UTHSC MPOWER is a mentoring program focusing on professionalism, wellness, excellence, and research involving administrators, faculty, students, and staff. The primary goals and objectives of the program include enhancing student development as professionals through self-knowledge, career planning, and humanism; developing a space for open, honest discussion of medical school experiences; connecting academic excellence to the six dimensions of wellness: Occupational, Physical, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional.
Faculty mentors, including both scientists and clinicians, are assigned by the Office of Student Affairs to incoming medical students during New Student Orientation and remain with them until graduation. Each faculty mentor group is comprised of a diverse group of M1 students and M2-M4 students serving as peer mentors and assigned to houses.
Houses, named after notable UTHSC alumni and faculty. The Conyers-York House, named after Sara Conyers York, MD, who was the first woman to graduate with a medical degree from UTHSC College of Medicine. The Crawford House, named after Alvin Crawford, MD, who is the first African American graduate of UTHSC College of Medicine. The Diggs House, named after Lemuel W. Diggs, MD, was a clinician-scientist whose interest in sickle cell anemia led to the country’s first comprehensive research center on sickle cell disease established at UT-Memphis in 1971. The Seddon House, named after Rhea Seddon, MD, is a UTHSC College of Medicine graduate who is one of the first six women accepted to NASA and is the first female surgeon in space.
Faculty mentors provide support, guidance, and mentorship to each student in the context of a personal mentoring relationship throughout the student’s tenure in medical school. During these one-on-one sessions with M1 students, faculty mentors discuss professional and personal development, student well-being and answer any questions or concerns the student may have. They enhance student development as professionals through self-knowledge, career planning, professionalism, and humanism. With assistance from the peer mentors assigned to the group, faculty mentors host at least four social gatherings throughout the year for their students. As part of the program, the Office of Student Affairs sponsors large group workshops and peer-to-peer sessions throughout the year.
Faculty mentors are encouraged to attend the large group sessions that focus on a variety of career and wellness related topics. The essential ingredient for the success of the UTHSC MPOWER is the degree of responsibility assumed by mentors and students. Faculty mentors are responsible for being accessible, caring, and equipped with accurate information. Students are responsible for availing themselves of the opportunity to meet with their mentors regularly. For further information, contact the Office of Student Affairs.
Peer Mentors are M2-M4 student volunteers who offer a support system to first-year medical students as they navigate the course of their medical education. Peer mentors interact with our distinguished faculty to provide valuable insight into the various opportunities available for students through research, clinical experiences, and community service by sharing their knowledge, experiences, and interests. Peer mentors interact with mentors from other mentor groups to share ideas, activities, and expand their circle of friends and colleagues. The mentoring program teaches prospective physicians that it is acceptable to ask for and offer support. Additionally, the program fosters positive development and a shared, cooperative approach to education. A national model, this unique program has been well received and utilized by the students in the UTHSC College of Medicine.
Aid to the Impaired Medical Student (AIMS)
The pressure and stress of medical education can tax the coping skills of a student at times. Often this is a healthy means of developing the maturity and responsibility necessary for the profession; however, if a student cannot successfully adjust or employs inappropriate adaptive measures, such as the use of alcohol or other substances, he or she may become psychologically and professionally impaired, seriously jeopardizing his/her well-being and possibly that of others. To prevent impairment by early intervention, the Aid to Impaired Medical Students (AIMS) program was established in 1982 and was the first program of its kind among medical schools in the U.S.
The AIMS program is administered by a council composed of eight students (two elected by each class) and three physicians/staff. The functional aspects of the AIMS program include detecting and reporting the existence of an impaired student to a member of the council, confronting the affected student appropriately and effectively, evaluation of the extent of the student’s impairment, and most importantly, treatment and monitoring of the student’s progress.
