April 8, 2022

The Well-being Word

April 8, 2022
View past issues »

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

It seems like everywhere you turn these days we are hearing about well-being. It certainly is the new hot buzzword! Talk of well-being, self-care, and burnout have permeated our culture—and for good reason. The pandemic has monumentally shifted the way we prioritize care for ourselves and others. We are entering an era where the importance of mental health and well-being is finally being brought to the forefront. However, improving and maintaining your well-being, especially for those of us working in the healthcare sphere, is more than just an occasional self-care activity. Improving your well-being takes a concerted effort, both as a department as well as individually.

This month I would like to talk about burnout. We all feel it, but what is it really? Burnout is a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical and mental stress. Those suffering from burnout experience emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, loss of passion, and loss of motivation.

Burnout manifests differently for all of us, but the long-term result can have consequences ranging from physical illness, irritability, cynicism, impatience, poor interpersonal relationships, and even negatively impacting your executive functions.

If this description resonates with you, please know that you are not alone!

“We are in this together!” has been seriously overplayed since COVID—but truly nobody understands your work and stressors like your colleagues. We are in this together and it is so important to check-in and offer support to those around you if you can. Offer an ear or a shoulder, send them something to make them laugh, or ask them honestly how they are feeling and if they need help. We need to develop and foster support networks where people feel safe opening up both when they are struggling AND when they want to share joy and accomplishments!

Human connection is so important for our mental health.

If you ever need someone to talk with, I am available to each of you at any time. Call me, text me, email me, find me at work! Whether you are struggling and need some assistance or you just want to share some joyful news, I am here to help. 

We are working hard to create meaningful impactful changes here in the Department of Anesthesiology to improve the mental health, burnout, and well-being of our teams as well as improve the culture and climate of our department.

I encourage you to look through this newsletter and look through the many resources available to help you and keep coming back each month to learn about new content and initiatives.

If you have any ideas about what we could provide that would better support your wellness please let me know!

Please join me this Saturday for Kids and Coffee at Choteau Park. I’ll bring the donuts and coffee, you bring yourselves and your kids! **Kids not required— adults are welcome to come, grab a donut, take a walk around The Grove, or hit the basketball courts for some HORSE or friendly anesthesia 4 on 4 (including smack-talking March Madness bracket results)!

Yours in wellness and support,

Erin

Upcoming Events

April 9 @9am
Kids & Coffee
Chouteau Park 

Come join us for a casual morning of coffee, donuts, and playground action. This fantastic newly renovated park has playground equipment as well as basketball courts for older kiddos. 

Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

May 1 @2pm
Anesthesia Day on the Farm
Brookdale Farms

Join your WashU anesthesia colleagues for bonfires, food trucks (Byrd & Barrel and The Feed Wagon), Hayrides, a bounce house (suitable for kids & adults), and a cash bar. 

Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

May 15 @ 1p
Annie Malone Parade
Downtown St. Louis

Celebrate the amazing diversity in St. Louis by walking with the Department of Anesthesiology in the Annie Malone Parade, the second largest African-American parade in the country! More information to come.

Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

Chili Cookoff!

Thank you to all who participated in the Chili Cookoff!

Our winner was Dr. Cathy Ifune! Her secret recipe? Canned Hormel Chili in a crockpot 😉

WUDA March Madness

March Madness has come to an end—but what a game!

We hope many of you had a chance to watch one of the most exciting championship game to memory with a historic comeback by KU after halftime.

1st place – Randy Branson (Director of WUDA IS)

2nd place – Andrew Thorsen (Resident)

3rd place – Kelly Houston (Critical Care APP)

Winner of the Bottom Four – Tom Bozada (CRNA) by tie-breaker!

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you had fun and maybe saw some names in our Department who you may have not known before. Go say hi to them!

Meet Kenya Mason!

Kenya Mason, CRNA, gives us a glimpse into her everyday life as a gastrointestinal team lead.

Top of the week it’s Monday!


5:15 a.m.—The alarm starts to sing. I quickly silence it as I settle into a moment of silent prayer for my family and pondering of the day ahead. After a series of last-minute yawns and stretches, I glance at my phone to be reminded of any follow-ups and commitments.

5:30 a.m.—I’m out of bed now and headed straight to the kitchen to hit the power button on the Keurig. As it warms up, I set up my blood pressure medications consisting of two antihypertensives and diuretics. Hypertension runs on both sides of my family. Strokes and aneurysms plagued both my grandmothers and my father also; so adhering to my prescribed medications is a crucial part of my day. I tend not to make small talk outside of saying “good morning” to my kids & husband during this time so that I don’t become distracted in conversation and forget to take my meds. I’m very much a creature of habit and routine. My family understands this about me and they allow me to thaw out mentally in the early morning before bombarding me with sideline chatter. As I sit and sip my coffee, I’m often on Twitter ingesting what is happening in politics and around the world.

5:45 – 6:15 a.m.—I’m showering and getting dressed for work.

6:30 a.m.—I emerge from my bedroom less gremlin-like and cheery. This is the time that my family and I all start to engage in issues of the day, tasks, and reminders as we are in and out of the pantry and fridge making lunches. Most times I’m intermittently fasting breakfast and eating lunch and dinner only. If I’m feeling naughty and off my game, I’ll indulge with a banana or blueberry muffin before heading out to work.

6:45 a.m.—I’m in the car headed to work. I use this time to rock out to my favorite playlist as I cruise Forest Park Parkway.

7:00 a.m.—I’m in the GI lab preparing my workstation for the day and making the rounds greeting everyone with morning niceties. As I engage in upbeat talk, give hugs and shoot the breeze with colleagues, I’m also surveying the board for changes, add-on cases, assignments of 8-hour CRNAs versus longer shift staff and late rooms. I purposely cultivate a pleasant atmosphere in the GI lab. Additionally, the people in GI have come to expect good vibes from me, so I’m always conscious to deliver.

7:30 a.m.—The first case starts and I greet the patient and commence the anesthetic plan. From this point forward I’m in arm’s length of everyone in the room. The close proximity causes us to have to work in tandem with one another to execute the cases and thats exactly what we do.

Throughout the day I’m looking for ways to facilitate movement of the cases in all rooms. Sometimes that means taking a case from another room that may be behind, starting difficult IVs, taking an early or late lunch, and moving at a good pace in between cases to ensure I complete my assignment and avail myself for relief for an 8 hr colleague.

