COVID-19


The NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) is offering the following virtual workshops the week of  April 13, open to all graduate students and postdocs.  You can find more information about OITE programs on Twitter @NIH_OITE and by visiting their website at www.training.nih.gov.  Closed-captioning will be available a few days after each workshop, and videos will be archived on the NIH OITE You Tube Channel for later viewing.

NIH OITE EVENTS – WEEK OF APRIL 13, 2020

  • Self-Advocacy for Scientists

    April 13, 2:00-3:30 pm

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1067512946958589709
    Learning to advocate for yourself is a skill that all scientists should acquire. We will discuss how to set boundaries, communicate expectations, and assert yourself in research groups.

  • Stress Management and Wellness for Scientists

    April 14, 12:00-1:30 pm

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/460492368472098571
    Learning how to practice healthy self-care has never been more important than it is now during the COVID-19 health crisis.  Every aspect of both our work and personal lives has been affected and we’re struggling to figure out how to live as best we can in this “new normal.”  This workshop will give you tools for not only managing stress, but also supporting your own wellbeing during this difficult time.  The presentation will cover the importance of recognizing your own stress signals, the difference between responding vs. reacting to stress, and the roles of mindfulness and self-compassion in self-care.  You will also be able to complete a self-care assessment and begin the process of developing an individualized self-care plan.

  • The Academic Job Search: Evaluating Positions and Negotiating Offers

    April 15, 2:00-4:00 pm

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/301564559104110348
    So you’ve got a faculty job offer! Now what do you do? In this workshop, learn what you should consider when beginning negotiations. Also, learn what you can and cannot negotiate and hear strategies for clearly articulating your wants and needs.

  • Job Search Strategies- (Non-faculty Jobs)

    April 16, 2:00-3:00 pm

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4573376140931848974
    A job search involves more than just applying to job postings. Successful job searches require planning. You will need to complete four key activities: building a productive network, creating resumes that work for you, establishing search strategies for finding jobs, and preparing for a competitive interview. This session examines the job search as a process that integrates those four key activities to launch an effective job search. We will cover jobs choices in all sectors (non-profits, government, industry, and non-faculty academic jobs).

  • Social Media for Scientists

    April 17, 2:00-3:00 pm

    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2519144273107030796
    It may seem like all the cool kids are just doing it, but there are data-supported methods for using social media to talk about your research. How can you reach the audience you are looking for? And what platform is best for you to use? We will talk through multiple examples of good and not-as-good uses of social media for scientific communication.


UF Virtual Wellness Coaching for UF Students

The current pandemic has led to uncertainty and stress among our students. As Gators continue to balance school assignments and practice social distancing, they are navigating these pressures in an isolated environment.

GatorWell’s Wellness Coaching for Academic Success program is fully operational, free, and completely online. UF students meet with a highly trained public health professional to discuss goals related to their academic success. Students develop actionable goals and check in with their coach on a variety of topics such as:

  • Stress Management and Relaxation Strategies

  • Social Connection

  • Sleep Habits

  • Time Management

  • Study and Test Taking Skills

  • Active Living

  • Eating Habits

To schedule an appointment: call 352-273-4450, e-mail gatorwell@ufl.edu, or request an appointment online

*It’s important to note Wellness Coaching is not counseling nor medical treatment and that professional referrals will be given if needed.


wellness

There are lots of other options for exercise-at-home, many of which are currently being offered free online. Check out some resources at the links below, or find the list here:  https://wellness.med.ufl.edu/2020/04/01/resources-to-promote-well-being-during-covid-19-outbreak/#exercise

Free Online Exercise Resources

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Finally, as a reminder, in order to access mental health services, including:

  • Psychiatric medication consultation and management
  • Free individual short-term counseling
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Resilience-based group therapy

Please call the UF Health Staff Telepsych Services center between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. (7 days per week) at 352-265-5459 or email c19peersupport@shands.ufl.edu [please provide your name, contact number, and best time(s) to receive a call back].


Becoming a Resilient Scientist:  Setting Reasonable Expectations and Healthy Boundaries for Ourselves and With Our Supervisors

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2300107262959484429

Wednesday, April 1 (recorded and available online at above link)

Speaker: Sharon Milgram, PhD, Director, NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE)

Being a scientist requires a tremendous amount of resilience – experiments fail, papers get rejected, we struggle to communicate effectively with our supervisors and peers, and establishing healthy work-life boundaries can be a challenge, even in good times. These challenges are amplified greatly during this current crisis where we are bombarded by stressful news and have to make major adjustments to the ways we can and cannot do work. Join Dr. Sharon Milgram, Director NIH OITE, for a workshop focused broadly on resilience in research environments with a special focus on topics that are an especially challenging now. Topics to be addressed include, setting expectations and responding to the expectations of others, staying focused when teleworking, dealing with career-related anxieties, and strategies for building our resilience for now and in the long-term.


