Health, Safety and Wellness Procedures

Section 1: Infectious and Environmental Hazards Exposures

WVSOM publishes and follows procedures that effectively mitigate faculty, staff, and student exposure to infectious and environmental hazards, provides education on the prevention of such exposures, and addresses procedures for care and treatment after such exposures, ensuring accreditation standards and procedures related to health and wellness are met.

Employee and student exposure to infectious and environmental hazards is mitigated through various policies and procedures as described below. All new employees, or employees who change job descriptions are required to undergo a medical monitoring assessment to determine whether they require medical monitoring because of the risks potentially encountered during the course of their job. Employees and students undertaking research activities are required to participate in the medical monitoring program.

Practices and training related to exposure to infectious and environmental hazards are described in various policies and procedures. These policies and procedures are accessed through the WVSOM website, on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Laboratory Safety page and the Safety and Security page. Procedures for care and treatment are embedded in these policies and procedures and are also available on the Human Resources webpage under the Stay at Work Program.

The following topics are included:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens Guideline and Exposure Control
  • Infectious Medical Waste Management
  • Guidelines for Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Animals
  • Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Guidelines, Policies, and SOPs
  • Animal Welfare Assurance
  • Principles of ABSL-2 Use in Animals
  • IACUC Principles of ABSL-2 Use in Animals
  • Guidelines for Hazardous Chemical Use in Animal Research
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee Procedures
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Research Laboratory Chemical Hygiene
  • Emergency Response Manual
  • Human Research Protections Program Standard Operating Procedures

Additionally, WVSOM has Institutional Policy SR-1 COVID 19 Response and associated procedures for response, outbreak plan and suspected infection.

The Faculty Handbook includes information that is also germane to this topic. The descriptions of the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the IACUC, and the IRB found in the Handbook include potential hazards that are reviewed as part of those programs. The IACUC in particular is responsible for occupational health and safety of people working with animals, and this responsibility involves physical (cuts, bites, etc.) safety, as well. The Employee Handbook also discusses Safety, in general.

Section 2: Mental Health and Wellness and Fatigue Mitigation

WVSOM is committed to fostering mental health and wellness and fatigue mitigation and ensuring accreditation standards and procedures related to health and wellness are met. This commitment is accomplished through the WVSOM Wellness Committee. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs serves as the administrator responsible for overseeing the WVSOM Wellness Committee which includes representation from WVSOM faculty, staff and students. The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, in conjunction with the WVSOM Wellness Committee, develops plans, procedures, and regulations necessary to carry out the School’s program and evaluates the operations of the institution at regular intervals to assure WVSOM’s conformity with this objective.

Mental and physical health and wellness and fatigue mitigation are vital to the success of WVSOM and are necessary to maintain safety and high standards of education and healthcare.

Policies and Procedures

Wellness-related policies that apply to students, fauclty and staff

Student policies that address specific health-related areas

Additional relevant documents


WVSOM maintains recreational and fitness facilities on the WVSOM campus for students, faculty and staff to promote their well-being.

Members of the WVSOM community are eligible to use the WVSOM Founders Activities Center in accordance with policies and procedures specific to the Founders Activities Center. The Founders Activities Center has a full-size gymnasium, indoor running track, free weights, and state-of-the-art aerobic and cardio machines. All users and their guests are expected to use common courtesy at all times when using WVSOM facilities. This includes proper disposal of all trash, proper attire, acceptable language, and conformity with WVSOM policies and practices. Use of the WVSOM recreational and fitness facilities is a privilege, not a right, and may be restricted or terminated for failure to abide by appropriate policies and procedures.

WVSOM has a parade ground for outdoor activities which, along with the WVSOM Park, are available for use at no charge. The park is open to the public.

Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee provides programming and activities that are designed to meet the wellness needs of the WVSOM community on an ongoing basis. Current efforts include the provision of Walker Tracker competitions for the WVSOM community, the maintenance of a Wellness Collection of books in the WVSOM library, hosting Wellness Showcases for interested members of the WVSOM community to connect with others who share wellness-related interests, a wellness-related web page, and a wellness climate survey of the WVSOM community in January 2021.

  • Meeting at least once per semester, the Committee’s key activities include the following:
  • Collect feedback from wellness stakeholders for quality improvement activities;
  • Be available for questions, comments and wellness related concerns;
  • Advise HR on appropriate employee health and wellness development topics;
  • Provide Student Affairs with student feedback regarding health and wellness needs;
  • Work with various departments and divisions to develop programs designed to encourage increased health and wellness;
  • Maintain a web presence to promote health and wellbeing.

Fatgue Mitigation

Providing medical care to patients is physically and mentally demanding. Long hours and night shifts during certain rotations cause fatigue. Experiencing fatigue in a supervised environment during training prepares medical students for managing fatigue in both residency and later in practice. Fatigue mitigation processes must ensure that there are no negative consequences and /or stigma for using fatigue mitigation strategies.

The topic of Fatigue Mitigation is addressed within the curriculum, most notably during third and fourth year. Education provided to WVSOM students through didactics and self-directed modules includes:

  1. Recognition of Common Causes of Fatigue
    • Inadequate sleep
    • Fragmented sleep
    • Illness
    • Depression/anxiety/stress
    • Sleep disorders
  2. Professionalism of the learner
    • Assurance of one’s fitness to work
    • Time management outside of rotations
    • Assurance of safety and welfare of patients
    • Recognizing self-impairment
  3. Fatigue Mitigation Tips
    • Know your own alertness/sleep pattern
    • Eat nutritionally
    • Get regular exercise
    • Ensure a healthy sleep environment
    • Try to keep the same schedule on both work and off days
  4. On Rotation Tips
    • Immediately contact the preceptor or SWC staff if you are too fatigued to work
    • Strategic napping when possible
    • Utilize available transportation if too fatigued to drive
    • Take action to relieve another fatigued student if behavior observed

Additionally, the ASPIRE Learning Specialists/Counselors assist students in all four years with topics related to fatigue mitigation including appropriate time management and sleep.