2:00 -3:30 p.m.—During this time I’m either taking over a new room, acquiring some add on inpatient cases from the adjacent room or simply continuing to matriculate through my own assigned cases. If I’m still in my room; this is the time when the higher degree of difficulty, longer and sicker patient cases are done.

4:00-6:00 p.m.—At this time I’m either finishing up my day or I’m the late person that will stay until all the work is done. Oftentimes, if it is not my late night and the person who is assigned late rooms is forecast to go beyond 6 p.m. I will offer to stay late with them and take on one of their cases to lighten their late assignment. Nobody wants to stay to 7 p.m. and beyond after a full day in GI. Furthermore, this improves morale, camaraderie, and cohesion among the anesthesia providers and it keeps us mentally fresh enough to come back to do it all again tomorrow.

6:00-8:00 p.m.—This is decision time about what to do for dinner. If my son has
physical therapy or my daughter has basketball practice we are definitely getting carry out. By this time I literally have a quarter tank of energy left for the day. If all is good in the hood and nobody has nowhere to be I morph into a pretty good cook if I must say so myself… The fam are very particular about dinner. The food has to deliver on aesthetics as well as taste in order for them to be satisfied. I rattle the pots and pans with lots of love. This is one area that I score big as a mom. It does my heart good when they rave about my cooking.

8:00-10:00 p.m.—It’s cable news in the background, talk about Lebron James mixed in with nuggets of interesting things that happened in our individual day, and a general winding down for me and my crew.

10:30 p.m.—I’m asleep.

Weekends are for watching my daughter play in her basketball games, seeing my elderly mother-in-law, being social with my core group of girlfriends, catching up with the young people I mentor, and date nights with the husband. Joe and I go on at least two dates per month. One of which is casual and the other is a full date-night dress code. It’s so fun and keeps our marriage humming along. Transforming into different versions of myself through hairstyles, make-up, and fashion is what I do. It’s a key part of my character. We seek out live music, concerts, and any place that offers a great moscow mule and vibes.

Mindful Mondays Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Month is coming up in May and we’ve partnered with Calm to bring you the Mindful Mondays Challenge. Each week, Calm will send you an email with short, mindfulness activities to help you build positive, healthy habits.

Ease stress and anxiety with these mindfulness tools

Some occasional stress is a normal part of life, but when we experience high, prolonged stress without taking time to rest, our nervous system gets stuck in a cycle that clouds our judgment and affects our overall health. Unlike stress, anxiety is a persistent feeling of dread or apprehension, and is the most common mental health issue in the U.S.

Whether you experience stress and anxiety occasionally or regularly, building a personal toolkit for dealing with these difficult emotions can help you get more rest and help your nervous system recover from wear and tear. Ease stress right now with these mindfulness tools from Calm, our partner in mental well-being:

  • Use the 7 Days of Calming Anxiety program to soothe any mental and physical responses to anxiety and stressors
  • Gain a better understanding of the root causes of your stress, then develop your own personalized relaxation toolkit with the Managing Stress workbook
  • If you need immediate help stepping back from a worry spiral, use Panic SOS, a quick guided meditation to ease panic and anxiety with grounding techniques

Wellness Outside Work!

Below are photos of members of our department engaging and connecting with each other outside of work. As I said earlier, Human connection is so important for our mental health!! Submit photos of you and/or your colleagues engaging in wellness outside of the office, here, so we can spotlight all of our members.

March 4, 2022

The Well-being Word

March 4, 2022
View past issues »

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Dare I say spring is beginning to show itself? This week my challenge to you is to begin to surface from those dark, cozy, winter caves, and begin to reemerge into the world!

Spring is a time of renewal and I encourage you to find time to refresh and renew yourself. Enjoy the warm days and find ways to connect again. Connections with other people are crucial for our physical and mental health.  We have planned some fantastic events to allow members of our department to improve our vital social connections—please take advantage of them!

Join me next week, Thursday, March 10 for casual drinks and snacks and to discuss and brainstorm ways we can improve our physical spaces. Dusica Stankovic, an architect specializing in well-being spaces, will be there to help us! Do we need more plants? Different paint colors? Exercise equipment? Come weigh in and learn about the SCIENCE behind well-being spaces as well as get to know other people from the department. Help me make our spaces here on campus healthier and more wellness-centered! RSVP to Maureen Arends if you would like to attend.

I hope to see you there!

Scroll through the events, add them to your calendar, form some new friendships!

We will be transitioning to a once-a-month newsletter to allow it to be even more action-packed and comprehensive! If there are specific topics you would like covered, events you would like to highlight, or photos you would like to showcase: please send them to us! We want this newsletter to be a great resource for all and to highlight the many joyful and positive happenings in the department of anesthesiology.

Yours in Wellness,

Erin

Upcoming Events

March 9 @6pm: My Journey to the Top of the World: Gosia Borchardt
Our very own Gosia Borchardt, CRNA, will be giving a presentation via Zoom to the Medallion Adventure Club about her successful summit of Mt. Everest. More information to come.
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

March 10 @ 6-8pm: Well-Versed — A Discussion Club
Come have a glass of wine and a snack, and help us brainstorm ideas to improve our spaces, as well as tips for improving your home environment.
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

March 20 @ 10am: March Wellness Walk
Shaw Nature Reserve
Come see spring begin to bloom at Shaw Nature reserve! A true hidden gem in St Louis! 
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

April 9 @ 9am: Kids & Coffee
Chouteau Park 
Come join us for a casual morning of coffee, donuts, and playground action. This fantastic newly renovated park has playground equipment as well as basketball courts for older kiddos. 
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

May 15 @1pm: Annie Malone Parade
Downtown St. Louis
Celebrate the amazing diversity here in St. Louis by walking with the Department of Anesthesiology in the Annie Malone Parade, the second largest African-American parade in the country! More information to come.
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

May 1 @2pm: Anesthesia Day on the Farm
Join your WashU anesthesia colleagues at Brookdale Farms! There will be bonfires, food trucks (Byrd and Barrel and The Feed Wagon), Hayrides, a bounce house (suitable for kids AND adults), and a cash bar. 
Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

A Day in the Life of Jen Mahan

Jen Mahan, Fellowship Coordinator for the Trauma Anesthesiology Fellowship Program, gives us a glimpse into her everyday life!

6:30 a.m. – Alarm goes off the first time. I usually hit snooze a few times before rolling out of bed. Then it’s waking the kids up and getting them ready for school.

School Drop-off!

