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Student Wellness


Dean Fleming's Welcome Picnic

Med students across the country often feel that, in order to survive the intense academic pressure of med school, they must sacrifice all other priorities— including personal wellness.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At Vanderbilt, we believe wellness is crucial for achieving excellence as a future physician. We want to foster the whole person, not just your academic or medical self.

Here, you can be a fully involved, high-performing med student without sacrificing your physical, social, or spiritual wellness.

Wellness Student Leaders

A cohort of med students across seven committees, the Wellness Student Leaders support engagement in effective mentoring, mind and body wellness, education, and research— just to name a few.

Led by two fourth-year co-presidents, the Wellness Student Leaders address mental health issues, organize self-care events, and keep tabs on current health-related research.

Four Wellness Student Leaders also oversee another crucial arm of VUSM Wellness: the college system.

Medical Student Colleges

Within your first months at VUSM, you’ll be matched into one of four colleges.

With just over one hundred students each, your college quickly becomes a “home within a home,” a more intimate, personal community within the larger med school body. There you’ll find opportunities for faculty mentorship, academic advising, and career support. You’ll also be paired with an upperclassman mentor (your “Big”) and join a warm mentoring family of fellow med students.

Each college has a unique personality, and you’ll soon learn why they are one of many reasons for Vanderbilt’s success in producing happy, well-balanced students who love their life in medicine.

Wellness Retreats

Your personal wellness is the engine that fuels all your work as a physician. That’s why, if you’re going to provide compassionate care to your patients, you’ll need a deep understanding of your own wellness as well.

Fostering that understanding is the goal of Wellness Retreats— four day-long, off-campus workshops you’ll attend throughout your time here.

Led by the faculty mentors and Student Affiliate Advisors from each college, these retreats are packed full with personal reflection and faculty-moderated discussion. You’ll get to hear stories of personal growth and wellness from your faculty, and, as a class, you’ll tackle questions like:

  • What marks the difference between surviving and thriving in a medical career? (1st year retreat)
  • Which medical specialties fit my natural talents and one-of-a-kind passions? (2nd year retreat)
  • How do I cultivate resiliency and avoid burnout in the intense learning environment of a teaching hospital? (3rd year retreat)
  • How have the first three years of med school challenged and changed me? What unique perspective will I gain to help develop our class’s Hippocratic Oath? (4th year retreat)

The self-care you’ll practice at these retreats becomes the model for supplying compassionate patient care in the years ahead.