Skip to main content

Resident Wellbeing/Resilience

San Diego lends itself to well-being, as a world famous vacation destination and vibrant, diverse, and economically thriving metropolitan area in beautiful Southern California, located only minutes from the ocean, mountains, high desert as well as the Mexican border. Furthermore, the weather is mild year-round, allowing for ample outdoor activities. Most residents live within several miles of UCSD Hillcrest medical center, and although they rotate at various hospitals in San Diego and Imperial county, traffic congestion is significantly less of an issue here compared with other major metropolitan areas (especially Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area). UCSD provides residents generous salary and housing stipends, which help to offset the cost of living in San Diego. 

The DEM faculty and residents (as well as their family members) interact and socialize frequently, inclusively, supportively and respectfully. We are dedicated to promoting each other’s’ optimal health and well being. The DEM residency leadership, including the program directors and chief residents, are highly attuned to and responsive to resident concerns, and have actively participated in EM wellness/resilience initiatives at the regional and national level. Wellness-focused lectures, small group exercises, and various social events are regularly integrated into the resident curriculum, beginning during a dedicated and highly rated intern orientation block. ED shifts are scheduled fairly and transparently, with quarterly “class nights” scheduled in order to allow for each residency class to socialize and bond. As the number of our faculty and residents have grown over the years, the DEM recently introduced four community “families” (each comprising residents, fellows, and faculty members). Notably, the DEM supports travel for the PGY-2 class to the annual SAEM national conference and the PGY-4 class to the ACEP national conference, while all residents enjoy time off for an annual retreat immediately following the ABEM in-service examination.   

Quarterly wellness group meetings are sponsored by the DEM, and include WEM, faculty/residents with young families, and events for spouses/significant others. Some examples of wellness activities available in San Diego include jazz in the sculpture garden, free yoga in Balboa Park, free Tuesdays at local museums, free outdoor summer concerts in nearby parks, excellent hiking & bike trails, and world class beaches & surfing (eg. La Jolla, Sunset Cliffs, Del Mar/Encinitas).

Free resources are available to UCSD residents:

  1. Dermatology Consult:
  2. Talk Space: Talkspace, an online platform that enables virtual video sessions with licensed therapists, has announced that they are donating 1,000 months of free online therapy to medical workers across the United States. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who became a spokesperson for Talkspace after going public with his own mental health journey, has announced that he will donate an additional 500 months of free therapy. 
  3. PeerRxMed: free, peer-to-peer program for physicians and others working in health care designed to provide support, connection, encouragement, resources and skill-building in order to help participants advance along the Burnout to Thriving Index toward optimal well-being, however you would define that state for yourself. This program provides regular reminders for weekly, monthly and quarterly check-ins with a peer. Reminders include exercises that provide structure for you to connect with a colleague or friend.
  4. Reiki Energy Healing: Lemon Grove, CA for First Responders & Healthcare Workers. This program will run twice a day for 3 days then twice every other day for 7 days, then every third day for 4 days totaling 14 sessions in 29 days. This should lower your stress and build up your immunity to prevent or lessen the effects of any exposure to COVID-19. Email
  5. APP Balance: a personalized meditation app is offering free subscriptions for the next year to all users to help cope during this unsettling period.
  6. REAL: one-month online therapy sessions from REAL. Sign up here.
  7. Breethe App: Contact from your medical email address and/or send a photo of their professional badge and download the Breethe app through the app store or
  8. 30-minute life coaching: to help you stay motivated and reboot for the next work day from Coaches4Good.
  9. Art of Living: evidence-based breathing and meditation techniques. US healthcare worker can access the online course by visiting and register using their professional license number.

Wellbeing Resource Links

 UCSD DEM Residents