8:00 a.m. – Chauffeur my kids to school

8:30 a.m. – Home, turn on the computer, start the Keurig. I log into my computer and reach out to Jan and see how the morning went.  Getting myself organized and enjoying my coffee usually takes about an hour—this also includes random phone calls for emergencies, etc.  After I am organized, I take some time to gather data to fill in reports that I manage.

10:00 a.m. – This is also a normal time to have meetings (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays). I also will touch base with Megan a little before 11 and give her the rundown of who is/is not available, and if there are any requests we will need to address.

My beautiful girls!

11:00 a.m. – 12:00p.m. – Depends on the day, but this is either super busy or very calm — I never really know!

12:00 p.m. – At noon, every day, I attend the D-1 meeting. After that, I usually touch base with Megan again to check the lunch status, and start looking at the 6hr/OT rooms and who I may have to relieve in the next couple of hours.  

2:00 p.m. – Get online in the control room, and from there, who knows what will happen. It always includes lots of phone calls, text messages, and case stalking. Also get my kids from school at this time.

Enjoying the sunshine with my youngest daughter.

5:00 p.m. – Usually log off for the day — but it depends on how the board looks at the time.

Relaxation time with the doggo!

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Dinner, homework, taxi-Jen to/from various practices (2 nights a week), baths, random events, yard work in the summertime, etc.

Two nights a week, I am the taxi to and from practices. Then there’s dinner, homework, baths and any other random events that pop up.  

8:30 p.m. – Time to put the kids to bed! After that I try to relax and hang out with my dog.

Tips and resources for getting better sleep

There’s no such thing as being a “bad sleeper,” but many of us are regularly getting a bad night’s sleep (1 in 3, according to the CDC). Sleeping poorly isn’t just an issue of feeling groggy or cranky around our loved ones or colleagues — how well we rest can play into our long-term health, our physical safety, and our overall happiness.

Wherever you are in your journey toward getting good rest — whether that’s figuring out how to go to bed earlier or wondering what keeps waking you up in the middle of the night — you have resources for better sleep with Calm, our partner for mental well-being.

Calm has a library of sleep resources for you to cozy up and fall asleep faster for a better night’s sleep:

Prioritizing sleep during times of stress or change can feel difficult, but with a little practice and support, you can get the deeper sleep you deserve.

Happy Women’s History Month!

The 2022 Women’s History theme is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” — and it is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.

Feb. 25, 2022

The Well-being Word

February 25, 2022
View past issues »

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Did you know that your physical surroundings have an impact on your well-being? The science behind physical environment and well-being continues to grow as more people begin to appreciate the correlation. As many people transition back to communal offices after working from their cozy home, the importance of physical surroundings has become even more apparent!

There are now evidence-based guidelines being used by architects and designers to create spaces that are scientifically proven to improve the health and well-being of occupants. By encompassing the following 10 concepts as they relate to wellness: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, material, mind, and community, they are able to create spaces conducive to wellness. This wellness then translates to better mental health, better productivity, better outcomes, better retention, and better job satisfaction! It has even been shown that hospitals that prioritize the well-being of employees have lower infection rates! I may be biased, but at the core, the solution to MANY problems is improving the overall well-being, wellness, and health of the people involved.

Here is the kicker though: Many of you, like myself, are reading this very newsletter from inside a windowless, frigid, cramped operating room, ICU or lab. You are sitting on an old stool and realize you haven’t had a drink of water in 5 hours! Sunlight? Haven’t seen it in days! It’s a challenge to find a way that we are meeting ANY of the above 10 wellness-enhancing attributes.

If you are feeling discouraged, or better yet intrigued, I encourage you to read this article about well-being design initiatives that were instituted at a women’s prison in Ohio. While I am in no way asking you to draw a comparison between work and prison, (queue the prison Mike jokes for all the Office fans out there) please read this article to see how some small changes made a large impact in a space.

My challenge to you in the coming days is to look around your physical spaces and find ways to institute some of the scientifically-proven ways to improve your well-being.

Yours in Wellness,

Erin

Happy Thank a Resident/Fellow Day!

Check out videos from Dr. Markowitz and Dr. Mitchell on Twitter expressing their gratitude, and if you see a resident or fellow today, be sure to express your thanks for all that they do!

Take care of your physical health and join your colleagues in a new wellness challenge: Spring into Motion! This eight-week challenge aims to boost energy and improve health as you enjoy the benefits of being active.  

Spring into Motion begins March 7 and runs through May 1. Registration is now open, but the last day to register is Friday, March 11.

Save the Date: Upcoming Events

March 9: Our very own Gosia Borchardt, CRNA, will be giving a presentation via Zoom to the Medallion Adventure Club about her successful summit of Mt. Everest. More information to come.

March 10 @ 6-8pm: Well-Versed — A Discussion Club
Do you want to learn more or want to help improve some of our spaces here at WashU? Allison Johnson, the architect who is featured in the above article and designed the prison, will be at our first Well Versed Discussion Club! Come have a glass of wine and a snack, and help us brainstorm ideas to improve our spaces, as well as tips for improving your home environment.

March 20 @ 10am: March Wellness Walk
Shaw Nature Reserve
Come see spring begin to bloom at Shaw Nature reserve! A true hidden gem in St Louis! 

April 9 @ 9am: Kids & Coffee
Chouteau Park 
Come join us for a casual morning of coffee, donuts, and playground action. This fantastic newly renovated park has playground equipment as well as basketball courts for older kiddos. 

May 15 @1pm: Annie Malone Parade
Downtown St. Louis
Celebrate the amazing diversity here in St. Louis by walking with the Department of Anesthesiology in the Annie Malone Parade, the second largest African-American parade in the country! More information to come.

Yale is offering a free course about the science of well-being! Learn more.

Words of Wisdom from Jessica Gold, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Experiencing Burnout?

In the February Thrive article, Gold opens up about her experience with burnout and tips to help herself (and you) cope during this time of uncertainty.

Here’s a quick overview:

Know your limits and find useful coping mechanisms

Find professional support

Control only what you can

Acknowledge your feelings

Take time for yourself to reduce burnout 

Happiness Hacks

Gold also spoke with Huffington Post and gave seven simple happiness hacks you can do on your morning commute.

