Posts Tagged ‘Stritch School of Medicine’

College life can be destructive to student health. Panel of experts offer evidence-based solutions.

February 3, 2019


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Is College Bad For Your Brain?
How the epidemic of stress on college campuses
is destructive to student health–and what can be done about it

Friday February 8th • 7:30 pm CT 
Dalby Hall, MUM Campus, Fairfield, Iowa

Wednesday, February 13th • 4:00 pm ET

Webcast link:

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Mental health challenges, substance abuse and poor lifestyle choices undermine student learning outcomes and successful college experiences. This webinar will explore disruptive solutions and highlight a unique university that is reversing this trend by placing stress-busting meditation at the core of its curriculum.

The statistics are sobering: 75% of college students report feeling stressed and 39% of college freshmen report symptoms of anxiety or depression.  Suicidal ideation in students has doubled over the last 10 years, 40% of college students binge drink, and there is a 30% rise in requests for mental health support.

Is there an antidote to this potentially lethal epidemic on college campuses? The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) and Maharishi University of Management (MUM) are cohosting a major conference, “Is College Bad For Your Brain?” to offer evidence-based, disruptive solutions to college students and educators alike on Friday, February 8 on the MUM campus in Fairfield, Iowa. The conference will be then webcast on Wednesday, February 13. A distinguished panel of thought-leaders—neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and students–will convene to explore the destructive impact of college stress on mental and physical health and what can be done about it.

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Gregory Gruener MD, Vice Dean for Education and neurology professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has developed a cutting-edge wellness program in the highly stressful environment of medical school. “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.”

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To counteract this trend and help students better manage their stress, Dr. Gruener and Adjunct professor at Loyola Stritch, Carla Brown EdD, established the first elective course in Transcendental Meditation (TM) to be offered at a major medical school. Drs. Gruener and Brown will speak (via Skype) about the benefits medical students have been experiencing in their program since it’s inception in 2014.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeClinical neuropsychologist William Stixrud, Ph.D. will also address the conference. Author of The Self-Driven Child, Stixrud has worked closely with students to help them manage their stress and become more proactive in creating success in college and in life.  Stixrud commented on the problem in his recent New York Times op-ed, When a College Student Comes Home to Stay.

“As we see it, there are two critical issues at hand.  First, college life is a highly deregulated environment with inconsistent sleep patterns and diets, little structure, and an abundance of binge-drinking, pot-smoking, and abuse of stimulants like Adderall.  Second, students haven’t been given control of their own lives until way too late.  It may be just too much to ask students to go from parental control to near-total freedom.”  In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, the most effective antidote that Dr. Stixrud has found to relieve the problem is the regular practice of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeHeart transplant specialist and Chief Informatics Officer for the U.S. Navy, Hassan Tetteh, M.D., brings a unique medical perspective to the issue.  After two tours of duty in Iraq, and as Command Surgeon for the National Defense University, which trains the elite officers in the military, Tetteh saw firsthand the effects of stress in these high-stakes, life-and-death environments.  But after several personal life-altering experiences in the military, he found a calling to heal others, in particular, by helping them to cultivate a deeper mind-body connection.  His favorite John Steinbeck quote captured this feeling, “A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ;” and added, “Identifying the goals, beliefs and human connections that enrich our souls can be just as essential to healthy living as any medical treatment.”

2019_01_changemakers-2_travisMUM neuroscientist Fred Travis, Ph.D., will report on new research showing that meditating students display a “brain signature” indicating greater resiliency, adaptability and coherence in the face of stress. MUM offers students a Brain Integration Progress Report using a Brain Integration Scale to begin to assess the effects of their college experience on brain functioning. Dr. Travis will conduct a live EEG demonstration at the conference highlighting the differences between a brain under stress and a brain during TM.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree“As experts search for a solution to the effects of stress on learning, one common theme seems to emerge: mind-body practices such as Transcendental Meditation work,” says MUM Dean of Faculty and co-founder of the Institute for Research on Consciousness and Human Development, Vicki Alexander Herriott. “MUM is already a global leader in the field because its educational curriculum and campus culture has made Transcendental Meditation (TM) central to the life of the student—and teacher. This conference will showcase why.”

MUM Student Body President, T. Chevonne added, “The best thing in my life is my TM practice.  It has helped me see past doubts and fears into the infinite realm of possibilities.  I am more confident and outspoken than I’ve ever been, and anxiety is a distant memory to me.”

For more information and a list of speakers and panelists visit:

Organizer Michael Sternfeld wrote an excellent article on this second Changemakers event published in the February issue of The Iowa Source Magazine: Is College Bad For Your Brain? MUM also posted this short video promo.

