The Charter

Charter Preamble

The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare is a collaborative effort involving people, organizations, and institutions around the world who are working together to restore human values in healthcare. These fundamental values include the capacity for compassion, respect for persons, commitment to integrity and ethical practice, commitment to excellence, and justice in healthcare.  They embody the human dimensions of healthcare and are fundamental to the practice of compassionate, ethical and safe relationship-centered care. These values represent the overarching goals that motivate scientifically sound, effective methods of care.

We believe that fundamental human values, such as those listed above, are both essential and universal. They are fundamental values that underpin a relationship-centered approach, and can be embraced by healthcare systems around the world — across cultures, languages, professions and disciplines. They are indispensably present in every healthcare interaction.

We believe that effective and caring communication is essential to restoring human values in health care. Values are realized by and manifested in language and the interaction process. Skilled communication underpins healthcare interactions and relationships, and plays an essential role in making values visible.

We believe these core human values that define the goals and processes of health care have yet to receive the emphasis necessary to make them central to every healthcare encounter. Placing emphasis on our core values will help to solve many problems in delivery of care — ranging from excessive cost and profit to inadequate care for the less fortunate and underserved.

The Charter is meant to inspire a movement to improve care by restoring the primacy of human values, to place them at the center, and to make them the goal of every effort in healthcare.


We believe the following core human values should be present in and inform every healthcare interaction.

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1. Compassion

Compassion should be central to human relationships. Compassion means to understand the condition of others, and to commit oneself to the healing and caring necessary to enhance health and relieve suffering. The values underlie our efforts to be compassionate.
  • Capacity for caring
  • Capacity for empathy
  • Capacity for self-awareness
  • Motivation to help, heal
  • Capacity for kindness
  • Capacity for genuineness
  • Capacity for generosity
  • Capacity for flexibility and adaptability in relationships
  • Capacity for acceptance
  • Capacity for curiosity
  • Capacity for altruism
  • Capacity for mindedness

2.  Respect for Persons 

Respect should form the basis of all of our relationships.

  • Respect for patient’s and their significant others’ viewpoints, opinions, wishes, beliefs
  • Respect for cultural, social, gender, class, spiritual, and linguistic differences
  • Respect for autonomy
  • Respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • Respect for all colleagues of the interprofessional team
  • Humility


3. Commitment to Integrity and Ethical Practice

The healing professions are built around integrity and ethical practice. These must underlie and permeate all actions in the health professions.

  • Commitment to honesty and trustworthiness
  • Commitment to reliability
  • Commitment to accountability and responsibility
  • Commitment to thepatient’s well-being
  • Commitment todoing no harm
  • Capacity to acknowledge one’s limits and seek guidance; awareness of own limitations
  • Commitment to tolerance and non-judgmental care

4. Commitment to Excellence

We must dedicate ourselves to achieving excellence in all aspects of healthcare. Without excellence, no matter how well intentioned, our efforts to heal will fall short.

  • Commitment to providing the best, most effective care (scientifically and psychosocially)
  • Commitment to communication excellence
  • Commitment to relational excellence
  • Commitment to self-awareness and reflective practice
  • Commitment to life-long learning, expertise, and professional development
  • Commitment to serve the patient’s best interest

5. Justice in Healthcare

We believe that healthcare professionals should embrace the values of justice in healthcare, and commit themselves to advocating for and putting these values into action.

  • Right to healthcare (information, access, quality)
  • Right to equality 
  • Commitment to advocating for the patient
  • Absence of discrimination and prejudice
  • Attention to social factors, constraints, and barriers to care
  • Commitment to social justice

© 2011 International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare. All rights reserved.


© 2011 International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare. All rights reserved.