About this event

  • Date and time Mon 4 Nov 2019 from 8:30am to 5:05pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Open

This meeting will explore the latest evidence-based ways to practice, teach, and embed empathy within healthcare settings.

We’ll be joined by experts in empathy, including key speaker Professor Jodi Halpern, Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, University of California, Berkeley, who will be discussing challenges to clinical empathy, Professor Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care Research, University of Glasgow, plus Dr Sian Rees and Dr Jeremy Howick from the Oxford Empathy Programme, and Dr Brian Donley, Orthopaedic Surgeon and CEO of Cleveland Clinic.

Delegates can expect a rounded view and learn about the role and importance of empathy in healthcare from current research, education, policy, practice and patient perspectives. This interactive meeting presents the opportunity to meet and discuss with an expert panel who specialise in empathy in healthcare and the chance to contribute to the field by presenting oral presentations and posters showcasing research, education, policy, practice and patient perspectives on empathy in healthcare.    

Topics include: 

  • Evidence-based practice, how to teach and embed empath in healthcare
  • The role of humans for promoting empathy in the digital age  
  • Consolidate and expand the growing global network of empathy researchers and teachers, and to position the UK as a leader for healthcare empathy research and practice  

In the words of the great physician, Sir William Osler “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”


Call for papers and posters

Applications for brief presentations or posters are now open. Any topic related to empathy in healthcare will be acceptable, especially those on:

  • The nature of therapeutic empathy
  • How to teach empathy
  • The relationship between empathy and technology
  • How to make organisations more empathetic

In order to apply, please provide a brief (maximum 200 word) abstract, and state whether you prefer to give a presentation or poster.



  • The best poster: certificate and £100 voucher
  • The best presentation: certificate and £100 voucher

Runners up:

  • 2 x runner up posters: certificate and commemorative RSM glass
  • 2 x runner up presentations: certificate and commemorative RSM glass

Deadline: Tuesday 1 October 2019

Please send submissions to open@rsm.ac.uk.


Early bird pricing available until 04 October 2019.


RSM Fellow RSM Associate RSM Retired Fellow RSM Trainee RSM Student
£85.00 £55.00 £55.00 £55.00 £35.00

Non - Member

Consultant / GP AHP / Nurse / Midwife Trainee Student
£142.00 £92.00 £92.00 £58.00

Key speakers

Professor Jodi Halpern

Professor Jodi Halpern

Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities, UC Berkeley, in the Joint Medical Program and the School of Public Health. 

Speaker's biography

Professor Halpern is co-founder of the Berkeley Group for the Ethics and Regulation of Innovative Technologies.


Her work brings together psychiatry, philosophy, affective forecasting and decision neuroscience to study how people imagine and change their own – and each other’s – future possibilities.


Her foundational work on on clinical empathy has helped make medical care more patient-centered.


For more information on Professor Halpern please click here

Professor Stewart Mercer

Professor Stewart Mercer

Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity, and Director of Scottish School of Primary Care, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh


View the programme

Registration, coffee and tea

Professor Sir Simon Wessley, President, Royal Society of Medicine, and Dr Jeremy Howick, Founding Director, Oxford Empathy Programme

Session one: Evidence

Person centred care and empathy

Mr Jonathan Broad, Associate Director for Public and Patient Involvement at South West Academic Health Science Network, Exeter

Why every healthcare consultation needs a dose of empathy

Dr Jeremy Howick

Measuring empathy and its effects in primary care

Professor Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity, and Director of the Scottish School of Primary Care, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

Questions and answers
Tea and coffee break

Session two: Workshops

Self, Kinsethetic, Reflective and Imaginative Empathy: an introductory workshop

Dr Lidewij Niezink PhD, Empathy Development Independent Scholar and Practitioner, France, and Dr Katherine Train PhD, Empathy in Organisations Independent Practitioner, South Africa

Sustaining Empathy

Dr Siân Rees, Director Patient and Public Invovlement, Oxford AHSN, and Dr Paquita de Zulueta, President, Open Section Royal Society of Medicine, and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Imperial College London 

The Leicester Clinical Empathy Programme: An ‘empathy-focused’ foundation year at Leicester Medical School

Dr Rachel Winter, Academic Clinical Lecturer in Medical Education and Old Age Psychiatry, College of Life Sciences, University of Leicester


Poster viewing

Session three: Policy and education

Empathy in context

Dr Sian Rees

Challenges to clinical empathy

Professor Jodi Halpern, Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Session four: Workshops

Schwatrz Rounds and the practice of empathy

Mr Julian Groves, Head of Staff Experience Programmes and Resources

Empathy, artificial intelligence and automation in healthcare

Mr Tim Horton, Assistant Director Improvement Team

The ethics of positive, empathic communication

Dr Andrew N Papanikitas FRCGP, PhD, Senior Clinical Researcher, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, and Dr Jeremy Howick

Tea and coffee break

Poster viewing

Session five: Culture and organisation

Creating a culture of empathy at the Cleveland Clinic

Dr Brian Donley MD, CEO, Cleveland Clinic London

Interactive session

Building a culture of empathy within healthcare

Facilitated by organising committee

Summing-up and poster prizes

Dr Paquita de Zulueta, and Dr Jeremy Howick

Close of meeting

Dr Siân Rees 


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St,, Marylebone, London, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

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