An Introduction to Wellness

Welcome to Vanderbilt! You are embarking on what will undoubtedly be one of the most challenging and rewarding phases of your life. While here, you will be supported by individuals and an institution committed to your success, not only in the field of medicine, but also in your everyday lives. Wellness is a lifestyle and mindset that promotes optimal learning and well-being in all aspects of life for every member of our community.

The Wellness Program is a student- and faculty-led organization affiliated with the Office of Student Affairs that helps Vanderbilt medical students lead balanced, successful lives during medical school and beyond. In addition to programming led by the Student Wellness Committee, this organization is responsible for planning annual retreats for each VMS class. The Wellness Program also includes the College system and works closely with Careers in Medicine to provide students with resources to guide their personal and professional development.

The VUSM Student Wellness Committee represents a multifaceted and proactive approach to lifelong health, happiness, and success. This student-led organization is built on a foundation of five principal aspects of wellness (modified from the “Six Dimensions of Wellness” by the National Wellness Institute) and includes corresponding committees to promote wellness and program development in each of these areas:

- Body Committee encourages and promotes physical fitness through events such as the College Cup, Commodore Challenge, and intramural sports

- Community and Safety Committee focuses on environmental and service-oriented initiatives as well as ensuring and improving the physical safety of students in emergency situations

- Mentoring Committee seeks to promote academic achievement and peer mentorship through practice exams, advice panels, online resources, and one-on-one mentoring opportunities with upperclassmen

- Mind Committee facilitates mental and spiritual health through activities such as art therapy, yoga sessions, and mental health forums

- Social Committee encourages interpersonal connection and relaxation through school-wide social gatherings, art gallery visits, athletic games, and the annual Light Hall After Hours event

The Vanderbilt administration has recognized the importance of wellness for students and physicians and has dedicated great time and resources toward this goal. The Wellness Program strives to reach out to all students through innovative programming and a multifaceted support system. Please contact us or any of the Wellness leaders listed below with any questions or concerns – we wish you all the best as you embark on your first year and look forward to meeting you!

Mary DeAgostino and Carmela Kiraly

Co-Presidents, VMS Wellness Committee

Intellectual/Professional (Menotring)

Chairs: Cherie Fathy, Rob Lentz


Chairs: Daniel Johnson, Victoria Migdal


Chairs: Eszter Szentirmai, Irène Mathieu


Chairs: Brittney Pryor, Matt Correia


Chairs: Clinton Morgan, Stephen Dorner

Wellness Leadership

Wellness Presidents: Carmela Kiraly and Mary DeAgostino

Director of Peer Mentoring: Laura Ballenger

Director of Third Year Support Series: Cristin Quinn

Director of Student Safety Network: Monique Simpson

Director of Boards Support Series: Jana Bregman

College Cup

College Cup is the annual competition of athleticism, wit, and spirit between the four Vanderbilt Medical School advisory colleges. Since its inception in 2008, it has been one of the most popular and highly-anticipated school wide events.

Students and faculty from each college will work together to compete in a wide variety of events (5K race, swim meet, basketball, beach volleyball, ultimate frisbee, trivia, Iron Chef, and much more) in the quest for the coveted College Cup. The winning college earns bragging rights for the rest of the year, a party in their honor, and many other perks.

However, the College Cup is more than just a two-day competition between the advisory colleges. It presents an opportunity for students to develop lasting relationships with their peers and faculty members. It gives participants a chance to develop and maintain exercise routines. Finally, it is an embodiment of the spirit, wellness, and camaraderie that make Vanderbilt Medical School the happiest medical school in the country!

The cup is held every year in September or October. Soon, your second year College Cup captains will begin to recruit you for teams and events. It will be up to you to represent your College with pride, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship. Have fun and good luck!

-Daniel Johnson (VUMS 2016), Body Chair

Chapman College

Our Mascot: The Dragon. Long live the Dragon!

Dr. John E. Chapman was dean for 25 years from 1975-2001 and is known in Vanderbilt history as the “Dean of Deans.” He conferred 3,317 graduate degrees, created 32 acres of clinical research and education space, and established 789 new faculty positions during his extended tenure as the school’s commander-in-chief. He was adored by students and faculty alike, bringing satisfaction ratings to the top of the nation.

The Chapman shield, with its green gloss and golden stars, pays tribute to the Dean and the 25 years of growth Vanderbilt experienced under his leadership. The Chapman Dragon is a reminder of the Dean’s training in toxicology, but also symbolizes his principal position among the long list of Vanderbilt Greats. Thus, the proud Chapman assemblage declares our motto “Vivat Decanus Decanorum,” or “Long live the Dean of Deans”.

