December 2, 2022

The Well-being Word

December 2, 2022
View past issues »

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

Hello friends, 

There are few things that can improve culture more than creating an environment where frequent and consistent feedback is part of daily life. The problem is: feedback is tricky. It requires courage, vulnerability, and openness. It requires you to sometimes be uncomfortable and occasionally even scared. However, correctly delivered feedback is a radical act of caring!

Feedback can help us challenge assumptions.

Feedback creates a culture of open dialogue and psychological safety.

Feedback creates a community of upstanders.

Providing feedback is an opportunity to give recognition, show commitment to learning, and help teammates find growth opportunities and success! Receiving and delivering feedback is an art, and is a critical part of learning!

There are a few important elements to remember when you are giving and receiving feedback:

  • What is your intent in delivering the feedback? Is your intent to truly help the person in their growth and development?
  • Is the person at a place where they are ready and open to receiving feedback? Asking the simple question of “are you in a place to receive feedback right now?” goes a long way. They may not be in a mental place to receive and process feedback. They may prefer to wait until the end of the day to circle back and receive feedback. For others receiving it in the moment is super helpful. It’s important to always ask the question to make the other person feel safe. Understanding HOW and WHEN people prefer feedback is critically important!

Receiving feedback also is an important skill to hone in yourself. How do YOU prefer to receive feedback?

Have I given feedback and then immediately realized that it landed wrong? ABSOLUTELY! Many times! Have I RECEIVED feedback and not responded gracefully? Oh yea, 100%. It’s human nature to get defensive when receiving feedback! Giving AND receiving feedback requires practice and repetition.

When you foster a culture where positive feedback is frequent, trusting relationships are forged. When the time comes that you need to deliver feedback on an area of improvement or opportunity, they know that you are coming with their best interests at heart and genuinely want them to succeed and improve.

I have two challenges for you this month.

  1. Practice with positive feedback! Find an opportunity to give some positive feedback to a coworker this week
  2. Think about how YOU prefer to receive feedback.

Here in the Department of Anesthesiology, we strive each day to foster minds and hearts that are open to change as well as promote a growth mindset in our team, where folks strive to relish feedback as an opportunity to consistently grow and improve!

Yours in wellness,


Do you want to learn more and improve your skills in delivering and receiving feedback? Join our team of PIA SAFE champions! We are putting in the work of learning about feedback, upstanding, and many other skills to elevate and enhance our culture! Come join the movement! Go to the PIA SAFE website to learn more about what a PIA SAFE champion does, how you can contact one, and what it entails to become one!

MoBOT Therapeutic Horticulture Event

Wednesday, December 21
7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Peter’s Lounge — 2nd Floor

Come learn about the therapeutic aspects of nature & make a greenery arrangement to bring home!

Women of WUDA

Saturday, February 4
8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Wild Carrot

This retreat will be an incredible morning of women-focused professional development, wellness activities, and networking opportunities.

A Day in the Life of Waliah RaKhem, CRA

Waliah is originally from St. Louis, MO, and earned her undergraduate degree from Drake University and graduate degree from Washington University. She started her career at Washington University in 2002 in the Sponsored Projects Accounting Office as a Grants Analyst and went on to hold various roles in the Office of Sponsored Research Services and the Department of Pediatrics. She is now the senior research administrator for the department in the research division.

4:30 AM — Parker meows me awake after making sure all 16 pounds of his body weight are on my belly. It is time for me to get up and feed the cat. I settle down after filling his bowl and refreshing his water. Working from home is a definite privilege that I can truly appreciate after working at Washington University for over 20 years. Although I only live ten minutes away from the Medical School campus in University City, morning traffic on Forest Park Parkway is always a bear. I am thankful I do not have to face it every day.

8:00 AM — Time for coffee from my favorite coffee shop: Kaldi’s on Skinker. It is nice to see the regulars, patrons, and baristas. The baristas are more than familiar with my regular order. Quadruple shot vanilla latte extra sweet. It gets me alert and going for the day. I come home to respond to SLACK messages, email messages, and of course, to review any proposal budgets in the queue. We have the best team in Research Administration in Anesthesiology. We laugh, converse, and connect all day through every channel we can. It is great considering we hardly ever see each other in person, but we learn a lot about each other and get closer every day.

My days consist of answering questions about proposals, helping teammates with questions about proposals, and asking questions about proposals. It is all about proposals, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Once all of the questions are answered and the emails are responded to, I log back off to make sure Parker is fed (albeit he is usually fed a few times during the day) and check in with my significant other, Vince.

We’re getting our weekend plans together. Whether it’s going to a winery, a new restaurant, traveling to a different city, or just checking out a local event, we try to do something every weekend. We both have adult children, so now is the time to rediscover St. Louis and dive into those hobbies that we put on hold during our years of child rearing. He has a 27-year-old daughter finishing her PhD at SLU and I have a 22-year-old son making a new life in Baltimore, MD. Mostly done, but always parents.

On any particular weekend, we may have brunch at Half and Half in Clayton (my favorite brunch spot), visit a new spot across the river in Illinois, or take off for a weekend to discover someplace new. This day, we are planning on going to Tumeric in the Loop—my favorite Indian restaurant and my idea of complete comfort food. Summers you can find us grilling every Wednesday. We invite friends and family over so that everyone can enjoy the smoked chicken, fish, steak, and veggies. Fall grilling includes a bonfire, but we make sure to always involve people we love.

Our adventures…

Enough about my adventures as a wanna-be foodie… Working in Research Administration has been such a great job. Now I get the honor of being an Equity Champion. Diversity and Inclusion has always been something close to my heart.  Raised as a Muslim and a Black woman, I feel like I have been fighting for equity as early as I can remember. It’s been such an inspiration to me to be a part of an institution that has made it part of its mission to acknowledge its part in inequities encountered in St. Louis and to intentionally make sure those inequities are remedied. I’m looking forward to providing a means for those disenfranchised here at the university to make their voices heard.  It’s an exciting endeavor! There is so much work to be done and so much support available. This has been the best time of my career here at Washington University and I am so excited for more!

Anesthesia Humanities Journal

This journal will be a forum for the trainees in our department to explore their creative side. We welcome all types of submissions including writing, art, music, or whatever sparks your creative senses. This journal is meant to be a showcase of the many talents of our trainees and also a place to consider the role of the humanities in our world. Art fosters communication, happiness, and resiliency, and adds interest and fun to our lives. We welcome all submissions and will publish our first edition in the spring of 2023. Please see the call for submissions below and consider participating.

Call for Submissions

The Anesthesia Humanities Journal is dedicated to supporting our WashU Anesthesia community, including residents, fellows, and SRNAs in exploring the impact of art in all its forms on the healing profession. We invite you to share your work with our community in our journal as well as at our unveiling event (date TBD). Please plan to submit your work for consideration for inclusion in this inaugural edition (see below for directions) by March 1st, 2023

We request that you submit no more than three pieces total to enable opportunities for other community members to contribute their work. The submission categories are as follows:

  • Poetry: Poetry of all types is welcome.
  • Short Prose: Short-form prose that might capture things including an interaction with a patient or a personal moment reflecting on your educational journey.
  • Music: We will accept all forms of music submissions, including audio files for songs. Audio files will be embedded with the digital version of the journal.
  • Art: This includes visual arts including photos, paintings, sculptures, and/or crafts. If you are interested in submitting a three-dimensional work, we can set the piece up for display during our unveiling event. If we do so, please bring the relevant materials for display and let us know your space requirements in advance, so we can best support your display.
  • Other: If you are interested in submitting a work that does not fit into one of the outlined categories, we still welcome your submission and encourage you to submit through the “Other” category.

Submission Process: All submissions will be reviewed by our editorial board for grammar, clarity, and HIPAA security. Therefore, for the initial review process, we will require that all pieces are submitted with the individual’s name. However, authors will have the option of publishing their pieces anonymously.

To submit your piece for consideration, please complete this form.

Questions: Please contact Archana Bharadwaj ( or Dr. Molly McCormick ( with questions.

