or color is changing.
One risk factor for skin cancer that is absolutely preventable is the usage of indoor tanning beds, which emit dangerous UV light. The World Health Organization lists indoor tanning beds as a cancer-causing agent. In fact, using a tanning bed before age 35 increases your lifetime risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Using a self-tanner product can offer the look of a year-round tan without the wrinkles and skin cancer.
WMed is committed to the well-being of our students and staff and pledges to join the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention’s Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative. Stay tuned for the installation of campus sunscreen dispensers.
For more information, please see the following references used:
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review. Int J Canc 2006; 120:1116-1122.
- Skin Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm. Published 2014. Accessed May 22, 2022
Questions, please feel free to reach out to M3 Jess Duong.
- Healthy Living Through Strength Training
The mission of HLST is to provide guidance, tools, and resources to WMed students interested in incorporating strength training and weightlifting into their regular schedules. As a growing volume of research suggests, resistance training offers a variety of benefits such as improved physical and mental health, release of stress and improved mood, increased bone density, prevention of injury, and many more. HLST will bring in leaders from the local medical and athletic communities who will share their knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, such as: proper technique, managing and avoiding injuries, diet, optimal programming for strength and conditioning, incorporating cardiovascular training, and so on. Lastly, HLST members will communicate through social media to coordinate group workouts, which will allow students to become more consistent with their training, as well as the chance to give guidance to those who are newer to strength training.
- HeART of WMed
The HeART of WMed group aims to facilitate a link between all individuals related to the medical school and the arts. Our goal is to create a space where students, residents, attending and faculty can engage in personal expression, exploration and networking through the medium of the arts. By putting on our event we hope to bring the WMed community together and allow for the development of artistic outlets as well as networking opportunities.
Through the expression of art be it performance or visual we would like to start conversations within our community about the outlets that individuals can use to come to terms with the situations they may face. The show is intended to be a safe outlet for expression, but also relaxing and fun. It is a time to come together, learn something new and spark interest in the humanities. In addition, our hope is to give back to the community that has given WMed so much. By taking suggested donations at the beginning of the show, we will choose a charity within the community to donate said profits to.
- Nutrition and Medicine Interest Group
NAMIG’s mission is to promote awareness for the applications of nutrition across medical specialties in supporting longitudinal patient health and well-being, provide opportunities for interprofessional development with allied health, and disseminate resources that will enable medical professionals to better facilitate comprehensive patient care.
- Social Justice Interest Group
Our group’s mission is to increase the WMed community’s education and awareness of social justice issues, with a specific attention given to social justice issues that affect the Kalamazoo Community. Through small group discussions and collaborations with community organizations we will work to cultivate effect student-physician advocates in this community, with the long-term goal of developing physicians who are effective advocates and leaders for social justice.
- WMed Dance
WMed Dance seeks to expose students to a variety of dance styles to gain an appreciation of the culture, music, and athletic nature of dances from around the world. Dance classes/meetings are open to the entire WMed community and absolutely no previous experience is required in order to participate. Classes/meetings can be led by any member who wishes to share his/her knowledge of dance with the group. Dance is a wonderful way to gain some exercise, take a break from a busy day, and to broaden our horizons: Come dance with us!
- WMed Soccer
The purpose of WMed Soccer is to bring students together to play recreational soccer. We will build teamwork and communication skills while promoting exercise, healthy living, and having fun playing the world's favorite sport.
- WMed Volleyball TBL
WMed Volleyball TBL aims to provide students and faculty opportunities to enjoy volleyball while promoting teamwork and fostering a friendly and supportive environment.
Limited, confidential personal counseling services are available to students with school-related adjustment issues such as anxiety or situational depression. Independent licensed counselors serving as consultants to the medical school provide the sessions, and are bound by confidentiality. Students may confidentially make appointments by contacting the care managers of the WMed Clinics at 269.337.6540.
Private Practice Counselors
Private practice counselors in the community are available to provide counseling and mental health services to students.
- Child and Family Psychological Services, PC
Child & Family Psychological Services, PC, is a local counseling service that has a staff of more than 30 counselors in two separate locations in the Kalamazoo/Portage area. They may be contacted at:
5340 Holiday Terrace
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
1662 East Centre Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
- The Counseling Center at Family & Children Services
The Counseling Center at Family & Children Services is another local counseling resource that has a staff of eight counselors in three separate locations in the Kalamazoo/Portage/Battle Creek areas. They may be contacted at:
1608 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
1302 West Milham
Portage, MI 49024
778 West Columbia Avenue
Battle Creek, MI 49015
Substance Abuse Counseling
Behavioral Health Services at Western Michigan University is a licensed and accredited outpatient substance use and behavioral health disorder treatment provider. Behavioral Health Services offers a specialty program in alcohol and drug abuse, provides substance use assessment and evaluation services, and consultation, information, and education regarding addiction. These services are available to students for a fee. Students may access Behavioral Health Services by calling 269.387.8230.
Behavioral Health Services has two locations in Kalamazoo:
1000 Oakland Dr., 3rd Floor
834 King Highway
More information regarding this service is available at https://wmich.edu/unifiedclinics/about/behavioral.