Strategies and Tools for Dealing with Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Friday, March 27, Recorded – Use the link below to view. 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/640637452789607693

PDF of PowerPoint presentation:  Strategies For Stress_COVID19

This webinar discussed strategies for building resilience in this time of stress and uncertainty. Topics covered include shifting and rebuilding routines, dealing with loneliness and distance from our support networks, balancing demands of family and work, news coverage overload, and handling uncertainty and worry about our science, educational and career goals.

This was the first of several weekly webinars that will be hosted by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) for graduate students and postdocs at universities and other institutions.  Webinar capacity is 3,000 participants.  Announcements about future webinars will be posted as it becomes available.


National Grad Crisis Line

The National Grad Crisis Line helps graduate students reach free, confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and information and referral services provided by specially-trained call-takers. Caring, professional staff and well-trained volunteers answer around the clock. All counselors have completed training to understand the unique issues faced by graduate students. In addition to listening to and empathizing with a caller’s concerns, counselors assess the caller’s lethality risk, counsel, and offer various local support services and mental health resources for follow-up.

In crisis? Call: 1-877-GRAD-HLP (1-877-472-3457)

International? You can now access the National Grad Crisis Line through Skype (877-472-3457)


decorative image for wellnessDuring this time of challenge and uncertainty, it is vital that we all increase our attention to self-care, so that we can continue to lead and serve our community to the best of our abilities. With this in mind, a collaborative group representing the Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical & Health Psychology; Shands Employee Assistant Program (EAP); UF EAP; UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital; GatorCare Wellness; and the UF College of Medicine Wellness Programs has developed/expanded services to promote the mental health and well-being of our workforce across the UF Health Science Center, including UF Health Shands.

 

As of March 30, there is now a centralized contact to direct you to the most appropriate services (offered via telehealth). Current offerings include:

  • Psychiatric medication consultation and management
  • Free individual short-term counseling
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Resilience-based group therapy

These services will be available to all UF Health faculty, staff and trainees. They will be offered at a variety of times, including after-hours, to maximize convenience.

In order to access these mental health services please call the UF Health Staff Telepsych Services center between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. (7 days per week) at 352-265-5459 or email c19peersupport@shands.ufl.edu [please provide your name, contact number, and best time(s) to receive a call back].

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We plan to introduce additional services in the coming weeks to provide more options to meet your needs. As we continue working to develop the most useful services/resources, please complete this 1-minute survey regarding your preferences for accessing mental health services:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID-MH

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In addition, please be aware of these additional resources that are currently available to support your mental health and well-being:


SELF-CARE Tips to Support a Sense of Normalcy and Calm

UF’s Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders at the University of Florida shares eight “SELF-CARE” tips on how to take care of yourself and your loved ones during the pandemic, with links to resources to help you survive and thrive. For additional resources, please visit the UF Department of Psychiatry’s COVID-19 Resources webpage.

Sip, don’t gulp, the news. The media are on a minute-by-minute, 24-hour news cycle, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be. Check or listen to the news once a day (or twice, at most). That is enough to stay informed. Repeatedly checking the latest infection numbers, or what is (or isn’t) being done to control the spread of the coronavirus will only fuel anxiety and feelings of powerlessness. The CDC and Florida Department of Health are your best bets for accurate and up-to-date information.

Exercise. Walk, run, dance, do tai chi or practice yoga. Exercise not only keeps your body in shape and your cardiovascular system strong. It also generates endorphins, which can help boost your mood and decrease anxiety. Walk in the neighborhood or run in a state park. Dance or do yoga in your living room. Aim for 30 minutes a day whenever possible.

Lean in. Taking action can help minimize feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Do what you can during this pandemic to help someone else. Don’t be a hero, just reach out. If you are young and healthy, offer to grocery shop for someone who is older or more vulnerable. Smile at someone on your walks around the neighborhood. Buy takeout from the local neighborhood restaurant to keep them in business. Don’t forget that small actions add up to have a big impact. By the same token, if you need help, don’t feel shy about asking for it. Many people want to help, but don’t know who needs help or how they can help.

Have Fun. Watch a movie, read a book, play a game or do a puzzle.  Dance, sing, tell jokes, listen to music and play with your family. Laughter and joy are essential parts of life. They may feel hard to access right now, so you may have to reach for them. Make fun a regular part of your routine.

Connect. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we should all be practicing physical distancing rather than social distancing.That means that while we need to stay physically six feet away from people outside our own households, we can (and should) continue to connect with them. Hug your kids, spouse and other members of your household. If your loved one is self-isolating or quarantined, be emotionally supportive, but be safe. Smile at and chat with your neighbors, call or video chat with your loved ones, email or text your friends. Everything from book clubs to singing groups to tap dancing classes are happening using social media and other online methods right now. Join or create one yourself.

