Daily life along the Mekong Rive. Somphou Sayasone, MD, of the Lao PDR Ministry of Health oversees a public health program to eliminate a parasitic disease called schistomiasis from islands located in the Mekong River in southern Lao PDR. This effort included the implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions. Photo date: Jan. 26-27, 2017 Photographer: Billy Weeks

About Compassion


Compassion arises from a deep experience of shared humanity and solidarity. It can be cultivated, harnessed, and channeled in service of social justice, health equity, and dignity.



Our Approach to Compassion


Our approach is informed by neuroscience, psychology, & contemplative science.

We focus on three essential elements of compassion:


Cognitive awareness of suffering


Emotional resonance with the suffering person


A commitment to alleviating suffering

Compassion in Action


We must recognize suffering before we can alleviate it.

Being fully aware requires openness, stability of mind, and the capacity for critical analysis. For a truly compassionate response to suffering—and for a sustained commitment to social justice—this awareness has to permeate our inner being. We have to feel the suffering or injustice and be touched by it.

How can we express compassion?

Compassion can be expressed by marching together in protest, by providing medical care, or by simply sitting in silence and holding the hand of someone who has suffered a painful loss.


Voices of Compassion

In January 2020, FACE convened a groundbreaking meeting on the epidemiology of compassion and love. We discussed how epidemiologic inquiry is needed to develop and validate metrics that can be used to guide and scale up programs dedicated to cultivating compassion at the individual, organizational, and community levels. The meeting served as a springboard into many new exciting projects related to measuring compassion.

Hear from a few of our participants:

Thupten Jinpa, PhD

Founder and President, Compassion Institute Chair of the Mind and Life Institute, Adjunct Professor of Religion, McGill University

Dominic Vachon, MDiv, PhD

Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine, University of Notre Dame


Assistant Principal (Global Health), Professor of Global Health and Development, and Director of the Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh

Shams Syed, MD MPH

Head of Policy and Partnerships, WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care, World Health Organization (WHO); former Lead, Quality of Care, WHO


Additional Resources


Meeting Report

"Epidemiology of Love & Compassion" meeting
Click Here

Executive Summary

"Epidemiology of Love & Compassion" executive summary
Click Here
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