We look forward to reviewing your submissions!

Holiday Outreach Program

The Holiday Outreach Program, also known as Adopt-a-Family, is an annual community outreach initiative coordinated by the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation (WUMCRC) which creates meaningful opportunities for departments at WashU, BJC, and SLCH to help stabilize neighborhoods surrounding the medical campus by assisting families in need.

This year, we have adopted three local families with a goal of raising $10,000 to assist them with utilities, groceries, and more. The last day to donate is Saturday, December 10!

Practicing Radical Self-Care

Self-care is a mindfulness practice that can enhance our view of ourselves, our emotions, and others around us. In Calm, your resource for mental well-being and self-care, try this program to bring a little more self-care into your life:

  • Learn meditation and self-care basics from author and meditation teacher Lama Rod Owens in the 10 Days of Radical Self-Care series — each day is about 10 minutes long
  • Use the accompanying workbook to reflect on your meditations and reinforce what you learn

Champions Corner


Whitney joined the department right before COVID-19 hit St. Louis in the winter of 2020. With the switch to work from home, she joined the group of wellness champions to try to find creative ways to connect with co-workers virtually and to encourage them to prioritize their own self-care.

“Personally, I love a good hike to see something beautiful in the natural world,” says Whitney. “I think it’s important to support each other, to remind each other that wellness is more than exercising and fad diets, and to remind one another that it’s not about being perfect. Just try!”

November 4, 2022

The Well-being Word

November 4, 2022
View past issues »

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

Hello friends, 

It is important that even on our hardest days, we take time to find joy. Even if it is something small, finding moments of joy and pride each day in what we do is vital for our well-being.

Much like negative energy is contagious, positive energy is contagious. A positive healthy culture starts with a positive attitude. This month, rather than sharing words with you, I want to share some photos below. I hope that you can look at these wonderful, joyful photos of members of our department and not only share in their joy, but also appreciate the wonderful, diverse department we work in. The people of WUDA are what make this department so special and I hope that even on your hardest days you can find joy, humor, and pride with those you work with.

I have two challenges for you this week:

  1. Pause and think about the energy you bring to work and how that affects the people around you. Are you someone who others look to as a source of joy and happiness, or someone who negatively impacts the energy of those around them?
  2. How did you find joy in your work today?

Yours in wellness,


A Day in the Life of Erin Wood

Erin Wood

Residency Program Coordinator, Erin Wood, gives a snapshot of the day-to-day operations of the residency program, and how she supports the WU Scholar and ASAP research trainees as they navigate their dreams of becoming physician-scientists.

Thermos of coffee in hand, I dash up the street to my nearest bus stop to catch the 7:45 a.m. for a trip downtown to the Civic Center, where I grab the Metro to the heart of campus. Mornings on public transit tend to be quiet affairs, with a mix of families taking kids to appointments, professionals headed to the office, and older folks on their way to do the weekly shop. It has become a soothing ritual to wave & nod to the regulars and watch the city wake up outside the bus window. Pro tip – download the free Transit app to get real-time status updates and stop reminders while using STL Public Transport!

My office is located in the newly renovated Northwest Tower suite, which is slowly becoming a “happening hub” as team members return to the office. Although the overall formula for the day is the same, there’s no telling what might come my way. Right now it is interview season for our residency program so it’s all hands on deck to prepare and send out interview materials, organize schedules, and respond to a high volume of applicant outreach.

When not knee-deep in emails, I’m often working with one of our two new education team members. It takes a full academic year for new coordinators to see everything, and there tends to be a lot of nuance to all that they do. We have a lot of teaching moments, liberally sprinkled with laughter and the occasional groan of commiseration.

My favorite part of any day though is when a trainee or faculty member stops by to say hello. Invariably, we end up discussing something that leads to improvements in the residency. For example – an impromptu chat with a resident led to the realization that the trainees didn’t have all the information about how our faculty feedback system works. Our team has worked hard to clearly communicate about the process in recent weeks, and we’re now seeing an unprecedented uptick in constructive and positive feedback for our teaching faculty. I’m very excited to see the innovations in education that will undoubtedly arise from this change!

The end of the workday is simply a transition to the other chapters in my life; a lively ride home on the bus and catching up with my husband over dinner before starting the next thing. I’m an assistant scoutmaster for a local BSA troop, so on Tuesday nights I can usually be found supporting our girls’ patrol as they plan their next hiking or camping adventure (Philmont bound – 2024!)

Beyond scouting, many nights are spent working on what my husband and I refer to as our “adventure of a lifetime” – an 1890’s three-story brick home that needs a lot of love. Our latest project is peeling back layers of dropped ceilings and vinyl floors to expose the original architecture, and finding hidden gems like original windows and gas-light fixtures along the way! We’re doing most of the work ourselves and challenging ourselves to “reduce, reuse, recycle” materials where possible, which means a lot of date nights shopping for reclaimed flooring and light fixtures at Refab STL. Check back in a year and see how things are going!

I joined the Residency team in February of 2019. New to Graduate Medical Education (and the healthcare field in general) I wasn’t sure what to expect. Almost four years in and every day still brings new and interesting challenges – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Champions Corner


My name is Sarah Jaber. I’m an Acute Care NP working mainly in the surgical/trauma ICU & also cover the CTI, 7800 SICU, and EICU. I have been working at Washu for over seven years now and love it, and recently graduated with my doctorate (DNP)! I have one cat and one dog, am currently rehabbing my house, love staying active, and love to travel!

My current goals as a wellness champion would consist of:

  1. bringing more attention to physical and mental health
  2. Identifying active issues related to our workspace, life, current events, etc.

I am always open for conversation with anyone who wants to talk or reach out!

I’m Alex Shero and I have been a nurse practitioner with the SICU for almost four years.

My goals as a wellness champion are:

  1. Focusing on how to make individuals in our department feel included in our group
  2. Participating in regular self-care
  3. Finding new resources to promote mental health.

I am excited to support our hard-working APPs with social and wellness opportunities!

Equity Champions

Shawn Reynolds MSPA PA-C, Waliah S. RaKhem, CRA , Amira Hodzic

Washington University School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) recently completed its third cohort of Equity Champions training across the WashU campus. During this training, the Department of Anesthesiology was represented by three amazing members who will serve a pivotal role to develop and sustain a fair, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming culture in Anesthesiology.

Congratulations to Amira, Waliah, and Shawn for their commitment to the department in this manner! They just completed 40 hours of intense, comprehensive training in key and salient topics in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are thrilled to have them working with the ODEI as well as our departments own POWER office (Professional Development, Opportunity, Wellness, Equity, and Relatable Diversity) with Scott Markowitz, Enyo Ablordeppey, and Erin Herrera.


Have you implemented NameCoach into your email signature?

This new tool allows you to record and share the pronunciation of your name with others. You can also add it to your LinkedIn and social media channels!

Holiday Outreach Program

Also known as Adopt-a-Family, is an annual community outreach initiative which creates meaningful opportunities for departments at WashU, BJC, and SLCH to help stabilize neighborhoods surrounding the medical campus by assisting families in need. This year, we have adopted three local families with a goal of raising $10,000 to assist them with utilities, groceries, and more. More information to come soon!

Getting distracted or interrupted?

Our attention is a precious resource, but between our phones, last-minute requests, and our personal lives, it can be hard to stay focused. Try using one of these resources from Calm to get into the zone and build the mental resilience to perform your best at work:

  • Listen to 7 Days of Focus to reduce mind-wandering and overcome distractions
  • Get into the zone with music: Try playlists like Deep Focus or Work Flow
  • Use this Body Scan meditation to quickly calm a racing mind and find focus

Happy Halloween!

October 7, 2022

The Well-being Word

October 7, 2022
View past issues »

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

It ok to not be ok!

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. This is a great time for us all to take a pause, and reflect on our own personal mental health and the mental health of those around us.

We all work in stressful, demanding environments. For many of us, we truly have people’s lives in our hands each day. The emotional, mental, and physical demands of our job can be intense.

