Warrior Within Panel Promotes Messaging on Self-Care

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The Warrior Within panel shared testimonials and advice with students during SASSI’s event Wednesday, Oct. 31 in the GEB. Pictured left to right are Dr. Chisholm-Burns, Dr. Melody Waller, Dr. Lori Gonzalez, Dr. Susan Brewer, Dr. Jeanne Jemison, and Dr. Jyotsna Ranga. (Photo by Jackie Denton/UTHSC)

“I’m not a person who believes in luck,” UTHSC College of Pharmacy Dean Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, said Wednesday, as she shared her story of growing up as the first college graduate in her family. She was speaking to an audience of students, faculty, and staff at a presentation called “Warrior Within,” hosted by Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion as part of its #TakeCare Campaign.

“You’re here for a reason and you have prepared for something,” Dr. Chisholm-Burns said. “And that preparedness has met opportunity. So you are prepared to be here and you have talent. There’s going to be stumbling blocks, but use your stumbling blocks as stepping stones and continue to move forward and you will rise.”

The student-focused event featured a panel of experts and leadership from campus to discuss skills and techniques to better manage and handle the emotional, academic, social and physical demands students face when completing an education in the health sciences.

The panel included Dr. Chisholm-Burns; Susan Brewer, MD, FACP, associate dean of Student Affairs and Admissions for the College of Medicine; Melody Waller, PhD, MSN, RN, assistant professor and RN-to-BSN option coordinator for the College of Nursing; Jyotsna Ranga, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Lori Gonzalez, PhD, vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs; and Jeanne Jemison, MD, associate professor in the College of Medicine.

Messaging at the event covered support and self-care on topics including healthy relationships; balancing marriage, parenting, and dating; losing a loved one; grade expectations; navigating new surroundings; and dealing with unexpected life events.

“This event goes right in line with our initiative toward student wellness and prevention and supporting you,” said Kathy Gibbs, MEd, assistant vice chancellor for SASSI. “One of the objectives of the #TakeCare Campaign is to provide direct and clear messaging about accessing support for students, destigmatizing self-care, counseling, and getting what you need on campus. Warrior Within comes right into that by providing a panel as examples of being courageous and modeling challenges we all have and what they did that worked.”

Anxiety and depression were candidly discussed with methods to promote accessing services and resources available on and off campus. Several on the panel shared testimonials on how accessing help proved beneficial to their wellbeing. “It matters what’s inside,” Dr. Jemison said.

Unanimously the panel emphasized the importance that relationships play as one is navigating their path through school and career. They also stressed the importance of perseverance and not giving up.

“You fall down seven times, and you get up eight,” Dr. Gonzalez said, sharing a Japanese proverb. “When you have a bump in the road, get right back up.”