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About the Center for Compassionate Communication

At the core of compassionate communication


Our story

The Center for Compassionate Communication is uniquely positioned to lead the charge in the development of evidence-based training in interpersonal communication, in order to ignite compassionate relationships in healthcare.  

Our personal perspectives, emotions, and goals influence what we recognize and what we ignore. Through reflection and experiential learning, our curriculum will provide a simple, repeatable process and tools to help you recognize the needs of others and communicate with authenticity and compassion. The way we communicate is deeply tied to our personal story. Who are you in this moment? What is your history? What are the emotions and relationships surrounding you that impact how you choose to speak? How do you even determine the best way to begin? 

Our curriculum uses interdisciplinary tools to help healthcare teams learn skills in listening, awareness, clarity, and connection. We will embolden you to find your authentic voice, confront your biases, and determine your motivations. You will learn a great deal about the power of compassion for your patients and yourself.

Or, if you are a clinician/researcher and struggle to explain complicated topics to the public, you might be interested in our recent article in the Journal for Clinical and Translational Science called "Finding the Story," in which we provide helpful techniques to engage your audience and communicate clearly and vividly.

Why this matters

There is a compassion crisis in healthcare in the United States. Healthcare providers are rising to unprecedented challenges, while systems are overloaded with competing priorities. The story is bleak. Something has to shift.  

Interpersonal communication between healthcare providers and patients is the centerpiece of compassionate healthcare. Evidence suggests that effective communication enhances patient experience and physician engagement. High-quality communication is also associated with better care coordination, improved compliance with health recommendations, and healthier outcomes.

Beyond the demonstrable benefits to patients, research shows that improved interpersonal skills and stronger relationships with patients help physicians. Training in compassionate leadership will improve the work and lives of our healthcare teams. Communication training will help you share your research with all audiences with empathy and clarity. 

Compassion matters across the board. 

Why we care

At times, we’re asked to give what we don’t have…

Every healthcare provider can relate to that statement. Particularly during COVID, the heroics of our healthcare front line defines compassion. And yet, support is needed. For example, research shows that physician burnout is a serious national problem, affecting more than 50% of U.S. physicians, leading to increased physician suicide rates, poor health outcomes, and a decreasing physician workforce. Improving interpersonal communication skills has been shown to help alleviate burnout and improve team and personal engagement, reconnecting you to your passion and the art of medicine.

Improving communication with your leader also correlates with the prevention of burnout. You may take on leadership responsibilities at one time or another during your career and may need to learn and acquire management and leadership skills to coach, develop others and effectively lead. 

Communication training seems like a tall order within systems that are not always ideal. Measures like Press Ganey scores hold physicians responsible for their communication skills, and the Center for Compassionate Communication can help you personally and professionally.

UCSD’s investment in time and resources to physician communication skills is essential to our patients and to you, our healthcare providers.

We value:

  • practitioners in all disciplines dedicated to a deeper understanding of empathy, humanism, and compassion   
  • evidence-based practice
  • innovation
  • commitment to lifelong learning
  • curricular methods shared through experiential learning