Attend to your basic needs. Sleepeat, work, and play as normally as possible. Getting enough sleep is critical for both physical and emotional well-being. Many of us are finding it difficult to sleep because of increased anxiety, decreased movement and disrupted routines. Healthy eating is also disrupted in times of stress. Try your best to stay on your normal sleep and meal schedules. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try some relaxation exercises before bed. Eat your veggies, stay hydrated and minimize sweets.

Keep to your Routine as much as possible. Everyone’s lives feel turned upside down right now. Schools are closed, many people are working from home, while others are pulling double and even triple shifts to keep up with demand. Do your best to create a new routine in the context of whatever the COVID pandemic has thrown at you, and stick with it as best you can. It is particularly important to keep the small rituals and traditions that you may not even think about on a normal day. Sit down and eat dinner with your family. Take some time to wind down with a book before bed. Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Dress for work; don’t stay in your pajamas (even if you are working remotely). Set schedules that mimic the school day for school-aged children as much as possible.

Evaluate your risk accurately.  As with other flu-like illnesses, the majority of people who contract the coronavirus will have mild to moderate symptoms—severe illness and death are not the norm. Most of us, if and when we get exposed, will feel like we have the flu. That said, this is a more serious illness than the standard flu, and more people will need hospitalization. Therefore, there are specific risk groups we do need to protect. These include older folks, those with chronic cardiovascular, immune-mediated, or pulmonary illnesses. The idea behind physical distancing and closing schools and businesses is to slow the spread in the general population so that the health system is not overwhelmed, and to protect our most vulnerable citizens from exposure. This is the “flatten the curve” model.


As this situation continues and we spend increasing time away from social contact and “regular” working conditions, dealing with extra responsibilities at home, waiting in long lines to enter stores (with some empty shelves), seeing an increase of patients in need, and perhaps dealing with the news that loved ones have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is normal to experience increased stress and anxiety. As a result, it is vitally important that we remember to take time to check-in with ourselves (as well as our colleagues) regarding our emotional well-being. There are many ways to do this and many resources available to help individuals with varying needs and availability.

As a reminder, every day you can take 2 minutes for a “Resilience Reset” with Dr. Carol Lewis, who facilitates a quick self-care practice and shares a tip based in the science of resilience. Do yourself a favor and check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJWuMBoY4jMpNeM6cv_N0Zx59RbQftqgC

If you are experiencing increased anxiety, you may also benefit from making some adjustments to your typical way of responding to current events. This 5-minute “FACE COVID” video (by Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap) introduces basic resilience and mindfulness-based skills that may be helpful to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmvNCdpHUYM&fbclid=IwAR1U9RjI97UdQ5wtktdix4t2L5m359IvBysbtosQTCydL0yAz_IrErADN6Q

“FACE COVID” Strategies (by Dr. Russ Harris)

You can take advantage of virtual peer support groups for healthcare professionals and scientists to discuss your struggles and strategies for coping. Peer support groups specifically for UFCOM/UF Health, as well as community-based options are listed here: https://wellness.med.ufl.edu/2020/04/01/resources-to-promote-well-being-during-covid-19-outbreak/#support

Our UF mental health professionals are now offering facilitated drop-in support groups for healthcare workers via PHI Zoom. The first group, focusing on resilience skills, will be facilitated by Dr. Carol Lewis on Tuesdays from 5-6pm STARTING TODAY (drop in at any time—even for a few minutes). You can join the group via this link: https://psychiatry.ufl.edu/resilience-focused-support-group-zoom-drop-in/

(**Information regarding additional groups will be shared soon**)

If you are beginning to struggle and wonder if you might benefit from accessing mental health services, such as:

  • Psychiatric medication consultation and management
  • Free individual short-term counseling
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Resilience-based group therapy
  • *NEW* Drop-in support groups (see info above)

Please call the UF Health Staff Telepsych Services center between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. (7 days per week) at 352-265-5459 or email c19peersupport@shands.ufl.edu [provide your name, contact number, and best time(s) to receive a call back]. A licensed mental health professional will perform a quick screening and help you identify the services that would be most useful and convenient for you.

Some additional mental health resources can be accessed at the links below, with a fuller list (including crisis and non-crisis mental health services) available on the UF COM Wellness COVID-19 Resource page here: https://wellness.med.ufl.edu/2020/04/01/resources-to-promote-well-being-during-covid-19-outbreak/#mental

Mental Health Resources

Finally, we will continue to develop additional mental health resources and services based on feedback from the UFCOM and UF Health community regarding interest/availability. If you haven’t already, please complete this 1-minute survey regarding your preferences for accessing mental health services:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID-MH


On a lighter note …