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David Hatem, MD

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Department of Advisors

Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine

Document Type



Background: Burnout in medical school students is an ongoing, growing issue that can be exacerbated in the clinical years, however, there have been challenges addressing individual student needs due to the variance of wellness practices and academic constraints.

Objective: To provide longitudinal support to third year medical students (MS3s) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School while identifying sources of stress. Methods: Beginning in May 2020, MS3s were given four opportunities to participate in large group discussions with fourth year medical students (MS4s) to speak openly about current stressors and concerns. In concert, surveys were sent to MS3s to identify primary causes of stress and concern to guide discussions.

Results: The August survey had a 97% response rate (165/170 responses) and the December survey had a 56% response rate (96/170 responses). Five main themes were identified as sources of stress: COVID-19, Step 1, No Voice/Feeling Unwanted, Lack of Communication, and Lack of Preparedness/Knowledge. A 6th non-stress related theme, Normalization, was noted in interactions among MS3s and facilitators. These themes continued to be prevalent in responses. In December, students ranked COVID-19 and clerkship grades highest and Step 1 being ranked lower.

Conclusions: Check-ins throughout the year allowed MS3s to express their concerns, and have them validated by peers. Continuing supportive sessions and providing spaces for near-peer interactions can help decrease feelings of burnout and isolation among MS3s. Additionally providing medical students with opportunities to engage with self-identified interventions to support wellness while addressing systemic causes of burnout will be beneficial.


Wellness, Burnout, Medical Students, Clinical training, Curriculum changes, Third Year, MS3, CCE, Core Clinical Experiences



Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Other Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry and Psychology

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Analyzing Wellness in UMMS Students