Anesthesia as a profession has the highest substance abuse rates and the highest suicide rates of all other medical professions. While it has improved dramatically over the years, there continues to be a lot of stigma around talking about mental health. Checking in with friends and coworkers about how they are doing can be hard, even harder when you are broaching scary subjects like suicide and substance abuse.

Whether you are struggling with something at home, something personal, or something that has happened at work—we have resources available to you. It is so important to not suffer in silence. We are all at risk.

Your colleagues are often a great place to lean, especially for work-related stressors. The benefit of having a large, diverse team here in WUDA is that there is likely someone in our department who has gone through, or is going through, the same issues as you—you are not alone! Reach out, even if you aren’t comfortable discussing your emotions or the problem, just spending time with someone can help your mental health.

Some of us are external processors. When I have a bad patient outcome, or a stressful event happening at work, you can bet that I have talked to several people about it. For me, talking through a case with a bad outcome or a patient death can be not only helpful and cathartic, but NECESSARY for my processing and emotional response to the event.

I have been doing anesthesia for over 10 years, and when I have a bad patient outcome I will still lay in bed all night replaying the case, questioning every choice I made, and obsessively checking EPIC over and over. I am thankful that I have several friends who will gladly text with me in the middle of the night if I need someone to talk to. After nearly a decade of learning how to process a patient death, it never gets easier, but I have found ways to help myself process and cope in a healthy way.

Sharing my thoughts helps ME process things.

Have you considered the way that you best process your emotions and stressors?

Do you have a plan and a support network you can rely on when you need help?

There is no one solution. There are many approaches and many resources.

My challenge to you this month is to reach out to a colleague and REALLY, TRULY check in with them.

Here are some tips on checking in on a colleague:

  1. Choose the right time and setting
  2. Start the conversation in an open way “how have you been lately?” is a great start
  3. Be specific about what has made you concerned. “I have noticed you haven’t seemed yourself lately. Is there anything you’d like to talk about?” or “I know you had a tough day in the operating room on Monday. Would you like to talk about it?”
  4. Listen without judgment
  5. Follow up with them and thank them for sharing with you. “I’ve been thinking about you since we talked and wanted to know how you are doing.”

Here are some things to say instead of “I’m fine” if you really are not fine:

  1. “Things have been pretty rough recently. When you have space to listen, let me know and I can share more.” This is a great way to not emotionally dump on someone who may not be in a place to listen with the intention they would like.
  2. “I’m not sure how to put my feelings into words at the moment. It’s been a lot recently. I appreciate you asking, but I’m not sure how to talk about it right now.” This lets people in to let them know you are struggling and sets boundaries around the conversation.
  3. “I’m not doing the best… I am open to talking about it, but I would prefer a listening ear versus problem-solving right now” This clearly states what you need from the other person if you want to share.

Normalize talking about mental health and reaching out for help. Normalize talking to a therapist and being on medication. Normalize answering honestly when someone asks how you are doing.

It’s ok not to be ok!

If you ever need someone to talk to, please reach out to me personally. I am available to you 24/7.

Yours in wellness,


WashU/WUDA Support Programs

One of the best parts of working here at Washington University is the plethora of incredible programming and resources available to us! The downside…. there are SO many excellent resources it can be difficult for people to know what programs exist and the best way to get the assistance they need.

Peer Support

The Clinician Peer Support Program was established to help WashU clinicians in coping with difficult experiences as healthcare providers. It’s also completely confidential!

Learn more, request peer support, or apply to be a peer supporter on WUSM’s website.

Peer Advocate

A Peer Advocate is a perioperative services team member whose responsibility is to facilitate the resolution of interpersonal disconnects and incidents occurring between two or more team members.

Peer Advocates are present across all disciplines within the perioperative environment and can be identified by their green badge tags.


Peers in Anesthesiology Supporting a Fair Environment (PIA SAFE) is a peer-based program that helps address concerns about negative behaviors, conflicts, and microaggressions experienced by members of our department.

Learn more, meet our champions, or become a champion by visiting our website.

More support programs

WashU Employee and Family Clinical Services offers outpatient therapy and psychiatric services to all WashU employees. Appointments will be scheduled within two weeks.

WashU’s Employee Assistance Program offers FREE counseling/therapy options 24/7

Physician Support Hotline: 1-888-409-0141

Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 988

Upcoming Events

Diversity Training Sessions

WUDA has partnered with the Washington University School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to provide a comprehensive professional-development curriculum that is specifically tailored to each member within the School of Medicine.

The curriculum is called Understanding Systemic Racism and will be provided to all members of the Washington University community from medical trainees, staff members, researchers, and clinical teams.

The first series of curriculum content is Diversity Modules 1- 4 which include (awareness, understanding, commitment, and action). The curriculum content will be led by team members from the ODEI consisting of psycho-educational presentations and interactive, hands-on and experiential exercises. This series of four one-hour training sessions introduces participants to the fundamentals of diversity education.

September 2022 – March 2023

Participation is an expected competency for all members.

Professional Development Workshops

Our department is offering four core workshops, one per month, beginning in November 2022 through February 2023. Each month there will be a 1-hour workshop on a development topic, a 1-hour workshop on a fundamental self-awareness or skill topic, and an optional Calm-based short course learning program.

Whatever your role is in our department…
Whatever your next professional goal might be…
Wherever your focus is, this series is for you.

Upcoming Events

Workshop 1 (select one):
– Tuesday, Nov. 1 @ 4 pm
– Monday, Nov. 7 @ 4 pm
– Saturday, Nov. 19 @ 4 pm

Workshop 2 (select one):
– Monday, Dec. 5 @ 4 pm
– Tuesday, Dec. 6 @ 4 pm
– Saturday, Dec. 10 @ 8 am

Workshop 3 (select one):
– Tuesday, Jan. 3 @ 4 pm
Monday, Jan. 9 @ 4 pm
– Saturday, Jan. 29 @ 3 pm

Workshop 4 (select one):
– Monday, Feb. 6 @ 4 pm
– Tuesday, Feb. 7 @ 4 pm
– Saturday, Feb. 19 @ 8 am

Save the date: Saturday, Feb. 4!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our newest Well-Being/Professional Development/DEI initiative: Women of WUDA!

Women of WUDA will be women-led professional development with a focus on the specific needs of OUR department. We aim to have an annual retreat as well as continuing content, education, and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Keep an eye out for an invite to our inaugural retreat on February 4th for a morning of learning, networking, mentorship and well-being! More information, including how to RSVP, coming soon.

Please fill out the needs assessment survey to help us deliver the most relevant content:

Getting distracted or interrupted?
Try these focus tools from Calm!

We work in a distracting world. On top of everyday distractions in our personal lives, most of us spend more time on our devices than we would care to admit. Plus, interruptions at work can add to the distractions we’re already trying to manage as we try to get work done.

Strengthening your ability to focus, no matter what’s pulling your attention away from the task at hand, is a powerful tool in our mental health toolkit. And you can get started practicing your focus skills right now with Calm, our partner in mental well-being.

Calm has a library full of resources for you to get into the zone and build the mental resilience to perform your best at work. If you’re feeling distracted right now, why not try one of these resources below today?

  • Use the 7 Days of Focus meditation series to develop a practice that will help you reduce mind-wandering, stay present, and overcome distractions
  • Block out distractions with this Deep Focus playlist full of soothing ambient music, or try the Work Flow playlist with more upbeat, energetic tracks
  • Need a quick reset? Take 3 minutes to calm racing thoughts and get into a more peaceful mindset with this beginner-friendly Body Scan meditation
September 13, 2022

The Well-being Word

September 13, 2022
View past issues »

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

Hi friends,

Successful cultures are established by design, not by chance. They are clear, well-defined, and purposeful. As a mission-driven organization, we must also have a mission-driven, clear vision of the culture we desire.

The values and beliefs that an organization holds drive the actions and behaviors of its team members and influence relationships both within the organization as well as all those who they touch.

