M.D. Student wellness

MD Program Wellness Picture

We are Focused on You. 

OHSU School of Medicine cares about our medical students. Dr. Megan Furnari directs our wellness and leadership development programs with teams of medical students throughout all four class years. We recognize that wellness requires multiple opportunities and perspectives, thus we strive to create options for each student to pick what is right for them. We focus support around times of transition,  enrichment sessions, and periods of stress in order to encourage a healthy approach to medical school. We are lucky to not only have the talented teachers at OHSU, but also engage experts in the Portland community to support the wellbeing of our students. Our approach combines a personal and group vision of empowered learners who both understand self-care, community wellness, and leadership development. 

Programs and initiatives tailored to M.D. students are complimentary to resources available to all OHSU students through the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHW). 

MD Program Wellness Megan Furnari for Wellness Page

Megan Furnari, M.D., M.S., is the Director of Medical Student Wellness and Leadership Development in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Furnari completed her undergraduate studies at Brown University, studying human biology. Her desire to further understand human beings and the science of healing directed her to Georgetown University for a master's degree in mind-body medicine and physiology with a focus on the stress response. For medical school, she attended the University of Massachusetts where she studied mindfulness-based stress reduction and taught an elective on integrative medicine to her peers. She came to Portland for her pediatric residency and created the "Well Resident" program, a wellness curriculum for primary care residents at OHSU, which she directed for two years. With the help of OHSU medical students, the curriculum for residents was adapted and made into a medical student elective, which she taught. Her last year of residency, Dr. Furnari was the president of the House Officer's Association and created the Women's Leadership Development Program (WLDP) for medical students. Realizing that well-being often comes from having vision and purpose, Dr. Furnari also emphasizes developing leadership skills. She completed the Relational Leadership Institute program at OHSU in 2017 to improve her ability to understand the inter-professional healthcare team. She has also completed the Stanford Business School's Executive Education Program in "Innovative Healthcare Leadership" and "Women's Leadership".  It is her life goal and passion to combine and teach leadership development and wellness in the medical school to ensure that trainees have fulfilled, inspiring, healthy careers in medicine. 

The Grad Gallery

The student winners for "The Grad Gallery" space, RLSB 5S entrance - the School of Medicine Deans' office - were announced in July 2019. This project was made possible by medical students Taylor Anderson and Maggie Aulet-Leon who led efforts to organize and create this space with Dr. Furnari. Funding came from an OHSU SOM wellness grant and Dr. Furnari's own grant from the Oregon Medical Education Foundation. 40 faculty representatives from all graduate schools housed in RLSB voted on the winners from a large number of student entries from all the healthcare programs. The top three pieces were selected based on voting results and are now hanging in the entrance. Two of three winners were medical students, Chris Graulty and Aubre Gilbert. The goal of this project is to encourage students to find artistic venues to express themselves and their journey through medical education. Every year there will be another selection process to continue to celebrate our local creative talent and bring a personal touch to our learning space.

Art Project
The Grad Gallery 2019 Winners
Art project Winner

Heart & Spade Farm

The Student Wellness Committee helped to support the efforts of Heart & Spade Farm and farmer Annika La Fave, partner of OHSU medical student Alec Berman. Many students have purchased vegetable shares or CSAs that are delivered weekly to the medical school for pick-up. CSA stands for community sponsored agriculture. The photos feature students picking up vegetables from the Heart & Spade Farm stand. The farm's goal is to create sustainable, organic, affordable vegetables for our students to purchase for the growing season. It creates community, opportunities to eat more healthfully, and food that is locally sourced and organic. Volunteering at the farm is possible on Saturdays for those students wanting to understand and assist with vegetable care and harvesting.

