UM - Miller School of Medicine University of Miami - Miller School of Medicine

Wellness Advisory Council


To coordinate a curricularly-integrated and comprehensive wellness program to students that will foster professional development, personal satisfaction, and health within the UMMSM student community


Wellness Advisory Council - Org. Chart

Student wellness and resiliency development is a large and broad topic. To ensure that all areas of student well-being are addressed by the WAC, domains of wellness have been identified by the WAC and each domain has a chairperson leading the WAC’s work in that domain. The Chair will examine the state of UM’s wellness offerings in that domain and develop and implement a strategy to improve it.

Although each Domain Chair has a focus, all chairs participate in the discussion and strategy of wellness at UM as a whole.

The Domains and their leaders are:

Academic and Professional Development
Chair: Obianuju (Uju) Akaniru
Medical school presents extreme academic challenges which can cause significant stress. The prospect of selecting and preparing for a specialty and career path can similarly be a heavy burden for students. This domain focuses on helping students be healthy by equipping them to succeed in these areas and includes evaluating and improving services such as mentoring and learning support structures.

Co-Chairs: Elisa Karhu and Victoria (Tori) Gabor
Exercise and nutrition are critical to mental health, resiliency, and overall well-being. This domain will focus on ways students are supported in their physical health.

Chair: Samara Khalil
This domain focuses directly on structures, interventions, curriculum, and culture around mental health.

Service and Community
Chair: Megan (Meg) Brown and Jessica Leuchter
Our school is in a unique community that offers both an opportunity for service as well as an opportunity for learning. Strong integration and ties with our neighboring communities offers a chance for the medical school to support the community as well as give students a strong sense of place at the school, fostering an environment for better well-being.

Chair: Christina Barkas and Natalie Hickerson
Strong social networks are critical to student wellness. In addition to considering the general social culture and opportunities at the school, this domain pays particular attention to groups that have a history of being marginalized in medicine and ensure they are represented and incorporated into the school’s wellness strategy.


The day-to-day work and initiatives of the WAC is led by the Domain Chairs, with assistance and support from the WAC Chair.

As defined in the Student Government Constitution, the SG Representatives from each class are members of the WAC. They assist Domain Chairs in implementing projects of the WAC.

The WAC is governed by a Leadership Team made up of student leaders from Student Government (SG) and Academic Societies (AS) as well as Medical Education Deans (Dr. Hilit Mechaber and Dr. Amy Zito). Leaders from SG and AS are vital as any wellness strategy for the school is sure to involve their organizations. Their input in creating a strategy and support in executing it is invaluable. Similarly, the Dean’s support allows for implementing wellness strategy in cooperation with school administration.

The relationship between the Domain Chairs and the Leadership Team is akin to that of an organization’s Administration and Board. The Domain Chairs develop the WAC’s approach and strategy, with the Leadership Team providing input and approving the WAC’s work. The Domain Chairs then lead the implementation of WAC projects and initiatives.

The Chair of the WAC is an OSR representative. While all other roles in the WAC are on a year-by-year basis, students who are OSR reps remain so for their entire medical student career. By filling the chair role, the OSR rep bring year-to-year continuity to the WAC.


• Wellness Week
• Ongoing Events
• Upcoming Events


Peer Support Network


UMMSM Behavioral Health Resources
AAMC Medical Student Well-Being
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