Human Flourishing

One of the greatest challenges to human flourishing is our limited understanding of what flourishing means and how humans are able to flourish in the midst of adversity and suffering. Our work aims to understand how compassion alleviates suffering and promotes flourishing in healthcare settings.


The Challenge


In 2020, the Templeton World Charity Foundation announced a bold, new commitment to support research on human flourishing. The Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) at The Task Force for Global Health was one of 11 inaugural awardees, working alongside colleagues at Harvard University Human Flourishing Program, the World Health Organization, University of Calgary Compassion Research Lab, Leapfrog to Value, and Emory University.


Our Approach


We took a three-part approach:

1) clarifying the conceptual, philosophical, spiritual, and scientific dimensions of human flourishing in relation to suffering, particularly in the context of healthcare

2) identifying the most robust scientific research methods, tools, and metrics to test our main hypothesis

3) engaging with potential collaborators in health systems in different countries and diverse cultures to understand the nature of flourishing and suffering in those settings, as well as to lay the groundwork for on-site research.



Related Resources



Flourishing in Adversity: The Crucial Role of Compassion in Healthcare Settings
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Podcast: Is Compassion the Cure?

Common Thread’s Michael Coleman and Regina Madanguit sit down with Dr. David Addiss, the director of the Focus Area of Compassion and Ethics (FACE) at the Task Force for Global Public Health to discuss the importance of compassion in achieving the sector’s goals. 


Podcast: Compassion in Healthcare & Flourishing with Dr. David Addiss

In this episode of Stories of Impact, Dr. David Addiss reflects on his career and shares what inspired him to spend his career caring for the needs of underserved and neglected people.


Podcast: Systemic Compassion

In the second of a two-part episode from Stories of Impact, Dr. David Addiss, Heather Buesseler, Dr. Liz Grant, and Dr. Corinne Reid explore the role of compassion in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


WHO Knowledge Brief: Compassion & National Health Quality Plan Strategies & Policies

Articulation of compassion in national quality policies and strategies (NQPS) documents can highlight a commitment to compassionate health care and mobilize resources and programs that support compassion as a cornerstone of national health care systems.


Blog: Can Humanity Flourish When Surrounded by Suffering?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has shattered conceptions of what is normal. Yet people can still flourish even under the most trying of circumstances with focused attention to compassion.


Our Partners


David Addiss, MD, MPH, Director, FACE

Heather Buesseler, MPH, Consultant, FACE

Patricia Richmond, MPH, Program Administrator, FACE

Amy Richards, MPH, Data Analyst, FACE

Ashley Graham, PhD, MA, MJ, Director of Research and Operations, FACE

Matthew Lee, PhD, Director of Empirical Research, Human Flourishing Program

Katelyn Noel Gregg Long, PhD, John & Daria Barry Post-Doctoral Fellow, Human Flourishing Program

Jennifer S. Wortham, DrPH, Research Associate, Human Flourishing Program and Executive Director, Initiative On Health, Religion, & Spirituality

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD, Assistant Professor, Family & Preventive Medicine

Shams Syed, MD, MPH, Head of Unit, Quality of Care

Chintan Maru, MD, Founder & Executive Director

Shane Sinclair, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Nursing & Director, Compassion Research Lab

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