Their website is: https://www.heartandspadefarms.com/about

Students picking up CSA
Heart and Spade Farm Pick up

Relational Leadership Institute (RLI)

The RLI is a nationally recognized program that teaches practicing healthcare professionals about a relational approach to being leaders in medicine. Dr. Furnari has collaborated with the RLI leadership team (Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer, Dr. Brian Park, and Dr. Marcel Tam) to provide high quality teaching  for the first year medical students during enrichment week and the Women's Leadership Development Program scholars. In addition to the modified curriculum, all medical students can apply to be in the entire RLI program with other healthcare professionals and take the longer 3 month program with scholarship support from the medical school. Topics are examined through a relational approach and cover narrative leadership, conflict, advocacy, leadership identity, teaming, and coaching. For more information on RLI, see their website at https://www.primarycareprogress.org/rli/.

Wellness at Orientation

Dr. Furnari greets the incoming class with strategies on maintaining wellness through medical school along with featuring resources unique to OHSU to help students on their journey.

MD Program - Wellness Page First Year Medical Students

Student Wellness Committee

First year medical students assist Dr. Furnari with program development and execution based on class needs and talents. The committee is large, thus students are divided into subcommittees including nutrition/food access, mental health, community building, physical exercise, financial wellness, and mind-body medicine. Student meet monthly all together and then between meetings coordinate events for their peers like healthy cooking demos, yoga classes, runs, education on local community sponsored agriculture (CSA) food options, and themed potlucks

Enrichment Week Wellness

The bulk of wellness activities are scheduled the week following exams when students are able to pick from a buffet of activities. SWC and Dr. Furnari coordinate the events listed above during this time. It's perfect for students to rest, relax, and rejuvenate with their peers after completing exams.

College Wellness

Dr. Furnari coordinates the "Resiliency Workshops" given three times during the year as part of the college experience. Students pick two, 1hr long workshops to learn new skills in areas of their choosing. The topics for 2018-19 include: container gardening, peer to peer suicide prevention, physical therapy to reverse poor posture and habits from studying, and sleep hygiene. The workshops are co-lead with or by an OHSU medical student to further the relevance and connection to the medical school community. The hope is that the information learned will improve our students' abilities to thrive using these skills for the rest of their careers.

Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention

In 2019, medical students and faculty joined together to create the first series of trainings to educate students on peer-to-peer suicide prevention. This was a combined effort between the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHW), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and OHSU Medical School. The collective efforts resulted in the development of a workshop for all first year medical students to prepare them to recognize signs and symptoms that their peers may need further help and support. Medical students help to facilitate this session with Dr. Furnari, Dr. Whitney Black (Psychiatrist), and Hannah Hoeflich (Suicide Prevention Coordinator at SHW) with a focus on education and actual skill demonstrations. Students practice critical conversations with peers and provide feedback. This is an innovative approach to transform the known increased risk of suicide in the physician population. By focusing on these prevention skills early, we hope to change the present and future here at OHSU. 

For students who need mental health support, the Student Health and Wellness Center is available for guidance and help. The website is available here: https://o2.ohsu.edu/student-central/health-wellness/index.cfm

The Nourish Program - Step 1 Support

Nourish was created in 2018 to help 2nd year students succeed and feel supported during the Step 1 Study Process. It is five weeks long and occurs during the designated period for Step 1 preparation. The program features weekly group tutoring sessions on high yield topics, one-to-one guidance with student tutors, and wellness support to build community and minimize feelings of inadequacy and loneliness during this process. We are committed to helping our Nourish participants get through the study process, stay nourished and feel ready to take and pass their Step 1. 

MD Program - Wellness Page First Year Medical Students nurish

Student Wellness Committee

Second year medical students assist Dr. Furnari with program development and execution based on class needs and talents. The committee is large, thus students are divided into subcommittees including nutrition/food access, mental health, community building, physical exercise, financial wellness, and mind-body medicine. Student meet monthly all together and then between meetings coordinate events for their peers like healthy cooking demos, yoga classes, runs, education on local community sponsored agriculture (CSA) food options, and themed potlucks

Transitions to Clinical Experience (TTCE) Wellness Workshop

Dr. Furnari does a presentation on staying well in the 3rd and 4th year. This is part of the orientation that 2nd year students go through in preparation for their transition into clinical years. The presentation features background on why it's important to have a wellness routine, coping strategies to combat burnout, along with background on how the medical establishment is working hard to improve burnout in the profession.

