The Company and The People Behind the Passion

Empathetics provides innovative empathy and interpersonal skills training for medical professionals leveraging new, scientifically proven methods that enhance human relationships and make medical practice more effective and efficient.

Empathetics’ co-founder, Dr. Helen Riess is a psychiatrist and medical educator at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School who developed novel empathy training based on the neuroscience of empathy at MGH. Her training was tested in an initial pilot study at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary with evidence of significant improvement in physician empathy. She then conducted a randomized controlled trial of the empathy training with her research team from the Empathy and Relational Science Program at MGH. The results of this trial demonstrated significant improvement in patient ratings of patient-related physician empathy. The brief training consisted of 3 hours of empathy education spaced over 6-8 weeks. Her team then conducted a one year follow up study at Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary with the same cohort of physicians and found that the improvement in physician empathy was retained one year later. These studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

 
Empathetics, Inc., is an independent for-profit company founded in 2011. The initial Empathetics products are based upon the subject matter developed at Massachusetts General Hospital. The subject matter of the initial products has been exclusively licensed by MGH, together with the registered trademark “E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.®,” to Empathetics, Inc., but Empathetics is not part of nor is it sponsored by MGH. Empathetics develops its own copyrighted content to provide interpersonal communications education in order to improve human engagement. The marks “Empathetics” “Empathetics- Neuroscience of Emotions” and the associated logo are trademarks owned by Empathetics, Inc.

Dr. Riess’s ground breaking empathy training research was highlighted in the New York Times as the first study to demonstrate that empathy can be taught. This finding was an answer to two decades of major media headlines demanding more empathic care from medical professionals. Empathetics’ empathy training has been presented to thousands of physicians and nurses around the world, and Empathetics, Inc., has made the training available in web-based format to allow implementation throughout large healthcare systems.

helensmallHelen Riess, M.D. is Chief Scientist for Empathetics. She is a core member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations (CREIO). Dr. Riess is a psychiatrist who developed an empathy training approach based on research in the neurobiology and physiology of empathy that has been rigorously tested in pilot studies and a randomized, controlled trial at MGH. She completed her residency and Chief Residency at MGH and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Riess has devoted her career to teaching and research in the art and science of the patient-doctor relationship and serves as part-time Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Bill Brodnitzki, MS, MBA, is responsible for developing and executing Empathetics’ business strategy. Bill has been working in healthcare for nearly 20 years in a variety of leadership roles with firms dedicated to improving patient care, experience, knowledge and wellness. Most recently he was COO at Health Leads, a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring whole person care and systematically addressing patients’ social determinants of health. Prior to that, he was a member of the leadership team at MeYouHealth, a wellness firm that used social networks and gamification to improve member participation and outcomes. Previously, he spent nearly 12 years at Silverlink as a founding executive member building the company into a national leader in patient consumer experience.

dianesmallDiane Blake is the Director of Learning at Empathetics. Her responsibilities include managing product development and client relations processes, the learning management system, as well as the website and marketing functions. Ms. Blake came from Quality Interactions as Director of Product Development and Client Affairs and her primary role was to manage the distribution of their E-Learning Program and to work closely with organizations to ensure their learners were successfully trained. Prior to that, Ms. Blake worked at Houghton Mifflin as a Web Developer/Project Manager and BuyerZone.com as a Web Production Specialist. Ms. Blake holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management/Marketing from the University of Connecticut. Continuing a career of over 10 years in healthcare, Ms. Blake is excited about the mission of Empathetics and having a positive influence on the healthcare community.

Dr. Alice Domar, Ph.D, is an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology, part-time, at Harvard Medical School and a practicing licensed psychologist. She is also the director of integrative care at Boston IVF. She lectures nationally and worldwide to physicians and other healthcare professionals on the importance of empathic skills communication and is an engaging facilitator for Empathetics, Inc. She also is a specialist on the application of mind/body approaches to various health conditions with a focus on women’s health.

Joan Lowery, M.Ed. is a professional communicator with over 30 years of experience who specializes in several areas of communication skills training. She is passionate about contributing to the future of healthcare delivery by helping professionals optimize their patient-centered communication skills. Her articles and chapters on communication skills-related topics have been published in numerous healthcare and mainstream news outlets and books. She was the editor of Culture Shift, A Leader’s Guide to Managing Change in Health Care (American Hospital Press). Joan was also an award-winning broadcast and print journalist and worked for news organizations such as CNN, Associated Press, CNBC-TV and the Discovery Channel.

Lauris Woolford, M.S. is an executive coach and leadership consultant with over 33 years of experience in coaching leaders and teams, and in supporting positive cultural transformations. She brings a leadership perspective gained from managing a corporate university and leading an Organization Development division for a Fortune 500 financial services company. Prior to her retirement from banking she was Executive Vice President of Organization Development and Planning for Fifth Third Bank, where she noted the profound impact emotional intelligence and coaching had on leaders’ performance at every level of business. Lauris has been with Empathetics since its inception as a facilitator and trainer.


Empathetics, Inc., is an independent, for-profit company founded in 2011.   The initial Empathetics products are based upon the research of Dr. Riess conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Empathetics licensed Dr. Riess’s subject matter material and the trademark “E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.®” from MGH.   Although MGH receives royalties from Empathetics on sales of its products, MGH does not have an ownership interest in the company and does not sponsor or endorse the company.  Empathetics develops its own copyrighted content to provide interpersonal communications education in order to improve human engagement.  The marks “Empathetics,” “Empathetics – neuroscience of emotion” and the associated logo are trademarks of Empathetics, Inc.