Written with contributing author Linda Robinson, MSN, CPXP, RN, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, MDM Healthcare
Dr. David Fryburg is driven by a profound mission to champion kindness, viewing it as a force more potent than any pharmaceutical drug he has encountered in his extensive years in the healthcare industry. In a recent podcast episode of PX Space, host Linda Robinson, MSN, RN CPXP, engaged in an enlightening conversation with Dr. Fryburg, who serves as the co-founder of Envision Kindness. This non-profit organization is devoted to harnessing the influential power of kindness through the art of photography and storytelling.
With a wealth of experience as a physician and scientist, Dr. Fryburg's journey has been shaped by his tenure as a faculty member at the esteemed University of Virginia Medical School and his work in the biomedical industry with reputable organizations like Pfizer and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Leading teams of scientists in groundbreaking studies on new medicines and improved diagnostic methods, Dr. Fryburg's invaluable contributions to the medical field have earned him numerous grants and awards.
Envision Kindness was born out of Dr. Fryburg's firm belief in the need to shift focus towards the positive aspects of life. Recognizing the unique ability of positive pictures and stories to inspire, connect, and heal, the organization strives to bring these uplifting moments directly to people's lives. Through their endeavors, they aim to create a world where kindness takes center stage, cultivating an environment of empathy, compassion, and joy.
“Our mission is to promote kindness, connection, and joy for people on a population scale, particularly in high-stress settings like healthcare, and we do it through media which works really well and really fast,” he said.
Dr. Fryburg explained his mindset when he decided to start Envision Kindness. “As an endocrinologist, while leading these teams of scientists, I found myself getting saddened, stressed, and anxious in proportion to how much news I was consuming. Research showed that consuming news this way can quickly make people feel sad and stressed, affecting their own lives. So, that made me think that’s really not fair… people deserve a higher quality of life,” he said.
To generate their healing images, Envision Kindness took a creative approach.
“We had to build our content from scratch. The way we ended up building it was through creating an international kindness photography contest. We’ve done four iterations of it, and we are actually about to launch the fifth. We get over 2,000 submissions from around the world each year,” he said.
Envision’s 2022 Our World is Kind contest received over 2,500 wonderful and inspiring images of kindness, compassion, joy, and love.
“Our kindness images have a main theme, which is the positive interaction between living beings. People are uplifted and inspired by these images, and that improves mood through media,” he said. Dr. Fryburg further explained some of the science behind kindness.
“Since I’m a scientist, I decided to do more than produce the images; I also studied their impact. We were very fortunate to have a team of psychologists help conduct our first study using still images of kindness. In that study, what blew everyone away was that kindness images had twice the effect of pretty images, such as nature images, on people’s mood when it came to producing feelings of gratitude, sympathy, compassion, and love,” he said.
The results were so powerful that the statistician who examined them had never seen data like this before.
“The results were so overwhelming that they screamed 'pay attention, there’s something important here,'” he said.
Dr. Fryburg's deep dive into the psychology and biology of altruism revealed that kindness is an innate quality observed across every species on Earth. Several scientists have studied how kindness affects our choices in life, well-being, and more in a positive way. In fact, Dr. Fryburg mentioned that in his many years in the pharmaceutical industry, he has yet to see a drug that has the effect of kindness.
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In a world where headlines often highlight the darker aspects of humanity, it becomes easy to overlook the profound impact that kindness and compassion can have on individuals and communities. Nevertheless, amidst the chaos, organizations like Envision Kindness strive to remind us of the beauty of human connection and the transformative power of acts of goodwill. This blog article delves into the heartwarming mission of Envision Kindness, exploring their vision, initiatives, and the positive influence they are making on a global scale.