Counseling and Wellness Services

Medical school can be demanding and stressful. There is much to learn, long hours in the classroom and competing demands for your time. The volume of work and the intense pace of your training may require that you make adjustments to your lifestyle. These changes can test your usual coping skills. That's why our counselors are here for you.

Services offered through the School of Medicine's counseling program in Seattle or as part of the WWAMI regional program for you or your partner/spouse are free and completely confidential. MD/PhD students continue to have access to counseling through the SOM while completing their PhD program.

Accessing Counseling Services

Seattle counselors are generally available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will gladly try to accommodate your busy schedule if you need an earlier or later appointment.

Students in Seattle can call, email, or drop-in to schedule an appointment with the counselor of their choice.  Drop-ins are always welcome if a counselor is available.  First year students at other WWAMI sites can contact the identified WWAMI counselor listed below or inquire with the local WWAMI office. 

Counselors remain available for medical students during their clinical years, and can work with student schedules to be available for an evening appointment. Clerkship students at one of the clinical centers (Boise, Spokane, and Anchorage) can obtain information on local counseling by contacting the regional WWAMI clinical coordinator or by contacting one of the Seattle counselors for a referral.  Students serving on clerkships in smaller WWAMI communities can contact one of the Seattle counselors to arrange telephone or email consultations.

Seattle Counselors

All of the medical student counselors are licensed, experienced, mental health professionals who are experienced in providing psychotherapy and counseling to medical students.  In Seattle, Dr. Richard Veith, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, provides psychiatric consultation to the counselors when needed. To protect student privacy and confidentiality, student names or identifying information are never utilized during these consultations.

The Counseling Service on the Seattle campus is located in the AA suite of offices on the first floor of the UW Medical Center.  Take the BB elevators to the first floor; turn toward "Lab Services"; turn left at the hallway and immediately turn left again into the AA suite.  Signs will direct you to each of the counselor offices.  Appointments can be made by contacting the counselor of your choice in person, by phone, or by email.

Director, Medical Student Counseling and Wellness Services:
Joanne Estacio-Deckard, LICSW
AA-103E, 206.616.3024

Sheri Davis, LICSW
AA-111B, 206.543.8392

Cliff Kelly, MS, MDiv, LMHC
AA-111G, 206.616.3022

NOTE: This office does not provide counseling for medical school pre-admission. 

WWAMI Counselor Contacts

To access free, confidential counseling at one of the regional WWAMI Foundations Sites, please contact:

Services available through the Counseling Service

Below is a list of the types of services offered by the Counseling Service in Seattle.  The counselors at the other regional sites are available to provide many of the same support services.  Counselors can provide counseling for you or your partner/spouse for individual or couples counseling.  Counselors are available to discuss issues related to medical school or any other personal concern that may be troubling you.

  • Individual Counseling
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Test Anxiety
  • Academic Difficulties
  • Anxiety Management
  • Coping with Depression
  • Couples Counseling
  • Managing Relationships
  • Peer Conflicts
  • Referrals for Psychotropic Medications
  • Drop-in Consultations
  • Support Groups
  • Coping with Clerkships
  • Career Counseling
  • Residency Match Stress
  • Workshops and Seminars

Counseling is completely confidential. Limited counseling records are securely kept by your counselor and are not part of your academic file.  Information about students who are seeking counseling is never shared with faculty or administrators unless you sign a release of information and ask your counselor to do so.  If you are having academic difficulties or if personal circumstances might require a modification in your medical education program, you may sign a release of information and ask your counselor to share information with the Student Affairs Dean.

Counseling in the School of Medicine tends to be shorter term.  If long term counseling or psychiatric assessment is needed, a counselor can refer you to one of our network of community providers who may be able to see you on a reduced fee basis.  Counselors may also help refer you to one of the other programs available to students on the Seattle campus.

Wellness Services

Watch for email announcements about weekly yoga classes, brown bag workshops, therapy dog visits, and other programs offered throughout the school year.  Counselors offer free health and wellness workshops throughout the year on topics such as stress management, meditation, family issues, etc. Information on these events and other wellness tips can be found on the Counseling Services Bulletin Board outside of the T-wing Medical Student Lounge, in Seattle.

Emergency Services

The Counseling Service does not provide emergency services or after-hours crisis intervention.  Students in crisis may contact the King County Crisis Line (206.461.3222) or seek assistance at the nearest Emergency department.

UW Seattle Campus and Other Community Resources