Watch Changemakers: Is College Bad For Your Brain? • Part 1Part 2. You can also see the 10 individual talks now posted at the event page.


Related: The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school | Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness


The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school

January 30, 2016

The January 2016 issue of Chicago Medicine, (Vol 119, issue 1), a publication of the Chicago Medical Society and the Medical Society of Cook County, published two related articles on the Transcendental Meditation technique and medical education. This is the first time TM has been offered as an elective course for medical students in a major US medical school!

How This Happened

Dr. Norman Rosenthal speaks on TM at Stritch small

I asked TM Teacher Carla Brown how this came about and she explained the back story. Stritch alumnus James Bray MD had sent a letter to his colleague, Dean Linda Brubaker MD, urging her to host George Washington University clinical professor of psychiatry, Norman Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal’s talk about the Transcendental Meditation technique and its impact on health moved Linda and Vice Dean of Education Gregory Gruener to invite Duncan and Carla Brown to teach them and their students to meditate. Stritch School of Medicine is the medical school affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

Since that time a team of MDs and TM teachers have guided Stritch students. The program really took off when Richard Carroll MD, ScM, FACC, joined Duncan and Carla Brown and Deans Gregory Gruener MD and Aaron Michelfelder MD.

“Dr. Carroll helped us create a flexible, blended curriculum,” said Carla. “Students start the TM technique throughout the year as they are free to do so and are able to either attend the five classes given by leading doctors and researchers held throughout the year, or review one or more classes on-line.”

C. Brown,R. Carroll, R. Schneider, D. Brown

Dr. Carla Brown, Dr. Richard Carroll, Dr. Robert Schneider, Duncan Brown

In this picture Dr. Carla Brown, Dr. Richard Carroll and Duncan Brown welcome Robert Schneider MD, FACC (second from right). Dr. Schneider is director, Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management, and has led CVD experts and medical researchers from around the country in conducting NIH-funded research over the last 20 years.

Chicago Medicine TM Articles

The first article, Physician, Heal Thyself: Stritch School of Medicine students give new meaning to the adage, was written by Carla L. Brown, EdD, and Gregory Gruener, MD. Students at the Stritch School of Medicine learn about the science and methodology behind the Transcendental Meditation technique in the first TM elective course offered at a major medical school in the United States.

Carla L. Brown, EdD, is an adjunct professor at the Stritch School of Medicine and director of the Center for Leadership Performance, Chicago. Gregory Gruener, MD, MBA, is vice dean for education, and the Ralph P. Leischner, Jr., MD, Professor of Medical Education, and professor and associate chair of the department of neurology at Stritch. The authors conclude with Implications for Patients and Physicians.

Our experience with beginning years of MDED-400 is that students can easily take control of their own wellness by gaining deep rest and improving brain functioning with twice daily TM practice. Attending physicians and students report that TM has added balance to their lives.

Having TM as a tool means our students can recommend something that they know will help, based upon their own experience and upon substantial evidence. They can avoid burnout and maintain their enthusiasm for practicing medicine. They can also become the role models we all aspire to be. Our students have demonstrated that we can join them in restoring our own balance, enthusiasm, and mastery.

The medical profession is in desperate need of support. We’re told, “Physician, heal thyself.” But how? Stritch students have demonstrated that TM might just be the prescription to help answer this charge, by making our profession a more rewarding experience while also offering something of great value for our patients.

Maura Tresch, MDThe second article, The Supporting Science: Multiple studies show the Transcendental Meditation technique can reduce stress, anxiety and cardiovascular disease risk, was written by Maura Tresch, a student who graduated from the program and is now a global health scholar and family medicine resident at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. She ends her article with this valuable advice: Take Care of Yourself.

By recommending TM we can inoculate our patients against stress and its associated effects. With TM we do not “manage” stress—we get rid of it. With the stress gone, the health of the body and mind can improve. This is the essence of preventive medicine.

I have been told that “you cannot help others before you help yourself.” When we take an airplane flight, the stewardess tells us that in the event of an emergency, we are to put on our own oxygen mask before we help someone else. To properly care for my patients, I must first care for myself so that I can give them my best possible attentive mind.

Click here to read both articles on pages 22-27. The first one describes the Stritch TM elective, launched in 2014-2015, how the course came about, some of the structure and content, and guest lecturers. It contains photos and some amazing anecdotes from former students now practicing physicians who benefited from TM in challenging circumstances.

Editor’s note: The Chicago Medical Society advocates for 17,000 Chicagoland physicians and their 5 million patients. This issue was mailed to 9,000 physicians, available to patients in their waiting rooms.

