For Immediate Release, May 1, 2013
Contact: Jenny Eriksen, 617-638-6841, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Boston) – A Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) study shows a mind-body class elective for medical students helps increase their self-compassion and ability to manage thoughts and tasks more effectively. The study, published in Medical Education Online, also discusses how this innovative course may help medical students better manage stress and feel more empowered to use mind-body skills with their patients.
Allison Bond, MA, a third-year medical student at BUSM, served as the paper’s first author. The course was designed and taught by co-author Heather Mason, MA, founder and director of the Minded Institute.
“An effective career in medicine requires technical competence and expertise, but just as important is the ability to empathize and connect with others, including patients,” said Robert Saper, MD, MPH, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center and associate professor of family medicine at BUSM. However, medical students experience tremendous demands from workload, stress and competition from other students to succeed, resulting in burnout and a decreased ability to connect with patients, according to studies.
“Research has shown that mindfulness meditation and yoga may increase psychological well-being, which is why we looked at how a course based on these principles could impact medical students,” said Bond.
The 11-week course, Embodied Health: Mind-Body Approaches to Well-Being, was open to first and second year medical students in good academic standing. It was developed to teach students about mind-body approaches, and the neuroscience behind the activities, that they might not otherwise learn in medical school but could use to help their patients achieve better overall health. Offered for the first time in Spring 2012, it met once weekly and included a 30 minute lecture about the neuroscience of yoga, relaxation and breathing exercises followed by a 60 minute yoga, deep breathing and mediation session. Each student was asked to practice the techniques (breathing, yoga, etc.) at least three times a week.
Participants filled out surveys before the course began and after it ended, and were asked about perceived empathy, perceived stress, self-regulation (ability to develop, implement and flexibly maintain planned behavior to achieve goals) and self-compassion. They also were asked to compose a one-page essay at the completion of the course to discuss if what they learned helped them personally and whether it influenced their ability to cope with stress or enhanced their sense of well-being.
Overall, responses indicate a statistically significant increase in self-regulation and self-compassion. There also was a decrease in perceived stress and an increase in empathy, although not statistically significant. The essays also indicate that the course helped many students:
- feel more aware of their bodies,
- feel a sense of community among their peers despite the competitive environment,
- build confidence in using mind-body skills with patients and
- better manage stress.
“Our study provides compelling evidence that mind-body approaches have benefits for medical students and could have a positive impact on their interaction with peers and patients,” said Bond.
Joan Salge Blake and Hardin Coleman talk about health & nutrition education and healthy school lunches
Registered Dietitian and Sargent Clinical Associate Professor Joan Salge Blake and School of Education Dean Hardin Coleman joined us this morning on UStream for a live chat about the importance of healthy school lunches. They also talked about the importance of health and nutrition education. You can view the full chat below:
The School of Education Alumni Speaker Series is hosting an evening with the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Dr. Carol Johnson, tonight beginning at 6 PM in the School of Education (Rm 130) at 2 Silber Way. The lecture, entitled “The Challenge and Promise of Teaching,” will discuss Johnson’s belief in equity and access to quality education for all children, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. For more information, call 617-358-5494 or email email@example.com. The event is free and open to the public.
According to a recent study, highschoolers are using their cellphones in classrooms as cheating devices by text-messaging one another answers to test questions. Only about half of those polled think that cheating in this way should be considered a “serious offense.” Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Teaching in BU’s School of Education Scott Seider can discuss the study’s findings and other issues surrounding teenage morality. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 512-2103.
Dean Hardin Coleman of BU’s School of Education’s response to President Obama’s recent press conference on education:
“President Obama has framed the debate about education in terms about what works to produce achievement which is a welcome advancement in this important national conversation. He has clearly learned from the research on education that early childhood education, effective assessment, teacher quality, keeping kids in school, and financial support for post high school education are the critical factors in education and in need of significant improvement if education is going to continue to serve our economy and society. He used the typical red herrings of race rather than class to explain the achievement gap, a focus of pay of performance rather than quality professional development as a way to develop teacher quality, and charter schools as effective school reform.”
To hear more about what Hardin thinks of Obama’s education policies, please contact Lauren Domingos.