How to create a compassionate university? Workshop on the challenges, opportunities and lessons from the creation of a compassionate environment

Benjamin Werrebrouck, Kirsten Hermans, Bonnie Tompkins, Sally Paul

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


A Compassionate University (CU) recognizes that natural cycles of illness, death and loss occur daily within the walls of the institution. Its members acknowledge that caring for each other in times of crisis and loss is everyone's responsibility. This workshop brings together different institutions that are at various stages of developing CU initiatives:
Brock University (CAN) is led by public health students and affiliated with the Compassionate City Charter. The initiative has resulted in engagement activities with the admin, facility, students, and community organizations that have led to a number of social actions, including the creation of a reflective space on campus;
Brussels University (BE) initiated the initiative by applying the Compassionate Cities Charter. A social change coalition consisting of faculties, students, employees, trade unions and the university hospital have designed several social actions for the coming year (eg memorial statue on campus);
University of Strathclyde (UK) has yet to formally initiate the process but has already developed policy and support in relation to carers and plans to extend this to bereavement.
The workshop will share experiences about the process of developing CU’s from the three universities. It aims for mutual learning with the audience about other compassionate communities (CC), to share challenges and successes and promote further advances. Idea generation techniques will be applied to develop solutions and select concepts that can be used by participants.
We expect that presenters and participants will learn about:
- the challenges and opportunities of creating a CU
- what can be learned for and from other CC initiatives
- practical guidance for the creation of a compassionate work environment.
This workshop will identify the need for, and significance of, developing CUs and in doing so seek to motivate more universities to join in and contribute to the global palliative care community development.


Conference6th Public Health and Palliative Care International
Internet address


  • compassionate university
  • workshop
  • challenges
  • opportunities
  • lessons
  • compassionate environment


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