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Call for Proposals: Physician Wellness Culture Awards

UC San Diego Health and Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion Join Forces to Support Physician Wellness

Proposal Submissions

Queries about proposal suitability can be directed to:

Please submit your proposals directly through the Sanford submission portal.

  • Select "Physician Wellness Program 2024" for the Letter of Intent category.

This Call for Proposals is intended to solicit applications for investigations that will advance the UC San Diego physician wellness culture.  

In an effort to enhance empathy and compassion in healthcare, the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion* has generously committed funding to support UC San Diego Health’s research and education on physician wellness. This commitment supports multiple educational initiatives, including UC San Diego Health Physician Wellness Grants, which study the drivers of and interventions for wellness.

General guidance:  Proposals focused on general faculty development, academic mentorship or research that does not inform physician wellness practices will not be considered.

The proposals should include the specific aims and proposed conduct of the initiative. These funds are intended for support of impactful initiatives; salary support should not be a major portion of the proposed budget. 

Award Type 

Funding Level 

Timeline (begins at time of initial fund transfer) 

Preliminary Data 


Up to $15,000 

12 months 

Not required 


Up to $40,000 

Up to 2 years 


Award Requirements

DisseminationAwardees are required to present their work internally at a DEEP WELL meeting, held quarterly at UC San Diego. Awardees are encouraged to disseminate their work beyond UC San Diego through oral and written presentations.  

Interim Report Awardees are required to send an interim report at approximately the half-way point of the work, and at any time that there are feasibility or financial concerns that should be shared.   

Final Report Awardees are required to send a final report describing the conduct of the pilot or project, a financial reconciliation, and dissemination plans. 

Principal Investigator: At least one principal investigator must be a UC San Diego physician.  Co-investigators are not required to be physicians.   

Application Format

Award Type 

Page Limit (Arial 11 font) 

Other required elements 



Budget, CV for PI(s)  



Budget, CV for PI(s)  

Review Criteria

A subgroup of the UC San Diego Physician Wellness Steering Committee (without conflict for the application under consideration) will review and score applications: 

  • In alignment with the mission of the Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion (see end of document)
  • Rigor of evidence to be produced (appropriate use of outcome metrics) 
  • Local impact on UC San Diego physician wellness culture - this includes scalability and affordability (if successful, could be expanded across UC San Diego Health)
  • Novelty
  • Feasibility and pragmatics - some proposals may benefit from conversation with operational teams who will be impacted or who may be working in the same focus area. 
  • Dissemination plan 

Application Process and Timeline 

Pre-submission inquiries should be directed to: 

In the subject line, please indicate: "Pre-submission Inquiry." 



Review Meeting 



or Revision Request  

Application Due 


Aug 12, 2024

Nov 4, 2024

Feb 3, 2025

May 5, 2025

Aug 4, 2025

Nov 3, 2025


Aug 21

Nov 20

Feb 19

May 21

Aug 20

Nov 19


Sep 6

Dec 6

Mar 7

Jun 6

Sep 5

Dec 5



The Institute represents an unprecedented blending of two parallel themes: employing the unyielding rigor and tools of science to establish the neurological basis for empathy in the brain to identify the mechanisms that transform compassion from biology to behavior, and experimenting with and developing new ways to teach and instill empathy and compassion in clinicians currently practicing and in the teaching of future generations of health professionals.

The Institute aims to:

  • Bridge those who explore the neurobiology of empathy and compassion with educators to create curricula aimed at enhancing and sustaining empathy and compassion in students and physicians for both self and others.
  • Develop and disseminate validated curricula for empathy and compassion to inform medical education at UC San Diego, across the U.S., and internationally.
  • Through these efforts, mark the Institute as an international thought leader and motivator of system change in enhancing empathy and compassion in healthcare.
  • Invent and adapt curricula for empathy and compassion to educate others, including professionals and the population at large.
  • Pursue research and develop curricula that advance empathy and compassion in support of social justice, especially in the context of human healthcare.


Previous Grant Recipients

Recipients Project Cycle
Caitlin Carter MD, Ami Doshi MD, & Kyung Rhee MD Pediatric Division Chief Retreat to Improve Faculty Wellness

November 2023

Minh Hai Tran, MD & Claire Soria, MD Improving working relationships in the operating room: Interprofessional simulation training with general surgery and anesthesiology residents

August 2023

Sidney Zisook MD, Judy Davidson DNP, & Neal Doran MD Understanding Physician Peer Support: A Mixed-Model Study of Feasability and Effects on Givers and Receivers of Peer Support

August 2023

Alicia Minns, MD & Rachna Subramony, MD Evaluation of Emergency Department flow facilitator effectiveness and identification of areas for potential improvement

May 2023

Ryan Moran, MD & Ottar Lunde, MD General Internal Medicine as a pilot to better capture/understand the work-burden of patient care including comprehensive measurement of non-face to face time. 

February 2023