My goal for this year is to establish our core cultural values and make those values a mantra that all members of WUDA know by heart and live to the fullest each day!

What is the (famous or infamous!) “Live.Laugh.Love” of the Department of Anesthesiology Think about what YOUR ideal culture looks like. What words come to mind?

Be sure to check out our new TVs to read news & updates about WUDA!

I am asking all members of the department to submit their three words so that we can collectively establish our mantra.

Help me design our culture. Let’s show everyone that the Department of Anesthesiology is passionate about establishing a culture where we all thrive!

Please submit your 3 words via this anonymous survey!

Yours in Wellness,


Upcoming Events

Diversity Training Sessions

WUDA has partnered with the Washington University School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to provide a comprehensive professional-development curriculum that is specifically tailored to each member within the School of Medicine.

The curriculum is called Understanding Systemic Racism and will be provided to all members of the Washington University community from medical trainees, staff members, researchers, and clinical teams.

The first series of curriculum content is Diversity Modules 1- 4 which include (awareness, understanding, commitment, and action). The curriculum content will be led by team members from the ODEI consisting of psycho-educational presentations and interactive, hands-on and experiential exercises. This series of four one-hour training sessions introduces participants to the fundamentals of diversity education.

September 2022 – March 2023

Participation is an expected competency for all members.

PIA SAFE Champions

Do you want to be involved in creating and revolutionizing our culture here in WUDA and being a champion of positive change? We invite you all to join our PIA SAFE Champions group!

As a PIA Safe Champion, we will provide you hands-on, in-person training in the following areas:

  1. Listening skills & navigating difficult conversations 
  2. Bystander & Feedback training
  3. Recognizing and addressing microaggressions/microinvalidations/ misclassifications and bias
  4. Recognizing and verbalizing positive behavior to reinforce expectations

This will be a dynamic and ongoing opportunity to create the culture we want and the positive environment we demand for all who work in the department. Come join us on the forefront of transformation!

Upcoming PIA SAFE events…

PIA SAFE Program Introduction & Workshop
Nov. 3, 6-7 pm

PIA SAFE Retreat
Nov. 19, 8 am-12 pm

Save the date: Saturday, Feb. 4!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our newest Well-Being/Professional Development/DEI initiative: Women of WUDA!

Women of WUDA will be women-led professional development with a focus on the specific needs of OUR department. We aim to have an annual retreat as well as continuing content, education, and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Keep an eye out for an invite to our inaugural retreat on February 4th for a morning of learning, networking, mentorship and well-being! More information, including how to RSVP, coming soon.

Please fill out the needs assessment survey to help us deliver the most relevant content:

October Wellness Walk

Sunday, October 2 at 10 am.

Al Foster trail head

Come get some exercise, fresh air, fresh food, and new friendships!

All are welcome (families, dogs, kids)

A Day in the Life of Chakrapol Lattanand

Chak Lattanand, MD, MBA

Meet WUDA’s Vice Chair for Clinical Operations, Dr. Chakrapol Lattanand! This position was created within the last year, and his responsibilities include: managing the clinical business of the department, and providing expertise in the areas of financial clinical operations, strategic planning, and contract/affiliation negotiations and management. We are thrilled about his appointment to this key leadership role in our department! Learn more about a day in the life of Dr. Lattanand below.

I officially started as Vice Chair for Clinical Operations on January 1, 2022, but I wasn’t able to truly spend time in my Northwest Tower office until March. Since then, it has been quite a ride in the hotseat, and a lot of variety in my days.

I still take five to seven overnights at Progress West Hospital as part of my clinical work, and occasionally help out at Barnes West County.  I try to be in my office on Tuesdays which means I will be non-clinical, post call, or taking call that night. 

Here is a typical Tuesday for me:

5 am — Catch a 6 to 7 mile run around Forest Park with my training group. I find it gives me a sense of accomplishment early in the day and sets a positive tone. After a quick clean up in the Kaldi’s bathroom, I’m off to the office to check-in with the staffing boards and reply to emails from overnight. 

Dr. Avidan hosts the weekly Vice Chair Meeting on Tuesday mornings. We give updates for our respective areas of responsibility, and discuss Departmental issues. It is quite the impressive group and humbling to hear about our accomplishments and innovations in education, research, clinical work, and wellness of our Department members.

The remainder of the morning, I will have meetings with faculty members, business directors, Division Chiefs and CRNA leadership, hospital administrators, and trainees. We have many committees that are responsible for the running of our enterprise, but I like to set up meetings just to meet the people in our Department. If I haven’t met you yet, please set up some time! 

For lunch I may grab a sandwich and soup at Farmstead. If Dr. Avidan is available, I’ll grab lunch with him so we can have a casual catch up.

I make a habit of visiting a clinical location when I am at BJH. You may see me getting lost at CAM, SLCH, PVT, or BJH South, so please point me in the right direction!  If I am not headed to Progress West for the evening, my meetings are usually done by 5pm. 

I’ll pick up my older daughter after sports practice and let her drive home. I like making dinner for the family once a week, as long as they don’t mind pasta, or something cooked on the grill. 

Even though I am home, there are many people in our department still working across our many locations, which gives me extra appreciation for the time I can spend with my family. This knowledge motivates me to think about what I can do the next day to help our clinicians perform at their best and get satisfaction from the wonderful work they do.

Calm App News

Celebrate National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month

Every year, from September 15 to October 15, Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States to commemorate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens and residents whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The U.S. Latinx and Hispanic populations make up 18.3% of the U.S. population. Of those, 16% reported experiencing a mental illness this past year. For the Latinx and Hispanic community, mental health and mental illness are often stigmatized topics resulting in prolonged suffering in silence. This silence compounds the range of experiences that may lead to mental health conditions including immigration, acculturation, trauma, and generational conflicts.

In an effort to develop the next generation of Hispanic and Latinx leaders through civic engagement, healing, and changing the narrative, we encourage all individuals to take care of their mental well-being and deepen their self-care routines as best as they can. We’ve curated a selection of celebrated Hispanic and Latinx health and wellness Calm narrators below to help you get started:

  • Sleep Story: A Dia de Muertos Story by Thamara Aguilar. Enjoy the beautiful traditions of this meaningful holiday among butterflies, candles, and Mexican marigolds.
  • Sleep Story: Camino de Santiago by Ben Cura. Revel in the history and landscapes of northern Spain as you walk an ancient and storied trail.
  • Meditation: Walk Away Stress with Dr. Eric López. Find peace in the presence of walking meditations that meet you wherever you are.
  • Music: Sola sleep remix by Luis Fonsi. Fall asleep to this 60-minute soothing mid-tempo R&B Spanish remix.

It’s easy to change the language of the Calm app to Spanish. Click here for step by step instructions on how to do so.

Dependent coverage is now available with Calm

We believe mental health care should extend beyond you to your family. That’s why we’re offering dependent coverage with the Calm Business benefit!

Up to four of your dependents can now receive their own premium Calm subscription.

Inviting your dependents is easy—here are step-by-step instructions.

Once added, each dependent can create their own unique profile and access Calm’s diverse content library of over 350 narrators in seven languages. (Please note that qualified dependents are 16 years of age or older. No information about a dependent’s use of Calm will be shared.) For more information, please visit Calm’s Help Center.

We hope this expansion of coverage of the Calm Business benefit will make it easier for the people you love to be mentally and emotionally healthy and promote their well-being.

Navigate changes in life and work with mindfulness

Whether it be changing seasons or routines, we’re often navigating how to cope with the uncertain nature of life.

Not only is it just a time of personal changes, but this time also brings with it new work challenges, such as workplace transitions and navigating continued burnout after working through a pandemic.

To support you through this process, here are some resources from Calm, our partner for strengthening mental health:

Experiencing change isn’t always easy, but we can support ourselves by strengthening our resilience, being patient with ourselves, and recognizing the emotions that change can bring.

