HMS Community-Wide Wellbeing Retreat


Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 5:30pm to 7:30pm

The Academy at Harvard Medical School in partnership with the Student Wellbeing Program in the Office of Student Affairs

HMS Community-Wide Wellbeing Retreat - RSVP 

The Academy at Harvard Medical School and the Student Wellbeing Program in the Office of Student Affairs are co-sponsoring an HMS Community-wide Wellbeing Retreat. The event will take place virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, December 16th from 5:30-7:30 PM. All HMS faculty and staff, residents, and students are invited to attend this restorative event. The retreat will feature a series of participatory activities to foster wellbeing and two renowned speakers who are experts in healing and resilience. 

Overall Program Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to

  1. Recognize multiple paths to wellbeing
  2. Practice an approach to wellbeing
  3. Assess approaches to wellbeing for future use 

This is an online event.

Course Director:
David A. Hirsh, M.D.

Course Planners:
Jennifer Potter, M.D.
Nhi-Ha Trinh, M.D. Alexandra Chabrerie, M.D. 

Target Audience:

All HMS faculty and staff, residents, and students are invited to attend and eligible to participate.


Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, MGH; Interim Director, Office for Well-Being, Center for Faculty Development, MGH; Education Director, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, BWH; MGH Site Co-Director, Practice of Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Luana Marques, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital; Director of Community Psychiatry Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-Based Treatments (PRIDE); Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School


Accreditation Statement

The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity

 Event Schedule 
5:30-5:35  Welcome 

Keynote address

A Healer's Journey - Building Resiliency for Ourselves  
Darshan Mehta, MD, MPH

"We are just as human as the patients that we serve." In the session, I hope to share my own grief, tragedy, joy, and happiness as a physician, and as a healer.  And through what life has offered me, I hope to share where I continue to find my personal sense of renewal in meaning and purpose through the art and practice of medicine.

6:00-6:55 Workshop sessions 
*Participants will choose one session to attend* 
Option 1 Fundamentals of Tai Chi and Qigong for Resilience and Wellbeing
Peter M. Wayne, PhD

At heart of the traditional Asian mind-body practices of Tai Chi and Qigong are core principles of resilience, balance, and embodied well-being.  In this short experiential session, participants will learn a very simple and practical set of exercises that integrate gentle flowing movements with a variety of cognitive skills (e.g., heightened interoception, mindfulness, imagery) and breath training.  A biomedical framework for understanding these practices will be integrated throughout the session.  No prior experience is needed, and activities can be adapted to safely accommodate most physical limitations.

Option 2

Laughter Yoga 
Laura Malloy, LICSW

Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises with relaxing yogic breathing techniques, to relieve stress, release endorphins, and boost immune functioning. What starts as laughter exercises quickly turns into genuine laughter, enhancing social connection and positive emotions. No previous yoga experience is necessary, just a desire to laugh and cultivate joy. This session will be led by Laura Malloy, LICSW, a certified laughter yoga leader, yoga therapist and clinical social worker. Laura is the Director of Yoga at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Mass General Hospital where she also leads the Stress Management And Resiliency Training program for Successful Aging.

Option 3

The Art of Wellbeing: Close looking and reflection with visual art 
Corinne Zimmermann, MA, MEd 

We will engage in an interpretive conversation around a work of art and an activity that involves personal responses to visual images.  Images and facilitation are designed to promote reflection, self-awareness, meaning-making, and resilience.  

Option 4

Music, mindfulness and wellbeing
Lisa M. Wong, MD & Lorrie Kubicek  MT-BC

Music, the universal language, has been used in conjunction with healing and wellbeing since ancient times. We include music to gather, share, and reflect. In these times of heightened stress and isolation, we can all seek ways to balance through music. Dr. Lisa Wong is a pediatrician and musician with a particular interest in the many ways music and wellness intersect. Dr. Wong and MGH music therapist Lorrie Kubicek, MT-BC, will lead a session that invite the participant to access and make music in different ways.

Option 5

Narrative Medicine: close reading, writing and reflection
Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD, MPH & Pooja Rutberg, MD

Literary engagement and meaning-making are antidotes to burnout and promote renewal.  Above all, the practice of medicine involves paying attention, as we acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act upon the stories of others. We will partake a close reading of a poem, free-write to a prompt, and then share insights with one another. 


Keynote address

Running the COVID-19 Marathon: Brain Health Strategies for Building Resilience
Luana Marques, Ph.D.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging data suggest that one out of three individuals in countries across the world are experiencing significant distress, anxiety, and/or depression. Rates of problematic mental health are reported to be even higher among health care workers. Preliminary studies conducted in China at the onset of the pandemic suggested that the majority of health care workers were experiencing distress (71%) and depression (50%; Lai et al., 2020). As we face ongoing stress, the mental health toll of the pandemic continues to threaten our wellbeing, relationships, and productivity. How do we maintain our brain health so that we can navigate this prolonged time of uncertainty and stress? Dr. Marques will answer this question during this engaging and informative presentation.

7:25-7:30 Closing