Four week conversation series on compassion launches Jan. 20

EnergyPhotoImagine a world without compassion.

Medical procedures, just as one example, surely would be grounded in science, technology and sound medical knowledge.

But how would healing feel without a comforting word, without listening, without reassurance?

Tucson Medical Center is pleased to team with the University of Arizona Center for Compassion Studies to offer a free, thought-provoking series of conversations on compassion. The four-week series begins Jan. 20 at The Core, TMC’s health and wellness center at the La Encantada Shopping Center.

“In the New Year, you hear quite a bit about people wanting to change their physical form, whether that means losing weight or building strength,” said Leslie Langbert, executive director of the Center for Compassion Studies. “But there is great value in taking the opportunity to be more intentional about developing our own mental capacities to bring about a greater sense of ease and wellbeing, both in yourself and in the world around you.”

Langbert said while human beings share the trait of compassion, it must be exercised like any other muscle in the body. Consider how easy it is to be compassionate with those you love. What about those you don’t know? A harder question: What about those you actively dislike?

“It’s important to explore what it means when we cultivate this ‘compassion muscle’ in the brain – and what it means for how we function with others and how we impact the environment in which we live,” Langbert said.

The series includes:

  • Jan. 20: The Social Neuroscience of Empathy and Compassion

What is the difference between empathy and compassion? Can these traits be trained? Dr. Al Kaszniak, a professor emeritus in the UA Department of Psychology, addresses these questions and explores the research on brain processes that influence the cultivation of these emotions.

  • Jan. 27: How Altruistic Should We Be?

Is there a limit to how much one should be expected to give, or does virtue require “extreme altruism” on our part? Michael Gill, the director of the Department of Philosophy, will help explore what it means to be compassionate in considering the needs of all in this compelling conversation.

  • Feb. 3: Climate, Environment And Compassion

How do the power and possibilities of compassion intersect with climate and environmental change? In a time when species are threatened with extinction, and our global climate and environment is changing at such a rapid pace, Gregg Garfin, deputy director of the Institute of the Environment, helps explore whether cultivating compassion within ourselves and applying a compassionate attitude may help us to understand and protect the living world.

  • Feb. 10: Can Compassion And Capitalism Exist Together?

What does compassionate entrepreneurism look like? As consumers, how can our choices be an expression of compassion? Alok Appadurai, co-founder of Fed By Threads, will share how his business is setting out to change the clothing industry and feed hungry Americans through an inspiring business model that will change the way you think about ‘eco-fashion.’

Tim Bentley, manager of The Core, said while compassionate practice has been shown to have far-reaching benefits for individuals, such as helping regulate stress levels, it can also have sweeping social impacts in many areas of everyday living, from schools to business practice. “The UA is really at the forefront of providing training and research in this area so we can have a greater understanding of the power of caring in this very interconnected culture we live in.”

Admission is free for all of the lectures, but RSVP is recommended at For more information please visit




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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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