The Well-being Word

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Black history in medicine is a testament to resilience, brilliance, and unwavering commitment, all of which have shaped the landscape of healthcare. Icons such as Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed one of the first successful open-heart surgeries, and Dr. Rebecca Lee, the first African American woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, shattered barriers and paved the way for future generations. The enduring legacy of figures like Dr. Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood transfusion research, and Dr. Mae Jemison, the first Black woman astronaut and physician, highlights the profound impact Black individuals have made in advancing medical science. Their contributions, coupled with the ongoing efforts of Black people throughout history outside of medicine, are a testament to the indomitable spirit that continues to shape and enrich the diverse tapestry of history.

During this Black History Month, our approach encompasses a three-pronged focus on awareness, internal reflection, and a call to action. As we celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black individuals throughout history, our first prong emphasizes the importance of fostering Awareness — an awareness that transcends mere recognition and delves into a deeper understanding of the challenges, triumphs, and narratives that have shaped Black history, especially Black history in Medicine.

The second prong invites us to engage in Internal Reflection, encouraging introspection on our own beliefs, biases, and roles in promoting inclusivity. It is an opportunity to examine how we can actively contribute to a more equitable future.

Finally, the Call Go Action resonates as the third prong, challenging us to translate awareness and reflection into tangible steps. Whether advocating for justice, supporting Black-owned businesses, or actively participating in initiatives that dismantle systemic barriers, our commitment to action is the catalyst for lasting change. This holistic approach ensures that Black History Month becomes not only a commemoration of the past but a dynamic force propelling us toward a future marked by understanding, equality, and collective progress.

We hope you enjoy reading the newsletter and join us in celebrating Black History Month!
Erin, Enyo & Deven

Erin Herrera, MSN, CRNA  (she/her)
Associate Vice Chair of Well-Being
Assistant Director of CRNA Activities
Department of Anesthesiology
Washington University School of Medicine

Enyo Ablordeppey, MD, MPH, FACEP, FCCM (she, her, hers)
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine
Divisions of Critical Care Medicine, Emergency Ultrasound, Clinical Research
Co-Director,  7800 Surgical ICU
Associate Ultrasound Division Director, Research & Innovation (EM)
Associate Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion for Department of Anesthesiology

Deven M. Stepney (he/him/his)
Program Manager: Professional Development, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Well-Being
Equity Champion: Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Washington University School of Medicine: Department of Anesthesiology

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

MLK

Have you browsed the new WashU Anesthesiology culture hub page? It’s the home of all our employee recognition awards & promotions, DEI initiatives, health & wellness programs, and more! Check it out>>


Department Equity Champions

The School of Medicine’s mission, vision, and commitment to diversity are at the heart of all diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Our department’s Equity Champions have different roles and experiences. They are integral to the School of Medicine’s focus on equity-centered culture change. Reach out to them for the latest culture updates, questions and/or concerns!


Congratulations to those who have completed ALL of WashU’s Understanding Systemic Racism and DEI Modules. Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment!

This training curriculum was offered to leadership in 2023 to model accountability and commitment to DEI. In 2024, look for opportunities for all members to complete USR training!

Alison MitchellBernadette Henrichs
Brian TorresBrian Wessman
Rachel MoquinRebecca Snider
Amy StabenowMelissa Bowman
Jon BucherMary Sommer
Anne DeSchryverAudrey Vincent
Chakrapol LattanandDolores Njoku
Enyo AblordeppeyAmira Hodzic
Shawn ReynoldsLauren LaChance
Scott MarkowitzPaul Kerby
Michael AvidanCharles Schrock
Jacob AuBuchonPatricia Wilkinson
Melissa MilbrantDavid Eisenbath
Margaret BradleyRussell Groener
Erin HerreraWaliah RaKhem
Deven Stepney

And a special kudos to those who have started and have almost completed training!

Arvind PalanisamyBranden Yee
Ivan KangrgaJose Moron-Concepcion
Jason GillihanLesley Rao
Maureen ArendsMolly McCormick
Omokhaye HigoRobert Gereau
Simon HaroutounianThomas Kannampallil
Thomas GraetzTracey Stevens
Ashley WeinholdBeth Beyatte
Corrin NoelDaniel Emmert
Daniel NievaJamie Brown-Shpigel
Justin KnittelKelly Chilson
Jessica NelsonKendall Smith
Loc ThangLauren Gibson
John McAllisterMenelaos Karanikolas
Richard BenzingerRyan Guffey
Swarap VaradayRandy Branson
Michele GrunwaldRandall Stateler

People Spotlight

Seantika Oliver

Seantika is part of the research administration team as an accounting clerk for purchasing where she submits travel reports, pays invoices, creates and approves orders, and handles day-by-day expenses for labs.

Brandon Oluyede, MSHA

Brandon is a passionate leader who currently serves the Department of Anesthesiology as a Clinic Manager.

