Podcast: Humanizing Medicine and Medical Student Mental Health

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine alumnus Jason Onugha, M.D., talks about strategies to combat the stress brought on by medical school and a career in medicine.

Dr. Jason Onugha seated on a couch while speaking with Dr. Henri Ford on the Inside U Miami Medicine podcast.

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Dr. Onugha talks with Dean Henri Ford about the importance of mental health in medical careers.

Physician burnout has become an epidemic in the U.S., with nearly 63% of physicians reporting emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, according to the American Medical Association.

This struggle often starts in medical school, where students experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and mental stress compared to peers in non-medical career paths.

“It’s overwhelming and challenging. People can often lose their identity,” said Jason Onugha, M.D. ’20, M.P.H. ’20, a chief psychiatry resident at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dismantling the Stigma Attached to Burnout

Only a few years out of medical school himself, Dr. Onugha knows this experience well. By his second year of medical school, he and his brother – who also attended the Miller School of Medicine – were losing sight of their personal identities amidst demanding schedules and extracurriculars.

Drs. Jason and Harris Onugha co-founded an organization dedicated to promoting wellness in the medical profession.

Determined to improve their own mental health and create a community for their classmates, Dr. Onugha and his brother founded Without the White Coat, an organization focused on strengthening the medical community by dismantling stigma, promoting wellness, encouraging individuality and creativity, and advocating for diversity.

Humanizing Medicine by Talking About Challenges

In the latest episode of Inside U Miami Medicine, Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A, dean and chief academic officer of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, sat down with Dr. Onugha to hear about his journey and discuss how to humanize medicine by tackling medical student and physician mental health challenges.

“We’re making a space for people to be more transparent to talk about the issues that they’ve had or the parts of their identity that they oftentimes feel like they can’t share except in that space. We’re building a community and a space to be perfectly imperfect,” Dr. Onugha said. “I think medicine at its finest is truly an expression of gratitude for how imperfect we actually are.”

Tune in to the episode on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Tags: Inside U Miami Medicine podcast, physician burnout, stress management