Is Compassion the Cure?
Okay, we admit it. Trying to promote a more compassionate approach to global health at first felt a bit… like a lava lamp, Birkenstock and tie-dye wearing kind of scene. But within minutes of speaking to Dr. David Addiss, who may just be the most compelling ambassador for compassionate public health, we were convinced.
In this episode, 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.
Here are four things we learned from our conversation with David:
Compassion has an ugly cousin
It’s called pity, and it is not to be confused with compassion or empathy. You can listen here to understand the difference between these three seemingly similar terms.
There’s an epidemiology to compassion
Like diseases, it doesn’t occur equally across time and space, it clusters. Public health experts are uniquely equipped to unpack the presence or absence of compassion using a scientific method.
Compassionate interventions accept that public health is neither value-neutral, nor apolitical
Being compassionate in our approach means being aware of our role in the political dynamic, and creating a process that is open to being challenged by the people who suffer the most. Sounds a lot like woke HCD, right? You can read more about this idea here.
Compassion extends not only to those that we serve, but also to ourselves
“Once we are happy that our own house is in order, that will reflect – or radiate out – into the way that we operate with partners.” – Paul Emerson, PhD, Director, International Trachoma Initiative
You can listen to the full interview here.
Articles referenced in the episode:
- Compassion and epidemiological modelling: A conversation with Maria-Gloria Basáñez
- Global Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis: A Mass Uprising of Compassion (Warning: medical terminology up ahead!)
- Flourishing in Adversity: The Crucial Role of Compassion in Healthcare Settings
- Dual Loyalties and Impossible Dilemmas: Health care in Immigration Detention
- The art of medicine: Compassion in a time of COVID-19
- Check out Stanford University’s research wing dedicated to Care for Compassion and Altruism and the studies revealing the redemptive outcomes of meditative practices on war veterans suffering from PTSD and others within the repository of research to better understand the added value of compassion.
More from David
- Compassion In Disasters
- Mindfulness, Compassion, and the Foundations of Global Health Ethics
- When the student is ready, the teacher appears
- Adventure by The Ghost in Your Piano from Free Music Archive, (CC BY-NC 4.0) / Remixed from original
- Gathering by Podington Bear from Free Music Archive, (CC BY-NC 3.0) / Remixed from original
- Many Hands by Podington Bear from Free Music Archive, (CC BY-NC 3.0) / Remixed from original
- Ideas by Podington Bear from Free Music Archive, (CC BY-NC 3.0) / Remixed from original
This episode was part of Issue 13 of our newsletter, The Stitch. To check out previous issues and to subscribe, click here.