The Wellness Committee

The Student Affairs and Wellness Committee, more commonly known as the Wellness Committee, in the College of Medicine is comprised of faculty, staff, and students who all have diverse passions for engaging in and supporting student wellness. The committee meets on the second Tuesday of every month and encourages input from all students, staff, and faculty members to help enhance the well-being of students throughout their medical school journey and beyond.

The Wellness Committee consists of 54 active student members, seven faculty members, and three staff members. Students members serve on at least one of seven student-created and student-led subcommittees:

Academic Assistance and Peer Counseling: The Academic Assistance and Peer Coun-seling subcommittee is always looking for new ways to create and enhance peer tutoring programs and academic workshops.

Arts and Music: The Arts and Music subcommittee is focused on creating events that will allow opportunities for personal expression and wellness practice through all art me-dia.

Health and Stress Management: The Health and Stress Management subcommittee is focused on reaching out to students, and encouraging them to maintain good mental health practices that will allow them to more effectively manage their stress, anxiety, de-pression, any other mental health challenges that may arise.

New Student Outreach: The New Student Outreach subcommittee is focused on as-sisting new medical students in the transition to medical school by introducing them to upperclass students and creating events to foster those relationships.

Nutrition: The Nutrition subcommittee creates events that are designed to provide easy, healthy food and nutritional information to students.

Outdoor Activities: The Outdoor Activities subcommittee is composed of students who are passionate about creating more opportunities for outdoor activities both on and off campus.

Service and Community Outreach: The Service and Community Outreach subcommit-tee is dedicated to searching for opportunities to bring wellness education to Elk Grove and the surrounding communities.


Meet the Committee

Committee Co-Chairs:

Rochelle Frank, MD 
Associate Professor of Neurology 
Clerkship Director, Neurology 

Committee Members:

Valerie Gerriets, PhD 
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Darilyn Falck, MD, FACEP
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs 

Mark Owens, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Clerkship Director, Surgery 

Katelyn Shields, MFT
Personal Counselor  


Louis F. Glaser, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Floyd Culler, MD 
Professor of Pediatrics and Endocrinology 

Xiaodong Feng, PhD, PharmD
Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Erica Herold, BA
Student Wellness, Academic Skills, and Career Services Coordinator 

Amie Olah, MFT
Personal Counselor

Class of 2020 Student Members:

Holly Bernard, Stephanie Chou, Alana Freifeld, Gabrielle Goodlin, Rohaum Hamidi, Asal Homayouni, Abram Pan, Rosie Perrot, Nick Peterson, Neeraj Ramakrishnan, Priya Reddy, Nadija Rieser, Daniella Schochet, Kayla Sheehan, Tim Yang, Mitchell Zhao 

Class of 2021 Student Members: 

Pragyan Adhikari, Kevin Ashley, Patrick Bieniek, Alan Bowers, Alana Corre, Shebani Dandekar, Meghan Dutt, Julie Eggleton, Josh Fisher, Radhika Gulhar, Purnima Gurung, Tess Hill, Mark Hsu, Stella Joh, Teale Kitson, Britney Lau, Sharon Lee, Anne Liao, Ethan Luong, Eileen Ly, Michelle Martin, Alin Megerdichian, Melinda Ng, Alex Nguyen, Michelle Nguyen, Makenna Owen, Priya Patel, David Phan, Cole Pierce, Sehra Rahmany, Britteny Randall, Marshall Roberts, John Shin, Yusuf Sherzad, Daanish Unwalla, Judy Wang, Aaron Yim



The Wellness Committee is always looking for new members who are interested in en-gaging the CNU and Elk Grove Communities in learning about maintaining their personal wellness. The Wellness Committee is open to all COM students, staff, and faculty.

For more information on joining the Wellness Committee, you can contact Erica Herold at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



The Wellness Steering Committee, which consists of representatives from all seven sub-committees, meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the Event Conference Room (Room 101). Meetings are always open to students, staff, and faculty who are interested in learning more about the committee. 

Spring 2018 Meeting Dates:

Tuesday, February 13 12:00pm-1:00pm   Event Conference Room (101)
Tuesday, March 13 12:00pm-1:00pm   Event Conference Room (101)
Tuesday, April 10 12:00pm-1:00pm   Event Conference Room (101)
Tuesday, May 8 12:00pm-1:00pm   Event Conference Room (101)

Personal Counseling Program

The College of Medicine recognizes that students will come into this program with various levels of academic ability and psychological robustness. Some students will most likely experience trying personal circumstances outside the curriculum that may impact their ability to perform at an optimum level of academic performance.