Advisory College Mentors

Beth Ann Sastre: Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine; Primary Care at Internal Medicine Clinic and the VA Hospital

Dr. Sastre grew up outside Orlando, FL and spent her undergraduate years at Stetson University. She is a proud Gator fan and graduate of the University of Florida College of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and served one year as Primary Care Chief Resident prior to moving to Nashville. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine with primary care clinics at Vanderbilt Internal Medicine and the VA Hospital. She also serves as an Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency and as a Master Clinical Teacher in the School of Medicine. She has special interests in graduate and undergraduate medical education, teaching evidence-based medicine, and serving at the student-run Shade Tree Clinic and the faith-based Siloam Family Health Center.

Contact information:

Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine Clinic

7th Floor Medical Center East

Nashville, TN 37232-8850

Ph: (615) 936-3216 / Fx: (615) 936-3156

Walter Clair: Assistant Professor of Medicine

Dr. Clair attended college in Boston at Harvard University and stayed there for medical school, residency, and for the MPH program. He then left Boston to go to South Carolina where he worked in the state public and mental health departments. He then went to Duke to train in cardiology. He moved to Nashville in 1993 to join Page-Campbell Cardiology as a cardiac electrophysiologist practicing at St. Thomas Hospital. In 2006 he came to Vanderbilt. He currently serves as Medical Director of Electrophysiology and maintains an active clinical practice teaching at both Vanderbilt and Meharry.

Contact Information:

Medical Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology

Associate Professor of Medicine

Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute

MCE 5209

Nashville, TN 37232-8802

Ph: 615-322-2318 / Fax: 615-936-5064

Robinson College

Where you hear the mystical song of a bagpipe + the heart beat pulse of a drummer, you will find the spirit of Robinson College.

Dr. George Canby Robinson was Dean of Vanderbilt School of Medicine from 1920-1928. He moved the school from South Nashville to the main university campus and is credited with transforming its traditional physician-apprentice educational program into that of a modern university medical school with a science-based curriculum and full-time faculty.

Robinson College is known for its excellence in all pursuits, from academics to athletics. The raven at the center of the Robinson crest is a heraldic symbol of independence, ambition, and enduring constancy. The acorn and oak leaves are a symbol of Vanderbilt University, and the sword represents the just pursuit of honor in medicine and all things. Their motto, “Commodum Habitus Es,” translates to “You have just been owned.”

Advisory College Mentors

Michael Pilla: Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology- Liver Anesthesia and Director of Advanced Clinical Training

Dr. Michael Pilla is Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology, Associate Residency Director, and Director of the Liver Transplant Anesthesia service at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Pilla was a professional musician until age 30, when he entered college. Following graduation with degrees in both biology and psychology, he attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating AOA in 1994. He completed his residency in anesthesiology in 1998 at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. After six years in private practice in Santa Fe, NM and Eugene, OR, Dr. Pilla came to Vanderbilt in 2004. He also serves on the faculty of the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia. He was elected Advisory College Director to the infamous Ravens of Robinson College in 2008, a position he has cherished and served in with honor and distinction ever since.

Contact Information:

Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology – Multispeciality Adult Division

VUH 2301

Nashville, TN 37232-7237

Ph: (615) 936-1206 / Fx: (615) 936-6493

Kyla Terhune: Assistant Professor of Surgery and Anesthesiology, Division of General Surgery

Dr. Terhune is assistant professor of Surgery and Anesthesiology in the Vanderbilt surgical faculty. Her practice consists of general surgery with an interest in foregut surgery. Dr. Terhune completed her residency in general surgery and fellowship in critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During this time, she received several distinguished teaching awards, as selected by her peers. She also organized and directed surgical education programs, teaching conferences and simulated skills sessions.

Prior to her faculty appointments, Dr. Terhune received her A.B. degree in molecular biology with high honors from Princeton University and her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she received the J.S. Ravdin Award in Surgery.

Contact Information:

Division of General Surgery

1161 21st Avenue South

D-4309 Medical Center North

Nashville, Tennessee 37232

Ph: (615) 875-3008 / Fx: (615) 322-0689

Batson College

Like the mighty Phoenix, Batson rises from the ashes!

Dr. O. Randolph Batson was a pediatrician who obtained his medical degree and completed his residency here at Vanderbilt. He was a decorated WWII veteran and nationally distinguished pediatrician who played a key role in the eradication of polio. He served as dean from 1963 to 1972, and during these years, he oversaw a tremendous period of growth for the school and medical center, most notably the creation of Light Hall, the “Round Wing,” and the Children’s Hospital.