The people of WUDA

August 5, 2022

The Well-being Word

August 5, 2022
View past issues »

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

Hello Friends,

One of my favorite things about summertime in WUDA is all the new faces. Our long-awaited residency class has arrived and many new folks have joined us in all divisions! The constant inflow of new people, ideas, knowledge, and experiences are some of the best parts of the academic medicine experience. There is so much value in our teams! Working in the Department of Anesthesiology is so much more than just learning about anesthesiology—it’s research, business, and finance (and the many, many other things we do!)

Just by working in this diverse, dynamic department, you are learning so much from the incredible people you are surrounded by every day. You are learning about new cultures, viewpoints, experiences, and expertise. Working in a diverse environment allows us to all have a more comprehensive understanding and perspective of the world and people.

I encourage you this month to meet someone new in the department. When you see a new face: introduce yourself, learn their name, and try to find out something about that person that makes them a unique a valuable part of our team! 

Don’t forget to join me this Sunday, Aug 7th at 2:30 p.m. at Bar K to meet some new colleagues! Bring your dog, or just yourself, and come meet up. Learn more about the event >>

I can’t wait to meet more of you and learn what amazing things you bring to our department!

Yours in wellness, 


Champion’s Corner

WashU CRNA Wellness Champion: Elizabeth Schappe

Meet Elizabeth Schappe, one of our Wellness Champions and CRNA pod leaders in PVT. Elizabeth serves the PVT ORs and the OB anesthesia team. She recently won a grant from the Washington University Wellness Program for exercise equipment for the department and hopes to have an exercise room in PVT by the end of 2022.

Aside from work, Elizabeth spends most of her free time exploring the outdoors with her husband and three children.

WUSM Health Screening

It’s time to get your annual health screening! Benefit-eligible faculty, staff, postdoctoral appointees, and clinical fellows have three options to get screened:

  1. Schedule an on-campus screening
  2. Visit your primary care doctor
  3. Book an appointment at a LabCorp near you

Participation is optional, but participants receive a $50 Visa gift card (one per calendar year) upon screening completion. 

Note: you will be asked to enter your WUSTL key and email through Health Advocate, WUSM’s screening vendor. 

A Day in the Life of David & Rachel Moquin

David Moquin was teaching high school in Mississippi when he met his wife, Rachel. He decided he wanted to pursue medicine and earned his MD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Meanwhile, Rachel also earned her doctorate — she received her EdD from Vanderbilt University. They moved to St. Louis and David completed his residency at WashU. Today, both of them work in the Department of Anesthesiology — David is an anesthesiologist in the general and perioperative medicine divisions, and Rachel serves as the Director of Learning and Development. Learn more about what their days look like in the “Day in the Life” below!

Rachel’s Perspective

6:15 a.m. — My “alarm” goes off: Thomas (our 10-month-old) is awake! As I’m getting Thomas his breakfast I hear the rustling of footsteps down the hallway. Noah (our four-year-old) is awake and coming down the hall, looking for his bowl of Fruit Loops and Bluey on TV, which Dave has gotten ready for him before he left for work.

The boys and I have breakfast and play, and then I load them up and take them to daycare.

After drop off, I make a cup of coffee (with lots of vanilla creamer) and sit down to look at my upcoming meetings and projects for the day.

A typical day involves meetings with members of the residency leadership team (I get to collaborate with Allison on so many awesome things!), SEA or AAMC faculty development committee meetings, and work time on educational scholarship projects with other members of our department. Because of clinical schedules, most of my meetings fall in the morning and mid- to late-afternoons/evenings, so the middle of my day is spent working on presentations, manuscripts, catching up on emails, or keeping up with the latest med ed research.

Sometimes when I’m working in my office in the Northwest Tower, and the stars align, Dave and I can sneak a quick cup of coffee together in the anesthesia lounge or at Kaldi’s on campus. We’re in touch throughout the afternoon to decide who will pick up the kids based on our schedules.

Playtime before bed

Once everyone is home, we make dinner and spend time playing as a family, sometimes going for a walk to a nearby park.

Thomas goes to bed at 6:30 p.m. Noah follows around 8:00 p.m.

After that, Dave and I take a few minutes to review the calendar for the next day (Who is going to take Noah to swim lessons? What time will we both be home? What’s the plan for dinner?) and then Dave studies for his upcoming applied exam while I pack the kids’ bags for school the next day, tidy up the toys, and then settle in for a glorious hour or two of reality TV (currently catching up on the Amazing Race!)

David’s Perspective

My alarm goes off around 5:30 and I resist the temptation to hit the snooze button. I slip out of the house as quietly as I can to avoid waking everyone up and drive to work sipping on a room-temperature cup of coffee that was made the night before. Once parked in the garage, I put in my headphones and walk down the Link to my office.

As I’m sitting in my office, I look up my patients one last time, enter PACU orders, and head to the morning huddle. I take the trauma phone from the overnight attending, and head to preop to see my patients for the morning before heading to the control room to set up my “office” for the day.

My phone rings almost exactly at 7:27 a.m. It’s Clayton saying the patient in 209 is ready for induction. We successfully get this room started. About halfway through, Pete tried calling me to get me to come to 204 for induction there. From this moment on, my morning is a blur of evaluating traumas, arranging breaks and lunches, starting cases, finishing cases, a stray meeting about the anesthesiology elective for the medical school, and working on my next resident education presentation. If I’m lucky, I get to have coffee with Rachel, but today it has to be in the lounge because I’ve got the trauma phone.

At 2:00 p.m. I check in to the staffing meeting and watch Jen Mahan blast through the schedule ensuring that we have staffing and that people are getting out on time.

Before I know it, it’s 5:00 p.m. and we’ve got a plan for everything. The last few hours of my shift are spent handling traumas or emergent cases, trying to pare down the OR board to relieve the 10-hr CRNAs and residents, starting to put plans in place for the 12-hour CRNAs, and ensuring that the 13’s and Wit get dinner.

At 6:55 p.m. the PM trauma attending is here and I hand everything off. I walk back to the car and speed home to play with Noah before bedtime (Thomas is already snoozing away by the time I get there on trauma days).

Rachel and I talk about our days, check the calendars for the next day, and watch some TV before heading to bed and doing it all over again!

How are you strengthening your mental fitness?

Professional athletes understand how important it is to train not just their physical fitness, but their mental fitness too — because mental fitness is fitness.

Mental fitness is the exercise of developing concentration, focus, self-awareness and resilience to be able to perform at one’s best through the highs and lows of life. Just like physical exercises strengthen the body, we can also benefit from practices to strengthen our minds.

Our partner in mental fitness, Calm, has resources for you to explore what mental fitness could look like for you:

  • Join Calm’s 5-Day Mental Fitness Challenge to receive daily mental mini-”workouts” to become even more resilient and ready to face what life brings your way.
  • Use the Mental Fitness Training Guide to learn about the neuroscience behind building mental fitness, and easy starting points for putting it into practice

Your mind is a muscle, so let’s flex it together.

Are you new to WUDA? Be sure to
activate your free Calm subscription!

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. 

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.

July 8, 2022

The Well-being Word

July 8, 2022
View past issues »

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

Hello Friends,

You know what brings me so much joy? The new dog park/bar/restaurant Bar K. As far as the eye can see are adorable, amazing, and carefree dogs. All kinds of dogs—running around, sniffing, and living their absolute best life. Their biggest stress? Another dog stealing their tennis ball and the possibility of missing out on a dropped french fry.

The dogs aren’t worried about their inbox, their job, politics, or the nightly news. They are just running around, unapologetically living in the moment.

Sometimes it is important for us all to take a cue from the dogs.

Take a pause, get a cold drink, and do something that makes you outrageously, wildly happy. 

The past several weeks have been emotionally heavy for many of us. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of worry, anxiety, and stress—especially over things that you cannot control.

When dealing with things that seem out of your control, there are many small actions you can take to help cope.

