Resident Life and Wellness

In the United States, many have noted a rise of physician burnout, especially among residents. Penn dermatology is committed to resident wellness. Program leadership actively encourages a positive, inquisitive, and respectful culture. Creating and maintaining a supportive environment is also achieved through periodic fun/team-building events, clinical structures to reduce “scut” work, and financial commitments to our health and happiness!

What does wellness look like at Penn Derm? Perspectives from current residents

Resident Workload

  • At Penn, residents rotate through a wide variety of dermatologic clinics so things are never monotonous! This includes specialty attending clinics, CHOP pediatric clinics, general dermatology and CTCL at the VA, inpatient consult services, Moh’s surgery, Cosmetics, Derm Path and more. However, we are only responsible for the call-backs and communication with our own patients from our weekly resident clinic. This keeps paperwork to a minimum, while still getting to experience all dermatology has to offer.

  • We have access to the incredible Penn Dermatology support staff– from a dedicated pharmacy team (to help with prior authorizations and ensuring medication delivery) to our MAs and nurses (who help with patient prep, biopsies and excisions), to our back-office schedulers (who contact any/all our patients), to our phototherapy team (who schedule and treat all our patients in need of light therapy.) Our amazing staff make our lives easy and keep us focused on learning dermatology and taking care of patients.

  • We also have THREE half days dedicated to didactics – this includes Tuesday morning lectures, Thursday morning Duhring Grand Rounds, and Friday afternoon “Gallops” an informal conference to review and discuss the interesting inpatient dermatology cases of the week.

Welcome party (and party favors!)

  • Each year we host a “Welcome Event” which usually involves a meet & greet at our program director’s home. In the time of COVID we moved this event to a socially distanced field to play some icebreakers and see each other in person!

  • We also prepare a Welcome Bag complete with snacks, Penn gear, introductions to the residents, and a Lifestyle Guide (a resident-compiled list of dermatology study suggestions, Penn Dermatology tips, our favorite Philadelphia restaurants, the best activities around town, and local businesses we trust, including hairdressers, plumbers, and drycleaners.)

Annual resident retreat

  • Each year the Resident Wellness Committee organizes a day long retreat in the fall for all the residents. Residents are free of all patient care coverage and are able to relax, reflect, and enjoy camaraderie. Previous retreat activities have included delicious meals, informal faculty round tables, scavenger hunts, axe throwing, and yoga/meditation classes.

Big sib/little sib

  • Every incoming first year dermatology resident is assigned a “big sib” who, prior to July 1st, reaches out to the incoming resident to introduce himself or herself and provide support and advice about everything from doggie daycare to dermatology textbooks. This ensures that each new resident can hit the ground running and have at least one “friend” before day one.

Food

  • The Penn Derm food scene goes beyond the well-loved Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, water ice (elsewhere known as Italian ice), Kennett Square mushrooms, and La Colombe coffee. Our monthly “Grub Club” gives residents the opportunities to explore Philly’s food scene and get to know our attendings. A monthly resident snack fund is provided for healthy snacks and this helps balance the sugar from cookie parties and happy hours.

Wellness Rooms

  • We have our own Penn Derm Wellness Room outfitted with a couch, refrigerator, computer and printer, our wellness room is a getaway for those that need a quiet area to recharge, escape stress, or it is also a great space for nursing/pumping mothers.

  • There is also a Penn House Staff Wellness Center that has a small gym (free weights, an elliptical, treadmill, and stationary bike), as well as two bathrooms – one with a full shower, a lactation room, a lounge area with a flat-screen TV, two nap rooms, and five computer workstations for charting.

University of Pennsylvania Resources for Support

  • Wellness at Penn provides many resources for the entire Penn community including physical, emotional, and social support
  • Penn Medicine Together provides resources for Penn health care providers
  • PennCOBALT is a coping support tool that includes individual, group, and resilience support

Resident Wellness Committee Members

  • Juliana Choi, MD, PhD (GME faculty representative)
  • Heather Milbar, MD, MPH (GME resident representative)
  • Ashley Clark, MD
  • Lauren Mihailides, MD
  • Junquian Zhang, MD

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