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Special Programs

Evidence and science-based programs designed specifically for various professions and communities

Compassionate Healthcare Program

Imagine being pressured to make a life or death decision about another person – all while feeling (1) emotionally drained, (2) like you’re unable to make a difference, and (3) like you’re all alone in the world. What are the odds of making the best decision in these circumstances?


In the US, more than five in ten health care professionals are experiencing burnout with some variant of these three symptoms. Why does this matter? Not only do clinicians suffer from burnout, but patients suffer when the quality of care clinicians provide is compromised. Doctors who are burned out are more likely to make medical errors, work less efficiently, work fewer hours, and leave the profession early.


At the same time, compared to the general US population, physicians are more likely to be emotionally exhausted (43% vs. 25%), working ten hours more per week (50 hours vs. 40 hours), and less satisfied with work-life balance (36% vs. 61%). Something is not quite right about this picture. We at Compassion Institute strive to support those who dedicate their lives to serving the welfare of the public – which is why we have designed the Compassion at Work training to support those who work tirelessly to serve the needs of the rest of us.

“The rising tide of burnout, coupled with its effects on quality of care and access, make burnout a major threat to the nation’s healthcare delivery system… If it affects half our physicians, it is indirectly affecting half our patients.”
- Tait Shanafelt, MD, Chief Wellness Officer, Stanford Medicine

Compassion at Work: Preventing Burnout in Healthcare

Existing research shows that mindfulness and compassion trainings can meaningfully reduce the symptoms of burnout among clinicians. Compassion at Work has identified key elements to equip clinicians with the knowledge and skills they need to boost their resilience and avoid the risks of burnout.
  • Burnout basics & how to avoid burnout

  • Increase joy in work, self-care, & self-compassion skills

  • Increase self-awareness & emotion regulation skills

Developed by our Compassion at Work team:

  • James Hallenbeck, M.D.

    Associate Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Stanford School of Medicine, Department of Medicine Associate Chief of Staff, for Extended Care, VA Palo Alto Health Care System
  • Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

    CEO and Chairman, Compassion Institute and Executive Chairman, Mind & Life Institute
  • Robert McClure, LCSW

    Human Resources Consultant, Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, CA
  • Petrina Barson, M.D.

    General Practitioner, Moreland West Medical Centre, Brunswick West, Australia
  • Judy Long

    Chaplain, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Diana Adams, Ed.D.

    Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor, Stanford University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Leah Weiss, PhD, MSW

    Lecturer in Management, Stanford University Graduate School of Business Founding Faculty, Compassion Institute
  • Jane Chun, D.Phil.

    Program Director, Specialized Programs, Compassion Institute

Mitigate Burnout in Your Organization or Practice

We seek to partner closely with healthcare organizations to collaboratively tackle the drivers of burnout. Within this context, this curriculum specifically targets individual capacities for resilience. If you are a healthcare provider, HMO, or health care organization with a large number of active clinicians who may be interested in the training, we would love to explore the possibility of partnering with you to pilot test and refine our curriculum. We look forward to connecting with you!

“As a registered nurse for over 30 years, I have personally experienced the phenomenon called "empathy fatigue". Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) has given me the ability to stay present with the suffering that I encounter on a daily basis without being overwhelmed by it.”

Karen Mott
Registered Nurse and Certified CCT Teacher