Reflections from the Dean: Gratitude is good for you

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Dr. Pisecki in front of the unr med sign


As a physician, an educator, acting dean for UNR Med, and a human being, I have learned and felt many things about gratitude.

For starters, gratitude is good for you — there is substantial evidence from research studies. Feeling and cultivating gratitude translates into improved measures of heart health, better sleep, better mental health and lower levels of inflammation. In researching social factors, studies on workplace gratitude find that those who report feelings of gratitude for their colleagues, clients and work are less likely to report burnout. I love these lines of research, and I share this data with learners when we talk about wellness, resilience and coping with the stress everyone faces.

Gratitude is abundant at UNR Med. During this last year, we have had many reasons to reflect and celebrate our good fortune and the generosity of others. We are grateful to Dean Emeritus Tom Schwenk for ten years of phenomenal leadership and support. We are grateful for the dedicated and talented UNR Med leaders, researchers, physicians, educators, students and staff who share their wisdom, energy and vision. We are grateful for UNR Med's friends, alumni, partners and supporters. In 2021, we received generous support through student scholarships, the establishment of new endowment funds, gifts to accelerate our research missions, valuable guidance and so much more.

Each day, I see new achievements in the UNR Med community, such as student service projects benefitting the community, faculty caring for patients and innovative approaches to teaching medical students and residents to be great doctors.

A close relative to gratitude is optimism. When I reflect on our good fortunes at UNR Med over the last year, a thought comes to mind: "What great things will the next year bring?" I see an abundance of opportunity to recruit new colleagues; apply for new research and service grants; graduate stellar classes of residents, M.D. and PA students; and move forward with our partner Renown Health toward our shared vision of A Healthy Nevada.

On a personal level, I am brimming with gratitude. I have received outstanding support as acting dean from my UNR Med colleagues, University leadership, community members and our partners at Renown. Family and friends are my most precious source of guidance and love.

In closing, please consider taking a moment today to reach out: You might call a colleague and let them know how helpful they were, text a friend with thanks for a past act of kindness or send an email to a family member who did something to support you.

Thank you for being part of the wonderful UNR Med community and our future.

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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Monday November 22, 2021 @ 4:00 PM