Stephen Post

Speech Topics

Dr. Post presents an inspiring message about the pursuit of happiness and health. Researchers are showing again and again that compassion, generosity and volunteerism are as good for the giver as for the receiver, and even more so. As the pioneer organizer of research in the field over the past decade, Dr. Post explains why giving is like a one-a-day vitamin for the soul. When we weave it into daily life, even in small ways for just a half an hour, the benefits are substantial. This is exciting news for people of all ages.

Patients need health care professionals whose compassion provides the emotional and relational security that are so important in coping with illness. But new science also shows that doctors, nurses and social workers who provide compassionate care feel happier and healthier, and stay in the health care professions longer. This is big news for anyone in the health care professions.

Dr. Post, one of only three persons awarded the distinguished service award by the National Alzheimer’s Association, is among the most renowned experts on aging and dementia in the United States and Canada. For anyone interested in the science of Alzheimer’s disease, and the best approaches to care, his engaging presentation is chock full of useful insights for every baby boomer with aging parents.

Advances in biological sciences show just how great our powers are to modify nature and human nature. Anti-aging research, reproductive cloning, genetic enhancement, neuroscience, stem-cell research, and a thousand other new areas of scientific advance converge around the question of our power to transform ourselves in radical ways. Is this wise? How shall we guide ourselves as we enter a brave new world?

In giving lies the unsought discovery of a happier, healthier, and more resilient self. It has been said that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. People who give dollars and talents to help others find a unique form of flourishing that science is only now beginning to understand. If you want to live a happier, more resilient, healthier, more creative, and yes, even a little longer life on average, give. No matter the challenges you might face in the journey of life, give and glow.


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Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. is a researcher and public speaker on how helping others benefits those who give, how empathic care contributes to patient outcomes and professional well-being, how youth who follow the Golden Rule live happier and more resilient lives, how caregivers find meaning and hope in caring for the deeply forgetful, and how positive psychology and spirituality enhance health. He is a best-selling author who has taught at the University of Chicago Medical School, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1988-2008), and Stony Brook University School of Medicine (2008-), where he is Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics (designated as a special strength of the Stony Brook School of Medicine by the LCME visiting committee 2011). He is an elected member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Medicine, London. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Character Strengths and Virtues, the handbook and classification of Positive Psychology.

Post addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and public health, and received the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement. He was selected as the Public Member of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Composite Committee (2000-2005), and reappointed for “greatly appreciated contributions.” In 2012, Post received the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding Leadership in HealthCare from the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. He received the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada in 2008, and the “top notch” public speaking award from the Ohio Endowment for the Humanities. Post served as Trustee of the John Templeton Foundation (2008-2014). A public intellectual, Post has been quoted in more than 3000 national and international newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Parade Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, “O” Magazine, and Psychology Today. He has been interviewed on many television and radio news shows, including ABC 20/20’s “Giving in America,” Nightline, The Daily Show, and John Stossel.

Post’s best-selling book The Hidden Gifts of Helping (2011) followed his 2007 blockbuster (with Jill Neimark) Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving (Broadway Book- Random House). His writings were included in Best American Spiritual Writing in 2005. He has written eight scholarly books on generosity and compassionate care, and is the editor of nine others, including Altruism & Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, and Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue, both published by Oxford University Press. In 2001 he founded the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love in 2001, named by Sir John Templeton, who personally selected Post as President ( The Institute is a free-standing non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity that researches and distributes knowledge on the love of neighbor.

Post’s book The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer’s Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, 2nd edition) was designated a “medical classic of the century” by the British Medical Journal (2009), which wrote, “Until this pioneering work was published in 1995 the

ethical aspects of the one of the most important illnesses of our aging populations were a neglected topic.” Post is an elected Member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Alzheimer’s Disease International, and one of several recipients of the Alzheimer’s Association distinguished service award “in recognition of personal and professional outreach to the Alzheimer’s Association Chapters on ethics issues important to people with Alzheimer’s and their families” (1998).

Post is the primary author of over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Annals of Internal Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Addictions, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Social Philosophy, American Journal of Psychiatry, First Things, Dementia, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Lancet. An elected Fellow of the Hastings Center and a Senior Scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, Post served as Editor-in-Chief of the 5-volume Encyclopedia of Bioethics (Macmillan Reference/Gale, 2004), which was awarded “Best Reference Work” by the American Library Association.

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