The success of the AIMS program depends on three critical principles:
- AIMS must be perceived by the students and the faculty as a positive, student-oriented program designed to assist the impaired student while ensuring the development of highly professional young physicians and to support the rehabilitation of the impaired student while ensuring the development of highly professional young physicians;
- Confidentiality must be maintained at all costs to protect the impaired student;
- AIMS must function autonomously and separately from the UTHSC administration.
The Dean’s office is notified of a student’s impairment only upon refusal to participate in or failure to successfully complete the program. It must be emphasized that the goal of the AIMS program is to provide a positive system through which student quality and professionalism are enhanced. The AIMS committee has recently launched the Wellness Wednesday newsletter that is sent out every other Wednesday and highlights upcoming events and resources that are focused on all aspects of health (physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual). They work closely with Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (ASSI) and the new #TakeCare initiative provide quality, holistic and inclusive campus services. An AIMS representative serves on the COM Student Affairs Committee to share updates and concerns with the committee.
Office of Student Affairs Committee
The Office of Student Affairs Committee is designed to provide advice and counsel to the Office of Student Affairs in exercising its responsibilities to students. The committee allows the UTHSC College of Medicine students a unique opportunity to shape the College of Medicine experience for all students, represent the student body, and share ideas with the Office of Student Affairs. Members from the committee include representatives from the Office of Student Affairs, COM faculty, VP Student Affairs from each class, SASSI, OSR, Professionalism Committee, MSEC, AIMS, CUME, Gold Humanism Honor Society, and Admissions Ambassadors. Committee members participate in the ongoing review and evaluation of the programs and services of the COM Office of Student Affairs, address non-academic issues, and advise the Associate Dean of Students of student needs for specific programs. They enhance student awareness of programs, services, and activities of the COM Office of Student Affairs, and provide recommendations for the MPOWER program.
Career Counseling and Residency Placement
Choosing the specialty most congruent with interests, talents, and long-term personal and professional goals is a significant life decision. The primary objective of the Office of Student Affairs is to ensure that all medical students have a solid plan for pursuing their career choice by the time they reach their fourth year. Programs and activities are available to support students as they contemplate their choice of specialties and residencies. The Career Counseling and Residency Placement program begins in the first year of medical education and continues through the NRMP Match in the fourth year. M1 and M2 students can participate in career counseling sessions with a faculty mentor during the first two years of the MPOWER program. M3 students meet with a specialty advisor to discuss specialty and career options. M1-M4 students can meet with the Office of Student Affairs at any time to discuss career direction, step scores, the match process, and much more! The College of Medicine’s Specialty Interest Groups & Organizations host meetings and participate in service opportunities throughout the year. Students can receive a variety of career information from professionals in a specialty as well as hear from student panels regarding their experience during the match process. UTHSC MPOWER hosts a variety of large group and peer-to-peer sessions throughout the year for students. Topics vary from wellness to career discovery. It is vital that students take advantage of all the resources available. The journey one must follow to reach their goal becomes much less stressful and much more apparent when someone is lighting and guiding the way. That is precisely what the Office of Student Affairs will do for students! See the “Graduate Training” section of this bulletin or the Student Affairs website for more information http://www.uthsc.edu/Medicine/students/counseling/index.php.
The UTHSC Careers in Medicine (CIM) Program
The UTHSC Careers in Medicine (CIM) program supports all medical students and their advisors from the beginning of medical school until they are matched into a specialty. The Office of Student Affairs in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) sponsors this program. Dedicated to helping students achieve their long-range professional goals, this group works with the Office of Student Affairs to promote several class-specific events designed to aid students in the decision-making process. The Office of Student Affairs:
- organizes and implements workshops for M1-M4 students to help them choose a specialty, prepare for residency, and shape their career;
- obtains Student Guidelines from the AAMC national CIM office;
- recruit faculty and peer mentors;
- offers support through MPOWER faculty and peer mentors, specialty advisors, the Office of Student Affairs resources and career advising checklists to help students stay on track throughout medical school;
- represents the College of Medicine in the ongoing implementation and expansion of the CIM program developed by the AAMC.