Posts Tagged ‘Carla Brown’

Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 16, 2018

In the spirit of “Physician, heal thyself,” Catholic Health World reported on Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an elective course to students during the past 4 years to help them avoid burnout and develop wellness, preparing them to become more effective physicians. The Uncarved Blog originally helped break the news of the early success of this program. Here is a PDF of the Catholic Health World article.

Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 15, 2018 (Volume 34, Number 18)
By Patricia Corrigan

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is believed to be the first major medical school in the country to offer Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as an elective course. Since 2014, the class has been offered to help medical students manage stress.

“A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians,” said Dr. Gregory Gruener, vice dean for education and a neurology professor at Stritch.

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Gruener

In addition to learning the meditation technique, the class reviews the neurophysiology of TM and includes a live demonstration of the brain wave patterns that occur during the practice. Students may attend five lectures over two semesters or view the lectures online. Stritch has even set aside meditation rooms for students.

Gruener counts the TM training as a success. “We don’t push it — it’s one technique — but a significant chunk of the students, about a third of each class, sign up for it, and almost 300 have enrolled since it started.” This year, 66 of the 165 first-year students have signed up so far, and Gruener expects another 10 to 20 to enroll.

Most students who have taken the class have reported the training has “a significant and fundamental impact” on their lives, Gruener said. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery, is one of them.

“Going to medical school — well, that’s not a path to stress relief,” said Terrell. She first took the TM class three years ago and still meditates. “Right after the first meditation class, I instantly felt so much better. The initial benefits are still present, and TM is a great tool to have in my pocket for those days when I am overwhelmed.”

TM uses meditation skills similar to those found in the Catholic, Jesuit traditions of contemplative care. Deans in the admissions offices, the counseling faculty and the clinical physician supervisors at Stritch would agree. They also have learned the meditation technique, which was first taught in India in 1955 and introduced in the U.S. in 1959. An article about the TM class, published in Chicago Medicine magazine in January 2016, is now made available to all students who apply to Stritch.

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Brown

“Two students told us they chose Loyola because of the TM elective,” said Carla L. Brown, who teaches the course at Stritch. She co-directs the Center for Leadership Performance in Chicago with her husband, Duncan Brown, who also teaches TM at Stritch on an adjunct basis.

“TM changes the brain — that has been documented scientifically,” Carla Brown said. “It taps into our innate capacity to experience restful alertness, and that refines the functioning of our physiology.” The website for the meditation method notes that some 380 published, peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM “markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, improves learning ability and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.”

The medical school is keeping track of whether former students still practice TM. “We haven’t received all the information yet, but even those that are meditating once a day now say they do still notice a benefit,” Gruener said. “Our real concern is how they do away from the support system that was in place for them here, and we will continue to keep in touch.”

Also, as part of a student’s PhD thesis, some faculty members have had MRI scans before and after meditating to determine whether there are changes in the brain that have to do with “anxiety or stress or emotionality.” The study is complete, but Gruener said the data from the thesis is not yet available.

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Dr. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery at Louisiana State University — Shreveport, practices stress-busting meditation techniques she learned as a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The TM class includes outside speakers, among them retired Col. Brian Rees, a physician who talks about the use of meditation in his work with individuals in the military related to building resiliency and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Students in medical school want to know about the science supporting TM, and they want to meet physicians who research and also practice it,” Gruener said.

The decision to add the meditation technique to the curriculum was serendipitous. “As we were trying to build a broader menu into our wellness program, we heard from a former medical student who had dropped out of school because of anxiety,” Gruener said. “He saw a billboard advertising TM, took the class and found it had a dramatic impact on his life — and he provided the money to begin a pilot program here.”

That program commenced in the fall of 2013. Later, it was modified and the decision was made to offer the course as an elective, with a more flexible schedule. Gruener noted that one reason some students do not enroll is because of the time required to take the five classes and the need to find 20 minutes twice a day to meditate.

“Some students view that as time taken away from studying, even though we try to let them know that if you take care of yourself now, there is a big payback later,” Gruener said. Laughing, he added, “Also, physicians tend to be hardheaded if something isn’t in pill form or can’t be injected. Carla and I have joked that if we had a pill to relieve stress that cost $1,000, all the students would want to take it.”