Focus on your favourite song

Smell a calming scent

Take a few deep breaths

Catch up with a loved one

Visualize expressing yourself creatively

Listen to a podcast

Prioritise a splurge

Kudos Board

Sarah Perez, CRNA, presented at the Assembly of Didactic and Clinical Educators (ADCE) conference about her research on burnout and well-being! Congratulations, Sarah!
Happy Thank a Resident/Fellow Day! Check out the notes from your colleagues in the Resident Lounge.
Feb. 18, 2022

The Well-being Word

February 18, 2022
View past issues »

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

The theme of this week’s newsletter is balance. Balance is a critical piece of well-being and one of the major keys to reducing burnout. However, balance looks different to each of us. For some of us, our work and what we do here in the department are what bring us joy, satisfaction, and inspiration. Our professional life energizes and stimulates us mentally and physically.

But that is not the same for all of us. For many of us, our passions lay outside of our professional jobs. We have pride in what we do professionally, but we find joy and passion inspiration outside of work, and that is OK too. Both of these mindsets are important for our department. Just because your day does not look like someone else’s, does not mean that your day is less important, or more or less balanced. It’s just different. Self-care and balance are extremely personal and different for us all. Doing good work doesn’t require work to always come first. Having other priorities doesn’t make you disloyal. What is important is to work to find moments of joy and pride in all you do, both at work and outside of it.

The things that make you human and bring you emotional satisfaction are what brings authenticity and a positive culture to our group. When you lead a balanced and resilient life, it is scientifically proven that your work performance is improved.

As we continue our “Day in the Life” series and learn more about each other and each division, I wanted to stress that these are merely snapshots of who we are and what we do.

This week, I am giving you a snapshot of MY life, but I would like to show you TWO different days in the same week. These days look very different, but on both days, I find pride and inspiration. One of the days is a more tangible representation of what I contribute to the department, but both days I am making myself and our department a better place by working to bring my best authentic and balanced self to work.

Yours in Wellness,

Erin

Do you want to join the well-being efforts in the department? Become part of the inaugural Well-Being Committee! We need people with great wellness ideas who want to help engage our teams and improve overall well-being in the department. If this sounds like something you are interested in please contact Erin Herrera (erinherrera@wustl.edu).

A Day in the Life

Erin Herrera: Work Edition

It’s an OR day!

4:30a: My first alarm goes off at 4:30a, but usually hit snooze a few times. Once I finally get my wits about me—I reach for my phone and look at my daily schedule, check epic to see if any of the cases in my OR for the day have changed and look at any updates to my patients’ chart or labs from overnight. Then I scroll through Instagram for 10 min or so until I finally drag myself out of bed. 

5:00a: Quick shower and get ready for the day. 

5:15-6:00a: “Erin time” — I sit on the couch and drink my coffee, watch local news, and scroll through Instagram uninterrupted. This is MY time and everyone knows not to come downstairs during this hour unless it is an emergency! This is my time to sit in silence and morph into the friendly person that shows up to work! 

My blue scooter!

6:00a: I drag my 6-year-old daughter out of bed. She is not a morning person! I quickly make her breakfast and pack her lunch while she watches cartoons. Also around 6:00a Jan Davis calls me and we go over call-in coverage and staffing for the day. We shift around assignments to make the daily staffing puzzle work.

6:15a: My husband comes down and we tag out kid duties — I then run off to work. Most days you can find me driving in on my signature blue scooter.

6:30a: I arrive at work, quickly change into scrubs, and head up to the daily staffing huddle. Here we go over the daily schedule and all the moving pieces with a bigger team of CRNAs and physicians. 

6:45a: I head to my assigned OR for the day to begin setting up. I work in Pod 3, which is the cardiothoracic, vascular, transplant, and cardiac cath lab ORs. My first stop is usually the pharmacy to grab a few drugs I will need for the day—then I head to the OR, check my anesthesia machine, and set up for the procedure. 

7:00a: I head to the preop holding area (usually with a few social stops and a quick cup of coffee on the way). When I get to preop, I go see my patient and go over their history and the anesthesia plan for the day. I then meet with my attending for the day, and we chat about our anesthesia plan and anything else important about the case.

Preparing for the day as I get the OR set up.

7:20a: I begin heading back to the OR with the patient! Got to be in the room by 7:30a!! Hustle hustle!!

7:30a-4:00p: I am in the OR! Depending on what service I am working with, I generally do anywhere from 1-4 cases a day! My patients are often in the ICU. I spend a lot of my days going to the ICU and bringing patients down to the OR and then back up! It’s hard work transporting a patient with all their pumps and machines back and forth to the ICU (especially heart failure patients). It takes a team of 4-5 of us to get a patient down to the OR sometimes.

During breaks in between cases, I am usually checking and responding to emails. On a busy day, I get anywhere from 50-75 emails. Most days I also have at least one Zoom meeting that I am on at some point.

If I am out of the OR, you can generally expect to see a cup of coffee in my hand. I love strong dark coffee and drink a cup every chance I get!

Trauma board time…

4:00p: If the cases in my room are finished, I head to the trauma board! From there, Jen Mahan and the trauma attending decide my fate for the last bit of my day. Sometimes I give dinner breaks to our late shift CRNAs, sometimes I relieve another CRNA, sometimes I help bring up a trauma or other emergency case from the ER. Every day in the OR is different and I love that change of pace!

5:00p: This is the end of my shift. Sometimes I leave at 5p, sometimes the ORs are still busy and I work for a while longer until the case is done or a 12-hour CRNA can relieve me! 

5:30p: I run to my office and answer any lingering emails. At least one day a week I have a late-day Zoom meeting before I head home. I try my best to put my phone away when I get home for a few hours. 

6:00p: I go to the fridge and pick out one of my GoFresh meal bags for dinner. I started getting a meal delivery service this year and it had reduced my stress so much!! While I cook dinner, my daughter and husband sit in the kitchen with me and we do her homework and chat about our days. When I am in the ORs I usually only think about WashU and anesthesia stuff so my husband updates me on what news is happening out in the world! We also love to throw on Wheel of Fortune (the OG Wordle). We are SUPER competitive with each other!

6:45p: We start to herd my daughter upstairs to start her bedtime routine. We feed fish, brush teeth, and read a few books. 

7:45p: Once we finally get the kiddo to sleep, my husband and I hit the couch and watch some TV. During this time, I usually look up my patients for the next day and occasionally answer a few more emails. If I’m lucky enough to get to work with an SRNA the next day, this is the time when we usually talk or text about our cases and their plan.

