Written by Stacy Weiner.
This summer, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine received a massive $100 million donation. The gift wasn’t for cancer research. It wasn’t for HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or the opioid epidemic. It was to investigate — and increase — compassion.
The donation came from T. Denny Sanford, a philanthropist whose interest in the study of compassion was fanned by a supportive message from the Dalai Lama. The Institute for Empathy and Compassion named in Sanford’s honor plans to merge the somewhat ethereal realm of lovingkindness with the empirical rigor of neuroscientific inquiry.
“My mom used to say it’s nice to be nice. Sure, that’s true,” says William Mobley, MD, the UCSD medical school neuroscience professor who is heading the institute. “It’s another thing to say there’s scientific evidence showing that compassion is good — and not just for others, but for you too.”
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