John Eric Baugher
A world where compassion for all is the foundation of human culture and social systems.
Supporting those who suffer and those who care with teachings on the practice of compassionate caregiving.
Compassion – reaching out to relieve suffering is what makes us human
Contemplation – committing to practices that calm the mind, open the heart, and allow insight
Inclusion – extending compassion to all, without exception
Reverence – affirming the sacredness of each person, each encounter, each moment
Justice – healing the conditions that cause suffering and limit compassion
Humility – accepting that our care is one expression of a larger web of compassion
Gratitude – responding with openness and appreciation to the gift of each moment
John’s life-long commitment to caregiving began on the front lines of the AIDS crisis in New Orleans in the early 1990s. Over the past 25 years he has provided emotional, spiritual, and bereavement support to countless dying persons and their family members in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, community centers, and private residences. John is a certified nursing assistant (CNA), bereavement group facilitator, hospice caregiver, and chaplain with a Ph.D. in sociology.
John is both a practitioner and scholar of compassionate care. He has published research studies and essays on stress and healthy coping, organizational change, transformational learning, caregiver support, and hospice care. His latest book, Contemplative Caregiving: Finding Healing, Compassion, & Spiritual Growth through End-of-Life Care integrates insights from his own caregiving experience with research on hospice workers in the United States and Germany, including caregivers who are inmates in prison. The book, a culmination of twelve years of research, offers a guide for end-of-life caregivers and for anyone seeking to transform experiences of caregiving and grief.
As a young man, John turned to end-of-life caregiving following the loss of his mother to murder. John’s writing and teaching weave together insights wrested from the depths of his own grief with those of individuals of diverse backgrounds and life situations. In illuminating how his own struggles and transformation are mirrored in those of individuals who themselves are behind bars for murder, John points to more universal processes of compassion development and healing in the human journey with suffering and mortality. In all his work, John seeks to lift up the dignity of all, affirming that we each have the spiritual capacity to face the suffering of this life with courage and compassion, and to be transformed in the process.
John has been a transformative educator for more than two decades teaching courses in sociology and related disciplines in colleges and universities in the United States, Germany, and in a state prison. He has also given numerous invited talks and workshops at universities, religious institutions, and health care organizations in the United States, Germany, and Austria, including:
Evangelische Fachhochschule, Freiburg, Germany
Internationale Pädagogische Werktagung Salzburg, Austria
James Madison University
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of New England
Wake Forest University
Maine Medical Center
Hospice of Southern Maine
Karl Joseph Hospiz, Freiburg, Germany
John’s work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His teaching draws on best practices in contemporary learning theory and research. His innovative approach integrates the principles and practices of contemplative caregiving in healthcare, education, and leadership contexts.