Dr. Donohue named wellness advocate for grad students

Terry Donohue, PhD

Terry Donohue, PhD

UNMC’s graduate students have mentors who offer guidance in their professional and scientific careers. Now they’ll also have an experienced confidante in their corner to provide counsel on wellness, resiliency, stress management and more.

Terry Donohue, PhD, retired professor of internal medicine and graduate studies alumnus, will serve in the newly created role of wellness advocate for UNMC Graduate Studies.

Having an official wellness advocate creates "a meaningful structure of support," said Paul Lovell, Graduate Student Association (GSA) president. Previous and current GSA leadership brought the idea to Dele Davies, MD, dean for Graduate Studies and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, who lent his support to the initiative.

"The creation of a Graduate Studies wellness advocate and Dr. Donohue’s time will provide graduate students with an avenue on how to approach difficult situations, provide advice, and be available for student concerns," Lovell said.

Dr. Davies said the part-time volunteer position is modeled after the role filled by College of Medicine wellness advocate Kimberly Schenarts, PhD. 

Dr. Davies noted Dr. Donohue has had more than 40 years of successful research and mentoring experience and has been a strong advocate for graduate students as a member of the Graduate Studies Alumni Council. Dr. Davies thanked Dr. Donohue for giving back, helping to launch this important program as he transitions to a retirement role.

Caitlin Molczyk, an MD/PhD scholar, cheered the move, noting graduate students face unique challenges: "The PhD training is more siloed off than medical school training because you work in your respective labs and spend a smaller portion of time in class, which lends it to be a more isolating experience," she said. "This can amplify the stress and anxiety of graduate school."

Sophia Kisling, GSA vice president, said she appreciates the wellness advocate is not in a position of power, or someone students see daily: "I am hopeful that this will encourage students to seek the help they may need, without feeling self-conscious or introducing additional stress," she said.

Dr. Schenarts said wellness advocates are privileged to serve as a first line of defense, and part of a student’s journey.

"Many of my conversations are about self-care — sleep, exercise and nutrition, along with supporting healthy relationships, academic success and life choices," she said.

Said Molczyk, "We are excited to have Dr. Donohue support our graduate school community by being there for students in times of need and in times of joy, advocating for them if needed."

6 comments

  1. Moses New-Aaron says:

    Congratulations, Prof!

  2. Lisa Sund says:

    Congratulations Terry!!

  3. Mary Barak-Bernhagen says:

    I worked with Dr. Donahue in Research for a number of years. He is one of the best individuals I have ever known. I can't think of a better person for this new position. Congratulations, Terry, on your retirement and on your new role! You deserve the very best!

  4. Catherine Mello says:

    Thank you so much Terry, for all you do and will continue to do. I know you will be a great resource for graduate students!

  5. Madan Kumar Arumugam says:

    Congratulations Professor!

  6. Barbara Hoover-Schultz says:

    Congratulations Terry! Having worked with you in the past as part of the Liver Studies Team, I am happy to see you taking on this new role and keeping connected to UNMC after retirement. I am sure the graduate students will see you as a great resource.

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