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National Stress Awareness Month: Students, staff welcome visit from furry friends

It’s not often animals are seen in the courtyard at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, particularly a miniature donkey, baby goat, lamb and miniature pig.

Students and staff stand in the courtyard together holding animals
Kathryn Mann, at left, library associate, holds a lamb alongside third-year medical students Dania Jumpa, middle, and Edith Sigler, right, in the courtyard at KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, and it can be a particularly stressful time of year for medical students as many are taking exams while fourth-year medical students are preparing for graduation and residency.

Kathryn Mann, library associate in the George J. Farha Medical Library at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, wanted to make sure students had the opportunity to take a break. For the last few years, she’s planned activities and snacks each week in April, which she said are “all intended to promote relaxation – or at the very least, create a little bit of happiness to help students through their day.”

This year, a visit from Peachy Farms therapy animals was a welcome break for KU School of Medicine-Wichita students as well as faculty and staff, who were also invited to participate. It’s not often animals are seen in the campus courtyard, particularly a miniature donkey, baby goat, lamb and miniature pig.

“For obvious reasons, it was the most popular event this year,” Mann said of the animal therapy amid the stress awareness month activities.

Other activities for students included take-home flower seeds, kawaii stress toys and movie days.

Kaitlyn Lewis holds a goat
Kaitlyn Lewis, clerkship coordinator, holds a
goat from Peachy Farms.

Students “love that the school does things for us like this,” said Edith Sigler, third-year medical student.

“It was fun to be able to use that as a break!” she said after visiting with the animals in the school’s courtyard. “The animals were adorably friendly, and who wouldn’t love a goat named Iron Man?”

Kaitlyn Lewis, clerkship coordinator in the Department of Internal Medicine, agreed the activity was a fun opportunity for both students and staff.

“Holding the baby goat and feeding him daylily leaves was the highlight of the session for me,” Lewis said. “It was a beautiful day to get away from my computer for a few minutes while conversing with other KU Wichita faculty, students and staff in a no-stress environment. Thank you, Kathryn, for facilitating this event!”

To see more photos from National Stress Awareness Month at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, view the online photo album.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita