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Compassion Research Committee

  • Krisha Mehta
    Krisha Mehta

    Krisha is currently a second-year resident in Stony Brook Internal Medicine Program. Krisha has always been intrigued by the role of compassion in healthcare and how we can harness that compassion towards ourselves, our patients and their families. She built and taught a course that uses evidence-based research to teach 4th year medical students on how to build their skillsets, essentially an active toolbox, for compassion cultivation. She also founded the compassion research committee to bring together individuals who want to build a program that brings more bioethics focus into our medical education. Their research on this subject through the compassion research committee focuses on how to equip future healthcare professionals to co-create compassionate systems that enhance the well-being of our patients. Krisha hopes to be able to highlight the importance of compassion in medicine through clinical practice, research and education.

  • Rebecca Jennings

    I joined the team because I am passionate about creating a compassionate environment for healthcare workers and their patients. I think that teaching and fostering self-compassion and compassionate care amongst healthcare workers is incredibly important in creating a good, sustainable work environment which in the end fosters better patient care. I plan on going into pediatrics in the future.


  • Emilia Rakhamimova
    Emiliya Rakhamimova

    I joined the team during my first year of medical school, when I was looking for ways to pursue my interest in medical education, as well as keep the humanities incorporated into my life just as they had been during undergrad. I am interested in the humanistic aspects of medicine and improving the culture of medicine to be more compassionate and accepting.

  • Nidhi Patel

    Hi! I’m Nidhi Patel, a rising M2 at RSOM. My  current interest in medical school is to explore my options and keep an opening mind as I enter clerkships soon. I have gotten a good understanding of my interests so far, and am considering both the vast Internal Medicine specialties and Emergency Medicine. I joined the Cultivating Compassion Research Project because I believe compassion and empathy are integral aspects of being a physician, and integral aspects of medical education. As healers and future healers, we students need to meet our patients’ needs while remaining aware, benevolent, and caring for their holistic situation. This team is a chief way for me to collaborate with those who have similar mindsets and goals about transforming med school curricula as a whole.

  • Nisha Godbole
    Nisha Godbole

    Nisha Godbole is currently a fourth-year medical student at Stony Brook, applying for a residency in Internal Medicine for the Match in 2024. She grew up in New Jersey and attended Muhlenberg College for her undergraduate studies. Her early experiences in healthcare have provided her with a diverse perspective and a strong foundation, highlighting the indispensable role of compassion in delivering optimal patient care. During her time at RSOM, Nisha eagerly joined the Cultivating Compassion Committee, aiming to further her development, practice, and advocacy for compassion training in medical education. Within the committee, she actively engages in research to advance evidence-based compassionate training in medical education. This year, she is assuming the role of Head of Research for the committee, overseeing additional projects in this capacity. Nisha is committed to embodying compassion both within herself and towards others.

  • Christina Mazza
    Christina Mazza

    Christina Mazza is a current a fourth-year medical student at RSOM and a budding pediatrician, born and raised in Long Island, NY. Her interest in compassion was the foundation for her career in medicine because she felt that the two are intrinsically connected to become a physician. She believes that though compassion can be cultivated naturally, it can be grown through various interventions and needs to be refreshed as much as the material learned in lecture halls, but often is neglected. Her interest in this project stemmed from wishing to improve the experiences of medical trainees and prevent their burnout, which will reflect positively on future patient relationships. This year, Christina will be taking the role of primary course instructor for the Compassion Selective taught to the incoming Phase III students.

Previous Compassion Research Committee members

  • Shafkat Salam
    Shafkat Salam

    Shafkat is a current fourth-year student applying to Internal Medicine for match 2023. He always felt that compassion and empathy were inadequately taught during his medical school training, thus, he joined the compassion research team to help change that. Shafkat is a large proponent of the idea that compassionate physicians are better clinicians and improve patient outcomes. He strives to change medical education at a systems level so that our future physicians come out as both competent and compassionate health care providers.

  • Afra Rahman
    Afra Rahman

    Afra is a current fourth-year student applying to Psychiatry for match 2023. She joined the compassion research team due to her interest in learning about how compassion could be a tool for medical trainees to combat empathic distress. Afra hopes to continue research into compassion and find ways in which compassion can be used to elevate lives and overcome challenges such as, perhaps, climate change.

  • Austin Hake
    Austin Hake

    I am a fourth-year medical student applying to anesthesiology. I have been interested in bioethics/compassion since the beginning of medical school because of its crucial role in the day-to-day experience of patients and the complex decisions that physicians come across. I joined the committee to pursue this interest further and disseminate evidence-based research about why compassion matters.


Literature Reviews

Compassion Curricula in Medical Education

Our current work involves a scoping literature review of the existing curricula for promoting compassion in medical students. There are a host of studies that have demonstrated a strong correlation between educational interventions and compassion levels in medical students, and subsequently, this leads to better patient care. This study will ultimately help guide future compassion curricula and interventions at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.


Using Empathy Education to Prevent Medical Student Burn-Out

Our current works involves a scoping review looking to assess the various modalities utilized in medical education to prevent empathic distress. The review hopes to analyze outcomes and determine whether modalities that teach compassion are found to be more effective or not. She hopes the research will inform future design of programs created to help medical trainees continue to provide empathic care.


Medical Education Research Study

Prospective Study on a New Curriculum for Cultivating Compassion in 3rd Year Medical Students

The goal of this study is to evaluate whether a one-month course for medical students on cultivating compassion affects students’ self-reported measures of compassion. Using a validated survey we will assess whether this course cultivates self-compassion, as measured by changes in surveyed levels of compassion before and after course completion. We will also investigate the effect of this course on student’s ability to observe, describe, act with awareness, be mindful regarding their own biases and perceptions and connect with others. Our hypothesis is that the students participating in our selective will score higher on validated scales for self-compassion, compassion for others and mindfulness after completion of this course. We believe our results will better inform medical students, educators, and medical school administrators, on how to train providers/providers with evidence-based tools that can help cultivate compassion and allow a deeper understanding between patients and physicians.

Selective Course

Cultivating Compassion in Medicine: How healthcare professionals can build compassion toolkits

Compassionate care makes a measurable difference in patient experience and outcomes, and enhances clinician meaning, resilience and well-being. Research has also shown that such compassion can be trained using evidence-based meditative and visualization practices. This course will focus on learning how to translate conceptual compassion into practical tools for medical trainees. The class will learn and practice compassion building exercises and subsequently participate in group discussion based on thematic questions about those exercises and experiences. There are assigned readings on the science and evidence-based nature of these exercises and there are weekly written reflection to allow students to gain insight into how to use and apply the tools they learn in class in clinical practice. This course will help students to understand how evidence-based resources can be used to build compassion toolkits for healthcare professionals.