in Action

Healthcare Conference

September 8-10, 2019

Join us for the Schwartz Center’s Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference! Connect with more than 500 professionals, system leaders and others who are committed to making compassionate healthcare a priority in their organizations and communities.

Engage with colleagues from across the globe and learn about cutting-edge programs, strategies and tools to create and sustain cultures of compassion. Experience immersive sessions that will leave you inspired, equipped with knowledge and skills supported by new partners.

In Partnership With
AHA logo-plf


The healthcare system is rapidly changing. Pressures to increase efficiencies, improve coordination across the care spectrum and lower costs are contributing to a rising epidemic of a burned-out healthcare workforce. A lack of truly meaningful patient-family engagement, and inconsistent improvement in quality across all settings are symptoms of a system moving away from the core of what matters most for those who chose healthcare as a calling and for those who we aim to heal.

The Schwartz Center’s Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference brings together clinicians, health system leaders and others who are committed to making compassion a priority in their organizations and communities. Participants will engage with colleagues from across the globe and experience immersive sessions that will leave them inspired, equipped with knowledge and skills and supported by new partners to create and sustain cultures of compassion.



Built on the Compassionate Collaborative Care Framework, conference topics focus on advancing cultures of compassion, communication, interprofessional teamwork and interpersonal skills. Participants will learn to apply those techniques towards initiatives and strategies that achieve the quadruple aim of improving patient experience, population health and workforce well-being while lowering costs.

Conference Themes

  • Workforce resilience, well-being and engagement
  • Creating compassionate organizational cultures
  • Compassionate responses to social challenges
  • Communicating with patients, families and each other
  • Engaging patients, families and their communities to support health
  • Compassion science and practice


This conference focuses on organizational culture change using strategies based on empathy, effective communication, interpersonal skills and interprofessional collaboration.

This conference is ideal for:

  • Organizational leaders, directors and managers of healthcare professionals
  • Practicing healthcare professionals and ethicists
  • Patient and clinician experience officers and teams
  • Quality and safety professionals and risk managers
  • Health professional educators
  • Human resources and employee assistance program professionals
  • Spiritual care providers and chaplains
  • Professional society leadership representatives
  • Policy and public health representatives

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Check back for additional information about credit offerings as the conference gets closer.


Keynote Speakers
Katie Bach

Katie Bach

Managing Director, the Good Jobs Institute (former Director of Global Strategy for Starbucks)

Tim Cunningham, RN, DrPH

Tim Cunningham, RN, DrPH

Tim Cunningham, RN, DrPH, is the Director, Compassionate Care Initiative, and Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.

Amy C. Edmondson

Amy C. Edmondson

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society.

Shekinah N.C. Elmore, MD, MPH

Shekinah N.C. Elmore, MD, MPH

Shekinah N. C. Elmore, MD, MPH, is a resident in the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program who is dedicated to pursuing equity and empathy in oncology care. She is a cancer survivor and has written about her experience treading the line between patient and provider.

Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN

Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN

Susan B. Hassmiller, RN, PHD, FAAN, is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Adviser for Nursing. In partnership with AARP, Hassmiller also directs the Foundation’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Her work has included service in public health settings at the local, state and national levels, including HRSA.

Michael Hebb

Michael Hebb

Author of “Let’s Talk About Death Over Dinner,” and founder of Death Over Dinner, Michael Hebb explores how we can use the power of home, hearth, and meaningful conversation to change healthcare.

Paul Morton

Paul Morton

Senior Vice President Northeast Regional Manager, Nordstrom

Helen Riess, MD

Helen Riess, MD

Helen Riess, MD, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Founder of Empathetics, Inc. She has devoted her career to teaching and research in the art and science of the patient-doctor relationship.

Peter L. Slavin, MD

Peter L. Slavin, MD

Peter L. Slavin, MD, is the President of Massachusetts General Hospital. He also is a Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School where he teaches internal medicine and healthcare management.

Featured Speakers



At Compassion in Action, participants will roll up their sleeves, dig in and engage with visionary thinkers and doers to experience and learn how healthcare organizations around the world are improving quality, lowering costs and strengthening patients’ and providers’ experience using compassionate, collaborative care. Our vision is to form a powerful community where every Compassion in Action participant plays an integral role in sharing ideas, simulating new thinking and provoking the change that will better our healthcare system.

Through interactive experiential sessions with experts from diverse care settings and communities, this innovative conference will focus on fostering compassionate leaders across all professions and roles within healthcare. Participants will leave the conference having gained inspiration, knowledge/skills and partners to improve care quality and outcomes, patient experience and workforce well-being through compassion and collaboration.