8:30-9:00p: We head to bed. I have an autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is exacerbated when I am overtired, so I am VERY protective of my sleep to try to prevent flares. I usually aim to always get 7-8 hours a night to keep my disease in check. I look at my RA as a blessing in disguise. My body tells me loud and clear when I need to slow down and find better balance!

We usually end our day throwing on reruns of the Office or my favorite show—What we do in the Shadows! I set my series of alarms for the next day and head to sleep.

Erin Herrera: Personal Edition

A day off!

Skiing at Hidden Valley!

8:45a: Woke up! It’s my off day and I desperately needed a day to sleep in! I taught my daughter to ski this weekend, and my back was reminding me that getting a 6-year-old down a slippery hill is no joke. My husband graciously took care of all morning kid duties.

Zoom time!

9:00a: Slept too late and now I’m running late for a Zoom. I threw on a hat, frantically looked at my notes, and hopped on my computer. Had a great conversation about PIA SAFE content programming.

10:00a: Spent an hour taking care of some loose ends from some projects I’m working on, and making some calls to try and plan some new Wellness events. (If you have a good suggestion about a place to have a department bonfire I’m all ears!!)

Hair cut and color by Vik!

11:00a-2:00p: Hair Salon! I took several hours to myself today to get my hair cut and colored. I drank a coffee, chatted with my stylist, and just relaxed.

Vik has been cutting both my hair and my daughter’s for several years now. Last year they identified as transgender, began hormone treatments, and transitioned to using them/them pronouns.

They are so wonderful and open about the process, and it has been such a great opportunity for myself and my daughter to have an open dialogue about what it means to be transgender and about pronouns. I am so thankful that I am able to use experiences like my relationship with Vik to bring a more knowledgeable perspective to my life and work.

2:00-4:00p: Hit the couch with some hummus and pita chips. I thought about reading a book for work but decided to watch a murder mystery docuseries instead and enjoyed some quiet time in the house while my daughter is at school.

Time for homework and dinner

4:00p: Picked my daughter up from school, came home, and started homework, spelling words, and dinner prep! Threw in a load of laundry.

5:00p: Quick early dinner because it is soccer night!

5:30p: Head to soccer practice at St. Louis Futbol club. This is a time for me to catch up with my friends—while our kids play soccer we get a chance to hang out and chat!

7:00p: Home from soccer and start the bedtime routine. While my daughter gets ready I talk to my student about our cases for tomorrow. We are on “Remotes” tomorrow, which likely means neuro IR here we come.

8:30p: Head to bed!

Did I “accomplish” much today in a traditional sense? Nope. Will I come to work tomorrow refreshed, energized, and ready to do what I love, absolutely! I love to do anesthesia. I am so thankful every day this is my chosen career. In my opinion, it truly is the best job in the whole world and I cannot imagine doing anything else, but I also love my days not doing anesthesia.

Wellness Walk – February 12

Last week’s February Wellness Walk was a blast! Thank you to all who attended — it was great seeing some old faces and meeting some new ones. A special thank you to Dr. Walter Boyle, owner of Shaws Coffee, for the coffee AND to Gioia’s Deli for the hot salami sandwiches!

Be sure to mark your calendars for next month’s Wellness Walk on
March 20 at 10 a.m. at Shaw Nature Reserve! Learn more

A Note from the Department of Psychiatry

To our fellow Washington University employees,

Thank you. It is just two words, but we know you don’t hear it enough.

We at the Department of Psychiatry want to let you know we are thinking of you and are grateful for the way that you get up every day and help people. We also know that this experience is unlike anything you have ever experienced before in healthcare and the compounding weight of the pandemic on you and your loved ones is not something we take lightly.

There have been emotional highs and lows during this experience that have left many of us feeling exhausted- moments of hope when numbers are down and vaccines are approved, as well as moments of anger and hopelessness when numbers are up and lives are lost. Some of us have become accustomed to that feeling of disappointment when yet another variant or wave arrives, and it may seem relentless, almost predictable. We know it didn’t have to be this way, and yet it is, and that alone is a lot to handle.

We want you to know that we are here to help. We know that words are nice, but actions are nicer. As such, we have been building a WU Employee and Family Wellness service over the pandemic to address your mental health needs. We have therapists and psychiatrists available within two weeks for both adults and children. We offer confidential telehealth visits or in-person visits. Early morning, lunchtime and late afternoon appointments are available. To find out more about the service you can visit us online at https://psychiatry.wustl.edu/. To make an appointment, please call us at (314) 286-1700. On our website you can also find resources, books, and websites that might be helpful to you during this time.

Sometimes when we endure so much, we might not even have the time or capacity to recognize the impacts on our own well-being. We haven’t had a second to breathe. It is also possible we may see effects long after the storm has passed. Please know we are committed to our services and are not going anywhere. You have been there for everyone else; please let us be there for you.

We are also available if you have suggestions of what additional services might be helpful from a mental health perspective. If you believe your area or team could benefit from programmatic support, please contact our clinic Program Manager Krista Jarvis at kjarvis@wustl.edu. Presentations, Q & A sessions, and introductions to our services can be provided to your group.

With immense gratitude,

Dr. Jessica Gold and Krista Jarvis, LPC
On behalf of Washington University Mental Health and Wellness Services

Submit your favorite wellness resources!

Read any good books or interesting articles? Take any photos with your colleagues? Try a new recipe? Experience something cool in the Lou? Tell us about it so we can feature it on our resource page!

Health & Wellness Resources
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB
Feb. 11, 2022

The Well-being Word

February 11, 2022
View past issues »

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Did you know that nearly 1,000 people work in our department? Our varied and diverse teams are not only spread all over campus, but all over St. Louis! We work in operating rooms, ICUs, labs, offices, from home—all OVER! WashU Anesthesia’s footprint has never been bigger. For those of you who had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Owens grand rounds presentation this week about the amazing history of our department, you can appreciate our incredible growth!

In an effort to better understand more about other roles, as well as get to know members of the department, we are kicking off a “Day in the Life” series! We hope this will be a great way for us all to learn more about how each of our divisions and roles fit together to make our department thrive.

One thing our three esteemed present and past Chairs agreed upon during grand rounds is that the reason our department has continued to grow and become a success is because of the people, relationships, and culture that we have cultivated and value above all else. It is the people of this department that make it truly tremendous.

Please join me this Saturday at 10 a.m. for our Wellness walk around the Hill! We will be sampling Italian treats (Gioia’s Deli is donating 20 hot salami sandwiches for people who are at the walk!), playing Bocce, and getting to know more about the area and each other.

