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About Us

The Company and The People Behind the Passion​

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

Our Story

As a psychiatrist and founder of the Empathy and Relational Sciences Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Dr. Helen Riess and her clinical research team were concerned with clinical reports and national headlines about the decline in the patient experience throughout the country, which has only been exacerbated by the global pandemic.  One member remarked, “I think what patients really want is empathy-- too bad we can’t teach it!”  Answering the question of whether empathy can be taught became a career-defining quest. Dr. Riess has devoted her teaching career at Harvard Medical School to improving the patient-physician relationship.

The neuroscience of empathy was being explored by neuroscientists all over the world. The prevailing wisdom was that empathy was an inborn trait that you either had or did not have. A Medical Education Fellowship at Harvard Medical School gave Dr. Riess the chance to explore the neuroscience of empathy and develop an empathy

Watch Dr. Riess deliver her Tedx Talk On the Power of Empathy

education innovation that could be rigorously tested. The research team sought to determine whether patients could perceive a difference in physicians who were trained in empathy versus those who were not and whether patient ratings of physician empathy improved.

Pilot studies at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary were conducted in surgeons to test the hypothesis that the neuroscience-based training improved empathy, and to see whether the impact of the training endured one year later.  A randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of research, was then conducted at MGH to definitively prove whether physician empathy could be taught and learned in multiple specialties. Importantly, the study’s main outcome measure was to determine whether patients reported an improvement in their experiences with their physicians on a highly validated and reliable empathy scale called the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) Measure after physicians were trained in empathy. The groundbreaking results proved that the empathy intervention significantly improved the patient experience. The results, published in peer reviewed medical journals,  were soon picked up by the New York Times.  This opened the door to scaling this training to benefit healthcare organizations all over the world.  In addition to improving the patient experience, Empathetics is also helping client partners achieve increased wellness and retention of their clinical and non-clinical staff. 

Empathetics was founded by teaming up with eLearning experts who applied the principles of Dr. Riess’s program into an eLearning program that can be delivered to any organization online. The Empathetics, Inc., program is delivered to physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and all patient-facing clinicians. The program also delivers empathy education specifically designed for nonclinical staff, including the front office and hospital staff, food service, environmental services, and valet parking attendants.

Empathetics has attracted a team of dedicated professionals who are passionate about our mission to transform healthcare with enhanced human connection.  From course development to the sales, marketing, data analysis and implementation, each member of the Empathetics team works together to create a seamless customer journey with support for training and measurement tools to track progress in the learner’s experience and overall organizational climate. Through our companion workshop program, Empathetics, Inc. delivers "Train-the-Facilitator" training to onsite facilitators at healthcare organizations. This model allows for customization and personalization, making our live-experiential learning even more powerful in both in-person and virtual settings.


Today, Empathetics is dedicated to creating “Institutional Empathy, the kind of organization that patients and families will become loyal to for generations to come. 

The Empathetics Leadership Team


Helen Riess
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Helen Riess, M.D. is a clinical and research psychiatrist whose research serves as the foundation for Empathetics' curriculum. She completed her residency and Chief Residency at MGH and serves as part-time Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Riess is a core member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations (CREIO). Dr. Riess has devoted her career to teaching and research in the art and science of the patient-doctor relationship.

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Jennifer Moccia 
Chief Growth Officer


Jennifer Moccia joined Empathetics as Chief Growth Officer after 20+ successful years in sales and marketing at Condé Nast, an organization known for its rigorous training and high standard of excellence. She has designed, closed and executed revenue-growth enhancing programs across business categories. Jennifer is passionate about enhancing empathy in healthcare, informed by navigating the healthcare system for her loved ones.

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Suzanne Oakley
Chief Financial Officer

Suzanne Oakley earned her MBA in Finance and New Business Development from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and her BS in Business Administration from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.  Ms. Oakley brings her experience in business planning, financial modeling, financial management, and strategy development as CFO to Empathetics.

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Austin Young
Director of Learning Operations
 Product Development

Austin Young, M.Ed. is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a professional educator. Austin specializes in learning design and technology. His work at Empathetics is driven by his passion for social and emotional learning and its potential to improve our lives, work, and capacity to cooperate toward a kinder and more just world.

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Diana Diaz
Project Coordinator

Diana Diaz is the Project Coordinator for Empathetics. She executes the implementation of Empathetics products to clients and manages the Learning Management System. A graduate of Middlebury College, Diana has a strong background in management and logistics and brings a passion to advancing empathy in healthcare.

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.

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