Lydia Swink

Lydia is the CT & OB anesthesiology fellowship coordinator and CT anesthesiology division secretary for the Department of Anesthesiology.

Eric Williams

Eric serves as a Research Technology Manager, supporting the Department of Anesthesiology — specifically the Division of Research in the realm of IT.


A Day in the Life of Shirley Vaughn

Shirley Vaughn is the administrative coordinator for the Department of Anesthesiology’s Office of Education. Learn more about what a typical day is like for her and her coordinating duties.  

A Day in the Life of Shirley Vaughn

My day starts with Alexa waking me to smooth jazz and the local weather report at 5:30 a.m. I usually contemplate jumping right up or taking the next 15 minutes trying to squeeze my eyes shut as if I could go back to sleep.

When my feet hit the floor, I always do a major stretch left, right, back, and an attempt to touch my toes (ha, I’ll get there again). I am psyched that I just busted my first exercise move of the day!

Before reaching for my toothbrush, I say out loud in the mirror “I am thankful for life and all that it gives. Help me to make this day better for others as well as myself.” I request Alexa to play a bit of easy listening while I make coffee, shower, and dress. One of my favorite songs is CeCe Winans “Believe for it.”

Don’t forget to take the necessary drugs as well as those vitamins!

By 7:15 a.m., I am out the door for work with a cup of coffee in hand and backpack swinging from one shoulder. Immediately I’m playing my Spotify motivating list, which starts with “Blow the whistle.” This makes for a happy ride. 

My workdays are rarely routine. The residency office has seasons.

  • July: Onboarding the new intern class, tutorial
  • October to January: Interview season
  • January: Six-month reviews for all residents
  • February-April: Planning for numerous anesthesia conferences
  • February: Graduation planning begins

I enjoy the variety of my job!

One of my main responsibilities is to coordinate and manage the many medical students who rotate through the advanced clinical rotation (ACR) for anesthesiology and the subspeciality electives.

All medical students can reach my cell any time. My phone is turned on by 6:00 a.m. in the event a student has any issues on the first day of orientation or any time during their rotation.

When orientation day is here, I set up the 3rd floor simulation center for the orientation presentation and prepare manikin for the intubation demonstration. I monitor during intubation. Afterward, I give them a tour of the anesthesiology areas at South, PVT and Peds if they are not familiar with the clinical areas.

I normally leave the office between 4:00-4:15 p.m. and head out for my short drive back home which usually consist of wind-down music of some sort. Only now am I reviewing dinner options in my head. Do I need to stop to pick up dinner? If I decide to have dinner alone, it’s usually quick and easy dinner of soup, sandwich, or maybe just guac and chips (my fav). I may hit the small gym in my building for a 30-minute walk on the treadmill. Look at my mail, check Instagram, Facebook, maybe even TikTok for a few giggles. Return any missed personal calls from the day, and then RELAX for the evening.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you took away something positive!


The Well-developed Podcast

It is difficult to learn and perform well when you are not at your best. The Well-developed Podcast is a space to validate, normalize, and explore the ways we bring our whole selves to work. Learn how to capitalize on your own unique strengths, preferences, and sense of self to improve and develop your well-being!

Have an idea for a podcast topic? Share your suggestions using the form at the bottom of our webpage. Thanks for influencing our podcast’s evolution!


DEI Highlights & Accomplishments in 2023

  • Widespread recognition and impact National of RADAR (Raising Anesthesiology Diversity & Anti-Racism) initiative
  • Coordinated programming with the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) for Diversity 1.0 – 4.0 module training, offered to all department members.
  • Launched the ODEI’s Understanding Systemic Racism curriculum for managers and leaders within the executive leadership team.
  • Established Equity Champions across the department (meet the champions)
  • Women of WUDA successfully launched with 120+ participating in inaugural retreat (learn more)
  • Peers in Anesthesiology Supporting a Fair Environment (PIA SAFE) continues to thrive and support its mission.
    • 70 Champions trained in upstanding, peer support and feedback.
    • Three in-person PIA-SAFE training sessions provided.
    • Two 10-wk educational curriculum programs established to train new champions.
    • Launched digital check-in application for department members.

How can I show love this BHM?

  • Eat a Black-owned establishment or visit or volunteer with a Black-owned business. So many options in St Louis! Check them out here>>
  • Interested in a great read? Come by the NWT and grab a book to read this month! We have copies of How to be Anti-Racist and Raise an Anti-Racist
  • Check out the IDEAS website for offerings and ways to increase knowledge. Knowledge is POWER!
  • Join the 25% of WUDA members who have completed the Diversity Modules 1-4. Sign up via the ODEI website!
  • Commit to growing your skills with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). Stay engaged throughout the year with the Commit Series, a seven-class series focusing on individual skills that build the ability to engage in equity and inclusion work in a lasting way. 
  • Mark your calendar & attend an upcoming WUDA BHM event! All events will be held in the anesthesiology offices on the 12th floor of the Northwest Tower. Be on the lookout for more information in your email, and please reach out to Deven or Enyo with questions. Note: you do not need to stay for the entire duration of these events — please stop by for however long you’d like!
    • BHM Film & Discussion
      • Friday, February 9 — 12-2 p.m.
      • Thursday, February 15 — 5-7 p.m.
    • Trivia Night – BHM Edition
      • Wednesday, February 21 — 5-7 p.m.
      • Wednesday, February 28 — 12-2 p.m.