Gruener said he practices TM, and he openly credits it with reducing his own stress. “You have to embrace wellness and you have to find the time to take control of your own life,” he said. “Once you begin TM, that gets easier.”

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Permission granted by Catholic Health World, October 15, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
I added all hyperlinks except the SSOM-LUC in the opening sentence.
Article URL: https://www.chausa.org/publications/catholic-health-world/archives/issues/october-15-2018/medical-students-learn-meditation-to-counter-stress-promote-physician-wellness

Norman Rosenthal spoke in Chicago on Light and Transcendence—alternative modalities to reduce stress, optimize health

September 11, 2012

Norman Rosenthal, M.D., was in Chicago September 5-7 to deliver a series of talks at various medical, educational, and public venues. His main theme was using Light and Transcendence as alternative approaches to reduce stress and optimize health. Dr. Rosenthal addressed 200 people at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center Wednesday evening, spoke on Thursday with staff and students at Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola, and talked with health care and other professionals as a guest of the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital at a Friday luncheon.

Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned psychiatrist and author whose research in describing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneering the use of light therapy has helped millions of people. The New York Times best-seller, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, is out in paperback this month (September 2012), with a Foreword written by Mehmet C. Oz M.D., and a new concluding chapter, After Transcendence.

At the same time, Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat SAD, which the New York Times called “a landmark book,” is being released in its revised and updated fourth edition. It includes a chapter, Meditation for the Winter Blues.

Stressful times affect health and happiness

Economic challenges, the feeble job market and information overload, not to mention the drought, conspire to stretch people to the breaking point. Everyone is experiencing some degree of stress and anxiety in their lives. In fact, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that 40 million adults, one in seven, have some type of anxiety disorder.

Dr. Rosenthal pointed out the current epidemic of stress has resulted in cardiovascular disease as well as psychiatric disorders. It effects everyone from war veterans to the general public. “Having witnessed the mental and spiritual anguish of many hundreds of people,” he said, “I find the potential clinical power of this technique (TM) amazing.”

Transcendental Meditation—a simple effective solution

A Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, Dr. Rosenthal was initially very skeptical about the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique for beating stress and anxiety. After examining the research, however, he said, “I came to scoff and remained to pray,” paraphrasing a famous line from Irish writer, playwright, and physician Oliver Goldsmith‘s poem The Deserted Village.

Dr. Rosenthal at University of Chicago Gleacher Center explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain producing different results

The former NIMH researcher explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain. He said having the right instruction in meditation can make a world of difference in the results.

Dr. Rosenthal described research examining the Transcendental Meditation program resulting in hard evidence not seen with other meditation techniques. He cited improvements in cardiovascular health, reduced drug, alcohol and tobacco use, reduced PTS symptoms in veterans, and studies showing significant reductions in health care costs and utilization resulting from twice daily TM practice.

Mr. Ulrich Sandmeyer, co-owner with his wife Ellen, of Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, an independent Chicago bookseller, brought Dr. Rosenthal’s books to every event. He does this service for speakers 3-4 times a week and has done so for 20 years.  He said that Norman Rosenthal was the most compelling speaker he has ever encountered. Coming from Mr. Sandmeyer that says a lot!

Thanks to Carla Brown, Ed.D., co-director of the Transcendental Meditation Program in the Greater Chicago Area, for organizing these events for Dr. Rosenthal and for sending us some highlights of the tour.

Click on Transcendental Meditation Visualized [Infographic] to see this new post on Dr. Rosenthal’s blog. He says, “The infographic below is brought to you as a resource and extension of the book ‘Transcendence,’ which features some of the main points about Transcendental Meditation that I highlighted in the book.”

Related posts on this topic

Dr. Norman Rosenthal gives an engaging talk to medical staff at Northern Westchester Hospital

PsychCentral reviews Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence: Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Dr. Catherine Ulbricht interviews psychiatrist and author Dr. Norman Rosenthal for Natural Standard

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

Additional information on Norman Rosenthal, Transcendence and Winter Blues are listed below and available in his Press Kit.

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