LUCKNOW: A private medical college in Lucknow has opened a department of happiness to boost a sense of well-being among students and teachers.
The Era Medical College on Hardoi Road is the first higher education institution in the state to boast of having a department of happiness.
The pilot project was launched last week to promote stress management in the medical profession and allow doctors and paramedics "to attend to patients with a smile".
The month-long happiness classes are currently being attended by 290 students from the medical (150), nursing (80) and pharmacy (60) departments.
These will later be extended to other departments of Era University, which manages the medical college.
These special classes, held three days a week, have brought together experts from various medical disciplines, including medicine, clinical psychology and psychiatry, under one roof with spiritual leaders and motivational speakers.
The neuroscience behind happiness, perception, general well-being, positive and negative approaches, frustration and tolerance, sympathy, apathy and altruism, and body language and communication are among the wide variety of topics being covered through videos, storytelling, experience-sharing and real-time experimenting.
According to Vice-Chancellor Abbas Ali Mahdi, "At the moment, it is just a pilot programme. Grades will depend on how a scientific questionnaire, prepared to assess factors associated with happiness, is answered.
"A psychologist will rate students after a month and issue certificates. We plan to start a certificate and diploma course in the near future, besides extending the classes to students beyond the medical college."
Head of the happiness department, Professor Meeta Ghosh, said: "Our aim is to strike off negativity, stress, sorrows and sufferings at the institution so that these future doctors and paramedics can pass on their positivity to patients."