2022

Q&A | Dr. Robert Kim-Farley: World Kindness Day and public health


With World Kindness Day being observed on November 13, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health connected with Dr. Robert Kim-Farley.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, professor of epidemiology and community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, has spent his career working domestically and internationally in public health with the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and UCLA. Dr. Kim-Farley says that this year’s World Kindness Day theme “Be Kind Whenever Possible” resonates with his global experiences “on the role of kindness and a viewpoint of recognizing the pursuit of happiness as the ‘universal human currency’ that binds us all together.” Kim-Farley also serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute, the university’s premier academic institute devoted to the multidisciplinary study of kindness.

World Kindness Day, celebrated on November 13 each year, promotes being kind to one other, to yourself, and to the world.

Can you explain the significance of World Kindness Day 2022?

The first World Kindness Day was launched on 13 November 1998 by the World Kindness Movement. Today, over 27 countries participate in the World Kindness Movement group, including the United States. The purpose of World Kindness Day is to “highlight and encourage good deeds in your community” and serve “as a reminder to all that simple acts of kindness have power and that together, we can all work to create a kinder world.”

What do you see as the relationship between kindness and public health?

I am reminded of the remark made by the current U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, that “Giving and receiving kindness are easy ways to feel good and to help others feel good too. People, organizations, and societies thrive when they are grounded in a culture of kindness.”

Although kindness is formally defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate,” it is manifested in many ways such as showing empathy, being thoughtful towards others, and doing nice things without expecting anything in return. Public health, as it seeks social justice and protects and serves the most vulnerable in our communities, is putting kindness into concrete societal action.

How might we observe World Kindness Day in our own lives?

In my UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Fiat Lux Seminar on “Happiness: What Is It and How Should We Pursue It?” I note that World Kindness Day can serve as a stimulus to remember the role that practicing simple acts of kindness can have in making others’ lives happier and, in the process, making our own lives happier.  The challenge is to incorporate simple acts of kindness, doing things for others without anticipating any reward for one’s own self, into our daily lives – and not simply as a one-day event.  Writing down and reflecting on simple acts of kindness that you performed, or even witnessed, during the day can help reinforce the positive feelings of being kind and furthering the practice the next day. I wish everyone to experience the daily joy of performing simple acts of kindness and playing their part in making this a better world.

Dr. Kim-Farley’s UCLA Fiat Lux Seminars on “Happiness: What Is It and How Should We Pursue It?” — the first public health classes at UCLA entirely devoted to the topic of happiness — were developed in recognition that the discipline of public health is focused on human wellbeing.

Robert Kim-Farley
Robert J. Kim-Farley

Robert J. Kim-Farley, MD, MPH, is a Professor-in-Residence with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
James Macinko
James Macinko

Professor of Community Health Sciences & Health Policy and Management, and Associate Dean for Research

Community Health Sciences Health Policy and Management
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Anne Rimoin
Anne Rimoin
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Anne Pebley
Anne Pebley
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Dana Rose Garfin
Dana Rose Garfin
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Pamina Gorbach
Pamina Gorbach
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Paula Tavrow
Paula Tavrow
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
glik, deborah
Deborah Glik
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Virginia C. Li
Virginia C. Li
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Hashibe, Mia
Mia Hashibe
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Leeka I. Kheifets
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Shira Shafir
Shira Shafir
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Liwei Chen
Liwei Chen

Professor in Epidemiology

Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Marissa J. Seamans
Marissa Seamans
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Elizabeth Rose Mayeda photo
Elizabeth Rose Mayeda
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Julia Heck
Julia Heck
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Diana Bonta
Diana Bonta
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Alina Dorian
Alina Dorian
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Jessica Gipson
Jessica Gipson
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Jian Li
Jian Li
Environmental Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Headshot
Christie Jeon
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Roch Nianogo
Roch A. Nianogo
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Matthew Mimiaga
Matthew J. Mimiaga
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang
Zuo-Feng Zhang
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Beate Ritz
Beate Ritz
Environmental Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Randall Kuhn
Randall Kuhn
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Dvora Joseph Davey
Dvora Joseph Davey

Dr. Joseph Davey is an infectious disease epidemiologist with over 20 years' experience leading research on HIV/STI services for women and children.

Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Onyebuchi Arah headshot
Onyebuchi A. Arah
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. May Sudhinaraset
May Sudhinaraset
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Akihiro Nishi Headshot
Akihiro Nishi
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Michael Rodriguez
Michael Rodriguez
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Philip Massey headshot
Philip Massey
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Roger Detels
Roger Detels
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
sheena sullivan photo
Sheena G. Sullivan
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Catherine Carpenter
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Ralph R. Frerichs, 12/25/21
Ralph R. Frerichs
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Timothy Brewer
Timothy Brewer
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Alexandra Binder Headshot
Alexandra Binder
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Sung-Jae Lee
Sung-Jae Lee
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Donald Morisky
Donald E. Morisky
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Ondine S. von Ehrenstein
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Naomi Greene
Naomi Greene
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
halbert, ronald
Ronald Halbert
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Jørn Olsen
Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Jennifer A. Wagman
Jennifer A. Wagman
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Jody Heymann
Jody Heymann
Epidemiology Health Policy and Management
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Gilbert Gee
Gilbert C. Gee
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile