Wellness Resources

Health and Wellness Counselor

Dr. Becky SmithDr. Becky Smith
(251) 460-7051
beckysmith@southalabama.edu

Dr. Smith offers confidential counseling for individuals, couples and groups. Medical students do not need to have an identified mental health problem to be seen by the counselor, although these clinical mental health services are offered. Students come to counseling for a variety of reasons, including improving their health and wellness and increasing resiliency. Additional resources include:

 

Peer Emotional and Educational Resilience Support (PEERS)

The Peer Emotional and Educational Resilience Support (PEERS) is composed of carefully chosen volunteer College of Medicine students referred to as PEER Supporters who are eager to serve their comrades. PEERS strives to forge bonds between students in an effort to build a supportive, connected community. They are admired as leaders, looked up to as mentors, and most importantly, treasured as good friends, by their classmates. They embody the qualities of empathy, compassion, and dedication, and they have a passion for helping other medical students that are facing oftentimes- unseen dilemmas and challenges during their time in medical school (academic, interpersonal conflicts, mental/physical health, financial, etc.). They are passionate about providing a non-judgmental listening ear, offering advice based on similar experiences, and increasing awareness of the campus resources that are available to students. PEER Supporters are dedicated to fostering a safe and inclusive learning and work environment for all students centered around wellness, support, and accessibility. Because of this, PEER Supporters are key facets in ensuring that the principles of trust, acceptance, and support are embedded within the campus culture of Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama.

Going through a difficult time and want to talk to a PEER Supporter?

PEER Supporters are ready to offer support and provide information to on-campus resources that may be useful for you. Fill out the form below and one of our PEERS team members will get back to you soon (no later than the next business day). Remember everything you tell us is respected as private to the extent possible of putting health and safety of students first. See the list of biographies for the PEER Supporters below.

Connect to a PEER Supporter

Contact us through Google Forms

Benefits

Many students are overwhelmed with the resources available on campus. On the other hand, some students are intimidated by the idea of reaching out to members of the medical administration, although faculty and staff at the College of Medicine are readily available to support them. As a PEER Supporter, you are a valuable asset to both students and the administration. By becoming a PEER Supporter, you enhance the overall wellbeing of medical students going through difficult times. You also play a role in ensuring that the principles of trust, acceptance, and support are embedded within campus culture.

Meet your PEERS Team

▼   Class of 2023

Class of 2023

Sarah Bouslog
Hello, I’m Sarah! I’m from Huntsville, went to undergrad at UAB, and now am a 4th year here at USACOM. I’m so excited to be part of this PEERS program to help provide a space for connection and support for everyone and to promote overall wellness throughout med school. Outside of school I like being active, going outside, and hanging out with my cat Tabitha.

Ashley Holland
Hi! My name is Ashley and I was born and raised in Pensacola, FL and I attended the University of Florida for undergrad (go Gators!) and I’m really excited to be a PEER Supporter. I have been lucky enough to have mentors support me through tough times I’ve experienced throughout my education, and I know how valuable that can be, so I am very passionate about this program. Fun facts about me: I love cats, Taco Bell, and reality TV. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and help you in any way I can!

Natalie Kidd
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, where I learned about the love of Jesus for all people. My hope is to share that love with my fellow classmates, as medical school is treacherous for mental health; something I learned the hard way. Allowing yourself to be human is hard in training to be a physician, but I believe it to be essential not only for your mental health but also for the welfare of our patients. That is why I am passionate about serving my classmates as a PEER Supporter to help them navigate the balance of school and life. On the lighter side of this soap box: dogs are my favorite animal, blue is my favorite color, understanding the way the world works fascinates me, and I love meeting people from different cultures and perspectives than me because each of us have valuable input! :)

Meg Lyons
Hello! My name is Meg. I was born in Knoxville, TN, but my family moved around quite a bit when I was growing up, and we ultimately ended up in Dothan, AL. I went to undergrad at Troy University to study Biology. I’m an Army HPSP scholar, and in my spare time I enjoy working out, cooking, and reading good books. I am excited to use my position as a PEER Supporter to help empower other students and assist them in navigating the challenges that medical school throws at them.

Jonathan Trinh
Greetings, my name is Jonathan (or Johnny) Trinh, and I am a M4. I am from Huntsville, AL and went to college at UAH. I want to be a PEER Supporter because I have seen the effects of mental health strife take place in my life and in many of my friends and family. The first mental health crisis I experienced firsthand was during my time as a high school teacher, and I witnessed a panic attack from one of my students. Unfortunately, it can be tough reaching out for help, but understanding the importance of having support can go a long way. I am grateful and honored to be your friend and a part of your journey.

Jacob Williams
Hello, I’m Jacob, a current M4 at South Alabama. I grew up in Pensacola and went to undergrad at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I got involved in the PEERS program because I enjoy listening to people. I’ve had people help support me through this medical school journey and I hope I can help others in the same manner.

Nicholas Viyuoh
Howdy! My name is Nicholas Viyuoh (most people call me Nick). I was born in Mobile, AL, but I've lived in so many states it's hard to pick a home town. I have had my fair share of fortune and misfortune and all the ventures that come with it; so, I chose to be a PEER Support so that I might be a helping hand or just an ear if that's all you need. Anyway, I'm always looking forward to a good conversation and a chance to share some recipes and local "Foodie" recommendations. 

▼   Class of 2024

Class of 2024

Tiara Dean
Hi! I am Tiara Dean, a third year medical student from Monroeville, AL. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tuskegee University. During my time there, I experienced first hand how a sense of community amongst students greatly improves both morale and academic achievement. After all, nothing feels better than being with those who can relate to what you’re going through. As a PEER Supporter, my strategy is to be a judgment free listening ear that is able to connect you with the resources that you need. So, in the words of J. Cole, “If you need a friend to pick you up, I’ll be around.”

