med school

SLU administrator helps fight med students’ depression

Dr. Stuart Slavin, associate dean of curriculum for the SLU School of Medicine, is tackling the problem of far too many students in medical school who become burned out, anxious and depressed. He is developing a national following for his efforts, with publication in various medical/education journals, and is partly responsible for changes implemented at the SLU Med School. He talked with his students after they took an pharmacology exam.

When Dr. Stuart Slavin started his administrative duties at the St. Louis University Medical School, the mental health of medical students was not one of his concerns.

About nine years ago Slavin, the associate dean of curriculum, came across material about a problem of depression and anxiety among med students. He almost dismissed it, thinking that the problem didn't exist at SLU. "They seemed happy," Slavin said of his students. "I knew some students were suffering because medical school is demanding, but overall I thought our students were doing well."

Larger quarters for SLU clinic

For 20 years, St. Augustine Parish in north St. Louis was the home of a health clinic operated by medical students from St. Louis University.

The clinic had exam areas, a small lab and a waiting room in the basement of a building on the parish grounds. Growth — from about 300 patients to about 1,000 a year — and a vision of increasing services led to a search for a new location. Staying in the nearby community was a priority.

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