We are facilitators, faculty, clinicians and practitioners collectively focused on helping our learners and colleagues be their best selves.

Elizabeth (Lili) Powell, PhD, MA

Maria and John Kluge Endowed Chair in Compassionate Care
Interim Director, Compassionate Care Initiative

In healthcare, where the ideal is to provide compassionate and effective care for every patient, how can a leader most effectively influence and inspire a team to achieve this worthy goal? Exploring the answer to this question is at the heart of Dr. Powell’s work with the Compassionate Care Initiative.

Lili has dedicated her academic and consulting career to learning and teaching the practical wisdom required to lead people and organizations. Beginning as a graduate student and continuing since 1994 as a professor at UVA Darden School of Business, she has been fascinated by the intersections of leadership, communication, performance and self-inquiry.

Out of a personal interest, Lili became a certified yoga teacher in 2006. She was surprised to discover that practices and insights from this somatic, contemplative and ethical discipline would inform her academic interests. Since that time, she has developed innovative courses in mindful leadership and leadership presence. She has come to believe that by teaching leaders to train their attention and cultivate goodwill, they can more skillfully exercise a positive influence in their own lives and in their workplaces.

In recognition of this novel work, she was awarded a joint appointment with UVA School of Nursing in 2017 to further her contributions in the context of healthcare. Her new course, Leading with Presence in Healthcare, has attracted a diverse and interprofessional student audience.

Hannah Crosby, BA, RYT

Assistant Director, Compassionate Care Initiative

Ms. Crosby's passion for promoting holistic well-being was first sparked in 2011, as an original member of UVA School of Nursing's award-winning Healthy Work Environment (HWE) team. It was through this work and dialogue with her colleagues that she recognized self-care as an important avenue to nurturing personal and professional resilience.

So when joining the Compassionate Care Initiative (CCI) staff in 2013, there was an immediate synergy with Hannah's passion and CCI's mission. While pursuing her own self-care, Hannah developed a deep yoga practice over the years, which inspired her to complete the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2018 at Opal Yoga (Charlottesville, VA). She now teaches a drop-in yoga class with CCI weekly.

During her tenure with CCI, while supporting the rest of the leadership team and ambassadors, programming has tripled, outside funding for programming has increased, and outreach has grown beyond UVA, both nationally and internationally.


Ebru Cayir, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Compassionate Care Initiative

After graduating from Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty in Istanbul, Turkey, Dr. Cayir served as a general practitioner at a primary care clinic in Istanbul. Her experiences as a clinician, and her passion for making an impact on health at the population level brought her to the field of Public Health. She worked and received training as a resident physician in the Department of Public Health at the Hacettepe Medical University in Ankara, Turkey, before receiving a Fulbright fellowship to study in the US. In 2017, she earned her PhD from the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina.

Ebru is interested in understanding how organizations can support self-care and resilience among caregiving professionals so that they can not only maintain their well-being, but also thrive in their work. She also focuses on how social identity categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality intersect with one another and shape work experiences, well-being, and belongingness among healthcare providers. Her other research interests include mental health disparities that affect ethnic minority and vulnerable populations, intersectional and social justice-based methodologies. Currently, she is working on an intervention study that examines the impact of mindfulness-based practices on health care providers’ well-being, resilience and capacity to provide compassionate care.

Natalie May, PhD

Associate Professor of Research

The Compassionate Care Initiative was the inevitable destination for Natalie.  She has recently transitioned to the UVA School of Nursing after 30 years as Associate Professor of Research in the Division of General, Geriatric, Palliative, and Hospitalist Medicine in the UVA School of Medicine.  She is a founding member of the UVA Center for Appreciative Practice. For over a decade she has studied and taught the power of appreciative inquiry (AI) to transform organizations. At UVA, she and others developed appreciative practices, using AI principles and other strengths-based approaches to foster and sustain well-being in healthcare providers.

She also has a decade-long interest in wisdom, how it is developed and how it can be fostered.  She was an investigator for the Wisdom in Medicine Project: Mapping the Path Through Adversity to Wisdom, a study funded by the John Templeton Foundation.  She is co-author of Choosing Wisdom: The Path Through Adversity and co-producer of a PBS film, Choosing Wisdom. For the Compassionate Care Initiative, she will be implementing the Wisdom in Nursing program, with Anita Thompson-Heisterman, and will serve as the new Haney Course Director, a community program for caregivers, supported by the Haney Endowment.

Jonathan Bartels, RN

Liaison to UVA Medical Center, Compassionate Care Initiative
Retreat and Meditation Facilitator

An old Chinese proverb admonishes: “Do not push the river, it flows by itself.” Jonathan Bartels has attempted to live that philosophy throughout his life. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1990 from Canisius College in Buffalo NY, he joined the Comparative Religion Graduate program at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo MI. The focus of his academic pursuits include Eastern/Western Mysticism. While a graduate student, he experienced a moment in time that would redefine his career path. He assisted his then 36 year-old brother as he died of a brain tumor. This experience catapulted him toward a career in nursing. He discovered his guiding principle: ‘If I could offer such care to my brother, I can offer the same care and compassion to anyone’s brother, sister, mother, or family member’.  Over the years he has had the distinct pleasure of working in a variety of settings, including trauma and palliative care. In 2009, Jonathan joined the School of Nursing’s Compassionate Care Initiative.  He has served as a facilitator for resilience retreats and as an ambassador regionally and internationally. In 2010, Jonathan initiated a practice called “The Pause.” This practice has assisted in making a paradigm shift surrounding death and self-care across healthcare with an international reach.  He has received accolades from the American Academy of Critical Care Nurses and the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare.  Jonathan is dedicated to demonstrating compassion not only for patients, but with his fellow colleagues in the health professions.


CCI team members that work with us to lead our current drop-in programs and retreats. 

Yoga Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator

Meditation Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator

Meditation Facilitator

T'ai Chi Facilitator

Therapy Dog

Retreat, Meditation and Mindful Movement Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator

Retreat Facilitator


Meditation Facilitator