If you were to search the city for people who exhibit compassion in their daily lives, you would find them everywhere you go and in all walks of life. The dictionary definition is. . . “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

Diane Riff, far left; Sarah Daniel, fourth from left

Simple acts like holding a door open, volunteering to tutor a child, or helping someone with a disability are second-nature to many Louisvillians. After all, we branded ourselves “Compassionate City” six years ago, and prove it every year with an entire week of service in which individuals volunteer to work on projects that improve the community.

Last February, the second annual Commitment to Compassion luncheon took place at the Muhammad Ali Center. Six individuals were honored for their extraordinary commitment to living a compassionate life in the health care field.

The search for honorees for the 2018 luncheon is now underway. It is sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Compassionate Louisville, and Insider Louisville. You can nominate someone using the form below this story.

Among the six honorees in 2017 were Diane Riff and Sarah Daniel, who offer vivid evidence that giving selflessly to others can have a powerful impact.

Riff, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Nursing, sets a great example for students in her service to the homeless, those who have experienced human trafficking, those with addictions and people living in poverty.

On her nomination form, it was written that “Diane brings a sense of connection, non-judgment and acceptance and need for action to all that she does.”

She is part of U of L’s Racetrack Clinic, providing compassionate and holistic care to backside workers who move from track to track in the horse racing industry. In addition, she spends time at the Hope Center in LaGrange with many migrant workers who come to Kentucky during growing season.

Best of all, Riff believes in exposing her nursing students to these populations, teaching lessons in compassion for many just entering the nursing field who are able to learn and recognize critical community issues. Through the Poverty Simulations program, she and students meet with community experts to address problems such as victimization, violence, and addiction, and work to help prevent and reduce the negative impact of chronic conditions such as diabetes and health disease.

Riff also travels with students to Appalachian areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, providing health care to hundreds who otherwise would not be able to receive care. She’s been on international service trips to Croatia and Central America as well.

Fellow honoree Sarah Daniel is also a nurse practitioner and teacher. As part of her duties at Home Health Care company MD2U, she helps treat chronically ill patients, is a mentor to students and takes on the most challenging patient cases.

Her compassion shows in going above and beyond what is required, often visiting patients during her off-work hours to check in and provide them with socialization and companionship.

Her compassion was recognized by a supervisor, who said Daniel “meets her patients where they are, views their circumstances compassionately, and never takes ‘no’ for an answer when she identifies inequity – whether it is health-related, economic status-related, or related to cognitive or psychiatric debility.”

Daniel is an avid animal lover, and has been known to bring her own dog in to brighten the spirits of patients. She created a 501c3 dog rescue organization, Pit Bulls of St. Francis, whose mission is to foster, rehabilitate, and find amazing forever homes for abandoned dogs.

Do you know someone who exhibits compassion in a way that stands out? The Commitment to Compassion awards recognize and honor dedicated health care professionals who exemplify true compassion in the workplace.

If you have a hero for compassion in your life, please nominate them here: