VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023

Medical Student Research Educational

04 Horses, Heartmath®, and Honest Reflection: a Novel Approach to Building Resiliency and Wellness in Medical Students

Jessica Scheve, OMS-2, Stacey Lilley, PhD, LPSC; Scott Severance, PhD; Barb Lutz, MA, CEAC Corresponding author:

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine Liberty University Counselor Education and Family Studies

collected at the beginning and end of the five-week training via ear probes and emWave® software. All 19 participants completed clinically validated surveys – Mayo Clinic’s Medical Student Well-Being Index and the Resilience Scale (14) – at the beginning and end of the five weeks. One-on-one interviews provided qualitative assessment of the nine participants in the experimental group. RESULTS: Resilience scores increased for the intervention group between pre-test (mean 84.9) and post-test (mean 87.9), indicating the training increased resilience (p=0.130); slight decrease in resilience was observed in the control group. Medical Student Well-Being Index scores for the participant group between pre-test (mean 4.2) and post-test (mean 3) also improved (p=0.084). Pairwise t-test analysis showed a statistically significant (p≤0.05) increase in HRV. Independent analysis of participant

interviews by licensed counselors identified seven themes: belonging, awareness of self, lens, ambiguity tolerance, new coping skills, collaboration, and efficacy (BALANCE). CONCLUSION : Our pilot study revealed HEART© participants experienced a statistically significant increase in HRV, which brought about increased resilience and well-being creating BALANCE in participants.

PURPOSE: Heart rate variability (HRV) –time fluctuation between heartbeats – is a noninvasive way to detect lack of homeostasis in the autonomic nervous system. Higher HRV is associated with increased resilience and well-being. Equine-assisted learning (EAL) and HeartMath® Techniques independently increase HRV. Our HEART© (Holistic Equine-Assisted Resilience Training) study combined EAL, Heartmath®, emotional regulation, and professional identity formation to track HRV, resilience, and well-being in medical students, whose burnout rates are as high as 40%. METHODS: Participants were rising second-year osteopathic medical students. The study utilized mixed methods design with a control group of ten students receiving no intervention and nine participants receiving the equine-assisted training two hours each week for five weeks. HRV data was

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