Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University

Mind Body Medicine Skills Elective


The Mind Body Medicine Skills elective is offered by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine for first-year FSM medical students. The course is adapted from a curriculum developed at Georgetown University, offered in over a dozen US medical schools.

This elective allows students to learn various mind-body medicine skills, practice them, and discuss their experiences with a group of peers and faculty. The goal is to encourage students to prioritize self-care and resiliency, as well as provide tools to protect their empathy and compassion, all of which will serve them well in the clinical setting.

What to expect in a mind body skills session:

In each 2 hour weekly session, students are introduced to a new mind-body skill and have the opportunity to practice and learn the theory behind its practice. Of critical importance is the atmosphere of generous listening, confidentiality, safety, and respect facilitated by the group process. 

Sessions begin with a five-minute opening meditation. Students are then invited to discuss their progress, successes and challenges that come from practicing the assigned techniques. The faculty leader will then introduce a new mind-body skill. Students practice and process their understanding of this new approach, and have an opportunity to reflect and ask questions. Students are provided with assignments for home practice over the upcoming week. Sessions end with a closing meditation. 

Expectations of students are that they will do "home practice" of the skills as they are learned. Examples of home practices that might be assigned each week include: write at least one journal entry each day; practice a form of meditation for at least 10 minutes a day; participate in mindful movement through physical activity at least three days.

Contact Us

For additional information about any of our MD education programs, contact Nancy Heap.

Areas of Scholarly Concentration

The mission of the Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) is to train MD students to perform a highly mentored project which culminates with the writing of a thesis.  AOSC projects related to integrative medicine AOSCs can be developed through the Medical Social Sciences & Outcomes Research area of investigation. For details on past projects, see our Areas of Research section.