  1. Look for sources of stress that you can limit. Does watching the news or being on social media cause you more anxiety? Taking conscious, intentional breaks from these activities each day may help reduce your stress level.
  2. Spend time doing things that are meaningful to you! What activities make you feel good and bring you joy? Is it grabbing a coffee with a friend, going for a walk, or playing with a pet? Make time each day, but especially during times of stress, to find and practice activities that bring you happiness.
  3. Use mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises to settle your mind and thoughts.
  4. Reach out if you need help! Identifying and acknowledging your emotions and mindset is an important part of managing stress and anxiety. Talking to a professional or a friend in a safe, trusting space is a good way to find support.

This week I encourage you to use these tips and to think like a dog. Find your pack. Find what makes you happy. Lay in the sun and eat a treat. Allow yourself to take a mental break from the stress and heaviness of the world, and find a few moments of pure, wild, unhinged happiness.

Do you want to join me at Bar K and experience this stress-reducing magic?? Join me and my dog, George, on Sunday, August 7 at Bar K! BYOD (bring your own dog) or just come and visit, no dog required! Learn more >>

Many of us have strong feelings and emotions about the recent Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. I invite you to join me at Rockwell Beer Garden on Thursday, July 14 at 6 p.m. for an opportunity to share, listen and learn from one another. This will be an informal dialogue, and only collegial discussions will be tolerated.

Yours in wellness, 


Champion’s Corner

This week’s Champion’s Corner features our Residency Wellness Team! These three are tasked with leading wellness initiatives for our residency program this academic year.

Ilesha Shah
My name is Ilesha Shah, and I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona. I did a BA/MD program in New Jersey and then made my way to WashU for residency. My plans for after residency are to pursue a chronic pain fellowship and hopefully have my own practice one day! In my free time, I like to travel with my husband, work out, and cook. 
Parita Jani
My name is Parita Jani and I’m one of the rising CA-1s. I grew up in Atlanta, GA, went to undergrad and medical school at UAB in Birmingham, AL, and couples matched here for residency with my husband (current radiology resident)! 
Sadia Karani

My name is Sadia and I’m also a CA-1. I’m originally from Houston went to medical school at UTSW in Dallas and ended up finally leaving Texas for residency. For me, wellness and self-care are essential and a joint effort in residency between residents and the program. As a wellness chair, I hope to optimize wellness at work and increase inclusivity by celebrating other cultural and religious holidays. 

Residency is tough, and trying to make it better for ourselves and our colleagues has been the main driving force for why we wanted to help lead wellness initiatives. In the next academic year, we hope to work with the GME to create a place for residents to be able to meditate/work out with the convenience of being located on campus. 
Wellness means different things to different people – our goal is to cater to the various facets whether it be ways to unwind individually or decompress as a group.
If you have any other ideas of what might make your resident experience better, please feel free to reach out. We’re always looking for new ideas!

Drs. Shah, Jani and Karani, Residency Wellness Champions 2022-23

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

WashU’s Anesthesiology residency and fellowship classes of 2022 gathered throughout the month of June to celebrate each program’s graduates.

A Day in the Life

Hi, I’m Kelsey! I’m the marketing & communications strategist for the Department of Anesthesiology. I joined WUDA eight months ago from the Danforth Campus and can confidently say it’s the best career choice I’ve ever made — I love it here. Check out a day in my life below!

A Day in the Life: Kelsey Arends

6:30 a.m. – My puppy, Willa, nuzzles my face until I wake up to take her outside. I try to get her to lay down for a few extra minutes by rubbing her belly before I decide it’s time to start the day. Who needs an alarm when you have a Willa?

My pup, Willa

Every morning is the exact same —

  • Take Willa outside
  • Fill up her food & water bowl
  • Brush teeth, take meds, skincare routine
  • Heat up some Brownie Baked Squash Oats and pile on a little too much sugar-free cool whip
  • Eat breakfast & do my morning wordle
  • Complete my morning “One Question a Day” journal which is actually really cool — there are 365 questions, but you answer the same question on the same day each year for five years. Today’s question was “What was the last commitment you made?” to which I *lovingly* wrote “planning my sister’s bridal shower.” 
  • Throw in a load of laundry
  • Take Willa for a stroll around Dogtown
Videoshoot in the OR — first time in scrubs!

If I’m going into the office, mornings are a bit more rushed but I try to leave by 7:45 a.m. I live about seven minutes away from the hospital, but I have to make sure I have enough time to get lost in the Link before finally finding my way to the Northwest Tower.

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Morning work. I usually separate my days into pre-lunch and post-lunch work to-dos. Today I started by combing through my inbox and looking at “My Tasks” in Asana — the greatest project management tool you’ll ever use. I monitored engagement on WUDA’s social media platforms and created/scheduled content for the next week. Depending on the day, I’ll have a meeting with my boss, Patrick, about the status of various projects. If anything on the website needs to be modified or updated, or if I’m working on a division page or lab page revamp, I’ll do it during the morning chuck of time.  

Paddleboarding in Forest Park

12 p.m. – Lunch time! I heat up whatever I made for dinner last night – today it was buffalo chicken pasta. I’ll check the grass to see if it needs to be watered… maybe water my indoor plants or change a light or vacuum up Willa’s food because she doesn’t know how to eat normally — I’m always walking by something in my house that needs attention so I put it on my “lunchtime” list. The other day I did a lunchtime paddleboard which was lovely!

1 p.m. – 5 p.m. — My “afternoon work” block of time. I’m usually most productive in this window of time because there are fewer distractions. Willa is fast asleep for her afternoon nap, and it’s just me, the couch, and my laptop. This is the time I write —stories for the website, the Well-being Word Newsletter, etc. If I’m working on an article, like the one I’m working on right now for the Perioperative Innovation Center, it’s great to have a large chunk of blocked-off time to do nothing but write. I’ll also use this time to do any one-off requests that come in via email – like updating my spreadsheet for the monthly WUDA featured members spotlight or following up with folks about an upcoming deadline.

Workout time!

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Kelsey time! This is when I workout (I use the Madeline Moves app for strength training and would 100% recommend if you don’t like creating your own programming) or I’ll go for a run, always followed by good stretch. I am training to run 50 half/full marathons in all 50 states — I’ve only done 10, but I’m looking forward to my next one in Philadelphia in November!

If it’s not too hot, I’ll take Willa on another walk with my neighbor and her dog to the school up the street to run around in the fenced playground. Or I’ll just throw balls around the house for her to chase.

My family visiting my grandparents in Florida!

Evenings — I am in the PMBA program at WashU, so I have class on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6:15-9:15 p.m. On Wednesdays I go to “Dinner Club” at my parent’s condo in Clayton, which is just a time for our family to get together to eat & catch up. (Side note: Maureen is not my mom, but she is the best great aunt a girl could ask for!)

If I’m not in class or with my family, I’ll make dinner (Lillie Eats & Tells is where I get ALL my recipes) and then settle in to prep readings for my next class or work on any projects. Sometimes friends will come over and we’ll prep homework together while watching the Bachelorette or any other fake reality TV show we can find. I barely have any free time in the evenings because of class, and I do a lot of housework and travel on weekends (I just got back from hiking Angels Landing in Zion!), so I try to hang out with other humans as often as I can even if we’re just studying or watching a show.

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion

If I’m not studying, I’m likely doing maid of honor or bridesmaid tasks for upcoming weddings, bachelorette parties, and showers — my family jokes that I’m gonna give Katherine Heigel a run for her money and be “28 dresses” which is funny until it’s true. My next trip is to Laguna Beach next week for my college roommate’s wedding, and then I’ll head to Indianapolis for my older sister’s wedding later this summer!

9:30 p.m. — I’m in bed, reading Colleen Hoover and attempting to escape my never-ending to-do list before the melatonin kicks in and

Restoring Work-life Balance

We spend a lot of our waking hours at work. When those hours get too long, and we begin overworking ourselves, it’s only a matter of time before we burn out. Let’s take care of ourselves instead. Balance work and life with these resources from Calm:

Never let life get so busy that you forget to make a life.