Yours in Wellness,

Erin

Do you want to join the well-being efforts in the department? Become part of the inaugural Well-Being Committee! We need people with great wellness ideas who want to help engage our teams and improve overall well-being in the department. If this sounds like something you are interested in please contact Erin Herrera (erinherrera@wustl.edu).

Resources

Are you signed up for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) emails? They don’t send many — content is including training opportunities, Perspectives Dialogue topics, speakers, presentations and related programs. Sign up today!

The ODEI sent out a Black History in Medicine Newsletter on behalf of the WUSM Student National Medical Association. It’s worth a read — view it online.

Do you know who was the first African American woman CRNA? Katherine Carson Dandridge! Learn more about Katherine via this article from Nurse Anesthesiology.

Upcoming Events

Wellness Walk
Feb. 12, 2022 at 10am
Full agenda

Black History Month – Inclusive Perspectives: Black and Living with Disability – Experiences, Concerns, and Hopes
Feb. 15, 2022 at 12:30pm
Learn more

Black History Month 2022 – Dr. Kimberly Norwood: Colorism Thrives as Society Diversifies
Feb. 16, 2022 at 11:30am
Learn more

Black History Month – Advocacy & Allyship: Towards a More Racially Just St. Louis
Feb. 22, 2022 at 12:30pm
Learn more

Black History Month 2022 – HeLa 100: Race and Eugenics
Feb. 23 at 11:00am
Learn more

Black History Month 2022 – Black Excellence: Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s)
Feb. 25, 2022 at 11:30am
Learn more

A Day in the Life…

Our first spotlight is on Dr. Enyo Ablordeppey! Aside from being my partner in crime as the Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she is Co-Director of 7800 Surgical ICU, Co-Director of the critical care Ultrasound training program and practices as an attending in the Emergency Department. Along with her clinical practice, she is also an avid researcher, mom to an adorable daughter, wife, and friend to many. I can’t wait for you to read what a typical day in Enyo’s life is like and learn about the many amazing ways she enriches our department.

A Day in the Life of Eyno Ablordeppey
A little neighborhood walk with my favorite people

5.00am: On an ideal day, I’m up! Especially if it’s an ICU week. If not, I press snooze. I check the baby monitor and give it another hour.

6.30am: Shower, get dressed and start getting the baby ready with my husband, Chad. He’s an elementary school teacher and leaves around 7:30am for work. If it’s an ICU week, I’m at work already! I’ve got lunch with my water and pomegranate juice in my Steelers lunch bag.

8.00am: Out the door to the office or starting ICU rounds. I need my coffee and granola; ICU rounds are long!

Just finished ICU rounds. Whew! Where did the rest of my team go? Advance practice practitioners, Pharmacist, nutritionist, respiratory therapist, why didn’t you get in the picture?

I work in the surgical ICU, surgical COVID ICU and tele-ICU. Some weeks, I’m working shifts in the Emergency Department.

9.30am: Let’s say it’s an office day: I respond to emails, attend Zoom meetings—you know the drill. I find it helpful to edit my “wish-list” for the day. I love my multicolored pens and paper calendar! I can’t function without them. I’ll admit that I get distracted by news and Twitter sometimes. I love med-twitter, great ultrasound videos, articles, and updates on what others are up to.

12.30pm: Rounds are over or I’m done with office work for the morning. I grab a quick lunch and on to the next task. More emails, write notes, draft at least one section of a grant, article, lecture, etc. I love to multitask,—I just give everything a little time and eventually, it will all get done.

Mid-afternoon meeting with My trio in the Office of professional development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellness.

2pm: Time to meet with my ultrasound fellows. I love working with advanced learners, it’s really cool to watch the dots connect. I feel good that they will use what they learn to immediately help patients. If not doing that, maybe a research meeting or lecture.

4pm: Afternoon rounds—these are quicker. Check those boxes and make sure everything gets done. Leave a little time to walk around, touch base with nurses and other colleagues. Oh yeah, its Wordle time…

It’s tennis time. Time to swing out all the stress of the day. Working on my serve!

6pm: ICU signout or head home. I’m really making an effort to get home between 6-7pm. Baby goes to bed around 7:45pm. I really love my mommy time and our nighttime routine. One or two nights a week, I may have a dinner or an event during that time. Mondays, I play tennis. I started taking lessons again and I really enjoy it. Look out, Serena!

9pm: Baby is asleep. I’ve prepared her food and milk for tomorrow. I read through emails in more detail, respond to a few. One more hour to focus on lecture, grant writing, manuscript, etc.

11:00p: Ok, time to wind down. “Wonder how patient in Bed XX is doing?” I think. Look through the days “wish-list” and check things off. Plan a new list for tomorrow.

Is there a historically black college and university in St Louis? 

Yes! There is an HBCU right here in St Louis! 

Harris–Stowe State University is a historically black, public university located in midtown St. Louis. Harris–Stowe State University was established in 1857 with a motto of Affordable, Accessible, Diverse. This school was named Harris Teachers College in honor of William Torrey Harris who had been a Superintendent in the St. Louis Public Schools. In 1929, the name Stowe was added in honor of the abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe.  

Calm

The quality of the relationships in your life can deeply impact your overall health and mental well-being. Mindfully evaluating the network of connections around you, from family to colleagues to romantic partnerships, can help you appreciate your community more deeply. Use these resources from Calm, our mental wellness partner, to reflect on your relationships:

  • Experience the power of compassion toward yourself and others with these meditations on Forgiveness
  • Build a stronger sense of self-trust and self-worth with the Relationship with Self Series
  • Learn more about the many facets of romantic partnerships — from handling heartbreak to building communication skills — in this meditation series on Love and Relationships

Have you downloaded Calm yet? Here’s what your colleagues are saying about the app…

“Calm has legitimately replaced all my other work music. I listen to it every day! I am currently jamming out to the deep focus playlist while I work on budgets!” -Randall Stateler

“I am 32 weeks pregnant and having my first feelings of frustration and wanting to be done. I downloaded the Calm app today and spent a half hour learning how to get started with it all. Long story short, it was much needed and thank you.”  -Alyssa McClellan

“Big thank you for the Calm app! Studying for boards did a huge number on my anxiety levels! The app has been a huge help in getting me back to sleeping like normal again!” -Claira Sousa

Can you name the four historically Black medical schools currently in operation? 