Alana Andrew Fortune
Hello All! My name is Alana Andrew-Fortune. I'm a M3 from Missouri City, Texas and I graduated from Dillard University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I personally understand how hard the transition to medical school can be and how isolating it is when you feel as though no one else is feeling how you do. I wouldn't be where I am today without a multitude of people supporting me through my roughest periods and I have become a PEER supporter with the hope that I can be a part of someone else's support network. I am passionate about removing the stigma surrounding mental health and I truly believe that PEERS is a step in the right direction!

Luke Harris
I am Luke, a third-year medical student from Huntsville, AL. I attended UAB for undergrad and majored in Exercise Science. I took a few gap years before coming back to medical school, during this time I focused on working in various areas of healthcare and spent some time managing a small business. Being out of school for an extended period meant a little extra stress during my M1 year, dealing with that is what has motivated me to become a PEER Supporter. I am here to listen and offer any advice I can to help others navigate the challenges they face. We are all in this together.

Rainer Jones
Hi! My name is Rainer Jones and I am from Tuscaloosa. I graduated from Rhodes College with a degree in Biomathematics in 2019 and took a gap year before starting medical school. I know first-hand and have seen how difficult medical school can be, as well as how important it can be to have peers to talk to who understand what you are going through. I became a PEER Supporter to be able to offer just that to my classmates through this program.

Lameace Sayegh
Hi! I’m Lameace. I’m from Auburn, AL and graduated from USA in 2019. I am now a third year here at South’s COM. Medical school is a very strenuous time and having a strong support system is invaluable. Although it can feel this way, our lives don’t revolve around school. While academics are very real struggles that we will encounter in these years, outside obligations such as family and friends can also be difficult to navigate. I am here to help through any situation. I am honored to serve as a PEER Supporter and offer a listening ear, advice, and guidance to my fellow classmates.

Alexandra Templin
Hello! My name is Alex, and I’m currently an M3 at USACOM. I am originally from Prattville, AL, and I went to Jacksonville State University for undergrad! I’m interested in pursuing Psychiatry, as I have a huge interest in mental health and reducing the stigma surrounding it. I want to be here for any medical student who may be dealing with something that they need support getting through, whether that be school stresses, family or home issues, or external problems; I have experience working with other local organizations responding to crisis calls, so I’m not unfamiliar with how it may be difficult reaching out for help, but I really encourage you to reach out if you need any support! 

▼   Class of 2025

Class of 2025

Danner Butler
My name is Danner Butler, and I am currently an M2 at South Alabama. I am from Mobile, but I attended undergrad at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where I studied Biochemistry and Mathematics. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy being in the outdoors and running. I have always relied upon community throughout my scholastic career, and I would love nothing more than to share my experiences and offer an ear to anyone who needs it!

Virginia Farley
Hi! My name is Virginia Farley and I am a second year medical student at South Alabama! I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama but moved to Tennessee for college. There I attended Sewanee: The University of the South and majored in Biochemistry and minored in Psychology. My hobbies include weightlifting in the gym, going to the beach, pool, or lake (any body of water!), and playing with my cat Sylvester. I wanted to become a PEER Supporter because I know how hard it can be to open up about struggling, whether it’s from what life throws your way or from medical school. Having someone to listen and talk to can truly make a difference, and I would love to be that positive and caring person for anyone who may need it.

Emily Hartsell
My name is Em and I’m an M2 from Huntsville. I enjoy yoga, the great outdoors, hitting the climbing wall, and time spent with good friends. I’m also a huge nerd for sci-fi novels and board games. Medical school is really tough and can quickly become overwhelming, but it’s easier to overcome the challenges with a little help from our friends. I’m volunteering to be a PEER Supporter so that I’ll have the training and resources to be the best support system I can be.

Yulong Huang
Hi everyone, my name is Yulong Huang, and I’m an M2. I’m from Dickson, TN, but have lived in Mobile for the past five years as an undergraduate (and M1) at South! I decided to become a PEER Supporter because mental health is something that is often overlooked, and students may not know who to talk to or what resources are available. I’m always happy to chat or listen, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you see me around.

Natalie Simpkins
Hey y’all! I’m Natalie, a current M2 at USACOM. I’m originally from Opelika, AL and went to UAB for my undergrad (c/o 2021), where I majored in Neuroscience and minored in Sociology. In my spare time, I love playing sports (catch me on the all the intramurals), fangirling over Star Wars, shopping at TJ Maxx and DSW, and hanging out with my favorite people (and my cat, Winx). Transitioning into medical school is one of the most challenging things I’ve done. Socially, mentally, physically, and even medically, it was a feat to stay afloat. It was then when I realized just how important having a strong support system and taking care of yourself first is. I joined the PEERS program to help be an aid for medical students who are transitioning into and who have been in medical school for some time in their mental health journey. I made it through to the other side, and it’s an absolute honor to be a resource and a friend in tough times.

Peter Whitehurst
Hey! I’m Peter, an M2 here at South. I’m from Dothan, Alabama and went to the University of Alabama to major in Biology and minor in Environmental Studies. I love being outside and playing sports and am currently one of the intramural sports chairs for my class. I am incredibly excited to be a PEER Supporter because these past couple of years I have become more aware of my own and others’ mental health and the impact it has on our ability to succeed. Medical school is extremely challenging, but I believe in the community and culture we have here at South and I would love to do anything I can to help all of us achieve our dreams of becoming physicians.