Time commitment: 1 hour once a week for 8 weeks
Current class dates and registration: see Sign-up page


The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine was founded in 2008 to promote scientific studies of compassion and altruistic behavior. CCARE has collaborated with neuroscientists, behavioral scientists, geneticists and biomedical researchers to examine the physiological and psychological correlates of compassion and altruism, and has created an educational model that incorporates science, input from contemplative scholars, mindfulness meditation and other practices.  This particular class offering is tailored for the challenges faced by physicians.

Compassion Cultivation Training Benefits for Physicians:

  • Reaffirms the role of compassion and the alleviation of suffering as part of the practice of medicine
  • Counteracts burnout and empathy fatigue
  • Explores the difference between empathy and compassion and the effects of each
  • Increases self-compassion
  • Increases the kindness with which physicians mentor others and provide care to patients
  • Improves overall well-being


  • The neural mediators of kindness-based meditation: a theoretical model. Mascaro JS, Darcher A, Negi LT, Raison CL. Front Psychol. 2015 Feb 12;6:109. PMID: 25729374
  • A wait-list randomized controlled trial of loving-kindness meditation programme for self-criticism. Shahar B, Szsepsenwol O, Zilcha-Mano S, et. al. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2015 Jul-Aug;22(4):346-56. PMID: 24633992
  • Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Galante J, Galante I, Bekkers MJ, Gallacher J.  J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014 Dec;82(6):1101-14. PMID: 24979314
  • Loving-kindness meditation: A tool to improve healthcare provider compassion, resilience, and patient care. Seppala EM, Hutcherson CA, Nguyen DTH, Doty JR., Gross JJ. Journal of Compassionate Healthcare. 2014. 1:5. Article
  • A randomized controlled trial of compassion cultivation training: Effects on mindfulness, affect, and emotion regulation. Jazaieri H, McGonigal K, Jinpa T, Doty JR, Gross JJ, Golden PR. Motivation and Emotion. 2013 38:23-35. Article
  • Social connection and compassion: Important predictors of health and well-being.  Seppala E, Rossomando T, Doty J. Social Research. 2013 80(2):411-430. Article



Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, co-course leader, is a health psychologist, researcher and lecturer at Stanford, where she studies how social connection can promote health, happiness, and resilience.  She is a co-author of the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training  program and has a particular interest in the science behind the effects of compassion.

Monica Hanson

Monica Hanson, co-course leader, is a Senior Teacher at the Center for Compassion and Altruism.  She has taught Compassion Cultivation classes since 2010 to a variety of community and medical groups, including those for research studies.  She helped develop the class curriculum as well as the teacher training certification program.