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Faculty Wellness Program

Northwestern’s Faculty Wellness Program offers assistance to full-time faculty members who are experiencing difficulties in their professional or personal lives. 

Life as a faculty member at a prestigious university can be stressful. Faculty members balance multiple roles as teachers, researchers, mentors, and managers. Three-quarters of university faculty report stress levels of moderate or higher, with ten percent reporting serious levels of stress. Elevated stress is the best predictor of faculty deciding to leave academia.

Stress, in turn, can lead to a wide range of personal and professional problems. There is a strong correlation between stress levels and career satisfaction, as personal problems can interfere with professional success and create obstacles to research, teaching, and working with others. By identifying and addressing stress and the problems it causes, faculty members are better able to achieve their professional and personal aspirations.

Program Goals

The program’s ultimate goal is to contribute to University faculty members’ professional success and personal well-being.

A crucial element to the program’s approach is to identify problems early so they can be resolved quickly, thus preventing the development of more serious impairments.

Accessing Assistance

The first step in solving problems is deciding to address them and seek solutions.

The program offers free consultations for Northwestern faculty members to identify appropriate resources for personal and professional concerns. Resources may be offered over the phone, or the faculty member can meet with the program staff for further discussion. Contact

Possible resources include:

  • Free and confidential short-term counseling in a variety of areas through the Northwestern Employee Assistance Program
  • Free and confidential consultation with the University Ombudsperson
  • Referral for mental health or substance abuse services
  • Specialized evaluation
  • Consultation with Northwestern’s HR Well-being Team to access benefits (e.g., dependent care, retirement planning) and explore emotional, financial, and physical wellbeing resources

Program Administration

The program’s director is Gaurava Agarwal, MD, who is Associate Professor in both the Departments of Medical Education and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He also serves as the Chief Wellness Executive for Northwestern Medicine. Dr. Agarwal is a psychiatrist and certified leadership, organizational, and well-being coach who specializes in occupational and organizational psychiatry with an emphasis on workplace mental health.  

The program’s associate director is Jason Washburn, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Washburn is the Director for Graduate Studies in the MA and PhD programs in Clinical Psychology within Feinberg. His clinical practice includes science-based psychological interventions and psychodiagnostic, personality, and neurodevelopmental assessment. His research interests include nonsuicidal self-injury, suicide, and the implementation of psychological practices, including digital mental health.

Contact with questions or to request a consultation.

Program Workshops

In addition to the free, personal consultations available through the Faculty Wellness Program, the University also offers a number of workshops and sessions designed to support faculty members’ professional growth and personal wellbeing. Many of these programs are open to all faculty; registration and participation information may be found by visiting Career Development and Leadership and Work/Life Resources