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If you could stand in someone else's shoes... Hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?

These words end this incredibly beautiful video produced by the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. We spend quite a bit of effort here at On Being focusing on the sound of the human voice and how each guest adds to our collective discussion. We attempt to draw out the best of their stories and experiences in all its messiness and glory. This video speaks to each person's complexity, the stories that go unsaid but float just beneath the surface.

Titled "Empathy," this video was presented by the health care organization's CEO Toby Cosgrove at his annual State of the Clinic address on February 27, 2013. And it gets at a point that immunologist Esther Sternberg explores in her work and personal life: how new knowledge about the physical spaces of our lives can stress us, make us sick, or help us be well and connect with others.

For so many years, our hospitals and clinics were sterile, perfunctory structures that ignored the humanity of its patients and focused on the programmatic structure of its spaces. Ms. Sternberg explains:

"Hospitals are built like mazes because typically you have the old original small hospital building and then they keep adding wings to it, which hospitals until recently were designed really to optimize the diagnostic tools, you know, the X-ray equipment and the blood-drawing and so on rather than the human being that's going to be in that building. Airports too. Just think about an airport."

Folks like John Cary of Public Interest Design and others are at the forefront of a burgeoning field focusing on human-centered design. And, the nonprofit organization The Center for Health Design launched an initiative in 2000 called the Pebble Project, which uses an evidence-based design approach to "better understand the implications of the built environment on healthcare outcomes." They're learning how the built environment can affect everything from medication errors at cancer institutes to the efficacy rates of recovery with acuity-adaptable rooms (staying in the same room for admission to discharge) to the way caregivers work. They're not only collaborating with healthcare providers and medical industry partners, they're also drawing from the expertise of architects and design firms such as Herman Miller.

In the end, it's about human connection. When we relate to those around us by understanding their back stories and their circumstances, we improve the way we work, the way we live, the way we take care of one another, the way we relate going forward and, as Martin Luther King Jr. would say, building the "beloved community" that edifies us all.

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I agree every one should see/watch this video and we should be thankful that we are the people caring for them not that we are the one taking care of with this kind of trials in life.

That`s why I smile...

Thank you Trent! I sit at your feet amazed and all welled-up. Brilliant video!

This is beautiful. "Walk in my moca
sins....." Old teaching presented in a new way. Lovely and real. Thank you Cleveland Clinic.

This is a nice video but its so sad that people dont thank like this if its not some one that they care about , are love then it to bad. ps so so SAD.


Thank you Cleveland Clinic for sharing this. I have worked in healthcare ( finance) for 20 years and thik that we all need to keep this in the front of our minds!!

The visual was touching and nicely done. Many of our heathcare workers are compassionate and caring. As a nurse, we are taught to "listen." In my many years of healthcare work I have had the opportunity to see a great deal: from the receptionist who would give a patient her last dollar to go get something to eat/drink, and to a physician willing to "take the time," despite his/her demanding schedule. However, on the other hand, I have seen the receptionist who isn't paying attention to the patient's needs and presents with a unwelcoming attitude - how discouraging for a patient's initial impression of the pending care from this office, or the physician who walks in the patient's room, looks at his papers for the patient's name, identifies him/herself, and asks: "So how are you today? Anything I can do for you?" Smiles and leaves the room. Does he/she even know who I am? Scary.......All institutes training the medical profession should make it a mandatory requirement to watch this brief video, as well as the movie, "The Doctor."

I think I have compassion for patients until I see a video like this one. It made me cry and really re-think the way I will walk down the halls of the hospital.

What a marvelous reminder, we all need Jehovah God's kingdom by his son Christ Jesus.
leveryone should view this.

It would be a better world, for sure. The kind of world we need. A caring world. thank you.

In my 40 years of being an LPN this video shows what I would try and find in each person that I came in contact with. Many times I would tell others do not judge until you have walked in "their shoes". What a great video. Thank you for doing this.

compelling and poingnant

Made me cry; I just had open heart surgery after 3 heart attacks; and not yet 58. Best friend came and asked me. "how was it with my soul?' then stayed and held me as I cried.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

Absolutely moving! A definite must see! Thanks for sharing

A beautiful reminder to live by the Golden Rule and share your smile with eveyone who passes by you every day. If they don't have one, give them yours. We all carry a burden at one time or another!

This should be mandatory for all people to see and discuss. Would there be war if there were? It makes me think of a quote I love: "The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings." - Albert Schweitzer
Thank you, Cleveland Clinic.


