International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare (IRCCH)


The International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare was established in response to increasing global recognition that communication is central to effective and safe healthcare delivery.

IRCCH encourages an innovative interdisciplinary approach, and brings together internationally renowned experts from medicine, nursing and other health professions, medical/healthcare education, interprofessional training and practice, health policy and leadership, health sciences, linguistics, health communication studies, sociology, and clinical service redesign to advance research and to apply research findings to practice and development of education and training programs and curricula.

IRCCH is the first international, interdisciplinary research centre in the field. What makes IRCCH particularly distinctive is that, firstly, it brings together senior healthcare professionals and academics with linguists and communication experts; secondly, it is committed to translational research where the research focus is on applying the findings to practice and educational development; and thirdly, we have identified, with participation and input from many forums and groups across the world, a set of values essential for all healthcare interactions — the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare. These values provide the foundation for IRCCH’s research, education and practice initiatives.

Recognising the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity of both patients and clinicians, IRCCH promotes cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and cross-national research collaborations. 

IRCCH was formally launched in July 2013 as a cross-faculty and cross-university collaboration between The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). In July 2013, the Centre welcomed Curtin University, Western Australia, as a strategic partner.



Professor Diana Slade
IRCCH Director
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and
University of Technology, Sydney

"Over the past ten years evidence has been mounting that ineffective communication at all levels of the healthcare system leads to poor patient outcomes, including serious illness and death, and clinician dissatisfaction. Through its collaborative, cutting edge cross-disciplinary research, IRCCH will offer practical, applicable and relevant strategies and solutions that will impact clinician practice and education internationally."

More information about IRCCH can be found at


International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare

The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare is a core initiative of IRRCH, and its values inform IRCCH’s work. Created in 2011, and chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Rider of Harvard University, the Charter represents an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural collaboration of people, organisations, and institutions working together to enhance the human dimensions of care. The Charter was developed with the input of many groups and forums globally. It aims to restore the core values that should be present in every healthcare interaction to healthcare around the world. Principles include:

• We believe that core human values are both indispensible and universal, and can be embraced in healthcare systems around the world.

• We believe that placing emphasis on our core values will help to solve many problems in healthcare – ranging from excessive cost and profit to inadequate care for the less fortunate and underserved.

• We hope to inspire a global movement to improve care by restoring the primacy of human values, to place them at the centre, and to make them the goal of every effort in healthcare. 

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Effective and compassionate communication is essential to restoring human values in healthcare. The Charter identifies 5 categories of fundamental values:



Dr Elizabeth Rider
Harvard University
Chair, IRCCH External Advisory Committee


"Universal values, such as compassion, respect and others, are fundamental to the practice of compassionate, ethical and safe care. This unique international, interprofessional group has come together to create innovative strategies to restore the primacy of human values to every interaction in healthcare systems around the world."

More information about the International Charter Human Values in Healthcare can be found at