Skip to Content

Welcome to OITE Wellness!

OITE is dedicated to trainee development and promoting a culture that values its scientists as much as they their value science. A growing body of literature, as well as widespread accounts, highlights the need for - and value of - a proactive approach to improving well-being across the board. A 2019 literature review in the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling shows that engagement in self-care amongst mental health practitioners not only improves their own quality of life, but can also have a positive effect on their clinical performance and consequently their patients’ experience (Posluns and Gall, 2019). A 2020 study also demonstrated that physician leadership effectiveness was significantly influenced by levels of burnout, professional fulfillment, and self-care practices. The authors emphasized that supporting the well-being of leaders is a dimension of professional development rather than simply a matter of self-care (Shanafelt et al, 2020). In other words, supporting the development of healthy wellness practices is integral to training future leaders in biomedical research.

"I am not a good role model for how to balance all this – but I hope you can find a little time now and then to nurture that rejuvenating part of yourself that needs encouragement."
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. NIH Director

Table of Contents

Mission

The mission of OITE wellness initiatives is to enhance the training experience of NIH trainees and fellows through exploration of topics that directly impact their professional development. Such topics include, but are not limited to, cognitive distortions, assertive communication, stress management, imposter fears, and mindfulness. We address the unique needs of trainees and fellows within the biomedical research community and offer them individual and group opportunities to promote well-being and resilience.

Find details on upcoming OITE events.

 

OITE Services

Individual Wellness Advising

OITE offers short-term individual advising appointments. These appointments are meant to help improve the health, well-being, and productivity of trainees and fellows. Wellness advisors are trained to assess the wellness needs of trainees, provide support, and offer referrals for long-term care. To schedule an appointment with a wellness advisor, please email oite-wellness@nih.gov.

Groups

Resilience Building Drop-in Groups
OITE offers several Resilience Building Drop-in Discussion Groups to develop and bolster the resilience of the trainee population. These groups provide an open and supportive space for trainees to be in community and explore topics relative to their professional and personal needs. The discussions are facilitated by a wellness advisor; however, the content is driven by the needs of the trainees.

Wellness Skill-building Groups
Skill-building Groups offered by OITE as a 4- to 6-week series addressing a specific wellness topic. Each group session provides trainees with tangible skills relative to an overall theme.

Wellness Support Groups
Wellness support groups are 8-week standing groups facilitated by OITE wellness advisors. They offer a supportive space for trainees with similar needs, experiences, or identities. Trainees must complete an intake process to be eligible to join these groups.

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 times. Trainees meet twice a month to reflect on a theme. The September theme, for example, is Balance. Check Upcoming Events for details.

The Zoom link will be distributed via NIH Trainee Listservs. If you need the link immediately  or have any questions please email andrea.naranjo-erazo@nih.gov.

Thriving Thursday
Thriving Thursday is an informal brown-bag discussion group. Sessions cover specific aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self-care. Check Upcoming Events for details.

Mindfulness Meditation Groups
OITE drop-in meditation groups offer trainees/fellows support for self-care and enhanced wellbeing as part of the OITE Wellness Program. Each 30-minute session will begin with a few minutes of instruction followed by 20-25 minutes of meditation practice. The facilitator will be available after the session for questions and brief discussions. This group is open to both beginners and experienced meditators; attendance can be on a drop-in basis - come as often as you like! Please arrive a few minutes prior to the start time (either 5:00 pm or noon) to check in and get settled. All trainees are welcome! Check Upcoming Events for details.

OITE Workshop/Discussion Series


NIH Becoming a Resilient Scientist Series
The OITE Resilient Scientist Series features webinars and small group discussions focused on helping undergraduate trainees, postbacs, graduate trainees, and postdoctoral fellows in the sciences develop the resilience needed to thrive in high-knowledge environments. Trainees who complete five of the small groups and who participate in, or watch, all the webinars will receive a certificate upon completion. The material is helpful for trainees just starting out, those contemplating their next educational move, and those who are mentoring others. Groups will be organized by educational level so trainees can engage with others experiencing similar educational, work, and life stressors.

Mental Health and Well-Being of Biomedical Researchers Series
The NIH OITE sponsors a monthly virtual program focused on the health and well-being of the biomedical research workforce. The program is open to trainees at all educational levels and administrative staff, faculty, and other research supervisors at universities, the NIH, and other research institutions. Our aim is to provide tools to help participants cope with their own stress and support others under stress. In addition, we hope to explore programs and program-wide systems that can increase awareness of the role of wellness and resilience in a successful scientific career and develop strategies for cultivating them. Each virtual program will include an introductory lecture, time for Q&A, and an optional small group discussion facilitated by experienced mental health practitioners.