The Phoenix historically symbolizes virtue, purity and immortality. It serves as the centerpiece of the Batson crest to represent Vanderbilt’s growth under Dean Batson’s leadership, and to signify the Phoenix’s role as protector of the innocent, a reference to pediatrics. The four trees at the top of the crest represent growth and nature, in tribute to Dean Batson’s avid love of the outdoors. The Latin motto “Multi murantur, pauci sciunt” is a Hippocratic aphorism, translating literally to “many admire, few know.” While medicine is a selective and greatly admired pursuit, this quotation reminds us that few have truly grasped the ultimate significance of our art and its responsibility to humanity.

Advisory College Mentors

Benjamin Heavrin: Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine; Department of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Heavrin grew up in Colorado and spent his undergraduate years at Princeton University. He earned his dual MD/MBA degree here at Vanderbilt University. He then went on to spend six months working as a health policy analyst with the Vanderbilt Center for Evidence-based Medicine during a gap between medical school and residency. He started his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado and then completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt. He went on to become Chief Resident of Vanderbilt’s Department of Emergency Medicine and has been on faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine ever since. Dr. Heavrin is married to Jill, also a Vanderbilt alumnus and a practicing Emergency Medicine physician.

Contact information:

Emergency Medicine Department

703 Oxford House

Nashville, TN 37232-4700

Ph: (615) 936-0253 / Fx: (615) 936-1316

Bill Cutrer: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Critical Care Medicinea

I work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where I absolutely love walking through periods of critical illness with patients and families. Two of the things I love most in that environment are the practical application of physiology and pharmacology and the ability to work closely with amazing patients, families, and team members. I completely medical school training at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, followed by training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. I have been at Vanderbilt since 2010, and have fallen in love with it and Nashville. My academic interests revolve around medical education, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Batson College Mentor. Outside of the hospital, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and 2 daughters, being active in my church, and training for triathlons and running events.

Contact information:

5119 Doctor’s Office Tower at the Children’s Hospital


Phone: 615-936-3968

Gabbe College

Go Gabbe!

Dr. Steven Gabbe is remembered as the rousing force behind Vanderbilt’s emergence as an eminent academic medical center in patient care, education, and research in the 21st century. Dean Gabbe led tremendous projects to upgrade and modernize Vanderbilt’s facilities that set the standard for other schools. Through his leadership, he assembled a student body and faculty full of heart, energy, and commitment to service.

Those in the proud fellowship of Gabbe College have the Golden Lion to convey a symbolic message of leadership, dignity, and wisdom in judgment - characteristics of Dean Gabbe’s tenure at Vanderbilt. The royalty of Dean Gabbe is denoted by dual crowns, two in number to represent his attention to both collegiality and collaboration. Through that spirit, Dean Gabbe and the college that commemorates his legacy serve as leaders of the present and future. They are “Primus Inter Pares,” or “First Among Equals.”

Advisory College Mentors

Ban Mishu Allos: Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases; Adult Infectious Diseases

Dr. Allos is a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and in the Department of Preventive Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Emory University and her M.D. from University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Dr. Allos completed her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt in 1994. She also has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. Her interests include immunization policy, foodborne illness, and healthcare-associated bloodborne infections. Dr. Allos teaches many bacteriology courses in the first year. She also is the course director for the Capstone course for fourth year students. In addition, Dr. Allos has taught in the Foundations of the Profession course, intersessions, and numerous other venues.

Contact Information:

Associate Professor

Infectious Disease – Medicine (Adult)

A 2200 MCN

Nashville, TN 37232-2582

Ph: (615) 936-1174 / Fx: : (615) 343-6160

Amy Fleming: Assistant Professor, Pediatrics; Pediatric Hospitalist

Amy Fleming is an assistant professor and a member of the Division of General Pediatrics. She attended medical school at the University of Virginia, then entered the United States Air Force and completed her residency training at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio Texas. She stayed on for an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident. During her time in San Antonio, TX, she developed a keen interest in education, which continued during her posting at the United States Air Force Academy. She achieved the rank of Major prior to separating from the Air Force, and took her leadership and educational interests to Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan as a pediatric hospitalist. She moved to Vanderbilt in 2007 where she became a Gabbe Advisory College co-Director, the pediatric clerkship director, and a Master Clinical Teacher.

Contact Information:

Assistant Professor

Division of General Pediatrics

VCH 2405

Nashville, TN 37232-9075

Ph: (615) 936-0826 / Fx: (615) 343-4655