Celebrating Caritas Colleague Erica D. Hooper

January 2024

We wish to celebrate and honor our Caritas Colleagues and share their contribution and commitment to Caring Science. This month we are celebrating: Dr. Erica D. Hooper, DNP, RN, PHN, CNS, CNL, Caritas Coach®, Caritas Leader® Faculty Guide, Kaiser Permanente NCAL Scholars Academy Program Director, University of San Francisco Adjunct Faculty.

My Journey

Becoming a Caritas Coach nearly 5 years ago was a key turning point in my life. It was the spark that returned me back to the heart of caring and helped unwind me from the practice of doing, doing, doing.

Below describes some of what I gained from Caring Science that profoundly changed my life:

  1. To be intentionally present with my own feelings and those for which I care
  2. To shine my light in the world courageously
  3. To simply be in the moment
  4. Permission to care for myself first
  5. A language to guide my nursing practice
  6. Self-love
  7. A new understanding of and value for honoring my own needs
  8. Permission to practice nursing from the heart
  9. Strengthened ability to practice compassion with self and others
  10. Deeper connection to Source

Caring Science has given me a space to be myself with a supportive community that has become like family. Being with the Caritas community feels like home and has opened up many doors for me to be in deeper alignment with my life’s purpose. I have become a better person who is committed to embodying and sharing the principles of Caring Science. My consciousness and creativity have expanded exponentially, reminding me of my universal connection to all beings within me as described in my poem below:

That Place That Lives Deep Within

Remind my being-
Of that place that lives deep within...
Where heart to heart connections overflow
Into one cup
That unites all,
Where timelessness is the drum
Beating in the sacred Heart of Source,
Where there is no need to shine
As light is infinitely
Surrounding all in ecstacy,
Where spacelessness is profoundly
Wrapped in Universally loving systems
Full of ease and peace...
Pervading the soul-
Reminding us we are home.

Caring Science has helped free me to shine my light and BE authentically me.

Contributions to the legacy of Caring Science

I feel I am preserving and promoting the legacy of Caring Science on a daily basis both in my personal and professional life. In my personal life I have especially embraced the principles of loving kindness, authenticity, and compassion by lovingly tending to my own needs so I can better able tend to the needs of others. For example, I have established a regular morning routine for myself that includes movement, breathing, writing, and spiritual practice to ground and center me. Through my Caring Science journey I have learned to prioritize caring for self and have noticed how this helps me be more present and compassionate with others.

Professionally, I am the Program Director of CCEP for Kaiser Permanente working to develop Caritas Coaches to help further integrate Caring Science into our 21 medical centers. I am also teaching a course at the University of San Francisco to our health professions undergraduate students that I developed with Dr. Sara Horton-Deutsch, so we can provide students with Caring Science theory as a foundation for their future practice.

I am committed to not only talking the talk, but walking it as well. My goal is to keep expanding my understanding of and to continue sharing the legacy of Caring Science with others. I am forever grateful that Caring Science has helped free me to shine my light and BE authentically me. I humbly and gratefully give myself to serving others to do the same.

Thank you to all in the Caritas community who have contributed to my journey of healing, transformation, and discovery.

Areas of Expertise

Nursing leadership, academic-practice partnerships, holistic practices, population health, DEI, writing, Caring Science, juvenile justice and foster youth.


San Leandro, CA USA


Hooper, E. D., & Horton-Deutsch, S. (2024). The role of reflection in guiding the evolution of care, compassion, and social change. In S. Horton-Deutsch & G. Sherwood (Eds.), Reflective practice: Reimagining ourselves, reimagining nursing (3rd ed., pp. 115-137). Sigma Theta Tau International.

Hooper, E. D., & Horton-Deutsch, S. (2023). Integrating self-compassion and Caring Science into health professions education. Creative Nursing, 29(1).

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