UAB Plans Trainee Wellness Center

A rendering of a portion of the upcoming UAB trainee wellness center.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is planning to open a wellness center for its physicians-in-training at UAB Hospital in 2021.

The Graduate Medical Education Wellness Resource Center, touted as the first of its kind in the Southeast, will be a place for UAB’s more than 1,000 residents and fellows relax, decompress, exercise, collaborate and more.

“The GME Wellness Resource Center will help residents feel that they are part of a vibrant team and will also build social support within and across training programs, a critical piece of well-being,” said Dr. Alice R. Goepfert, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education in the UAB School of Medicine and designated institutional officer at UAB Hospital. “As medical professionals, residents and fellows are at high risk of burnout, and we want to give them tools they need to care for themselves and their well-being.”

The 3,348-square-foot facility in the hospital’s West Pavilion is being built with a $500,000 lead gift from the UAB School of Medicine, UA Health Services Foundation and UAB Hospital. A campaign will raise the remaining funds for the project, expected to begin construction in June 2021.

“Feeling overwhelmed and stressed has traditionally been an unavoidable consequence of becoming a physician, but we have learned that the extremes of these feelings in burnout are affecting those in the medical community at alarming rates,” said Dr. Selwyn M. Vickers, UAB’s senior vice president for Medicine. “In order to continue providing high-quality clinical training in a supportive learning environment, we must attend to our trainees’ well-being. Our new, unique center will help our trainees achieve a healthy work-life balance, have more time with their families, and help them build the mental and emotional skills they need to care for themselves as they care for patients.”

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