  1. Howard University College of Medicine (Washington DC)
  2. Meharry Medical College (Nashville TN)
  3. Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta GA)
  4. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science “CDU” (Los Angeles CA) 

Howard was the 1st established in 1868. 

Get to know Meharry:

Meharry Medical College opened in 1876 in Nashville, Tennessee with less than a dozen students, mostly from the south. It was originally part of Central Tennessee College. Eventually five white men, the Meharry brothers, who had been befriended earlier in their lives by some blacks, furnished the resources for a four-story building. From 1877 to 1890, Meharry graduated 102 students. 

Submit your photos

We want to see your photos! Submit your photos with a short description via this form. Everyone who submits a photo will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Kaldi’s gift card!

Feb. 4, 2022

The Well-being Word

February 4, 2022
View past issues »

Happy Black History Month and Happy Chinese New Year!

February marks the start of Black History Month, a month to celebrate and honor the many contributions, achievements, and legacies that Black people/African Americans have and continue to make, across society. In the Chinese New Year, we celebrate the beginning of this year of the Tiger with preparation for good fortune. Both of these moments bring inspiration through recognition of the beauty and strength in diversity, but acknowledge that there was struggle for freedom and equal opportunity. We acknowledge that there is a public health crisis in racism because it is a threat to social determinants of health. In this effort, we reflect on the plight, sacrifices and successes of Black people currently and throughout history. This allows us to be open to acknowledging signs of systemic racism which are deeply rooted, but can inspire us to seek Anti-Racism advocacy and education for our friends, colleagues, and patients. Washington University and the Department of Anesthesiology are committed to “inclusive excellence” and developing and sustaining a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all.

In this month, celebrate the new year with the diversity here at Washington University and in the Department of Anesthesiology but also challenge yourself to reflect and learn. Knowledge is power. Knowledge about the contributions of Black people is an important part of history. For Black History Month, we would like to provide space for dialogue and discussions to identify and address issues that affect not only Black/African American communities, but Washington University and the School of Medicine at large. We encourage you to attend events this month on campus including lectures, reflections, and wellness exercises, as well as to support local departmental efforts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellness.

Look through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s calendar, and choose something that sparks and inspires you! Be sure to follow @washumedodei on Twitter and @wusmmedschooldiversity on Facebook.

We are fortunate to work alongside and learn from many inspirational, impactful Black leaders and scholars here at Washington University and within the Department of Anesthesiology. Use this opportunity to listen to them, learn from them, and celebrate the abundance of knowledge, experience, and perspective they bring to our community. This month, and every month, we celebrate together the deep and rich history of Black culture, resilience, art, medicine, and excellence.

Erin Herrera


Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice Chair for Well-Being

Enyo Ablordeppey, MD


Enyo Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM
Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Looking for Black-owned businesses to support in STL?

There are 30+ Black-owned businesses in the Delmar Loop. Businesses range from services to retail sales to restaurants and professional services. Learn more

Ladue News put together a list of diverse metro area restaurants, boutiques and other Black-owned businesses you can support. Read the article

February Wellness Walk

Come walk around one of the most historic and unique neighborhoods in St. Louis: The Hill! Great coffee, markets, and interesting architecture abound.

Black History Month Events


Brown School and Open Classroom have curated a series of lectures and panels during Black History Month.

Next up:

COVID-19 Variants & Vaccines: Where Are We Now?
Feb. 8 at 12:30 p.m.

Fact #1:
Why is Black History Month celebrated in February?

Black History Month is celebrated in February in the U.S. and Canada and was first established as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Dr. Woodson chose February as it is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, “both men being great American symbols of freedom.” Furthermore, Dr. Woodson’s vision was not to confine the contributions of Black/African Americans to one week; he believed that the initiative would become a tradition that celebrates and acknowledges Black/African American culture. 

Happy Physician Anesthesiologists Week!

Happy Physician Anesthesiologists Week! Thank you for contributing to the health and safety of our community.

Calm

Don’t forget that all members of our department now have access to Calm premium!

Follow this link to create an account and verify your WUSTL email address, then download the app and log in to enjoy unlimited access to your favorite resources.

Messages of Support

Departments, labs, and clinics from WUSM and BJH thank you for everything you are doing to care for the community, both inside and outside WashU, during the COVID pandemic. 

Click each image to view in high resolution.

Fact #2:
Who is the first Black physician to practice in the United States?

James McCune Smith, MD. James Smith was an American physician, abolitionist and author. He earned his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and returned to the U.S. as the first black man to hold and practice with a medical degree. He was also the first black physician to establish and run a pharmacy. He used his training in medicine and statistics to refute common misconceptions about race, intelligence, medicine, and society in general.

Submit your photos – win a gift card!

We want to see your photos! Submit your photos with a short description via this form. Everyone who submits a photo will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Kaldi’s gift card!

Jan. 28, 2022

The Well-being Word

January 28, 2022

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Last weekend I hit a wall. All the exhaustion and stress of the past few weeks caught up to me, and all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and watch a movie. Someone recently suggested to me, that as an anesthesia provider, I should watch the movie “The Rescue.” I was intrigued. How in the world would my interest in anesthesia possibly coincide with a documentary about the rescue of a soccer team from a flooded cave in Northern Thailand?

Without giving away too many spoilers, it takes a misfit team of hobby cave divers, several militaries from a few different countries, and one insanely brave anesthesiologist to accomplish this amazing feat. 

Aside from being reminded again of the amazing power and magic of anesthesia, I realized what a great metaphor this movie was for our department as a whole. To achieve truly great feats, you need people of many different skills, passions, backgrounds, and training all working together. 

Many of our day-to-day jobs here in the Department of Anesthesiology look vastly different from each other’s—but at the core, in one way or another, we are all moving toward a common goal: to take the best care possible of people, patients, and each other. 

Please do yourself a favor and find two hours to watch this movie. I promise it will inspire you, and remind you to follow your passions and do what brings you joy, because someday, it could be your quirky passion and talent that saves the day! If nothing else, it will give you an excellent conversation starter next week at work!

Keep being your true authentic self here at WashU anesthesia. We are here for it. 

Happy CRNA Week!

Happy CRNA Week to all our amazing CNRAs! Your dedication, expertise, and compassion bring the highest level of care to all of our patients, and I’m so grateful for each of you!

Calm

Don’t forget that all members of our department now have access to Calm premium!

Follow this link to create an account and verify your WUSTL email address, then download the app and log in to enjoy unlimited access to your favorite resources.

