How We Share Stories of Compassionate Care

How does compassion alleviate suffering and promote flourishing in healthcare settings?

One of the greatest challenges to human flourishing is our limited understanding of what flourishing means and how humans can flourish in the midst of suffering. Spiritual and religious traditions maintain that flourishing is possible even in the presence of suffering. This aspect of flourishing has received limited attention from scientific research. 

What is FACE’s Human Flourishing Project

In 2020, the Templeton World Charity Foundation announced a bold, new commitment to support research on human flourishing. Together with a consortium of partners, the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) at The Task Force for Global Health was one of 11 inaugural awardees. Work on the exploratory research project, “Towards a transdisciplinary approach to transforming global health systems – Advancing human flourishing in the midst of suffering,” began in 2022.

The project involved three initiatives: 1) the development of fundamental concepts and frameworks, 2) the development of metrics and methods for the research, and 3) the grounding of our conceptual frameworks and metrics in specific, real-world contexts. It is through the third initiative that our Compassionate Care Storytelling Series came to fruition.

What is the Compassionate Care Storytelling Series?

Published in two parts, the Compassionate Care Storytelling Series shares learnings from exemplars in global health to promote human flourishing. We sought out stories from various types of health service delivery organizations in different parts of the world, from varying cultural backgrounds, and rooted in diverse faith traditions. The stories, told in vignettes, include experiences delivering compassionate healthcare in Uganda, Israel, India, Bangladesh, and the United States.

We wanted to learn how healthcare organizations in different countries embody compassion and human flourishing in the face of suffering. To do this, our consortium of partners—Harvard University Human Flourishing Program, the World Health Organization, the University of Calgary Compassion Research Lab, Leapfrog to Value, and Emory University—connected us with staff at seven organizations that they had seen truly embody compassionate care. Our team conducted a series of interviews with these staff members and published their stories and the insights they shared in the two-part series.

Read: Compassionate Care Part I and Part II.


What have we learned about compassion and human flourishing? 

The storytelling series offers insights into how compassion arises in each of these organizations. Interviews with each of these organizations revealed that they are living out deeply ingrained personal values of service to their community members, alleviating suffering, and enabling human flourishing.

The field of global health has much to learn about compassionate care when we humbly listen to the voices of community-focused healthcare providers around the world. Their stories of compassion-driven care can help us reimagine what is possible for the field of global health.

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