Trainee Thrive – January 2021

Introducing the Trainee Thrive newsletter: a monthly roundup of wellbeing-focused resources, events, and opportunities for grad students and postdocs in the Faculty of Medicine. 

Why did we create this newsletter? Read more here. Trainee Thrive will be your one-stop-shop for all things wellbeing, with a specific focus on research trainees in Medicine. We hope you’ll subscribe! You can unsubscribe at any time.

Resource Spotlight

Mistreatment Help for Research Trainees

All grad students and postdocs should be treated respectfully and professionally. The Learner Mistreatment Help website is now available to grad students and postdocs in the Faculty of Medicine to confidentially and/or anonymously report bullying, harassment, discrimination, or other forms of disrespectful or unprofessional behaviour. You have the option of reporting online (anonymously if you wish), and/or contacting someone in the Professionalism Office directly for a confidential discussion. Read more about what mistreatment means and what to do if you experience mistreatment. Mistreatment can affect you emotionally and physically, and talking to someone can help you get support, understand what has happened, and choose next steps to take.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, harassed, or mistreated, don’t stay silent. You have options, including anonymous and confidential reporting.

Resource Highlights

UBC Graduate Student Online Support

Thursdays, 1:30–2:45pm PT 

Connect with a small group of fellow grad students to discuss what’s on your mind, give and receive support, and build resilience for pandemic times and beyond. Drop in once or join every week – it's up to you. The group leader, Dr. Karen Flood, has lots of experience working with Faculty of Medicine grad students; she’s been the counsellor situated at the Women’s & Children’s hospital site for the past several years. Sign up here. More info about all of Counselling Services’ groups – including groups for student parents, international students, and students who identify as Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, and/or Multiracial – can be found here. Participants must be currently residing in BC.

For postdocs: Coaching @ UBC

Did you know that postdoctoral fellows employed by UBC can access free, confidential coaching around personal or career issues? This is an incredible opportunity to focus, clarify, and build toward your goals at a pivotal stage of your career. Select from a roster of skilled, credentialed coaches. Check out the portal today!

Virtual Coffee Chats

Feel like you could use some support, but don’t know where to start? Book a confidential Virtual Coffee Chat with Dr. Karen Ross, Wellbeing Support Coordinator for grad students and postdocs in the Faculty of Medicine. Whatever your concern—academic, financial, emotional, practical, family—Karen can help you find the support and resources you need. Get in touch at

For additional resources, please visit or Faculty of Medicine Graduate & Postdoctoral Wellbeing.

Wellbeing Feature


Happy 2021! Free online programs for resilience and wellbeing

Getting through 2020 was an accomplishment in itself, so New Year’s resolutions might look a bit different this year – smaller, gentler, kinder. If you’re interested in boosting your wellbeing in a low-pressure but meaningful way, check out these guided online programs that offer evidence-based tools for a happier 2021.

Quick Tips

Everybody get together: Stay connected with your peers 

Research work can be isolating. Fellow trainees in a cohort, lab, or program act as a lifeline when things get tough – and a vital source of camaraderie to lighten & brighten the daily grind. Your program/site may have formal community spaces (e.g., Canvas; virtual journal clubs) or a trainee association, and UBC runs an online forum for grad students.

Some trainees have asked about unofficial, peers-only spaces where they can vent, share tips & support, or just banter and share memes. There are no official UBC or Faculty guidelines on this, but nothing stops students from creating these groups themselves. Facebook, WhatsApp, Slack – whatever the platform, it doesn’t have to be complicated: just a space for some of the chatter, commiseration, & connection that happens in class breaks or hallways (during non-pandemic times). If you wish something like this existed, others probably do too; consider this a nudge to create the group chat you wish to see in the world!


Upcoming Events

The Six Leadership Conversations (two half-days: January 29 and February 5): Hone your emotional intelligence, deep listening, mentorship skills, and ability to bring your authentic self to relationships. Whatever your career goals, leadership skills can help you excel; strengthen your capacity to lead with confidence, empathy, and integrity. Info & registration here. Offered by Graduate Pathways to Success & Postdoctoral Fellows Office. [Audience: Grad students, postdocs]

GSS Flow Yoga and GSS Latin Funk: In collaboration with UBC Ahtletics and Recreation, the Graduate Student Society is offering two 10-week evening classes: choose either flow yoga or Latin funk, or try them both! All levels welcome. $10 (plus Eventbrite fee) for the entire series. Info & registration here. [Audience: Grad students]

Intentional WellBEing: The Intentional WellBEing series is ongoing throughout the Winter II semester. Free events including Bliss Yoga (Feb 17, March 10 @ 4:45pm), Fitness Infusion (Feb 8, March 1, April 12 @ 12:05pm), Time Management (Jan 21 @ 12pm), EnVISIONing (create a portable vision board to achieve your 2021 goals – Jan 26 & Feb 2 @ 12pm), Positive Space (Jan 29 @ 12pm), “Un-desk” Your Body (Feb 3 @ 12:30). Register here. [Audience: Faculty of Medicine]

Wellbeing Convene: A series of webinars for the Faculty of Medicine community. Next event: Eye Yoga & Relaxation, with Dr. Farah Shroff, Tuesday, January 19 @ 8:00am: “As we spend more time on screens, our eyes benefit from care and attention. In this webinar we will do some overall relaxation exercises and specific eye yoga.” Register here. [Audience: Faculty of Medicine]

For postdoctoral fellows employed by UBC, upcoming wellbeing events from UBC Human Resources include Search Inside Yourself Adaptive Resilience Training (a 3-part series, developed at Google and grounded in neuroscience, that builds behaviours, habits, and practices to strengthen personal resilience), plus “Pet-ditate: Meditate with your pet” (January 29) and a Black History Month Webinar: “New Year, Same Body Hatred?” (February 8). Find information and links here. [Audience: Postdocs]

Through the Lens series (Equity & Inclusion Office): Cultivating Safe Spaces (January 20) and Co-Creating Spaces of Belonging – A Disability as Diversity Perspective (January 25). Info and links here. [Audience: UBC]

UBC Graduate + Postdoctoral Studies regularly offers wellness-boosting events. Check their website for updates.

Wellbeing News & Views 

A bit of stress might not be so good for us after all: from Research honours undergraduate student Shahab Zareyan, graduate student Haolu Zhang, PI Adele Diamond, and colleagues at UBC’s Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

This pandemic is not an extended sabbatical: from UBC graduate student Daphne S. Ling, in the Nature Careers Community.