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Summer Intern Wellness "at" the NIH

We all do our best work when we feel well and feel good about ourselves. Recently, the virtual workplace, the turmoil in our country, and the stresses produced by the coronavirus pandemic have increased the stress we are all experiencing. The NIH has developed a collection of activities to help you manage your stress and cultivate mental health and well-being. Over the summer watch for workshop series on resilience, mental health and well-being with a focus on scientists, and diversity and inclusion. Consider participating in small group discussions, facilitated by wellness advisors, that address situations you may be facing. Remember that a large part of feeling comfortable in your work environment is having a community with whom to share the experience. The OITE supports several affinity groups that meet for lunch and other activities. Finally, we can all use a little Friday Fun! Please read more about all these opportunities below. 

Workshop Series
Small Group Discussion Opportunities
Friday Fun
Additional Resources from the OITE
Other NIH Offices That Support Wellness
Resources to Support the Distressed Trainee



Summer Wellness Workshop Series

Becoming a Resilient Scientist.

The OITE will offer this series on Tuesdays (with a related small group discussion on Thursday) twice in summer 2021, once for SIP (June 8-29) and once for HS-SIP (July 8-27). Each series will consist of 4 workshops:

  • Introduction to Resilience and Wellness
  • Exploring Our Self-talk: Cognitive Distortions and Imposter Fears
  • Self-advocacy and Assertiveness
  • Feedback Resilience

 You can find the complete summer intern schedule at

Summer Small Group Discussion Opportunities

Check your daily email for upcoming topics, dates, times, and event links.

Discussion Groups for Building Resilience
The summer is an exciting and busy time for trainees, but it can also be challenging. Discussion groups are facilitated by trained wellness advisors and offer a welcoming and confidential space to explore life’s ups and downs and work in a positive and proactive way to build resilience. Groups are offered weekly throughout the summer and take place via Zoom. You will find the Zoom links in the morning wellness email

Weekly Wellness Check-in
The OITE will host a general wellness drop-in discussion each week. We all experience a wide range of stressors in our work and personal lives, but we don’t always have the tools or resources to manage those stressors well. This group offers a space to learn to deal with stress in healthy and effective ways to help bolster your resilience. This group is facilitated by an OITE wellness advisor. IMPORTANT NOTE: This Tuesday session will NOT meet on June 15th. Please attend the first Summer Lecture instead.

Mindfulness Meditation Groups
Would you like at least one time a week when you could slow down and connect with yourself? OITE drop-in meditation groups are offered to trainees/fellows as a support for self-care and enhanced wellbeing. Each 30-minute session involves a few minutes of instruction followed by approximately 20-25 minutes of meditation practice. The facilitator will be available after the session for questions and brief discussions. These groups are open to both beginners and experienced meditators; attendance is on a drop-in basis - come as much as you like! Please arrive a few minutes prior to the start time to check in and get settled for practice. All trainees are welcome!

Thriving Thursdays
Sessions cover specific aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self-care with weekly topics announced in advance. Join us virtually on Thursdays at noon. The Zoom link will be provided in the morning wellness email. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Journaling for Career Development and Personal Growth
Journaling is a great way to tune into your thoughts and emotions, work through challenges, and support your goals. Research shows that it has both physical and mental health benefits, including better immune functioning, decrease in blood pressure, better sleep, decrease in depression and anxiety, and improved working memory. It can be particularly helpful in this challenging time of COVID-19. We will meet every second Tuesday at 4:00 pm, ET: June 1, 15, 29; July 13, 27; August 10, 24.  Please bring a journal/paper and pen!

NIH Communities
A large part of feeling comfortable in your work environment is having a community with whom to share the experience. The NIH is a big place; we can almost guarantee that you will be able to find a community that will make you feel at home. Communities at the NIH include an NIH chapter of SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science), LGBT Fellows and Friends, the Network of African American Fellows (NAAF), and Fellows of All Abilities (FAAb). You will find a list and contact information at The schedule for community lunches during the summer is posted at

Friday Fun!

Invitation from Sharon Milgram, PhD, Director, OITE

Dear All, at the start of the pandemic I never imagined that we would still be working from home and offering virtual webinars this summer. But here we are – with cause for optimism but lots of concern for ourselves, friends and family here and abroad. Rather than cancel the summer internship two years in a row, we decided to do our best offering a virtual internship and I am very excited that 850+ resilient and flexible interns have joined us. One of the joys of the summer is when the summer interns get to interact with our current trainees. To help make this happen, the OITE has planned some fun casual virtual activities where we will gather for an activity and break into small groups to virtually mingle. I will host each of the events and hope you will find some time to join us. Here they are…… (drum roll please!).


Friday, June 25, 2021
3:30-4:30 pm ET
Event listing

Explore the power of laughter by joining our science-themed laughter yoga session. We will learn a bit about the science behind laughter yoga, get a chance to practice together and have some fun chatting with other interns and current NIH trainees. If you have never tried laughter yoga, I promise that you will be smiling by the time we are done. Everyone who attends will receive a raffle ticket with the chance of winning some great prizes.


Friday, July 16, 2021
3:30-4:30 pm ET
Event listing

Join us for a walk on the creative side while having fun with summer interns and other NIH trainees. We will briefly explore the benefits of improvisation and then have some fun in small groups as we develop short commercials to pitch some crazy science-themed products. Teams will be judged by an esteemed panel of experts and there will be PRIZES!


Friday, July 30, 2021
3:30-4:30 pm ET
Event listing

Join summer interns and NIH trainees for a fun team-oriented competition focused on survival after a shipwreck. This will be a fun time to relax and get to know other summer interns and NIH trainees AND a chance to gain some understanding of team dynamics/team skills AND…….. there will be PRIZES!

Additional Resources from the OITE

The OITE Wellness webpage, summarizes OITE wellness resources, including listing wellness-related blog posts. You will find YouTube videos of prior OITE resilience and wellness workshops on the OITE YouTube channel ( Some of them are collected in the following playlists.



Other NIH Offices That Support Wellness


The mission of Civil is to foster civility throughout the NIH community. Contact Civil if you experience or observe any of the following:

  • harassment
  • sexual harassment
  • inappropriate conduct
  • intimidation
  • bullying or
  • other unproductive, disruptive, and/or violent behaviors.

NIH Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The NIH EAP is a confidential service available to NIH trainees and their families. You can “visit” the EAP to discuss work or life concerns including life transitions, work-life balance, career progression, substance abuse, family dynamics, or any other issues that might affect your ability to succeed as a trainee. EAP is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday; you can also call for immediate assistance or email to set up a virtual appointment.

Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution (CCR)

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman, CCR is a neutral, independent, and confidential resource providing assistance to NIH scientists, administrators, trainees, and support staff in addressing work-related issues such as authorship and other scientific disputes, employee-supervisor conflict, racial and ethnic tensions, and conflicts between peers. The CCR is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Resources to Support the Distressed Trainee