Sometimes all of this is overwhelming, and there may be occasions when professional support for short periods will be particularly helpful. At Saint Louis University School of Medicine, various sources of assistance are available through the Office of Student Affairs, student health services through the Doctors' Office Building, and personal counseling at Wohl Memorial Institute.
For personal, social, marital issues
The University's Center for Counseling and Consultation in DuBourg Hall, North Campus provides counseling by psychologists experienced in working with health care students. Appointments may be made by calling 977-2323. Confidentiality is maintained. Six sessions are available without cost to students and their spouses. Evening hours are available.
Campus Ministry personnel are available and happy to work with you if you feel that they can help you in the problems you face. The Campus Ministry Office in the medical school is a good place to meet and talk with someone. Father James Baker, S.J. is the Director of Campus Ministry at the Medical Center and you can reach him at 577-8071. Dr. Swierkosz is more than willing to give you a "listening ear" and help in any way possible with personal and practical problems.
SLU has a peer-counseling program, run by medical students. Dean Swierkosz has assisted in setting up the program and its training sessions, which begin with six hours of intensive instruction in counseling and deal with common problems experienced by medical students. Training also continues throughout the year. These students are available to listen to and try to help with any sort of problem: from academic "burnout" to problems in interpersonal relationships, from chemical dependency to questions of philosophy and the human spirit. Each peer counselor will observe strict confidentiality.
You will receive more information about the peer counseling program, as well as a complete list of the peer counselor's names and phone numbers, when you arrive in the fall.
Occasionally stress leads to potentially harmful coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drug abuse. When a student becomes impaired, the ability to function and to think is adversely affected. In 1987, members of the freshman class implemented a program known as AIMS - Aid for Impaired Medical Students. AIMS is designed to allow students to get confidential help and appropriate treatment without jeopardizing their medical education. It is run by students and concerned medical professionals in the St. Louis area, and it is supported by administration. Only the student AIMS representatives involved in the cases and the physicians involved in treatment will know the identity of the student.
For academic performance problems: The first line of resource lies in individual coursemasters. The faculty is more than willing to discuss your problems in studying, organizing, or comprehending the work in their courses. Most are able to arrange tutoring for you, and all are happy to help you with study suggestions and make-up work when needed. Each year as coursemasters submit information about students who are not doing well, students having problems in more than one course are requested to talk with the Dean for Pre-clinical Students about the difficulties they are having and the means they are using to cope. If there are major problems in study habits or methods consult the Office of Curricular Affairs. They have additional expertise, and can refer you to specialists in this area within the Medical School and on the North Campus.
Regarding financial aid problems: Contact Student Financial Services at 314-977-9840.
Regarding senior electives and career decisions: Perhaps the place for you to begin exploring and seeking advice would be with the faculty advisor of your support group. Marla Bernbaum, M.D., Internist will be glad to discuss career options with you. If you have already made a clear decision with regard to specialty choice, each of the Medical School clinical departments has a list of advisors from that specialty. These are people with experience in their field, plus an interest in helping you learn about residency programs. They can advise you about senior electives which would either prepare for or complement your specialty choice. If you are having problems in making a decision about field of specialization, The Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs is available to discuss your thoughts about various options and assist you in your decision making. Dr. George Zimny (at Wohl, ext. 8724) utilizes the MSPI tests in helping you identify your interests, abilities, and personality traits which are particularly useful in various specialties, and will discuss with you various options.
If you feel that you have definite psychiatric problems or want professional psychiatric help, the School of Medicine has arranged for Ervin Lipschitz, M.D. to provide such care, while maintaining the students' confidentiality. (Appointments are made with him through the Wohl out- patient department, 577-8740.) Appointments can also be made (same extension) to see senior residents in the Department of Psychiatry at clinical rates.
While we hope that you never need these services, we as medical students have a responsibility to ourselves, the medical profession, and society to recognize and seek assistance for the treatment of any impairment that may interfere with our medical education or the well being of our future patients. We do care about each of you as people and look forward to meeting you this fall. Until then, have a great summer!
One of the most vibrant forces at Saint Louis University School of Medicine is Campus Ministry. Human and spiritual growth come from personal incentive and motivation. The role of Campus Ministry is to facilitate, encourage, and support the medical students in pursuit of that growth. The activities for involvement are numerous.
Father James Baker, S.J., Director of Campus Ministry, celebrates daily Mass is at noon in the Chapel, except on first Fridays of the month when there is a special liturgy at noon held on the second floor of the School of Nursing. Students can participate in the celebration of the Mass by offering their services as lector or by sharing their musical talents. The light lunch of soup and bread offered afterwards provides an excellent opportunity to get to know fellow medical students and faculty. There are also masses to celebrate special events in the life of the medical student. Student liturgies for the University are held at St. Francis Xavier College Church at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday evenings and also at 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon on Sundays. In addition, mass is celebrated at 4:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Sundays when classes are in session at North Campus. There are special Penance Services in Advent and Lent.
Retreats provide additional opportunities for spiritual enrichment. Meals, snacks, and lodging are all provided for only a minimal fee. All students are welcome. There are also special weekend retreats for the engaged students and Campus Ministry offers marriage preparation programs.
A Christian Medical Society gathering is held for Saint Louis University medical students as well as Washington University medical students. Medical issues relevant to Christians are addressed, prominent guest speakers are featured and refreshments are supplied afterwards to give the students a chance to get to know one another. Information about where and when the CMS meetings are held will be sent to you each month if desired by writing:
Christian Medical Society
P.O. Box 23344
St. Louis, MO 63156
Campus Ministry reaches out to the needs of the community through food and clothing drives for the needy at Thanksgiving time. Medical students also have the opportunity to work with the poor in the inner city through the University's Community Action Program.