Dolly Parton

Submit a Health & Wellness Resource

Read a great new book? Try a delicious recipe? Use a product? Attend any fun, outdoor, safe events? We want to hear about them!

Health & Wellness Resources
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB
June 10, 2022

The Well-being Word

June 10, 2022
View past issues »

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

June is Pride Month, a time when we celebrate and honor the achievements and history of the LGBTQIA+ community! Washington University and the Department of Anesthesiology strive to be strong allies of the LGBTQIA+ community!

There are many ways that we can all take action to offer our support, acceptance, and affirmation toward the LGBTQIA+ individuals in our lives—one way we can do that is with our words and actions.

This month I would like to discuss pronouns and why they are so important for the well-being of our transgender and non-binary colleagues. Proper pronoun and chosen name use is one critical piece that has been proven to directly benefit the health and well-being of these individuals. Proper pronoun use creates inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ community members, which in turn improves mental health and one’s sense of belonging. 

Understanding pronouns beyond the two options of she, her, hers and he, him, his creates space for experiences and identities outside of the gender binary. In order to affirm each person’s gender identity, life, and experience, it is important that we ask and check-in with others about pronouns.

There are many ways to be an ally for TGNB individuals! These include actions such as sharing your own personal pronouns, asking for a person’s pronouns if you don’t know them, correcting yourself if you make a mistake, and practicing and using gender-neutral pronouns in everyday speech.

I encourage you to take some time to learn more, and take steps to be an ally:  add your pronouns to your email signature, locate on EPIC where a person’s pronouns can be found, and whether they prefer an alternate name (just hover over their bio photo), and read more about what to do if you use the incorrect pronouns. These are simple steps we can all take to make our department a safe and accepting place for all to thrive!

There are so many fantastic resources to learn more about pronouns and their importance—here are two:


Yours in wellness, 


Upcoming Events

Anesthesia Adventure Ride

Saturday, June 11, 2022
9:30 a.m.
Meet at Good News Brewing in Defiance, MO.

It’s time for our spring/early Summer unofficial anesthesiology bike ride! Let’s head West to do some gravel/Katy trail/adventure riding.


June 25 and 26, 2022
Downtown STL

You’re invited to join the OUTmed group during the Grand Pride Parade and/or volunteer at a booth designed to provide mental health resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Meet Randall Stateler!

Randall Stateler

Randall Stateler was recently promoted to Director of Business Operations! Congratulations, Randall! Read Randall’s “Day in the Life” to learn more about what his new role entails.

A Day in the Life: Randall Stateler

5:15am: My alarm goes off. If I slept through the night, there is a 50% chance that I am about to be startled as I realize either our 2-year-old (Bodie) or 4-year-old (Sophie) is sleeping 2 inches from my face. I sneak out of bed and mold my pillow in a way that makes it seem I am still next to them. This is a desperate attempt to have some quiet time before the typical morning chaos ensues. I walk out of the room shaking my head and wondering how I did not notice them sneaking in bed in the middle of the night.

There is a good chance my wife (Jenny) is already walking our dog (Lola.) I walk to the kitchen only to realize she has once again beat me to the satisfying act of pushing the ON button on the coffeemaker. I briefly glance at my phone/email/calendar to see if anything needs early attention or for a reminder of early meetings.

5:20am: While I wait for Jenny to finish walking Lola, I realize the dishwasher is clean. I race to empty it before she gets back. Once she walks in, I smile next to the empty dishwasher and ask her if I can go on a run before the kids wake up. She always agrees even though she knows there is a high likelihood that Sophie and Bodie will wake up and ask for one thousand things while she is nursing our 9-month-old (Remi.)

5:30am: I rush out the door to start my run before the kids wake up. I have Lola with me if she didn’t get a walk yet. I’m probably listening to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats or some completely random playlist during my run. As my run ends and I get closer to the house, I laugh to myself while imagining what chaos I might walk into.

6:10am: I walk into the house to see Bodie pouring his milk into Lola’s dog food bowl and then dumping it all over the laundry room floor. I chase him as he runs away. He

“helps” me clean it up and begrudgingly says sorry to Lola. Jenny and I work together to get the kids dressed and started on breakfast. I jump in the shower.

6:45am: I’m dressed, ready, and jump on the morning huddle. I try to listen in most days to get a feel for what’s happening in our clinical areas at BJH. Our scheduling and clinical teams regularly amaze me with how they collaborate and overcome any obstacle.

7:00-7:15am: If it’s a Tuesday or Thursday, I’m probably on kid drop-off duty. I herd the kids into the car and drop them off at daycare/preschool on my way to campus.

7:45-8:00am: I’m in my office and sip coffee as I scan my Outlook email/calendar and Microsoft To-Do. I field emails, make a quick phone call or two, and say hello to anyone in Peters office suite before my 8:30am meeting.

8:30-9:00am: Zoom meeting with Lisa Parks and Lawrence Cross to catch up about any priority items, review current status of office space needs for upcoming fiscal year, and check in with how everyone on the team is doing. Lawrence and Lisa run the show for the South administration and clinical operations teams. They are amazing! I consider myself lucky that I get to work with passionate and dedicated leaders like them.

9:00-10:00am: Zoom meeting with Mary Sommer, Jean Shim, and Amy Stabenow to review a tableau report we have been collaborating on. The meeting is very productive and I am excited about the value the report should bring to the scheduling, clinical, and operations leaders!

9:00-10:00am: Zoom meeting with Mary Sommer, Jean Shim, and Amy Stabenow to review a tableau report we have been collaborating on. The meeting is very productive and I am excited about the value the report should bring to the scheduling, clinical, and operations leaders!

10:00-11:00am: One on One meeting with the talented Mr. Nicholas Wiscons: (AKA my boss who is about to take an exciting role with WUSTL Orthopedic Surgery).

11:00am I take a quick lap through both floors of Peters to say hi to anyone on the team and attempt to catch a clinical leader in passing for a quick conversation. I refill my Nalgene with water (I feel lost without it) and head back to my office. I work on a few of my to-do list items and remind myself to allow time for lunch before my 1pm.

12:40pm: I was in the zone with a priority task and/or valuable conversation and now realize I have little time to eat before my next meeting. I rush out of my office and convince myself I still have enough time to take the long way through the link on my way to the cafeteria. I grab a turkey sandwich and/or a salad and get back before my 1:00pm.

1:00-2:00pm: WUDA GI Meeting with Amy Stabenow, Lawrence Cross, Audrey Vincent, Dr. Ivan Kangrga, Dr. Jason Gillihan, Dr. Bhavi Mehta, and Dr. Selma Ishag. I convinced them to smile for a screenshot!

2:00-3:00pm: Work though more of my to-do list and prepare for my next meeting.

3:00-4:00pm: Zoom meeting with Drs. TJ Graetz and Tracey Stevens to discuss some CT related items we are collaborating on. We stay on task but have fun in our meetings.

4:00-4:40pm: I harass Corrin Noel in a Microsoft Teams chat until she agrees to talk “briefly” with me about a finance-related question I have. She knows it’s likely a trap and probably not “brief” but is always so helpful. She’s a wealth of knowledge so I try to capitalize on the fact that I have her on the phone.

4:40-5:10pm: I finish up a few emails and collect my thoughts and notes from the meetings/conversations of the day. I review my calendar for the rest of the week, update Microsoft To-Do, and ensure that I am set up for success for the next day’s meetings/tasks.

5:35pm: I return home to Sophie and Bodie playing in the backyard while Jenny (and Remi) are preparing dinner (a few days each week I do pick up and get dinner ready.) I change clothes and rush out to the backyard to discover that Bodie now has the water hose and is trying to spray Sophie who is cornered on the top of our playground. I defuse the situation and we play for a bit before Jenny tells us dinner is ready. I get the kids inside but can’t help that on my way in I saw exactly three weeds coming up in the lawn. I can’t resist and run to pull them out of the grass. Sophie and Bodie see me back outside and run back out. It takes me another five minutes to get them back inside. We eat dinner as a family which is always entertaining with three kids that are four and under. If there is time before bedtime, we go for a walk, ride bikes, or play games.

