The Empathy Initiative
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Why every healthcare consultation needs a dose of empathy by Dr Jeremy Howick

On October 29 the UTS Empathy Initiative Research Group had the pleasure of hosting a visit from Dr Jeremy Howick, Director of the Oxford Empathy Programme. Dr Howick’s presentation was titled: Why every healthcare consultation needs a dose of empathy

Jeremy Howick Empathy Initiative

Jeremy is a renowned philosopher, medical researcher and the author of Doctor You.  He is also Director of the Oxford Empathy Programme at the University of Oxford. Sue Dean worked with Jeremy during her recent sabbatical in Oxford and I also had the privilege of meeting him and beginning to scope an international empathy research collaborative (more about that in future blog posts).   

In his presentation at UTS Jeremy explained how a person’s health benefits when doctors take the time to express empathy. His arguments are supported by a recent systematic review[1] of randomized control trials that indicated that empathic and positive communication reduces pain and improves patients’ quality of life and satisfaction with care. Jeremy illustrated the meaning and implications of empathic communication using clinical stories and exemplars. His presentation was recorded and will soon be available in the Presentations tab of this website.

Jeremy is the recipient of multiple research and teaching awards, he appears regularly on television, and has written for the Times, the Huffington Post, and The Conversation. He recently discussed his research with Michael Mosley’s on the BBC Horizon episode titled ‘The placebo experiment: Can my brain cure my body’ (watch for it to come to Australia). For more information about Jeremy’s research access: http://www.phc.ox.ac.uk/team/jeremy-howick  and to find out about the Oxford Empathy Programme go to: https://www.phc.ox.ac.uk/research/oxford-empathy-programme

Written by Tracy Levett-Jones

1.     Howick, J. et al. (2018). Effects of empathic and positive communication in healthcare consultations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 111(7). 240–252.

jeremy howick oxford empathy uts