Transition to Residency Wellness Workshop

To best prepare out students for the unique challenges of residency, this experience brings the perspectives and thoughts of current residents to our graduating medical students. This focused workshop will teach students about how to fit wellness into their future busy lives as resident physicians in meaningful and practical ways. 

COFFEE SHOPS in Portland for studying:

-Tea Options (locations all over Portland): Tea Chai Te, Townshend's Tea

-Coffee Options (locations all over Portland): Stumptown

-South Waterfront: Oracle Cafe

-SE Portland: Upper Left (Ladd's Addition), Marigold Cafe (Holgate Blvd), Heart, Crema

-NE Portland: Heart, Crema

-NW Portland: Lovejoy Bakery, Sister's Cafe, Dragonfly Coffee House


**Many studios have a very affordable new student special or offer a discount to OHSU students, always ask or look at above discounts page.***

-NW Portland: Yoga Pearl

-SE Portland: Yoga Union, Lovehive

-NE Portland: Yoga for the People, Lovehive

-SW Portland: CHH(free yoga with medical student membership)


-Article in the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-be-healthier-happier-and-more-productive-its-all-in-the-timing-1514560647

-Covery Grid to prioritize your life tasks:   https://selectra.co.uk/sites/selectra.co.uk/files/pdf//TimeManagementGrid.pdfhttps://selectra.co.uk/sites/selectra.co.uk/files/pdf//TimeManagementGrid.pdf


-Check out this PennState Student Affairs website with tips/tricks to optimize your rest:


-Tried everything? Need to see a sleep doctor at OHSU? Check out this website for more information:


-See the stress reduction apps below for relaxation to also improve sleep.


-Yoga studios in Portland often provide a meditation class or yin yoga is a much more relaxing and calming yoga option

-Insight Time is a free app with all kinds of meditations that are easily searchable for your own personal needs: https://insighttimer.com/

-Headspace is free with an AMA student membership, otherwise check it out at: https://www.headspace.com/https://www.headspace.com/


-Two Green Docs Blog: Quick meal prep advice by recent resident physician graduates reflecting on food strategies. http://twogreendocs.com/fast-healthy-meal-prep/

-Blog for cooking: Smitten Kitchen at https://smittenkitchen.com/


-Why it's important to exercise from the Harvard Medical School:  https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-exercise-really-medicine

-How fit are you based on the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG): https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/

-Ready to increase your fitness with a quick daily routine, check out the 7min workout:https://7minuteworkout.jnj.com/

-Where to go for runs in Portland? Marquam Hill Trails (near OHSU hospital), Wildwood Trail (Forest Park), running trails along the Willamette River- pedestrians/bikes only (going north and south from RLSB)

TED TALKS to listen to while exercising in medical school:

-Brene Brown "Listening to Shame",  https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame

-Atul Gawande "How we heal medicine", https://www.ted.com/talks/atul_gawande_how_do_we_heal_medicine

-Brian Goldman "Doctors make mistakes", https://www.ted.com/talks/brian_goldman_doctors_make_mistakes_can_we_talk_about_that

-Abraham Verghese, "A doctor’s touch",https://www.ted.com/talks/abraham_verghese_a_doctor_s_touch

NATIONAL WELLNESS RESOURCES for Medical Students/Doctors:

-Read about American College of Physician’s website on well-being and professional satisfaction for physicians: https://www.acponline.org/practice-resources/physician-well-being-and-professional-satisfaction 

-American Medical Association Steps Forward modules, with multiple strategies for reducing burnout and returning joy to medicine: https://www.stepsforward.org/modules/physician-wellness

-National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience :https://nam.edu/initiatives/clinician-resilience-and-well-being/

-Institute for Healthcare Improvement offers information on turning burnout to engagement and finding joy in practice: http://www.ihi.org/education/WebTraining/Webinars/joy-in-work/Pages/default.aspx

-Stanford School of Medicine wellness website, many self-assessments that are free to take: http://wellmd.stanford.edu/test-yourself.html

-Association of American Medical Colleges AAMC Medical Student Well-Being webpage

OHSU University Resource:

-OHSU University Student Health and Wellness webpage