Meet the CFAP Team.

Authors. Speakers. Advocates.

Patricia Smith is the Founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project and Healthy Caregiving, LLC. As a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with more than 20 years of training experience, she writes, speaks and facilitates trainings in service of those who care for others in all of the helping professions. With a background in journalism, Patricia’s writings have appeared in numerous publications, including the San Jose Mercury News where she was a correspondent for more than 20 years. As training and development manager for the Humane Society Silicon Valley, she created and implemented a critical shelter-wide compassion fatigue project. Her work in this field led to presenting workshops nationwide as a consultant for American Humane, a national organization advocating for children and animal rights. Currently, she is a consultant for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York and has assisted in creating a nationwide compassion fatigue program for leadership and staff.

Derek Smith has been with the Project since the beginning. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Washington in 2018 and is currently working on a book about compassion in science. He is currently the President of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and works tirelessly to advance science in the sea. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and popular news media articles in addition to technical and training literature. He oversees the IT and office functions for the Project as well as helping to raise awareness about compassion fatigue and its effects.

Sky and Stella are the Branch Manager and Assistant Branch Manager of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. Their boundless enthusiasm and passion for life constantly remind us what it means to share our life with others.


Patricia has authored five books on the subject including two training manuals:

Healthy Caregiving: A Guide to Recognizing and Managing Compassion Fatigue: Presenter's Guide Level 1

Healthy Caregiving: A Guide to Recognizing and Managing Compassion Fatigue: Student Guide Level 1

Her seminal book,To Weep for a Stranger: Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, is a comprehensive look at compassion fatigue, its causes and symptoms, and how to begin the healing process. Her book,Compassion Satisfaction: 50 Steps to Healthy Caregiving, guides readers through 50 steps toward authentic, sustainable self-care and compassion satisfaction.

Patricia Smith has joined with veterinary surgeon, Inmaculada Perez Madrigal, to co-author Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Handling in Veterinary Practice, published by Grupo Asis. The comprehensive look at the veterinary field worldwide brings into focus the challenges the profession now faces. The book is now available through Amazon Spain and will be available from Amazon in the United States in the near future.

In September 2016, Patricia presented a TEDx talk on the subject of compassion fatigue. To view the talk, go to

She is the recipient of the 'Excellence in Writing Award' presented by the National League of American Pen Women. Under her direction as Program Director, Ronald McDonald House at Stanford received the 2005 'Best Bets' award for its 'Healing Arts' program. She was awarded the 2006 Telly Award for her script 'Invaders of the National Parks', a documentary on invasive species created for the National Parks Service.

Additionally, Patricia is a Helen R. Whiteley Scholar and has twice been awarded writing scholarships sponsored by the University of Washington, Seattle.


Select past presentations include:

California Sexual Assault Investigators Association/California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center Joint Training Conference, Pismo Beach, CA
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, England
Wisconsin Veterinary Association Conference., Madison, WI
Behavioral Health Association, Lake Ozark, MO
Second Harvest Food Bank, San Jose, CA
Missouri Center for Nursing, Columbia, MO
US Forest Service, Washington. DC
Christian Hospital, St. Louis, MO
St. Luke's Hospital, Kansas City MO
Texas Association for Hostage Negotiators Conference, San Antonio, TX
Sonoma Humane Society/Canine Companions for Independence, Santa Rosa, CA
University of Tennessee, Department of Veterinary Social Work, Knoxville, TN
Kaiser Permanente Nursing Research Project, Oakland, CA
Ed-U-CARE Compassion Fatigue Symposium, Dallas, TX
Humboldt County Office of Education, Eureka, CA
California Veterinary Medicine Association Leadership Forum, Sacramento, CA
National Conference on Campus Sexual Assault and Violence, University of California, Berkeley, CA