Tagged: Health

BUSM Study Shows Positive Impact of Mind-Body Course on Well-Being of Medical Students

May 2nd, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release, May 1, 2013
Jenny Eriksen, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.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.

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Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Boston University President Dr. Robert A. Brown Dedicate New BU Fitness & Wellness Center at BCYF Blackstone

February 21st, 2013 in 2013, BU In the Community, News Releases 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2013

CONTACT: Tom Testa, 617-959-3887 or ttesta@bu.edu

Sandy Holden, 617-635-4920 x 2213 or sandy.holden@cityofboston.gov

(Boston)Boston University (BU) and the City of Boston today officially marked the grand opening of the Boston University Fitness & Wellness Center at the BCYF Blackstone Community Center with a dedication ceremony held in the South End.

“This new Fitness & Wellness Center once again demonstrates how Boston University is a committed partner in the battle against childhood obesity,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Boston University is more than a great school, it’s also a great neighbor.”

Established by BU, in conjunction with Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), the new center will house a unique fitness and wellness program developed to help combat teenage obesity in the City of Boston.  The program supports Boston Moves for Health, the public health initiative launched by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to increase access to free and low-cost physical activities and healthy living resources.

“We are proud to be part of the Mayor’s efforts to combat obesity and promote wellness in our community,” said Dr. Robert A. Brown.  “This new state-of-the-art center will provide important resources for neighborhood residents who want to become more physically activity and to adopt a healthier diet. This also will be a place where volunteering BU students can gain valuable field-work experience in an urban environment while enhancing the well-being of people in our community.”

The center will provide access to quality fitness training, nutrition counseling, and wellness programming for children, youths, and families in at-risk communities.  Under the direction and guidance of experts from BU’s Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences and BU’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work, and with input from BU’s Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PERD) and the Boston Public Health Commission, this initiative will provide youths and families with the skills needed to make physical exercise and healthy choices an enduring part of their lifestyles.

Housed in a renovated section of the BCYF Blackstone Community Center, the South End location was chosen for its potential to maximize outreach to at-risk youths and families, as well as for its proximity to additional health resources available in the region.  The design and demolition of the space, previously unused locker rooms and storage space, was overseen by BU.  Boston University also supplied all the equipment for the center.  The City of Boston’s BCYF, Boston Public Schools and the Capital Construction Division of the Property Management Department, provided electrical and HVAC services, and telecommunications wiring.

The facility is staffed and supervised by members of BU’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD).  These BU staff members will help train BCYF staff on fitness assessments and self-tracking of personal fitness levels, as well as the proper use of fitness equipment.  The equipment used at the center includes personal training space and a mix of up to 25 state-of-the art exercise machines—from treadmills and ellipticals to exercise bikes – and weights.  Additional wellness programming will be introduced at a later date and will be staffed by BU.

The program, which will be a 36-hour per week commitment, is open to BCYF Blackstone Community Center members and youth 14 and up.  In addition, all BCYF Blackstone members will be able to use the center during operating hours.

In addition to the BU Fitness & Wellness program, the new public health initiative will include 100 summer camp scholarships for area youth.  These scholarships, provided by the University annually over the next five years, will be distributed by BCYF staff to local youth. Held at BU, these camps will focus on skills training in basketball, hockey, wrestling, softball, lacrosse, and rowing.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.


High-resolution digital photography:

Event photos can be downloaded on Feb 19th after the event at: Photoshelter

password: buphotos

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Joan Salge Blake and Hardin Coleman talk about health & nutrition education and healthy school lunches

September 1st, 2010 in Education Issues, Health, Nutrition 0 comments

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:

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Why some people live longer than others

February 19th, 2010 in Health, Uncategorized 0 comments

1101100222_400BU researchers are exploring why certain families produce members who live well past their eighties. The Long Life Family Study, made up of investigators from other universities and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, will try to determine which environmental, behavioral and genetic factors contribute to longevity. Boston University Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Perls, one of the lead investigators, is also the director of the New England Centenarian Study. In a TIME Magazine Special Report: How to Live 100 Years, Perls says:

“When it comes to rare genetic variations that contribute to longevity, family (analysis) is particularly powerful. But just because something occurs in a family doesn’t mean it is necessarily genetic. There are lots of behaviors and traditions that happen in families that play a role in longer life expectancies. We want to use these families to ferret out what these factors are.”

Dr. Perls can be reached at 617-638-6688.

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