Student Wellness using a Lifestyle Medicine Approach for Self, Classmates, Patients and Communities

Betsy J. Becker, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Tessa Wells, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Kathleen G. Volkman, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Nicole M. Sleddens, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Teresa Cochran, University of Nebraska Medical Center


The pervasive effects of the recent pandemic have amplified need for educational systems to forge a healthy workforce that can withstand stressors of the contemporary environment. Critical focus is needed to position physical therapy professionals with skills to enhance self-efficacy, resilience and supportive networks for wellness and success. The student-life experience is an ideal time to implement lifelong wellness behaviors needed for the professional role; however, the educational institution must also endorse policies and resources that sustain a culture of wellness. Attendees will learn how an academic health science center grounds a lifestyle medicine approach within the Social-Ecological Model to identify complex factors from micro-level interventions to macro-level processes. This framework emphasizes student success in pre-clinical roles and creates a purposeful “ripple effect” threading wellness strategies among peers, patients, and communities over three years of curriculum duration. Outcome measures related to wellness dimensions, social networks, and psychological capital (PsyCap) demonstrate benefit of programmatic revisions. The aptly equipped graduates may change expectations of providers and ultimately the landscape of healthcare. What can you do with what you have, from where you are, to unite in the movement? Join us for lessons learned and practical ideas to implement strategies for your program!