Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (COMP-Northwest) will host the Competency of Compassion conference Saturday, Jan. 12 on the Oregon campus.

The conference is geared toward students in health care professions, and will include osteopathic medical students from WesternU COMP-Northwest; physician assistant students from Pacific University; and pre-med students from the University of Oregon. Approximately 60 students are expected to attend.

“As patients, compassion is one of the most important things we look for in a health care professional,” said Di Lacey, WesternU assistant vice president of the Oregon campus. “As health care professionals, compassion is one of the most difficult competencies to learn. Too often with our patients, we focus on the problem and fly right past the person.”

“These future caregivers will explore healing versus curing, learn to maintain resilience and understand the impact compassion holds in both patient outcomes and experience,” she explained.

Lacey is also the director for the medical school’s Rural Health Track. During students’ first year at WesternU COMP-Northwest, they may pick an elective track to provide a comprehensive and in-depth overview of practicing medicine in rural areas.

The conference will include sessions on improving clinical outcomes; reducing burnout and promoting engagement; narrative medicine; and active listening. Lunch will include a presentation on music thanatology, also known as prescriptive medicine. Music thanatology is a modality used to help comfort a patient facing a terminal illness. For example, a harpist may play in the patient’s room after life support is removed.

The conference is open to health care students and costs $75 to attend. Registration may be completed by visiting https://commerce.cashnet.com/westernu.compnw.cme.