Psychiatry

A Message from Dr. Steven Wengel

I am delighted to introduce this inaugural edition of UNMC’s Wellness Newsletter! I’m very glad you are reading this, and I very much hope you’ll find stories to inspire you in your own wellness and wellbeing.

First off, let me introduce myself. I grew up in Omaha and attended UNL as a pre-medical student in the late 1970s. During that time, I picked up a paperback book with the title, “The Relaxation Response,” by Herbert Benson, MD. Dr. Benson is an emeritus professor of cardiology at Harvard University who made his career in studying the beneficial effects of meditation on the human body.

Dr. Steven Wengel, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Wellness for UNO/UNMC

This seminal work of his, published in 1975, made a huge impact on me. In the book, he teaches a simple 10 minute a day meditation technique that his research shows can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, lessen anxiety symptoms, and even change gene expression. I was so struck by his research that I started eliciting the “Relaxation Response” myself as a college student. I found it did in fact help with my stress, and I have continued to use this technique in my own life ever since. I now teach the technique to my patients, and also the students and residents that I work with.

Since February 2018, I’ve been serving as UNO and UNMC’s assistant vice chancellor for campus wellness, alongside Jonathon Sikorski, Ph.D., UNMC’s director of wellness education. We have a lot of exciting projects in the works, which we will start sharing with you in this newsletter. But this is just the start. There are many really innovative wellness activities going on in every UNMC unit, and I want to use future issues of the newsletter to highlight the great work that others on campus are doing. If you are aware of something on campus that improves wellbeing, please let me know so I can help pass the word to others!

So, thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions. Please email me at swengel@unmc.edu.

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