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Office of the Dean of the Chapel: Providing Care for Our Community Caretakers

Chapel programming provides self-care solutions for practitioners and professors

Office of the Dean of the Chapel Photos at Howard University

With our social landscapes recognizing the stressors of COVID-19, coupled with the typical stress and strain of maintaining work-life balance, mental health and wellness is a priority. Those working in the mental health arena are expected to have it all figured out.

However, like everyone else, practitioners face emotional difficulties themselves, making self-care solutions for those in the medical field a needed aspect of training.   

Howard University’s Office of the Dean of the Chapel (ODC) has developed self-care strategies for the campus community, starting with the residents in the department of psychiatry at Howard University Hospital. 

Bernard L. Richardson, PhD, dean of the Chapel, worked with Howard University Hospital residents in the department of psychiatry.  

“The exercises helped to improve their clinic performance,” said Danielle Hairston, MD, chief resident for the department of psychiatry at Howard University Hospital. “The sessions gave them techniques to use for themselves and to help their patients. It taught them how to be good active listeners. It was helpful because they know what to say next, allowing them to bring up examples when working with patients.” 

ODC offers a wide variety of support services in the self-care and health and wellness space both in the virtual and in person formats. What started as a group project on mindfulness and meditation to improve the residents’ clinic performance evolved into developing techniques to combat burnout and managing workloads during the pandemic. Throughout the sessions, many emphasized the importance of practitioners strengthening their own wellness practices to provide superior care for their patients.  

In addition to delivering services to residents in the department of psychiatry at the hospital, ODC has delivered services to students and faculty in the School of Business, the College of Engineering and Architecture, and the School of Social Work.  

ODC offers unique programming and services to support the campus community in calming the chatter of anxious voices to effectively manage stress and maintain peace of mind.  

Shifting one’s focus is a critical factor in supporting one’s mental health and wellness. ODC has been an instrumental force in bringing mindfulness and meditation practices to the Howard community.  

ODC is a certified training center for mindfulness and meditation techniques, offering a unique curriculum for teaching mindfulness, meditation and stress-management. Sponsored by President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, faculty members comprised its first wellness cohort during the Fall 2020 semester.  “Howard as an institution will always be strengthened when its people are healthy, well and strong,” said Dr. Frederick. 

To learn more about wellness programming coordinated through ODC, download a brochure here. To schedule a training or workshop session, please contact the ODC Wellness Team at chapel@howard.edu. 


The Office of the Dean of the Chapel (ODC) serves as a resource to the university community and is committed to providing programming that empowers leadership development, engages the global community, and enhances the Howard University legacy of Truth and Service. Serving as the epicenter of religious/spiritual life, the Howard community can participate in volunteer opportunities, learn about ethical leadership development and engage in social and service-learning programming. ODC is a place for students, faculty, staff and alumni to be developed in the areas of faith, service, justice and wellness.