Sample schedule below:

More details for 2019 will be posted in the coming months.

Schwartz Center Member Day Welcome & Lunch

12:30 pm


1:30 pm

Member Cocktail Reception

5:15 pm


6:30 pm

Morning Activity

6:30 am

Welcome & Breakfast

8:00 am

Keynote Speakers

8:20 am

Breakout Sessions

9:45 am

Lunch & Networking General Session

12:45 pm

Breakout Sessions

3:00 pm

Cocktail Reception

5:00 pm

Evening Activities

5:30 pm

Morning Activity

6:30 am


7:00 am

Welcome & Breakfast

8:00 am

Keynote Speakers

8:30 am

Breakout Sessions

9:45 am

Lunch & Networking

12:30 pm

Keynote Speaker

1:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

1:45 pm

Keynote Speaker

3:15 pm

Concluding Remarks

4:00 pm
Planning Committee
Stephanie J. Adler Yuan, MS Director of Education and Training, Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Elisa Arespacochaga, MBA Vice President, American Hospital Association
Rana Awdish, MD Specialist in Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care Medicine, Henry Ford Health System
Agnes (Aggie) Barden, DNP, RN, CPXP Vice President, Patient & Customer Experience, Northwell Health
Maren Batalden, MD, MPH Associate Chief Quality Officer, Cambridge Health Alliance
Leah Binder President & CEO, The Leapfrog Group
Monica Bharel, MA, DPH Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Calvin Chou, MD, PhD, FACH Professor of Clinical Medicine, VP External Education, UCSF; Vice President for External Education, Academy of Communication in Healthcare
Sue Collier, MSN, RN, FABC Vice President, Innovation and Clinical Excellence, North Carolina Healthcare Association Foundation
Jocelyn Cornwell, PhD CEO and Founder, Point of Care Foundation
James R. Doty, MD Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine; Founder & Director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE)
Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer, O'Neil Center/ GetWellNetwork
Ronald M. Epstein, MD Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Rushika Fernandopulle, MD CEO and Co-Founder, Iora Health
Martha (Meg) Gaines, JD, LL.M Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School; Director, Center for Patient Partnerships
Elizabeth Gaufberg, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director of Professional and Academic Development, The Cambridge Health Alliance
Michael Goldberg, MD Scholar-in-Residence, Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Sue Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN Senior Advisor for Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Elizabeth Hickman Chief Operating Officer, Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Beth Lown, MD Chief Medical Officer, Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Pat Mastors Executive Director, Patients'​ View Institute
Kathy McGuinn, MSN, RN, CPHQ, FNAP Director of Interprofessional Education and Practice Partnerships, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Kathy Scopin, BSN, PHN, RN Membership Experience Advisor, West Region, Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Andrew (Andy) Shin, JD, MPH Chief Operating Officer, AHA Center for Health Innovation at American Hospital Association
Cynthia D. Sweeney, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC Executive Director, The DAISY Foundation
Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN President & CEO, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Monica Worline, PhD Founder & CEO, EnlivenWork
Charlotte Yeh, MD Chief Medical Officer, AARP Services
Schwartz Center Steering Committee
Stephanie J. Adler Yuan, MS Director of Education and Training
Michael Goldberg, MD Scholar-in-Residence
Elizabeth Hickman Chief Operating Officer
Beth Lown, MD Chief Medical Officer
Kathy Scopin, BSN, PHN, RN Membership Experience Advisor, West Region
Member Planning Committee
Lisa Beard Senior Patient Navigator, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
Jeff Christie, LCSW, CEAP Director, JPS Health Network, JPS/ACCLAIM Employee Assistance Program
Julie Collier, Ph.D. Director, Enterprise Resilience, Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford/Stanford Children’s Health
Laura Crooks, OTR, MHA Senior Director, Experience, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Mary Tess Crotty, MA Vice President, Quality, Genesis HealthCare
Linh B Dang NYC H+H, Sr. Director of Arts in Medicine, NOAH Board Member (National Organization for Arts in Health)
Kristen Demertzis, Ph.D., ABPP Board Certified in Clinical Neuropsychology Chief, Division of Neuropsychology, Southside Hospital Director of Resident Mentorship, OB/GYN Department, Southside Hospital Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Jon S. Du Bois, MD Clinical Associate, Harvard Medical School, Medical Director, Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital, Medical Director, Mass General Cancer Center at MVH and NCH, Clinical Staff, Mass General Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
Rev. Krista Gregory, MDiv, BCC Director of The Center for Resiliency at Dell Children’s, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Shanna Hoffman Director of Integrative Nursing, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Casey Kudesia, MA Director of Training and Organizational Development, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts
Sophia McIntyre, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP, CPE Chief Medical Officer, Hudson River Healthcare, Inc., 2016 Baldrige Executive Fellow
Denise Mohess Medical Director, Inova Geriatric Services Physician Leader, Schwartz Center Rounds
Sirisha Narayana, MD Assistant Professor, Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCSF Parnassus Campus
Louisa Nedkov Manager, Kailo Employee Wellness Program, Halton Healthcare
Daniel Pomerantz, MD, MPH, FACP Physician Leader for Schwartz Center Rounds, Director of Ambulatory Care, Director of Palliative Care, Associate Program Director, Department of Medicine, Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital
Emelia Rogers, LICSW Medical Social Worker, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
Ellen Rosendale, MSW, LCSW Director of Family Services, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Nancy Searl, RECE Collaborative Practice Leader, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Rick L. Shifley, PhD Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Arts & Sciences, MCPHS University
Marcia Walker, MSW, LISW-S Manager – YOU Matter Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus OH
Wendy Walters, LICSW Clinical Ethics Consultant, UAB Hospital Clinical Ethics Program
Supportive Partners
Media Sponsor

