Teaching Empathy in Healthcare

Building a New Core Competency

  • Adriana E. Foster
  • Zimri S. Yaseen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. What Is Empathy and How Can It Be Evaluated?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Zimri S. Yaseen, Adriana E. Foster
      Pages 3-16
    3. Michelle Trieu, Adriana E. Foster, Zimri S. Yaseen, Courtnie Beaubian, Raffaella Calati
      Pages 17-39
    4. Anjelica J. Halim, Adriana E. Foster, Laura Ayala, Erica D. Musser
      Pages 41-61
    5. Gabriel Sanchez, Melissa Ward Peterson, Erica D. Musser, Igor Galynker, Simran Sandhu, Adriana E. Foster
      Pages 63-82
  3. Approaches to Empathy Education

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 83-83
    2. Tamara Zec, David Forrest
      Pages 85-97
    3. Zimri S. Yaseen, Sarah Bloch-Elkouby, Shira Barzilay
      Pages 99-116
    4. James W. Lomax, Adriana E. Foster
      Pages 127-142
    5. Benjamin Lok, Adriana E. Foster
      Pages 143-163
    6. Gregory Schneider, Marin Gillis, Heidi von Harscher
      Pages 165-178
    7. Carissa Cabán-Alemán, Jordanne King, Auralyd Padilla, Jeanie Tse
      Pages 179-191
    8. Jean Hannan, Mark Fonseca, Edgar Garcia Lara, Mercedes Braithwaite, Faith Irving, Elizabeth Azutillo
      Pages 193-209
    9. Sangeeta Lamba, Anastasia Kunac, Anne Mosenthal
      Pages 211-219
  4. Empathy: A Systemic Perspective

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 221-221
    2. Rabia Khan, Maria Athina (Tina) Martimianakis
      Pages 239-250
    3. Aniuska M. Luna, Emily Jurich, Francisco Quintana
      Pages 251-267
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 299-307

About this book


Empathy is essential to effectively engaging patients as partners in care. Clinicians’ empathy is increasingly understood as a professional competency, a mode and process of relating that can be learned and taught. Communication and empathy training are penetrating healthcare professions curricula as knowledge about the most effective modalities to train, maintain, and deepen empathy grows. This book draws on a wide range of contributors across many disciplines, and takes an evidence-based and longitudinal approach to clinical empathy education. It takes the reader on an engaging journey from understanding what empathy is (and how it can be measured), to approaches to empathy education informed by those understandings. It elaborates the benefits of embedding empathy training in graduate and post-graduate curricula and the importance of teaching empathy in accord with the clinician’s stage of professional development. Finally, it examines systemic perspectives on empathy and empathy education in the clinical setting, addressing issues such as equity, stigma, and law. Each section is full of the latest evidence-based research, including, notably, the advances that have been made over recent decades in the neurobiology of empathy.

Perspectives among the interdisciplinary chapters include:

  • Neurobiology of empathy   
  • Measuring empathy in healthcare   
  • Teaching clinicians about affect   
  • Teaching cultural humility: Understanding the core of others by reflecting on ours   
  • Empathy and implicit bias: Can empathy training improve equity?   

Teaching Empathy in Healthcare: Building a New Core Competency takes an innovative and comprehensive approach towards a developed understanding of empathy in the clinical context. This evidence-based book is set to become a classic text on the topic of empathy in healthcare settings, and will appeal to a broad readership of clinicians, educators, and researchers in clinical medicine, neuroscience, behavioral health, and the social sciences, leaders in educational and professional organizations, and anyone interested in the healthcare services they utilize.


empathy compassion cultural humanity dehumanization facial affective behavior mirror neurons non-verbal behavior patient-clinician communication self-awareness stigma virtual humans medical education therapeutic alliance working alliance

Editors and affiliations

  • Adriana E. Foster
    • 1
  • Zimri S. Yaseen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral HealthHerbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral HealthIcahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Beth IsraelNew YorkUSA

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Public Health