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Medical Student Counseling and Wellness Center

  • About Us

    The Medical Student Counseling and Wellness Center (MSCWC) provides free, professional, and confidential personal counseling services exclusively for the HWCOM medical students. The MSCWC counselors specialize in mental health, wellness, and issues relevant to medical student life. Enrolled students may receive counseling throughout their professional education and training.

    The center provides a full range of psychological and mental health services designed to support medical student success. Services are designed to foster the academic potential of students by enhancing their personal development as well as their psychosocial and emotional health. The staff of MSCWC are also involved in the HWCOM Fit & Well Program, which is a wellness program provided exclusively to medical students.

  • Meet the Staff

    Nathaly Shoua Desmarais, Psy.D.-Interim Director, Medical Student Counseling and Wellness. Dr. Nathaly S. Desmarais is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in Health Psychology. In addition to her doctorate degree, she has attained Master's degrees in Clinical Psychopharmacology and Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale Florida. She is a Board-certified Biofeedback Specialist. She became licensed in the state of Florida in 2009 and has worked in private practice, medical hospital settings, and college counseling centers. Dr. Desmarais specializes in anxiety, depression, behavioral sleep medicine, relaxation therapies using Biofeedback, and compassion fatigue/burnout. Although she was formally trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy and humanistic psychology, in her clinical work she incorporates interpersonal, acceptance and commitment, and mindfulness-based therapies. Dr. Desmarais is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Medicine, Family Medicine, and Community Health. Her research interests include mindfulness and biofeedback utilization and empathy and burnout in medical professionals.

    Melanis Rivera - Rodríguez, Psy.D. -Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Melanis Rivera-Rodríguez is a licensed psychologist who holds a B.A. degree in Social Sciences with a specialty in Psychology and Mental Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus and a Psy.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her areas of interest include Health Psychology, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT). She became licensed in the state of Florida in 2014 and has worked in a medical hospital, private treatment center, and community counseling settings. Dr. Rivera - Rodríguez specializes in eating disorders, personality disorders and anxiety. Dr. Rivera - Rodríguez was formally trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy and completed a DBT informed internship in 2013. However, she practices from an integrative model that incorporates her formal training and interpersonal, acceptance and commitment, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness therapies. Dr. Rivera - Rodríguez is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Humanities, Health and Society. Her research interests include personality styles, post-traumatic stress disorder/trauma processing and its impact and manifestations on medical students. 

    Seth Grossman, Psy.D.-Clinical Psychologist, Consultant
    Seth Grossman, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in the state of Florida. He is the founder and clinical director of the Center for Psychological Fitness in the Fort Lauderdale region, as well as a member of the clinical faculty at the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. For nearly two decades, Dr. Grossman worked under the leadership of the world-renowned personality theorist, Dr. Theodore Millon, co-authoring several books, scientific articles and personality tests with Dr. Millon. Dr. Grossman has also been a guest lecturer on personality and clinical assessment at universities and professional settings nationally and internationally. Most recently, Dr. Grossman co-authored the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-IV (MCMI-IV), the latest revision to Dr. Millon’s widely used measure of adult psychopathology.

    Ellen Zwingli-Administrative Assistant, Program Specialist Medical Student Counseling and Wellness

  • Our Services

    Counseling Services: Individualized Psychosocial Assessment; Individual and Couples Counseling; Crisis Intervention; Psychological Testing

    Psychological Assessments: Clinical Assessments, Learning Disability/Psycho-educational Evaluations (including ADHD evaluation), (Neuro)-psychological/Cognitive Processing Assessments, Therapeutic Assessment, and Strength-based Assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, Maslach Burnout Scale, Empathy Type Evaluator, and Strength Finders.

    Personalized Wellness Needs Assessment: Individual Wellness Sessions covering topics such as: lifestyle management, nutrition and fitness and stress/burnout resiliency building

    Biofeedback Services: Biofeedback Needs Assessment; Individualized Biofeedback Sessions based on needs

    Aromatherapy Services: Individually tailored to student needs. Mindfulness practices incorporated into sessions.

    Workshops provided throughout medical training: Topics covered: Adjustment to Medical School, Stress Management, Burnout, Time Management, Sleep Hygiene, Healthy Relationships.

  • Crisis and Intervention

    In the event of a mental health or emotional crisis, a psychologist is available to facilitate triage. After hours and weekends, please contact the on-call Dean for the Office of Student Affairs at (305)-348-0696.

    If it is a medical emergency and/or there is a life threatening situation, please do not hesitate to call 911.

    The Switchboard of Miami is also a great resource. Feel free to contact the "Help Line" at 305-358-HELP / (305-358-4357)

  • Why Do Students Attend Counseling?

    Medical students at HWCOM frequently use our services to address:

    • Personal Issues: stress, anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, low self-esteem, grief, post- traumatic stress, attention deficit
    • Relationship Issues: romantic relationship difficulties, sexual concerns, roommate problems, family issues
    • Developmental Issues: sense of identity, sexual orientation, adjustment to medical school, life transitions
    • Academic Concerns: study skills, performance anxiety, perfectionism, procrastination
    • Other Issues: effects of trauma, sexual assault, substance abuse, body image, healthy lifestyles

    When medical students require mental health services that are beyond the scope of MSCWC services, we will make referrals to community resources. Some of the issues that are commonly addressed through referral to community providers include: Inpatient or intensive outpatient substance abuse, eating disorders, or mood disorder treatment and court-mandated assessment or treatment requirements.

    Note: WE DO NOT PROVIDE MANDATED COUNSELING or PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE

  • How to Access Care

    Enrolled medical students who are interested in our services are recommended to contact the office at (305)348-1460. An Initial Assessment appointment with a psychologist will be scheduled. During the first meeting, which will be about an hour long, you will be asked to describe your concerns and what you hope to gain from counseling. At the end of this initial meeting, the psychologist will recommend appropriate services based on your needs.

    If you are relocating and have a private psychologist or psychiatrist, it would be helpful for that provider to be able to communicate with the psychologist you will be working with at FIU HWCOM. It is recommended that you sign a Release of Information provided by your private psychologist or psychiatrist which enables him/her to share helpful information to make a smooth transition to our office. Our contact information is:

    FIU HWCOM Medical Student Counseling and Wellness Center
    11200 S.W. 8th Street GL-340
    Miami, FL 33199
    Phone: (305)-348-1460
    Fax: (305)-348-1729

  • Helpful Resources

Contact Us

Please call 305-348-1460 to schedule an appointment with the Medical School Counseling and Wellness Center or E-mail us at medwellness@fiu.edu.