To assist students at times of need, the College of Medicine has two on-site licensed mental health providers. Neither provider teaches in classes or in any way has any evaluative academic role in the student’s curriculum.

The Counseling Office is located in Room 157, and the phone number for this office is (916) 686-8549. Appointments may be requested through e-mail or over the phone.

Counseling Office Hours are as follows:

Monday:   3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Amie) 
Tuesday: 11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Katelyn)
Wednesday:  11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Amie)
Thursday: 11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Katelyn) 
Friday: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (every other Friday, Amie)


Meet Our Counselors

Amie Olah, MFT

Amie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and a B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Berkeley. Amie has experience working with individuals, children, and families of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Amie has pro-vided individual and group psychotherapy to address concerns such as depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, suicidal ideation, and trauma, as well as psychotic disorders.

Contact Amie: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (916) 686-8549

Katelyn Shields, MFT

Katelyn is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned her M.S. in Counseling Psychology from National Uni-versity and her B.S. in Political Science from CSU Sacramento. Additionally, Katelyn has completed a concentration in Inter-national Relations and African American Studies. Katelyn has worked with children, families, and adults from diverse back-grounds and cultures, as well as individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and those on the Autism Spectrum. She has pro-vided psychotherapy at Visions Unlimited, worked at the Gen-der Health Center, and worked in an acute psychiatric hospital, providing case management and referrals for patients.

Contact Katelyn: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (916) 686-8549


Counseling FAQS

What are we able to talk to the counselors about? 
We are prepared to talk about any topics including, but not limited to: school stress, anxi-ety, time management, relational stress, depression, suicidal thoughts, trauma, creating positive coping strategies, life transition issues, substance use concerns, etc. If we are not the right place for a student’s concern then we can help them find the right person or re-source. Students should feel free to come in with any concerns. We can be a person to vent to, provide ongoing therapy, or just meet one time. Most importantly: no concern is too small or too big to talk about. 

Do I need to make an appointment, or can I just drop in? 
Either one is fine. If we are here and the door is open students can come on in. Making an appointment is a good way to ensure that you can talk to someone at a specific time and for a certain duration. 

How do I make an appointment? 
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 916-686-8549 

Can I make off-campus appointments? 
All appointments will be on-campus in Room 157 for the foreseeable future. 

When are counselors available?

Monday:   3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Amie) 
Tuesday: 11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Katelyn)
Wednesday:  11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Amie)
Thursday: 11:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (Katelyn) 
Friday: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (every other Friday, Amie)

Can I schedule a couples or group session?
We can only provide services to currently enrolled students. If both partners of the couple are students then yes, we can provide couples counseling. Group sessions are something we are working on developing in the future. 

Are the sessions confidential? 
Yes, everything shared in the room with us will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone else at the school or outside the school without the student’s expressed, written permission. 

Is any information reported to the university or listed on my transcript or in my Dean’s Letter? 
No. No one at the school or outside the school will know that you met with a counselor without your expressed, written permission. It is not a part of your student record. 

Can the counselors refer me to or connect me with outside resources? 

Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally. It helps lower the risk of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome. Studies have also provided strong evidence that it helps prevent weight gain, reduces depression, and contributes to improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength. Engaging in physical activity is an excellent way to help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety associated with the intensity of medical school curriculum.

Adults should generally aim for at least 2 ½ hours, or 150 minutes, of physical activity each week which should include both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. It is important to remember that physical activity comes in all forms and the key to sustaining engagement, is choosing an activity that not only matches your ability, but is also one that you enjoy. A good way to incorporate it into a regular routine, is to plan out a weekly schedule of activity.

In order to gain the health benefits associated with physical activity, here are some guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Aerobic Activities

  • Duration + Intensity
    • 2 hours and 30 minutes – moderate intensity, OR
    • 1 hour and 15 minutes – vigorous intensity, OR
    • An equivalent mix of moderate and vigorous intensity
      • Moderate-intensity (a person doing this activity can talk, but not sing during it)
        • Examples: brisk walking, water aerobics, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing, general gardening
      • Vigorous intensity (a person doing this activity can only say a few words before pausing for a breath)
        • Examples: race walking, jogging, running, swimming laps, tennis (singles), aerobic dancing, jumping rope, hiking uphill with a backpack
      • Perform at least 10 minutes at a time
      • Spread aerobic activity throughout the week

Muscle Strengthening Activities

  • All major muscle groups should be worked (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms)
  • Exercises for each group should be repeated 8 to 12 times per set
  • Should be performed 2 or more days per week
  • Examples: lifting weights, working resistance bands, push-ups, sit-ups

If you’re not sure where to start, check out sample plans designed by the CDC, which include moderate and vigorous aerobic activity routines:

Check out the following tips to make physical activity a regular part of your day:

  1. 10 minutes – To reach your weekly goal, focus on doing at least 10 minutes of activity at a time.
  2. Support – Partner with a friend or family member to help motivate one another.
  3. Mix it up – Choose to swim one day, go for a jog, attend a yoga or zumba class, or lift weights so that you change up your daily routine.
  4. Be ready – Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car, bag, or locker to take advantage of any time you can for a quick walk or run.
  5. Work out during TV time – if you’re taking a break to catch up on a movie or TV show, try doing so as you jog on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike.
  6. Wellness at school – Look for on-campus opportunities (walking meetups, fitness centers, sports).
  7. Outdoors – Physical activity doesn’t have to be restricted indoors and can be found in a variety of venues, such as local or national parks (hiking, canoeing).
  8. Chores – Many people forget that cleaning the house, washing the car, or even mowing the lawn all contribute to the minimum 150 minutes of activity each week.

SuperTracker is a free resource developed by the USDA that allows you to be proactive in taking care of your health, by being able to develop personalized nutrition and physical activity plans, track your foods and physical activity, and get tips and support to help you make healthier choices. To take advantage of this great resource, please visit:

Mental Health

Mental health is critical to sustaining a successful wellness experience. Medical school consists of a diverse group of individuals coming with experiences from different backgrounds. Many individuals can find it difficult to cope with adjusting to a new environment, the rigor of medical school, and/or many other concerns. This can lead to a cycle of stress, anxiety, and depression when combined with inadequate sleep, unhealthy diets, and infrequent exercise. Trying to cope with these symptoms alone, can often times become difficult. The key is to remember there is help available and services designed especially to meet the needs for students. The College of Medicine has a dedicated psychologist to assist you. The provider is available every other Thursday between the hours of 8:30 am – 2:00 pm. To make direct arranges during a different time, or off-campus, Dr. Zaher can be contacted directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (916) 969-0723. In addition, the College of Medicine has a designated wellness committee which aims to ensure the health and wellness of its medical students. A strong effort is also made to ensure curriculum involves teaching practical skills and training during medical school, clerkships, and beyond.

Never be afraid to ask for help – it is the first step towards ensuring good mental health and gaining the resources and guidance you need.

Here are some tips to help you maintain positive mental health:

  • Maintain balance. While medical school may be an important part of your life, ensuring a successful journey is directly associated with your own health and well-being.
  • Support systems. Reach out to your friends and family as often as possible – they will provide you with a strong moral support system for your medical school journey.
  • Make time for yourself. It is okay to take a break, relax, and do something outside of your studies. In fact, it is healthy for you. Good physical and mental health contributes to a more successful medical school journey.
  • Make friends outside of your medical school. While it is important to establish good relationships with your classmates, it is also important to keep friendships outside of your world of medicine to help you relax and shift your perspective.
  • Ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone on your journey through medical school and are certainly not the only one who may be experiencing mental health concerns.
  • Take an active role in your learning experience. Seek experiences outside of your medical school curriculum for personal enrichment. If you’re interested in a specific career path, seek a research/volunteer opportunity to engage your passion and supplement your educational experience.


Suicide Prevention

In 2013, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and continues to be a major public health concern. Understanding the warning signs for suicide, and how to get help, can help prevent these deaths and save lives. Because suicidal behavior is complex, there are a variety of risk factors that should not be ignored. Suicidal thoughts and actions are a sign of extreme distress and it is critical that an at-risk individual be provided the appropriate treatment from a licensed mental health professional.

The Crisis Text Line: 741741

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  24 hours a day, 7 days a week – all calls are confidential

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone

  1. Ask. Although it’s not always an easy question to ask, it is the first step in knowing and helping: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
  2. Keep them safe. Removing access to lethal items and places can help make a difference, especially if the at-risk individual has shared a suicide plan.
  3. Be there. Be an active listener by paying attention to what the individual is thinking and feeling.
  4. Help them connect. Link the at-risk individual with a trusted individual who can help them (family member, spiritual advisor, mental health professional, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
  5. Stay connected. Studies have shown that staying in touch after a crisis, or following up with the at-risk individual, helps reduce the number of suicide deaths.

To read more about the signs and symptoms of suicide, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s webpage, at:


Kaiser Permanente (Kaiser Student Health Insurance Members)

Materials & Tip Sheets

Local Health Education Centers

Local Health Education Classes


Mental Health and/or Substance Abuse Contacts

Kaiser Permanente

(Kaiser Student Health Insurance Members)

-          Sacramento

-          Elk Grove

-          Folsom







Primary Local Assessment and Treatment Facilities

Bi-Valley Medical Clinics

-          Capitol Clinic

-          Carmichael Clinic

-          Norwood Clinic





Midtown Mental Health Center


Addiction Treatment Program


Mental Health Center

(Kaiser patients)



Mental Health center

(Kaiser patients, after hours emergencies)



Healthy Eating

Maintaining a healthy eating style starts with small changes that build a foundation to sustain a lifetime of health benefits. Serving as fuel for the day, healthy eating contributes to stronger physical and mental functioning. Critical to establishing a healthy eating routine, is to ensure your meal consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein.

Follow these simple guidelines to create a healthy eating solution that fits your needs:

  • Fruits – Focus on whole fruits (fresh, frozen, dried, or canned in 100% juice).
  • Vegetables – Adding a variety of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables to salads, sides, and main dishes prepared in healthful ways (steamed, sautéed, roasted, or raw) is a great way to introduce them into your meals.
  • Grains – Look for whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain bread) that are listed first or second on an ingredient list and limit desserts and snacks with grains (cakes, cookies, and pastries).
  • Protein – Vary your protein routine (seafood, beans and peas, soy products, lean meats and poultry).
  • Dairy – To cut back on saturated fat, opt for fat-free milk, yogurt, and soy beverages.

Remember to keep half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and to drink/eat less sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars. Drinking plenty of water is always the best alternative to the many sugary drinks available. Nutrition Facts labels are excellent ways to keep track of varying levels of sodium, fat, and sugar content in everything you choose to consume.

Need help finding a recipe? The USDA offers a variety of recipes, videos, and cookbooks to find your perfect meal. You can also create and print your own cookbook with your favorite recipes! Give it a try at:

Every season comes with its specialty of fruits and vegetables – here is quick guide to let you know what’s in season now:

To get more Information on all things nutrition, visit the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate website, at:


Eating Away from Home

Eating food away from home can often take a toll on a student as their busy schedule, or student budget, may not offer enough time to plan for, and prep, healthier meal options. However, full-service and fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores tend to offer meals that have higher calories, saturated fat content, sodium, and sugars than foods that are prepared at home.

Follow these 10 tips to help you engage in opting for a heathier option while dining out:

  1. Drinks – Although water is the best option, opting for unsweetened tea, or drinks without added sugars, is a good choice. Remember, that many coffee drinks may also be high in saturated fat and added sugars.
  2. Salads – Start your meal with a salad packed with a variety of vegetables and limit the amount of dressing you use.
  3. Sharing – To control the amount you eat, consider sharing a dish with a friend or family member.
  4. Customize – When possible, customize your meal by ordering a smaller portion that may consist of a side dish or appetizer in place of a regular entrée.
  5. Snacks – Pack snacks such as fruit, vegetables, or unsalted nuts when studying, on a road-trip, or commuting, as an alternative to readily available options that tend to be unhealthy.
  6. Vegetables – Review vegetarian dishes on a menu to ensure you get your intake of vegetables and opt for fruits as a side dish or dessert.
  7. Nutrition facts – Many menus now offer nutrition information associated with their dishes. Take a moment to review them and look for items with lower saturated fat, calories, and sodium.
  8. Options – Opt for steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes in place of those that are fried in oil or cooked in butter.
  9. Grains – When it comes to sandwiches, pasta, or burgers, request 100% whole grains.
  10. Remember, you don’t always have to eat everything on your plate. If you’re full, take home the leftovers!

To help you get the most for your budget when planning for nutritious meals, follow these 10 tips provided by the USDA:

The NIH has compiled a useful list of dietary supplement fact sheets. If you currently take a supplement, or want to gain more information about one, please visit

SuperTracker is a free resource developed by the USDA that allows you to be proactive in taking care of your health, by being able to develop personalized nutrition and physical activity plans, track your foods and physical activity, and get tips and support to help you make healthier choices. To take advantage of this great resource, please visit:

California Northstate University College of Medicine ♦ 9700 West Taron Drive ♦ Elk Grove, CA 95757 ♦ Phone: (916) 686-7300