Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

   Home    Conference   Magazine   Empathy Tent   Services    Newsletter   Facebook    Youtube   Contact   Search

Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests


Empathy Healthcare Cafe

We had a wonderful meeting at the first Empathy Healthcare Café on June 25th, 2009. We received so many comments like, "great Café", "what's next?" and "how can we keep this going?"  Thank you to everyone that contributed time, energy, ideas, stories, video, supplies, resources, etc. to hosting the Café. Below is the video of the Café.

From Joan. "Thank you for attending and creating a special evening. As many of you mentioned to me the energy and ideas in the room were truly inspiring! The list that is attached is a compilation of the ideas everyone contributed during the action item session. There were many comments, in your reflections and after the close of the Café about “let’s keep going.” If you would like to get together to put your ideas into the next phase just respond to this email, and then we can pick a time, and place to work on an Empathy Grass Roots Movement."   Joan Kuenz

1. Overview and Introduction


Links to Individual Video Clips

Cafe Reviews

June 29, 2009
Dear Edwin:
The Empathy Health care Cafe event was the best I have attended. It was anchored by Joan, a registered nurse, and more than one other medical literates were in the "house".

Though I am not a trained nurse, it was my life exposure to medicine by my mother (a retired registered nurse/nurse practitioner), my deceased father (medical statistician at New York University Medical Center) and my mother's father (medical doctor trained in London, who devoted all his life to caring for the sick and poor in Honduras where I was born and raised).

It is my hope next time you add more time to the event, as we were very much engaged. And hopefully, more people will attend. Thank you both for a very informed meeting. Edwin, you did it again and on target. President Obama should know you were on board from the beginning. Congratulations!
Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Cristina Grant Tengeri

Here are some beginning steps on what's next?

1. Join the Empathy Café  discussion list.
We can keep the conversation and energy going here.

2.  Join the Facebook Empathy Café group 
   (send me a friend invite on Facebook as well, Edwin Rutsch)

3.  Let me know if you would like to help plan and host more Empathy Cafés.
 I'll send another email with some ideas and times for this.

4. There were around 5 hours of video of the event
 I'll be editing it together over the next couple of weeks. Robert took some video on his flip camera. You can already see his unedited video here of the Cafe.

5. Empathy Healthcare Café Generated Action Items

  • More Round table discussions

  • Discussions with healthcare providers

  • Marketing and education

  • Contact Obama team

  • Introduce to schools and courses on empathy

  • Letter to the Editor / bogs / or Op Ed piece

  • Give talks

  • Write articles

  • Have empathy included on the debate in environmental issues

  • Citizen training

  • Planning Committee / Follow up where do-able ideas are selected for action

  • Pass out Empathy Heart Stickers

  • Major Empathy Demonstration- major media attention

  • Cards or pins to health care providers that display empathy

  • Videos

  • Scholarship for service

  • Empathy buddies to accompany someone having medical interaction

  • Spread the word with neighborhoods, families and friends

6. Send me an email with any ideas and comments.

7. See below for the latest comments I found of Barack Obama talking about the importance of empathy.
From the grass roots, let's support Obama and his call for more empathy in our society.

More to come shortly.

All the Best


The Empathy Healthcare Cafe!
June 25th, 2009, Registration & Networking 6:30 pm, Program 7 - 9 pm
    @ Redwoods Gardens
    2951 Derby St,  Berkeley, CA 94705
    How can We Change Healthcare to Address What Obama calls the Empathy Deficit?
    Signup at:


 "I often say we’ve got a budget deficit that’s important, we’ve got a trade deficit that’s critical, but what I worry about most is our empathy deficit."  Barack Obama

How can We Change Healthcare to Address What Obama calls the Empathy Deficit?

Join the Planning Meetings

June will be a big month for Healthcare since the Obama administration and OFA are launching events and house parties in preparation for the big Healthcare discussions in Congress. The Empathy Group will hold an Empathy Healthcare Cafe. Come join the planning meetings to create this event.
In the Empathy Healthcare Cafe we will share and video tape personal stories about the relationship between an empathetic society and healthcare.


"Barack always says that one of our greatest challenges as a nation is not a deficit of resources - for we are one of the riches countries in the world; and it’s not deficit of policies, because we have some of the greatest minds working on these issues. Instead, our greatest challenge is that we are living in a time when we are suffering from a deep empathy deficit." Michelle Obama

We hope you will take part and share your stories and insights and then help find concrete ways to fill the empathy deficit. Please pass it on.


"We have the opportunity to make a habit of empathy, to recognize ourselves in each other, to commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference, in whatever forms they may take, whether confronting those who tell lies about history, or doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur. That is my commitment as president. I hope that is yours as well. It will not be easy." President Obama

To see more of President Obama talking about the importance of empathy see:
Barack Obama and a New Spirit of Empathy   
(1hr 49 min)
Compiled from about 38 of his speeches and interviews, etc. on the topic of empathy.

Join the Empathy Cafe discussion list.
send an email to