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ACT 2020 Featured Capstone:


Al'ai Alvarez, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Assistant Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Department of Emergency Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

Co-Chair, Physician Wellness Forum

A multi-center study to evaluate the interaction of meditation on physician burnout.



Al'ai Alvarez photo(3).jpeg

Describe Your Capstone Project.

Burnout is common amongst physicians including resident physicians. Many works in medical education on physician wellness has been focused on the culture of wellness and systems problem addressed in didactic sessions. The Stanford Model for Professional Fulfillment highlights three areas: the culture of wellness, efficiency in practice, and personal resilience. This multi-center study will introduce a meditation intervention and study its effects on burnout, resilience, and professional fulfillment in first-year EM residents.


Describe Its Impact.

This is an ongoing, multi-center study on the efficacy and feasibility of developing a mindfulness-based daily practice in residency and its effects on one's self-compassion, resilience, and professional fulfillment. We are using the Stanford WellMD Professional Fulfillment Survey as well as the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale. Using any free meditation app (Insight timer, Calm, Headspace, etc), interns at 3 institutions in the US and Canada did at least 5-minute daily guided meditation practice for 14 days. We had their baseline professional fulfillment score and resilience score and will measure impact in 6 months and 12 months. Our goal is to develop a proactive skill-building training for emergency physicians.

How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion?

My ACT Capstone is more of an application of what I learned at ACA, in addition to the lectures I've developed and given across the country and Canada. My focus is on the development of self-compassion in preventing burnout in medicine. ACA has allowed me to understand barriers in practicing self-compassion, and designing interventions that may open up to the practice of self-compassion in medicine.

How has your life been transformed by participating in the Applied Compassion Training (ACT)? 

No words can express the impact of ACA on how I've been able to better care for my patients, my trainees, my colleagues, and myself. I have learned to embody compassion in my practice and my daily life. I'm truly grateful to the ACA leadership, especially to my group mentor, and my capstone team.


Be the change!

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