View the sponsorship levels. For more information on these and other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Elizabeth Hickman at

Media Sponsor

Thank you to the Schwartz Center National Business Members for their year-round support of our mission and programs including this conference. Learn more about business membership.


Chairman Circle
Executive Circle
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Blue Cross Blue Shield MA
Massachusetts General Hospital
Leader Circle

American Hospital Association
Benchmark Senior Living
Genesis HealthCare
Integro Insurance Brokers
MedPro Group
Novo Nordisk
Partners HealthCare
Tufts Health Plan

Scholarship Fund Provides Tuition Assistance 

The Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference Scholarship Fund provides tuition assistance for medical, nursing and other health profession students to attend the conference. To donate, click here and select “Conference Scholarship Fund” in the designation box.

Scholarship Sponsors

Stephen and Betsy Corman Scholarships (Underwritten by Stephen Corman)
Frances and Jerry Gold Scholarships – Underwritten by Andrea and Brad Buchbinder
Murray A. Jacobson Family Foundation Scholarship
Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Scholarships (Supporting Nursing Student Compassion Scholars)
Kenneth B. Schwartz Scholarships – Underwritten by Ellen Cohen
Alan and Susan Solomont Scholarship

For more information, please contact Lisa Crane, director of individual and foundation giving, at or 617-643-5490. To learn more about applying for scholarships, click here.


About the Schwartz Center

The Schwartz Center is dedicated to strengthening the human connection at the
heart of healthcare. 

Through national and international partnerships, the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare’s coalition of caregivers, patients, families and other leaders work together to make compassion a vital element in every aspect of healthcare. We provide innovative educational and training opportunities for caregivers that are supported by cutting-edge research in neuroscience and communication. We are dedicated to advancing policies that inspire and help healthcare organizations create an environment that fosters a culture of healing and well-being for patients and clinicians.

Established in 1995, the Schwartz Center, a leader in the movement to make compassion a vital element in every patient-caregiver interaction, was founded on the belief that greater compassion and more meaningful collaboration are fundamental to the kind of care clinicians want to deliver and patients want to receive.

The Schwartz Center is an independent, non-profit organization, with 450 healthcare members in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, supporting 288,000 healthcare professionals each year.  In partnership with the Point of Care Foundation, more than 190 hospitals, hospices and other healthcare organizations conduct the innovative Schwartz Rounds® program in the United Kingdom, which unites caregivers from a range of disciplines to share experiences, learn from each other and focus on the human dimension of medicine.

Schwartz Center members rely on programs, education and resources to support clinician well-being, enhance the quality of care, enable better outcomes and create a more positive and rewarding experience for all members of the care team, patients and their families. To help patients and family members acknowledge caregivers who epitomize the qualities of compassionate care the Schwartz Center established the Honor Your Caregiver program. Through its National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year® Award, the Center celebrates healthcare professionals who display extraordinary devotion and compassion in caring for patients and families.

For media inquires please contact: Cathy Burke ( )

For sponsorship information please contact: Elizabeth Hickman (

For exhibitor information please contact: Melissa Thaler ( )

Connect with Us


The Westin Boston Waterfront

425 Summer Street, Boston, MA

Ideally located in Boston’s thriving Seaport District, The Westin Boston Waterfront offers guests the opportunity to relax and recharge with many onsite amenities and explore the vibrant cultural and culinary offerings nearby.


Limited rooms at the discounted rate of $299/night are available for September 8, 9 and 10.  If you plan to extend your stay beyond those nights, please contact the hotel directly at 617-532-4600 to get the best available rates.