7:00-8:00pm Bath and bedtime routine. Some nights this takes till 8:30pm or later.

8:00-10:00pm Finish cleaning up dinner, pack bottles, lunches, etc, for the next morning. During the week, this is some of the only time Jenny and I get a chance to talk, make plans, watch TV, or just sit on the couch in silence.

If we are watching TV: Jenny has probably disagreed with every show/movie/documentary suggestion I have offered and convinced me to watch something else only to fall asleep within 5 minutes 99% of the time. 🙂

Around 10:00-10:30pm we are hopefully in bed and I’m probably attempting to read more than 3 pages of something before I fall asleep. Occasionally, its 11:00pm, 11:30pm, or later.

Tuition Benefit Planning Resource

We just launched a Tuition Benefit Planning Tool for your use! Be sure to check out this resource if you or your dependents are interested in taking classes at WashU. This resource can be found by visiting the link below or navigating to our Intranet page and clicking “Tuition Benefit Model.”

Mindful Listening in a Diverse Workplace

Want to be a more understanding teammate? Practice better listening

Creating a more inclusive workplace starts with you. You can use Calm, our partner in mental well-being, as part of your personal practice of doing the inner work required to understand yourself, including your identity, bias, and privilege, and be more understanding of others around you. To practice being a better listener, colleague, neighbor, and friend, try these resources:

Submit a Health & Wellness Resource

Read a great new book? Try a delicious recipe? Use a product? Attend any fun, outdoor, safe events? We want to hear about them!

Health & Wellness Resources
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB
May 12, 2022

The Well-being Word

May 12, 2022
View past issues »

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

Have you ever considered how diversity affects the well-being of a group? It is proven that mental health and well-being are very closely linked to the feeling of inclusion and diversity. An inclusive, diverse workplace culture fosters a sense of belonging, psychological and physical safety, improved purpose and increased engagement! There is a reason that Dr. Ablordeppey and I work so closely together. We understand that at a fundamental level, well-being is inclusiveness and we are working hard to make sure that here in the Department of Anesthesiology we recognize and celebrate the many unique backgrounds, experiences, genders, races, and ethnicities that all belong here. However, improving diversity and well-being takes hard work by us all. By taking small, concerted steps, we are moving toward a departmental culture where all can thrive.

I challenge you this month to consider how your current surroundings and professional sphere influence your personal sense of belonging. Attempt also to view your surroundings through the lens of someone who identifies as a different gender, race, or ethnicity. Would they view it with the same sense of belonging and safety as you? 

One small act of inclusion that we can all undertake this week is showing the community at large that here in the department of Anesthesiology we value the many contributions the African American community makes to this city and celebrate the amazing diversity here in St. Louis. Join us walking in the Annie Malone May Day Parade THIS SUNDAY and share in this joyful day of celebration! Please spend an hour walking with us to show the community we value diversity and champion change!

Yours in wellness, 


Annie Malone Parade

May 15 @1 p.m.
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!

Meet us at the North-side of Market (beginning at Beaumont) between 11:30a-12p. Be sure to bring a water bottle!

Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

Meet Abby Hughes-Strange!

Abby Hughes-Strange, CRNA, gives us a glimpse into her everyday life as the Lead CRNA for Progress West Hospital.

5:45a – My alarm goes off! If I give myself any extra time than the bare minimum, I will snooze and then wake up too late. I have found that 30 minutes is the exact amount of time I need to get up and out the door. I take a minute or two after the alarm goes off to take some deep breaths and do a mental check-in to get ready for the day. I let my dog outside, make coffee and I’m out the door. My family is usually still asleep by the time I leave the house at 6:15.  

A glamorous selfie of me at my parking spot on this day with the hospital behind me. And, my shameless plug to recruit anyone to the Progress call pool! Look how close you can park! Take call from home! Get called in ~ 30% of the time! Make more money! Right off highway 40, just minutes from Chesterfield! Contact me for more information!! 

6:35a – I arrive at work, walk in, set up the OR room, and chat with the staff. We have a great small team at PWH. The anesthesia department at PWH is 6 full-time CRNAs and 6 anesthesiologists, some of whom are solely Progress and others that split their time. Our awesome former chief, Chak Lattanand, is now a 50% PWH MD and our loss is the department’s gain as he takes on the role of vice-chair for clinical operations. Isabella Riordan is our new chief and we are so glad she is here! We also have the hardest working anesthesia tech in St. Charles County, Sue McHugh. We are so grateful she is part of the team at Progress.  

7:00a – Off to the OR!  It’s a total knee ortho day.  We do a lot of orthopedics, general surgery, gyn, GU, and we have a new group of neuro back surgeons. We also have 2 GI rooms. There were just under 1000 deliveries at Progress last year, so c-sections are fairly common too. I love the variety of cases that we do here! All of my cases today are spinals. The CRNAs do most of the spinals here.  

11:30a – Lunch time! I usually eat in the cafeteria and join any pre/post, OR or GI staff that are eating down there. It is nice to eat with a different group every day.

3:15p My cases are done for the day and I get to head out. I am an 8 hour CRNA. We have 10 and 12 hour shifts as well. We have early and late days as 8s also, and my out times vary widely depending on staff vacations, daily case volume, and number assignment. I really love it when I can get home by 4:00 because…  

Me with my personal trainer Sam and spotter Stella! 

4:00p – This is my brief time at home alone! If I get this time, I will do a 20 minute workout on Apple Fitness Plus (non sponsored!!). I know there are some huge Peloton people out there, but if you already own an apple watch I highly recommend Apple Fitness. It is $10/month and has so many workouts, a lot of which you don’t need any additional equipment. I will alternate between HIIT, strength and pilates. 

4:45p I start kid pickup! We have two daughters. Maisie is 2.5 and goes to daycare, Lila is 5.5 and in kindergarten. My husband Tom is a teacher and coaches in the fall and the spring as well. During those times of the year, I do school pick up most days. Weather and sunlight permitting, we will try and do something outside before starting dinner.

6:00p – It’s time to throw together something for dinner and eat as a family. I try to catch up with Tom and talk about our days while keeping the girls in their seats. 

{left} I’m about to say “after you go down the slide, it’s time to go” and then we end up there for another 10 minutes.  
{right} Nachos for dinner! If it were up to our kids, Stella would sit at the table with us.  

7:00p – We start the bedtime routine; it takes us a little under an hour to complete it all.  

8:30p – Phew, dinner is cleaned up and we are organized for the next morning. Time to unwind with a good TV show. I also love jigsaw puzzles! 

9:30p – Ideally, I’m heading up to bed at this point in my day. I read for a few minutes and try to go to bed around 10, which often ends up being 10:30. Set the alarm for tomorrow morning!  

WashU Mental Health Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Support your mental well-being with WashU resources that range from one-on-one counseling, psychiatry services, mindfulness programs, webinars, tools and app’s. Find the care you need on the Mental Health Hub and know you are not alone – reach out for help and care when you need it. Resources are also available for family members.

Thrive tip: Try completing a “self-check-in” and find ways to support yourself in this month’s Thrive article featuring psychiatrist, Jessica Gold, MD.

Preventing burnout with the help of Cal

None of us are strangers to burnout—a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress—but taking a moment to acknowledge and create a plan for addressing that exhaustion can bring us peace amid stressful seasons. Together, let’s learn how to recognize the signs and find relief, with the help of the Calm app:

Anesthesiology’s Day at the Farm

Thank you to all who joined us at Anesthesiology’s Day at the farm! We hope you enjoyed the activities, and had a good time with your friends and family!

Submit a Health & Wellness Resource

Read a great new book? Try a delicious recipe? Use a product? Attend any fun, outdoor, safe events? We want to hear about them!

Health & Wellness Resources
Maximum upload size: 33.55MB
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,


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,


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,


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,


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 (

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 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 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,


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 (


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.  


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.


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!


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

WashU began a pilot program with 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 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 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.

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
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