Background and Members

Healthcare settings – built as they are on caring relationships – can be the ultimate expression of compassion and help set an example for how compassionate organizations can be run. Our experts in health and healthcare are working internationally to make this happen. 


The GCC Compassion Health Impact Cluster aims to transform healthcare globally through helping to support compassionate cultures and leadership across health and social care. The mission is to aid integration of compassion with all agencies that affect human happiness, wellbeing and belonging in society.


To achieve this shared mission the GCC Health Impact Cluster brings together healthcare experts, practitioners, and users across the world to demonstrate the power of compassion in healthcare, identify ways that compassion can be embedded in healthcare design, and to advocate the adoption of those proposals.


Michael West CBE (Convenor)

Michael West is a Fellow of The King's Fund, Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University, Visiting Professor at University College, Dublin, and Emeritus Professor at Aston University. He has authored, edited and co-edited 20 books and has published more than 200 articles on teamwork, leadership and culture, particularly in healthcare.

Vidyamala Burch OBE

Vidyamala brings a lived experience perspective to this group having lived with spinal injuries for all her adult life. She is also the Founder of The Breathworks Foundation - an international charity offering mindfulness and compassion approaches to living with pain, illness and other life challenges.

Suzie Bailey

Suzie leads the leadership and organisational development team at The King’s Fund, UK. She was an operational leader in acute, community and mental health care providers for more than 21 years and is passionate about improving care through the development of people and cultures. At Sheffield Teaching Hospitals she led the creation of the Sheffield Microsystem Coaching Academy in partnership with the Dartmouth Institute in Massachusetts, US.

Rachna Chowla

Rachna is a Joint Director of Clinical Strategy at King's Health Partners, one of eight Academic Health Science Centres in England. She is also GP and has an MBA from INSEAD, where she is also part of their Healthcare Management Initiative. She has previously worked at a health-tech start-up, a large pharmaceutical company in Milan and with the King’s Fund on Compassionate Leadership and Innovation. She is a poet and a publisher, and the Swirling Leaf Press, her publishing label helps poets and non-fictions writers share their work of Love, Truth and Beauty.

Barbara Doeleman

Barbara is founder and director of BFC Compassionate Care & Mindful Medicine. Her background - in knowledge and experience - means that she can clearly interpret and put into practice the connection between healthcare, leadership, teamwork, science, mindfulness and spirituality (contemplative traditions). She works nationally and internationally with experts in the field of integration of mindfulness & compassion in organization and leadership.

Carina Hilders

Carina is Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management.

Caroline O'Regan

Caroline brings a pragmatic and educational perspective to this group having incorporated compassionate leadership in undergraduate and post graduate curriculum and executive development programmes at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Ireland and Internationally. She works in partnership with the Irish Health Services System (HSE) and has launched a range of compassionate leadership and nurturing compassionate cultures in health and social care as part of Irish National Government Health Strategy and Policy (*Slaintecare) (*Slaintecare : A 10year government strategy agreed by all political parties and healthcare stakeholders).

Dr Katy Steward

Consultant, coach and board member, Katy trained as an anthropologist and has worked for 30 years on the power of culture to inhibit or enable change. A trustee on the OxfamGB board she also played a significant role in helping health care in UK develop compassionate cultures.

Helen Thomas

Helen is Assistant Director of Leadership and Succession at Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).

Paquita de Zulueta

Paquita has been a senior honorary clinical lecturer at Imperial College since 2000 and has been teaching and writing about clinical ethics since 1993. For several years Paquita has worked as a part-time CBT, compassion-focused & EMDR therapist, and is a qualified coach and mentor for clinicians and others. She was for ten years a member of the Imperial College clinical ethics committee and for 6 years of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. In 2017-8, she was GP lead for the Grenfell NHS outreach team following the fire.

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