Student health, wellness, and career success are priorities at both the College and School of Medicine (SOM) levels. The College’s Office of Student Services provides a wide range of services for all Baylor students to promote these priorities, such as the following:
- Academic excellence (Academic Success Center, Education Resource Center, etc.)
- Health and wellness (Student and Resident Mental Health Clinic, Baylor gym, etc.)
- Student engagement (Campus Committees, etc.)
- Financial assistance (Office of Student Financial Aid, Financial Education, etc.)
- Administrative support (Information Technology, Office of the Registrar, etc.)
- Diversity and inclusion (Office of Community Engagement & Health Equity programs and resources, etc.)
The SOM recognizes that medical students have unique needs and has put in place robust programming to promote medical students’ personal wellness and career success. A large cadre of faculty and staff work together to deliver structured wellness programming, academic and career counseling, academic support services, peer and faculty mentorship, elective and specialty choice counseling, and personal (non-clinical) counseling.
Major student health and wellness initiatives include the following:
- New student orientation events
- Peer Resource Network (PRN) program
- MS1 Wellness Curriculum
- MS2-3 Service Learning and Narrative Medicine Intersession
- MS Class Specific Financial Wellness Lectures
- Transition to Clinical Medicine Course
- Transition to MD Course (APEX)
Examples of programs promoting career success include the following:
- Deans of Student Affairs: Three deans of student affairs are available for individual meetings and even after hours for personal (non-clinical), academic, and career counseling. Each MS1 meets with a student affairs dean during the first semester of medical school for academic and career counseling, and each MS3 meets with a student affairs dean during the spring for career counseling and residency planning.
- Dean’s Hours: There are regularly scheduled dean’s hours that are held multiple times per year by both student affairs and curriculum deans and tailored to each class’s academic and career trajectory.
- Learning Community Advisors program: Each medical student is assigned to one of six Learning Community Squads and to a faculty advisor with whom the student establishes a longitudinal relationship over the four years of medical school.
- Specialty Specific Mentors program: Each specialty has chosen faculty who have dedicated time and support to advise students about their specific specialty.
- Student Interest Groups representing each specialty and supervised by the Student Senate and the Office of Student Affairs run specialty-specific lecture programs, peer and faculty mentoring programs and skills workshops.
Quick Resource Guide for Student Support Services
- Academic Success Center offers group and individual sessions, online resources.
- Alpha Omega Alpha tutors offer one-on-one peer tutoring, study resources.
- DISCO offers peer tutoring, study resources, and workshops.
- Texas Medical Center Library: Liaison librarians are available to help students with literature searchers and other library-related needs.
Career Resources for Medical Students
- Career Development Center: 713-798-5039
Offers assistance with choosing a specialty, Curriculum Vitae preparation, personal statement review and mock interviews.
Student Health and Wellness
- Office of Ombuds: 713-798-5039
- Student and House Staff Mental Health Service: 713-798-4881
Counseling only: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Title IX Services: 713-798-8137
- Student Disability Services: 713-798-8137
- WellConnect: 866-640-4777
24/7 hotline for crisis counseling, mental health counseling, financial management resources, legal consultations and referrals for other resources in the community.
To access the hotline: Go to the website, select "Register," create a username and password, and enter the school code: R346.
Health Requirements and Services
The Baylor Occupational Health Program and the Office of Environmental Safety (Baylor login required) help protect the health of medical students, from implementing and monitoring compliance with pre-matriculation requirements for vaccinations, to respirator fit testing, annual bloodborne pathogens and environmental hazards training and helping students who have been exposed to infectious agents while engaged in clinical activities.
Medical students, as members of the Baylor College of Medicine School of Medicine community, represent the College and the medical profession and are expected to maintain professional standards of behavior, including engaging in self-care. Key policies (Baylor login required) regarding student personal responsibility include:
- Environmental Health and Safety
- Medical Student Exposure to Infectious and Environmental Hazards
- Respectful and Professional Learning Environment Policy: Standards for Student Conduct and College Oversight
- Social Media
- Learner Mistreatment
- Accommodation Procedures for Learners and Program Applicants with Disabilities
- Medical Student Access to Health Care Service
Infection Control (Needle Stick/Infectious Exposure)
Exposure to an infectious agent, such as a needle stick, is a frightening and anxiety-filled experience. Baylor works hard to ensure the safety of all community members through prevention education and adherence to exposure protocols. Students are educated about bloodborne pathogens and infectious exposures during new student orientation, through mandatory annual retraining via the Office of Environmental Safety modules in Success Factors, and before each clinical rotation through review of procedures and protocols in each Course Overview Document. The Office of Environmental Safety also runs the Mandatory Fit Testing Program (BCM login required) to fit all students with appropriately sized N95 masks. Please reference the links provided (Baylor login required) for more information.
To safeguard personal health and safety and minimize the risk of infection, students experiencing an exposure to an infectious agent must follow the post-exposure protocol appropriate to the clinical site at which the exposure occurred.
Exposure: If you are exposed to a bloodborne or other infectious pathogen, the next steps you take are critical to minimizing risk to your health and safety. The College has an OSHA Exposure Control Plan that provides important details and follows national best practices. In the event of an infectious exposure, please follow the guidance below.
- Exposure protocols vary at each clinical site. The major sites, such as Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center and Ben Taub Hospital, are listed on the OHP web page. That page contains more detailed information.
- Notify the hospital when an exposure occurs. Each facility has a different reporting mechanism. This information is on the OHP web page.
- If a needlestick or other exposure to potentially infectious body fluids occurs, ensure the source patient’s blood is obtained at the time of exposure and sent for testing. Each hospital has its own protocol for obtaining the source patient’s blood. Response to exposures to airborne pathogens vary depending on the infectious disease (i.e. tuberculosis vs. meningococcal meningitis vs. COVID-19).
- Notify OHP at 713-798-7880 at the time of exposure. OHP personnel are on-call 24/7. Make sure that you provide a good call-back number that works in your clinical setting.
- Please ensure you discuss your exposure with OHP personnel. Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is not indicated following most exposures. However, when PEP is needed, time is of the essence in starting it. Additionally, OHP personnel know each hospital system well and can help navigate issues in real time.
- You can always call one of the student affairs deans for help:
Dr. Kass: 713-240-0069
Dr. Poythress: 713-857-7600
Dr. Stolar: 713-757-2411
Medical Student Exposure to Infectious and Environmental Hazards Policy (Baylor login required)
Disclosure of History of Infectious or Communicable Illnesses
Students with either infectious or communicable illnesses or with an immune compromising condition should consult with the OHP (713-798-7880 or email@example.com) regarding the advisability of working with patients and other limitations or concerns related to clinical duties and educational activities. Refer to the Medical Student Exposure to Infectious and Environmental Hazards Policy for further details.