Media Response

NPR – WBEZ – The Morning Shift

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, Chicago NPR station WBEZ’s Tony Sarabia interviewed Dr. Carla Brown and med student Dani Terrell on The Morning Shift. Here is the interview with the lead-in on SoundCloud. Their website introduces this 4th segment of their show: How Loyola’s Meditating Med Students Are Transcending Stress.

The Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University is the first major medical school in the country to offer a class in Transcendental Meditation. We talk to course instructor Dr. Carla Brown and second-year medical student Danielle Terrell about the class, why it’s being offered, and how the students are using the TM technique to manage the stress and workload of their demanding educational program. [Listen here.]

It’s not easy to get into medical school. Carla said 10,000 students apply to Stritch School of Medicine. They are whittled down to 6,000 and 10%, or 600, are selected for interviews, with only 160 admitted. So Dani represents the cream of the crop!  Listen to her comments in this 15-minute interview.

PBS – WTTW – Chicago Tonight

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, WTTW (PBS 11) Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce spoke with Linda Brubaker, MD, Dean of Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine; Carla Brown, TM Teacher and adjunct professor of the Physician Wellness Program; and Danielle Terrell, a 2nd year med student, about this topic. Watch this impressive interview here.

Chicago Tonight-Physician Heal Thyself

Phil Ponce, Carla Brown, Danielle Terrell, Dean Linda Brubaker, MD.

Phil starts by asking Dean Brubaker why the Stritch School of Medicine decided to introduce this course, and she replies that “this is really a no-brainer” for them, ‘there’s no risk to this,” that they want their “students to learn self-care so that they can become resilient doctors, and Transcendental Meditation is one of the things that can help them get there. We want to bring them to their highest potential in spirit, mind, and body, and this hits all of those.”

Thinking it may be an odd course to be teaching at a medical school, Phil asks the Dean how colleagues at other schools are reacting. If anything, she says, they’re getting a lot of calls and emails asking, “Where can I learn this? How can I get on the bandwagon?” She explains, “They see the benefits in our students, staff, and faculty; it has made a big difference at our medical school. This is a core of how we teach our students self-care. And who wouldn’t want a doctor who’s taking good care of themselves, and has more to give to their patients?”

Dean Brubaker elaborates more when Phil asks why the medical profession is so stressful. She tells him it’s “high-stakes work” to properly diagnose, treat, and help patients get well. “It takes a lot of technical skill, a lot of cognitive skill, and continuous learning for the 25, 35, 45 years that you’re practicing as a physician. That’s a long time to be in a high-stakes situation. And it’s important that you learn self-care so that you don’t burnout, that you remain resilient, that you exhibit outstanding professionalism the whole time you practice as a physician.”

Here was the original introduction (PDF), and the newly updated PDF of that show segment. Click the title to see this stellar 12-minute interview: Loyola University Offers Medical Students Meditation to Combat Stress


Members who attended the July meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Vancouver 2016, each received copies of the Chicago Medicine articles. All incoming and existing medical students at LUC/SSOM will receive copies as well. Both students and faculty have been learning TM, and more will start in the next school year.

On August 22, 2016, the Loyola University Health System Newsroom seemed to follow my lead by boldly issuing this press release: LOYOLA FIRST MEDICAL SCHOOL IN COUNTRY TO OFFER ELECTIVE IN TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION  an accomplishment they should really be proud of!

A similar situation in military education is taking place at Norwich University. See Norwich University, oldest private U.S. military college, benefits from Transcendental Meditation.

In related news: There is hope for family caregivers burning out taking care of their elderly infirmed loved ones. Also read this Excellent article on Transcendental Meditation written by Sarah Klein in Prevention Magazine. Posted Oct 31, 2017: Central Saanich Police Service and Area Police Officers Benefit from #TranscendentalMeditation.

On September 16, 2017, David Orme-Johnson, PhD gave the first talk in this year’s lecture series to medical students enrolled in the TM program at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. He delivered a two-part presentation. Part 1: The Effects of TM on Brain and Cognitive Processes, and Part 2: Effects of TM on the Autonomic Nervous System and Health. Dr. Orme-Johnson reviewed a large body of research showing TM as a powerful tool that can help medical students and doctors reduce stress and improve their ability to assimilate large amounts of information. Click on this title to read his comprehensive presentation filled with graphics: What does 47 years of research tell us about the Transcendental Meditation technique?

On October 15, 2018, the Catholic Health Association of the United States published this excellent article in Catholic Health World: Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness.


January 20 and 27, 2021, Dr Tony Nader, MD, PhD, made presentations at LOYOLA University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine via Zoom: 1) Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Loyola University, for medical doctors and health care professionals: Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation Technique for Dissolving Stress and Improving Health and 2) The Purpose of Meditation: Physician Wellness through the Transcendental Meditation Technique.

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