Humanity at work. Thank you for reminding 'all of us'.

Beautiful piece.
I am in tears, knowing that much of it is how strong my empathy is. I haven't walked in many of those peoples' shoes, but I understand the joy and pain of life.
I try to make every person I meet have a better day, because often, they make my day better. I believe in peer support, for we are all equal to one another and support is so valuable for our survival.

What a refresher for us all to think past our own emotional world.... that person rushing past you might have an unselfish reason for their haste, or that person ahead of you might have something ahead which they are not ready to accept.... hmmm

Brought it back walking out of the women's hospital in Melbourne with my partner after the bad news. You walk in, you walk out shortly after and nothing is the same again

Love the video!

I am technologically challenged, but would like to share the Empathy Video. Is there an easy way to do that using email (not Tweet or Twitter)? Do I have to have a "Google account" to share it?

I wish it were really user friendly to share this video.

Can't sit on the handicap chairs because everyone thinks he doesn't have Rheumatoid Arthritis...

Tears in my eyes. We are all beloved.

architecture requires understanding and the ability to transpose what is available to what is the intent. experience and perseverance requires a balance of time and space.

Practice requires positive attitude, keep it open and keep it moving. This article is is a sign on the right path of solution. .

What a wonderful video, The Cleveland Clinic has saved my life twice. Thank you to all the people who work and help at our hospitals.

When we look at other people that face challenges ea day, we would certaintly put ours in better perspective "The Best is yet to come"

Awesome, very well presented video.

This is a beautiful video. Living in a society that demands that we always put our best foot forward and be Lions, this video looks at life in a real perspective. It reminds us that we really are just like Turtles, we bring everything we have been, are and will be with us. It's faith , love, compassion and patience that we have and share with each other that gets us through the day. Thank you.

What an awesome concept, we all get so cought up in our own crap thinking we have it so bad and Wa-La things like this wake us from our own pitty party and we see our lives are pretty dang good, thanks for this vidio it helps many of us have ampathy for those who are dealing with life in many differant and worse situations than us. Lets appreciate the other person. Do something good today that can put a smile on anothers face.

Beautiful and so true.Everyone should take a moment to watch, learn, and use in their everyday life.

Thank you for this. I always need perspective.

What a way to tap into the extent of compassion. I could hardly watch the entire video for the tears. Thank you for the reminder of my connection with each and every human being.

This video touched my heart. Reminding me not to judge so that I can understand and relate in appositive manner all those I meet

We are "hardwired" for human connection. Human-centered design is an absolutely wonderful approach. God's speed to your work.

I hope others will realize how important it is to think before you speak. Even though you might have had a rough day, treating others with disrespect wont make your day better.I thought about that... once, at my veterans day program, right next to my grandpa,a world war 2 veteran just sat and cried the whole time.poor Guy. Even though I dident even know him, I gave him a hug. Everyone should watch this. You just might learn something about having compassion. I know I did. I thought about what he saw,heard, and felt,and I cried word. Compassion.and all this coming from a ten year old!

It's about time that someone is thinking about how healing and environment fit together. Yea for Cleveland Clinic! I am a chiropractor and homeopath - in my own clinic, I thought about the patient experience when they are here. I have incorporated beauty and simplicity in my clinic: subdued lighting, homey atmosphere, handmade beautiful art. My patients appreciate it and they feel comfortable in the space.

A powerful tool for all of us in healthcare, to enable us to "see" others in their everyday world and the personal human crises going on as well as the exhaustion of a physical condition and treatment or diagnosis.

I thought this video was very thought provoking. I was a nurse in the sixties when nursing was not so technical and more focused on people.

Thank you for this. It was and is the perfect message for the eve of the first day of Ramadan. BarkAllahFik!


Health care workers, including doctors, are now forced by management to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. This makes them feel guilty and stressed. CEOs and management receive more pay than ever but they aren't the people who see patients in a medical facility or in their homes. I retired from health care after 18 years and loved the work but I could see what this was doing to the morale and temperament of staff and patients. The bottom line is important but this dire situation needs to be examined. Everyone needs more time.

How do i post on facebook??

Thank you!

Different kind of people with a different kind of problem,life style, ideas, work,sickness, family, love life, religion, & last but not list death time ! So while we are alive give thanks & have that gratitude to our creature Almighty God JEHOVAH & His Begotten Son Jesus Christ to gain Life Everlasting in a Paradise earth as in Matthew 6:10 Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.

so very true...

surely gave me a reality check....