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Personal profile


Dr Debbie Ling is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University and a key contributor to the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies.

Debbie is also an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Unit, Epworth HealthCare.

Research interests

Her research interests include compassion, common humanity, in-group/out-group distinctions, prosocial behaviour, compassion in healthcare, doctor burnout, training interventions and mental health. Debbie is interested in qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Debbie is currently a contributor to grants worth $541,545.

Debbie’s doctoral research (PhD awarded 2019) involved investigating the relationship between the perception of common humanity and compassion in healthcare workers. Her research produced world first empirical evidence that the perception of common humanity leads to an increase in compassion in healthcare workers. She also developed, trialled and evaluated a single session compassion training intervention for healthcare workers. Her doctoral research has been published internationally and presented at conferences in the US, UK and Ireland. Debbie is regularly requested to present on compassion training to hospitals and community organisations around Australia.

Debbie led the development of the Monash "Compassion Training for Healthcare Workers" online course released in 2022. Co-facilitators on the course are Professor Craig Hassed and Dr Richard Chambers. The course won the 2022 Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence in Education - Industry and Community Education Programs (Teams).

Debbie sits on the Australian Compassion Council, Charter for Compassion Australia and is also the International Healthcare Sector Lead for the Charter for Compassion global division. Debbie also sits on the advisory board for the Centre for a Compassionate Society.

In addition to her academic and research roles, Debbie is also a social worker at Epworth HealthCare and an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker in private practice. Debbie has over 25 years’ direct practice experience in a range of fields of practice including health, mental health, child protection, crisis work, schools, disability and aged care. She has undertaken additional training in family therapy, grief and loss, conflict resolution and mindfulness-based approaches.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Advisory Board Member, Centre for a Compassionate Society (Inc)

30 Jan 2023 → …

International Healthcare Sector Co-Lead, Charter for Compassion Australia

27 Jan 2023 → …

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Unit, Epworth Foundation (trading as Epworth HealthCare)

12 Nov 2019 → …

Australian Compassion Council, Charter for Compassion Australia

1 Jul 2016 → …

Mindful Futures Network Advisory Group, Australia21

1 Feb 201631 Oct 2022

Senior Clinician Social Worker, Epworth Foundation (trading as Epworth HealthCare)

31 Oct 2014 → …

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Independent Consultant - Australia

2 Apr 2014 → …

Research area keywords

  • Compassion
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Healthcare education
  • Values education
  • Empathy
  • Altruism
  • Virtue ethics
  • Workforce training and development
  • Health
  • Mental health
  • Doctor burnout
  • Common humanity
  • Hospital social work
  • Compassion training

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or