For most of his career, Dr. Stephen Trzeciak was not a big believer in the “touchy-feely” side of medicine. As a specialist in intensive care and chief of medicine at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, N.J., Trzeciak felt most at home in the hard sciences.

Then his new boss, Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, came to him with a problem: Recent studies had shown an epidemic of burnout among health care providers. As co-president of Cooper, Mazzarelli was in charge of a major medical system and needed to find ways to improve patient care.