September 22, 2021

Well-Being Curriculum and Fitness Challenge for Residents

Mayo Clinic
Radiation Oncology Department, Rochester, Minnesota

  • Kimberly Gergelis, MD, PGY5
  • Pam Quinones, Residency Program Coordinator
  • Kimberly Corbin, MD, Program Director

“This is a great initiative, not only in terms of the positive effects on resident well-being, but objectively documenting the success of the program.”

- William Small Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO, Chair, ACR® Commission on Radiation Oncology


In 2019, after determining that radiation oncology residents felt isolated and burned out, Kimberly Gergelis, MD, PGY5, and Kimberly Corbin, MD, along with Pam Quinones, implemented a well-being curriculum with help from a clinical psychologist and humanities in medicine professional. Residents can attend protected, hour-long monthly meetings on topics such as imposter syndrome, competition among colleagues, the burden and amount of work, isolation, and loss of autonomy, among others. The meetings, attended on average by 75% of the residents, include a five-minute icebreaker and 10 minutes to introduce the topic. The remainder of the session includes structured activities to break down barriers and allow individuals to share their thoughts. At the end of each year, residents can attend a focus group to share freeform ideas on the meetings.

OUTCOME: Using the Stanford Professional Fulfillment Index, well-being levels increased over the three years of the program.

Kimberly Gergelis, MD, and resident colleagues attend a watercolor painting session during work hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The biannual fitness challenge started in 2021 to help reduce isolation and increase connection among the radiation oncology department. Individuals could sign up for the month-long challenge and be paired up with someone in the department with a different role. The first challenge had 175 participants (out of 350), who used an app to track their fitness points, earned for activities such as meditation, exercise, outdoor walks, cooking a healthy recipe and getting enough sleep. Gergelis and team used an app to keep track of points and to view the comments shared by one another. Small prizes were awarded such as $10 gift cards.

OUTCOME: Successful engagement activity; participants regularly communicated with those outside their area of expertise to help to reduce isolation.


For other groups attempting these initiatives, Gergelis suggests they perform a needs assessment to determine what the group wants and needs for their well-being, as oftentimes it is different than what leadership would assume. Groups should track outcomes and regularly get feedback to cater the programming to the needs of the group.