Supporting Black mental health this Black History Month and beyond with Calm

This Black History Month, we honor the immeasurable contributions of African Americans to the arts throughout history. We also recognize the continued inequities and disparities faced by people in the Black community today, and the need to do more to support their mental health and well-being. 

In support of Black mental health, we’re excited to share two transformative programs on Calm from a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and author Dr. Rheeda Walker

  • Black Self-Worth at Work with Dr. Rheeda is designed to equip Black employees with strategies to thrive in the face of microaggressions, exclusion, and other forms of racism. She explains what “psychological fortitude” at work means and how to maximize it. 
  • In Minding Your Black Mind with Dr. Rheeda, she offers insights and shares strategies to help Black people handle daily challenges and assaults on their humanity with grace. Select sessions in this program are: Assume You Deserve HappinessUsing Legacy as a Superpower Against Racism, and Steering Away from the Crisis Cliff

In partnership with Calm, Dr. Walker also introduced the ABCs of Minding Your Mind, a guide to help people in the Black community achieve empowering, incremental shifts in their mindsets and lifestyles.


Happenings

2024 Black History Month Speaker Series

The Brown School has curated a series of lectures and panels during Black History Month.

Cbabi Bayoc
Open Classroom | Art Is My Voice
Monday, February 5, 2024
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm CT

DeBorah D. Ahmed
Open Classroom | Creative Energy: A Tool for Change?
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM CT

Jason Newland, MD, MEd
Open Classroom | Syphilis: An Infectious Disease Perpetuated by Social Inequities
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM CT

KVtheWriter
Open Classroom | The Last Word: Exploring Identity, Resistance, and Narrative Power in Art
Thursday, February 22, 2024
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM CT

MK Stallings
Open Classroom | Black & Blue: Double Consciousness and the Black Artist
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM CT

Woman and Diverse Owned Business Marketplace

March 6, 2024
Eric P. Newman Education Center
View details and RSVP here

Experience Women’s History Month with a vibrant marketplace showcasing local diverse-owned St. Louis businesses. Brought to you by the Department of Supplier Diversity and the Office of Institutional Equity, participants can celebrate and support diversity while exploring unique offerings.

Save the Date for the second annual “Women of WUDA” retreat!

Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Holmes Lounge

The theme of this year’s retreat is “The Art of Balance: Finding Strength, Resilience and Professional Fulfillment.”

More information coming soon!

Take Care Health Fair

Tuesday, March 12, from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

All WashU employees are invited to attend the Take Care Health Fair, which will be held on Mar. 12, 2024, at the Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC) on the School of Medicine Campus. Further information will be provided in the upcoming weeks.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

WashU employees can get the updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine each Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Occupational Health Clinic, located in the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM), Suite 5A. For quick service, please log in to ReadySet and complete the COVID-19 vaccine survey before you arrive

Take 2 for the Team

Introducing “Take 2 for the Team,” a new initiative and app designed to promote gratitude and positivity among our anesthesiology department’s team members. This digital peer-to-peer gratitude program encourages us all to take just 2 minutes each day to acknowledge and express gratitude towards a fellow team member.

You can find the app on our departmental INTRAnet, making it accessible to everyone in the department. Using the app is a breeze —simply compose a thank-you note, and your heartfelt “Thank You!” will be sent directly to your colleague’s inbox.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate our colleagues and their contributions to our well-being and happiness.


Health & Wellness Newsletter Archive

November 10, 2023

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to exploring the multifaceted world of sustainability. We’ll delve into innovative solutions, inspiring stories, and impactful initiatives that are shaping our path toward a more sustainable future. By prioritizing sustainability, we not only protect the Earth’s fragile ecosystems but also create a healthier, more equitable world for current and future generations, fostering a sense of well-being that extends far beyond individual lives.

October 10, 2023

In honor of World Mental Health Day, this month’s newsletter highlights the importance of addressing mental health challenges within the healthcare industry, particularly among anesthesiologists who face alarming rates of burnout and suicide. It’s time to prioritize mental well-being, and support colleagues and friends who may be going through challenging times.

August 17, 2023

This month’s newsletter is all about gratitude. Here in the Department of Anesthesiology, it is so important that we build a culture of appreciation. Gratitude nurtures healthier communication, fosters respect and psychological safety, encourages cooperation, and enhances resilience in relationships and teamwork.