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Resident Wellness

Sue Ouellette

Sue Ouelette, PhD
Associate Chair for Wellness

Wellness in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester means practicing medicine of the highest order in a supportive, collaborative, and stimulating environment. This enables our residents and faculty to flourish in both their professional and personal lives.

Our formal program was created by Dr. Andrea Wasilewski (UR Neurology Class of 2018) and is now led by Dr. Sue Ouellette, Associate Chair for Wellness and chaplain in our Neuropalliative Care division.  Our resident wellness program focuses on the development and implementation of initiatives meant to improve the resident experience.  Our residents graduate well-rounded and well prepared to handle the sometimes taxing aspects of independent Neurology practice.

Objectives of the Resident Wellness Program:

  • To discuss and monitor the signs, symptoms, and consequences of trainee burnout
  • To develop educational, professional, and social programming to highlight and combat issues that can lead to burnout specifically during residency training
  • To cultivate an inclusive and supportive environment that fosters personal and professional growth
  • To encourage participation in institutional programs as well as national programs through the AAN, NAM, AMA, AAMC, and ACGME

Key Initiatives:

  • Resident “buddy system,” which pairs an incoming PGY1 with a PGY4 resident to provide support and encouragement during the sometimes stressful intern year
  • Weekly meetings with the program directors to identify and regularly address resident needs and suggestions for practical improvements
  • Monitoring of resident well-being “fuel gauges,” to help residents examine the factors affecting their physical and psychological status on a regular basis
  • Frequent round table resident discussions and “confessions sessions” to air needs and concerns, so that wellness initiatives remain dynamic and relevant
  • Representation by program leadership and residents on our department’s Wellness Taskforce, which meets monthly
  • Resident-driven quality improvement projects to assess, study, and ultimately improve patient care and system processes
  • Monthly resident birthday celebrations and annual Resident & Fellow Appreciation week
  • Continuous improvements to the resident work room to make it a comfortable space for work as well as relaxation
  • Creation of a dedicated pumping space for nursing residents
  • Multiple planned social events, including picnics, resident Happy Hours, holiday parties, and food/ice cream truck visits
  • Daily catered lunches and free coffee and snacks
  • Annual Resident Wellness Retreat

Resident Wellness photoAdditional Resources


American Academy of Neurology

National Academy of Medicine

Association of American Medical Colleges