Additional emergency/back-up adult and child care services through Care.com

WashU began a pilot program with Care.com to help benefit-eligible faculty and staff find reliable, safe, and vetted adult and child care providers when regular care is unavailable. This benefit is in addition to the current back-up care offered through our partnership with Bright Horizons. Learn more about the Care.com pilot program or visit the Family Care Hub to view your back-up care options.

WashU Spring Wellness Challenge

Save the date: registration beings Feb. 18 for spring wellness challenge

This year’s Spring into Motion wellness challenge is an eight week challenge that aims to boost energy and improve your health as you enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle. Participants are encouraged to reach “wellness milestones” and eligible for raffle prizes throughout the challenge.

Registration begins Feb. 18 and can be done through the WashU Wellness Launchpad and opting-in to Spring Into Motion. The challenge begins March 7 and runs through May 1.

Wellness Walks

We had a blast at our first inaugural Wellness Walk at Tower Grove Park! Mark your calendars for the February Wellness Walk on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. on the Hill.

Submit your photos

Have photos from last week’s snow? What about a great day in the OR or a happy hour with colleagues? We want to see them! Submit your photos with a short description via this form. Everyone who submits a photo will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Kaldi’s gift card!

Jan. 21, 2022

The Well-being Word

January 21, 2022

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

As I reflected this week on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s continued relevance and impactful legacy I was drawn to his quote; “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”.  For many of us working in medicine (and its vital surrounding support), we have dedicated our lives to “doing for others.” We give a lot of ourselves to those we serve; our time, skills, and our mental and emotional space. Especially now, with a world in so much strife and pain, it is easy to get lost in the service of others and forget to take care of yourself.

While the words of Dr. King continue to ring undeniably true, it is important to learn to serve others without losing yourself in the process. We cannot effectively care for others without caring for ourselves as well.

Calm app

In an effort to help you better care for yourself and those you love, the department has purchased a subscription to Calm for each of our members. This program allows you unlimited access to guided meditations, specialized music playlists to help with stress and focus, mindful movement video and audio, relaxing sleep stories, tailored content for children, wisdom-filled masterclasses led by experts, and much more. 

Meditation and mindfulness training has been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to help in many ways. For my data, numbers and research loving friends, below are several of the many studies on this topic:

We will be sending out information next week with instructions on how to access the Calm app, as well as how to share your subscription with up to 5 additional devices to allow your family and loved ones to benefit from this content as well!

Wellness Walk – Saturday, Jan. 22 at 10am

Our first departmental Wellness Walk will be held this Saturday at Tower Grove Park from 10-12 am! Meet the group in front of the Piper Palm House at 10 am.

Please bundle up and come join us for a casual walk followed by a trip to the Winter Farmers Market. This is a great event to meet new department members as well as connect and unwind with friends. Families, friends, kids, pets are all welcome!

The first 10 department members to find me get a free WashU anesthesia winter hat!!

FUN FACT: Dr. Bryan Meyers, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at WashU is also chief farmer at Three Springs Farm. Come visit him and his farm stand at the market this weekend!

Support from WashU Colleagues 

Our friends in the Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology shared the following images with us to show their appreciation to all of YOU!

Featured Resources

There are many apps, mindfulness resources, online support groups, and other tools to help you cope with challenges. Or maybe you just need a fun podcast recommendation or a book to read. Take a look at the collection of resources below.

If you have any resources you’d like to share, let us know here!

Buddy program

EAP Buddy Program

Are you looking for a way to connect with others on a more regular basis? The Employee Assistance Program has created a “Buddy Program.”  Check Up or Check in with a buddy through this program to support your mental health!

covid test kit

FREE At-Home COVID-19 Tests
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of four free at-home tests from USPS.com. Limit of one order per residential address. Orders will ship free starting in late January.

Additional Resources

Jan. 14, 2022

The Well-being Word

January 14, 2022

Erin Herrera, CRNA
Associate Vice-Chair of Well-Being

Hello, friends!

We hope you are all taking care of yourselves and each other!

As we head into the first snowy weekend of the year, we wanted to send out our inaugural Well-Being Newsletter. We hope that this will be a place for you to come for updates, well-being tips, and other resources. We will also be posting content weekly on the newly revamped Well-Being webpage.

As we head into the first snowy weekend of the year, we wanted to send out our inaugural Well-Being Newsletter! We hope that this will be a place for you to come for updates, well-being tips, and other resources! We will also be posting content weekly on the newly revamped Well-Being webpage!

Upcoming Events

Wellness Walk
Jan. 22, 2022 at 10am
Learn more

Wellness Walk
Feb. 12, 2022 at 10am
Learn more

Introducing, Wellness Walks

Starting January 2022, we will be scheduling monthly department Wellness Walks and all are welcome at these casual events! Come get some fresh air, meet new colleagues, and check out a new part of St. Louis!

Families, dogs, kids are all welcome to join in the fun!

Our Inaugural Wellness Walk will be Saturday, January 22! We’ll meet at Tower Grove Park for a stroll around the park followed by a visit to the Tower Grove Farmers Market Outdoor Winter Market!

Meet in front of the Piper Palm House (4271 Northeast Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63110)

Ways to get out of your house (but still be safe!) this weekend

Getting outdoors and some physical activity is a great way to recharge and relieve stress! So, bundle up and aim to head outside this weekend! Even a few minutes will help your mental health.

  • Sledding
    Are you new to the St. Louis area and looking for a great place to check out the snow this weekend? Go sled on iconic Art Hill in Forest Park!
  • Ice Skating
    Go ice skating at Steinberg Ice Rink in Forest Park, right next to campus!
  • Eagle Days
    Don’t have your snow boots yet? Go see the Bald Eagles! Eagle Days are happening now through February! St Louis has many locations to see Bald Eagles in action!
  • Grab a Hot Chocolate
    Are you more of an “indoorsy” person? Check out is Feast Magazine’s list of the Top Hot Chocolate in St. Louis.

Coming soon…

More opportunities to connect are coming soon:
– Book clubs
– Outdoor movie night
– Digital “brunch” check-ins
– Group meditation and mindfulness activities

Featured Resources

There are many apps, mindfulness resources, online support groups, and other tools to help us cope with challenges.

Read a great new book? Try a delicious recipe? Use a product that helps you relax and recharge? Attend any fun, outdoor, safe events? We want to hear about them below!

Health & Wellness Resources
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB