Not The End Of The Story: Building Empathy In Pursuit Of A Culture Of Health

Empathy may not be an intuitive aspect of a Culture of Health but, in fact, it is integral. We must all believe we have a shared stake in being healthy and in meeting people where they are with the help that they need to thrive. People who lack empathy make decisions that not only hurt themselves, but also can hurt others around them.

At the Foundation, we believe we will not be able to achieve our vision of a Culture of Health if we don’t simultaneously work toward eliminating the culture of violence and trauma that defines the lives of too many Americans, including too many of our children.

Once again, empathy is imperative

to achieving this goal.

For some people who are exposed to violence or experience other forms of trauma early in their lives, it can have a lasting impact on their ability to empathize with others.

This seeming “lack of empathy” can be
a survival strategy.

For example, Senghur speaks about the abuse and neglect he experienced as a child and about his own experience as a shooting victim, which left him paranoid and willing to adopt the credo that “it’s better to be the shooter than the person getting shot.”

Tara OakmanBecome

Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation