Skip to content
Wellness Think Tank: Improving Physician Wellness and Resiliency from the Ground Up2018-04-12T11:37:45+00:00


Improving physician wellness and resiliency in Emergency Medicine, from the ground up

Calling all North American Emergency Medicine Residents!

Wellness and resiliency are issues that you can’t put a price tag too. So we aren’t! We are offering free membership to 100 EM residents from programs in the United States and Canada. This much-needed North American collaborative of EM residency programs will tackle resident wellness and resiliency by bringing an important and often forgotten stakeholder to the national discussion — the residents!

Applications closed as of February 6, 2018. Please contact us if you have questions. Thank you to all who took the time to send in your applications!

Our Mission

The mission of the Wellness Think Tank is to create a diverse community of residents who collaborate, innovate, and advocate for physician wellness from the ground up. This grassroots initiative tackles resident issues such as preventing suicide and burnout, enhancing resilience, and promoting overall quality of life. Our ultimate goal is to catalyze innovative and positive change at the individual, institutional, local, national, and international levels.


  • Encourage collaboration and support between residents from across the country
  • Connect residents to well-known experts in wellness, both within and outside of the field of medicine
  • Facilitate the development and implementation of innovative, resident-driven, and resident-led interventions targeting common sources of stress and burnout during residency training
  • Educate residents on principles of resilience, positive psychology, mindfulness, and other mental health promoting skills
  • Mentor and assist residents in the implementation of resident-driven initiatives to implement positive changes at their institutions, regional communities, and national organizations

Best practices

This Wellness Think Tank will delve into the individual and systems-level complexities about what erodes physician wellness within the health professions literature and beyond. We hope to build a vocal community that not only talks about wellness, engagement, resiliency, and burnout, but also about taking action towards addressing these issues.

“Change won’t come from the top. Change will come from mobilized grassroots.” -Barack Obama

Wellness Strategists

Shahina Braganza, MBBS, FACEM
Wellness Strategist
Senior Staff Specialist in EM
Gold Coast Health, Australia; G
Senior Lecturer, Griffith University and Bond University Senior
Jason Brooks, PhD
WTT Wellness Strategist
Peak Performance Coach and Strategist
CEO, Maven Consulting Group
Lecturer, Department of EM; University of Manitoba
Eve Ekman, PhD MSW
WTT Wellness Strategist
Post Doctoral Fellow
Osher Center For Integrative Medicine
UC San Francisco
Allison Loftus, MA
WTT Wellness Strategist
Counseling and Psychology
Flourish Counseling
K Kay Moody, DO MPH
WTT Wellness Strategist
Emergency Physician
Founder, EMDOCS Facebook Group
President, Tennessee ACEP
Paul C. Nystrom, MD
WTT Wellness Strategist
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Minnesota;
Assistant Chief Medical Director, Hennepin EMS
Gita Pensa, MD
WTT Wellness Strategist
Associate Director,
Education of Emergency Digital Health Initiative
Department of Emergency Medicine
Brown University

The Executive Team

Arlene Chung, MD
WTT Chief Strategy Officer
Assistant Professor
Assistant Program Director
Department of EM
Mount Sinai EM Residency
Nicole Battaglioli, MD
WTT Chief Operations Officer
Clinical Associate,
Mayo Clinic Health System;
Champion, ALiEM Chief Resident Incubator
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM CEO and Editor in Chief
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Academy Endowed Chair for EM Education
UC San Francisco

Faculty Mentors

Annahieta Kalantari, DO
WTT Faculty Mentor
Associate Residency Director
Clinical Associate Professor of EM
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jefferson Northeast EM Residency
Liang Liu, MD
WTT Faculty Mentor
Ultrasound & Emerg Disaster/Global Health Fellow
Department of Emergency Medicine
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Matt Melamed MD MPH
WTT Faculty Mentor
EMS Fellow
Fire Department New York-Northwell Fellowship
Shana Ross, DO MSc
WTT Faculty Mentor
Assistant Residency Director
Assistant Professor of EM
University of Illinois-Chicago

Resident Wellness Champions

Alecia Gende, DO
WTT Wellness Champion
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics
Sarah Mott, MD
WTT Wellness Champion
Department of Emergency Medicine
Regions Hospital/HealthPartners Institute
Zafrina Poonja, MD
WTT Wellness Champion
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Alberta;
ALiEM Series Editor, How I Stay Healthy in EM
Jon Smart, MD
WTT Wellness Champion
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Texas Health San Antonio
Michael Zdradzinski, MD
WTT Wellness Champion
Department of Emergency Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine
Is this YOU next year?
WTT Wellness Champion

What will I actually be doing if I join the Think Tank?

