The Health Improvement Program (HIP) is a has been working to improve the health of the Stanford community and communities around the world for over 35 years.

The Health Improvement Program (HIP) began over 35 years ago as a part of the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC) which was a pioneer in developing methods of health education and health promotion, including those for community-wide application.

As research began to show that work-site health and wellness programs could positively impact the health of employees, Stanford President, Don Kennedy and SPRC’s founder, John W. Farquhar agreed that the university should take advantage of its own intellectual property in promotion of employee health. Thus, the Health Improvement Program was created in 1983.

Our programs and health education classes have a strong foundation in science. Our experienced staff incorporate emerging trends into programs and class offerings, while maintaining a strong commitment to quality service.

Since our inception, HIP has grown to offer a bounty of health education classes and wellness programs. We continue to work hard to promote and expand a strong culture of wellness at Stanford and beyond.

35 Years of Contributing to Stanford

We are proud of the culture of wellness we’ve created at Stanford. Here are some of our accomplishments:

  1. The Health Improvement Program was founded in 1983 by John Farquhar, MD. Over 35 years later, we continue to strive toward our vision; a global community inspired by the science of healthy living.
  2. In 1993, we hosted our first annual Stanford Alumni Retreat an educational and restorative weekend with Stanford and Bay Area health experts. Twenty-five years later, the tradition still holds strong.
  3. In 2001, we began a longstanding collaboration with the YMCA, developing information and initiatives that support healthy communities.
  4. In 2002, we initiated Living Strong Living Well™ (LSLW), a twelve-week small-group program designed for adult cancer survivors improve functional ability and quality of life. It has since expanded across the US.
  5. In 2007, we created a coalition of existing university health-related programs on campus. Known as BeWell, this program touches the lives of over 70% of the university employees every year.
  6. In 2008, we initiated Wellness on Wheels, a program designed to bring Fitness and/or Healthy Living classes to various University or SHC/LPCH locations.
  7. In 2012, we partnered with Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health to create HealthySteps to Wellness, a program designed to help hospital employees adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  8. In 2018, we launched LeadWell, a program designed to empower leaders to create a culture of wellness for professional fulfillment. LeadWell has served national government agencies, academic institutions, health care systems, not-for-profit organizations and corporations around the world.
  9. In 2019, we joined University Human Resources (UHR) in a collaborative mission to support Stanford’s mission by fostering a productive work environment where people feel valued while demonstrating good stewardship of resources.
  10. We have grown to offer over 1,000 health education and fitness classes each year for university and hospital faculty, staff, retirees and their family members.
Our Vision

A global community inspired by the science of healthy living.

About Us

The Health Improvement Program powers six health promotion programs and offers over 1,000 health education and fitness classes each year.

Rooted in empirical research, our classes and health promotion programs have a strong foundation in science. Our experienced staff incorporate developing trends into our program offerings, while maintaining our commitment to quality services.

Our Mission

Together we create a culture of wellness where all are valued, supported and inspired to thrive.


Throughout our history, we’ve valued participation in community projects.