As part of the Wellness Think Tank, we will help YOU find your voice and to create wellness for residents in the way that you think matters the most. You will be focusing on action-based plans in the forms of curricular design, discussion-generating blog posts, podcasts, toolkits, and peer-reviewed publications. As part of the Think Tank, you will have opportunities for creativity and innovation, including:

  • Developing and implementing a wellness project tailor-made for your own residency program
  • Meeting and getting involved with wellness strategists and thought leaders in physician wellness
  • Being part of multicenter studies researching the best way to educate residents about wellness
  • Collaborating with ACEP and other national and international groups as part of the 2018 EM Wellness Week
  • Advising other residents and programs when they run into difficult situations and need a different and unique perspective on issues related to resident wellness
  • Joining a Speakers Club that will help you to cultivate the skills necessary to deliver educational talks on wellness subjects
  • Creating blog posts on important topics for ALiEM community
  • Being part of the planning process for the ALiEM + Essentials of EM Resilience Training for Residents at the EEM Conference in May 2018 in Las Vegas

I’m interested! Am I eligible to join?

For the 2018 Wellness Think Tank, we are recruiting 100 EM resident representatives from residency programs in the United States and Canada. Because the current Wellness Think Tank season will span all of 2018, we highly encourage junior residents to apply but will consider all applications!

How much does it cost?

Membership is free!

How do I apply?

Fill out the online application. In addition to providing general contact information, you will need to upload:

  1. A brief personal statement
  2. A letter of recommendation

Membership Selection Criteria

We are looking for motivated, involved residents who want to make an impact in the field of Emergency Medicine and at their residency programs. Residents will be selected for their enthusiasm, commitment to wellness, and their project ideas.

Deadline for applications:

February 5, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Think Tank?

Think tanks have been innovating and solving problems in the United States since the early 1900’s, starting with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Founded in 1910 by Andrew Carnegie, its participants were charged with the responsibility of innovating ways to end international wars. In addition to innovating ideas, think tanks also serve as an advocate for their issues and may be involved in the formation of public policy or research.

Physician wellness and resiliency is a critical, under-addressed issue in the house of medicine. The Wellness Think Tank was developed out of a need to bring some innovation and ultimately action to how we approach physician wellness. Our current focus is on residents– the future generation of leaders in our field and future colleagues. Although we are targeting the graduate medical education domain, we hope our initiatives will spark change and serve as an innovative vocal champion for physician wellness and resiliency.

Why is the Virtual Community Built on Slack?

Slack, despite its informal name, is an incredibly powerful digital communication platform that has completely revolutionized how the ALiEM team works and is the primary means of communication for many major companies (including eBay, the Wall Street Journal, and even NASA). It has also served as the successful platform for our other high-profile virtual communities, such as the Chief Resident, Fellowship, and Faculty Incubators. It has been described as “team communication for the 21st century” and efficiently transforms how teams work. This closed communication platform serves as a fluid communication platform for the Think Tank.



We are excited to be exclusively sponsored by U.S. Acute Care Solutions (USACS), who take physician wellness and resiliency as seriously as we do.

Think Tank Donors

  • Dr. Felix Ankel
  • Dr. Rachel Dahms
  • Dr. Christopher Doty
  • Dr. Cullen Hegarty
  • Dr. Jo Anna Leuck
  • Dr. Rob Rogers / The Teaching Institute

Interested in supporting this Wellness Think Tank? We are a group of passionate volunteers and would welcome any donation to help offset operational costs, even if it is a cup of coffee for a someone working behind the scenes. Contact us if you are interested, or go directly to our secure PayPal donation link.

2017 Executive Year-End Report