Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Children’s Hospital Boston at Waltham
Waltham, Massachusetts

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Course Info

Course Director:
Elizabeth A. Rider, MSW, MD, FAAP

The JANUARY Course is sold out as of 12.16.09. Please contact Allyson Wall, Program Coordinator, (617)355-5021, allyson.wall@childrens.harvard.edu for more information about registering for the June course.

Difficult Conversations in Healthcare: Pedagogy and Practice is a 1‑day faculty development course that offers the opportunity to learn about an innovative philosophy and pedagogical approach for teaching and enhancing relational capacities and communication skills in physicians, social workers, nurses, and other health care professionals who work in a variety of academic and clinical healthcare settings.

The course is designed for physicians in all specialties, medical education leaders, and multidisciplinary healthcare professionals interested and/or involved in teaching in the areas of interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, relationship‑centered care, patient‑practitioner relationships and related topics.

Course participants will learn about an innovative, collaborative relational learning model, known as the Program to Enhance Relational and Communication Skills (PERCS), which was developed by the Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice (IPEP) at Children’s Hospital Boston, for teaching and enhancing communication skills and relational capacities. We will create a safe environment for relational learning, use realistic enactments with professional actors, and integrate patient and family perspectives in innovative ways.

Participants will experience and learn about a variety of educational strategies and pedagogy including:

  • The PERCS model of realistic enactments with professional actors, collaborative learning, and reflection and feedback.
  • Use of narratives
  • Videotape and discussion
  • Interactive didactic presentation
  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Small group team‑based learning
  • Large group discussion
  • Facilitated reflections

We will pause at several junctures, ask participants to step back from the learning process, and reflect together on our experience as learners and as medical educators. We will discuss the central pedagogic principles, outline their ethical and conceptual rationale, and consider how participants might usefully integrate the pedagogy (i.e., the method and practice of teaching) into educational endeavors in their home institutions.

This course is also offered as a pre‑course for The Harvard Macy Institute’s Program for Educators in Health Professions and the Program for Leading Innovations in Health Care & Education.

No time to register now? Add your name to the mailing list to receive future notices about this course!


This course will provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • Understand the philosophy and components of relational learning
  • Experience and learn about a range of teaching and facilitation skills appropriate to teaching about communication and relationships in health care
  • Develop strategies to promote and implement relational teaching and learning within their home institutions


  • Physicians in all specialties
  • Residency Program Directors
  • Clerkship Directors
  • Medical School Deans
  • Department Chairs
  • Medical Education Leaders
  • Medical Educators
  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Multidisciplinary Healthcare Professionals and others involved in teaching and/or developing programs in the areas of interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, relationship‑centered care, patient‑practitioner relationships and related topics

For inquiries about the course itself, please contact Allyson Wall, Course Coordinator, by e‑mail: allyson.wall@childrens.harvard.edu or phone: (617) 355‑5021.

Attendance Limited

Children’s Hospital Boston at Waltham, Waltham, MA

2010 Schedule
10:00am ‑ 10:20am Welcome and Reception
10:20am ‑ 10:45amIntroduction
Elizabeth Rider, MSW, MD, FAAP
Background and History
Robert Truog, MD
Objectives: Relational Learning, Reflection and Action
Elizabeth Rider, MSW, MD, FAAP
10:45am ‑ 11:15am“Speaking the Same Language” Videotape and Discussion
Meg Comeau, MHA
11:15am ‑ 11:45am Pedagogy: What We Have Learned
David Browning, MSW, BCD, FT
11:45am ‑ 12:15pm Lunch and Discussion
12:15pm ‑ 1:15pm Sharing Our Experience: Narrative and Reflection
Elizabeth Rider, MSW, MD, FAAP
1:15pm ‑ 2:00pm Difficult Conversation I Debriefing and Feedback
David Browning, MSW, BCD, FT and Faculty
2:00pm ‑ 2:45pm Difficult Conversation II Debriefing and Feedback
David Browning, MSW, BCD, FT and Faculty
2:45am ‑ 3:00pm Break
3:00pm ‑ 4:00pm Next Steps: Strategies for Implementation
All Faculty
4:00pm ‑ 4:30pm Reflections and Take Home Lessons
Elizabeth Rider, MSW, MD, FAAP

Last update 11.06.09

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Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Harvard Medical School designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Medical Association has determined that physicians not licensed in the United States who participate in this CME activity are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Social Workers

This program has been approved for six Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR 31.00. Collaborative of NASW-MA and the Boston College and Simmons College Schools of Social Work.

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Physicians $495 (USD)
All other health professionals and medical educators $425 (USD)

All foreign payments must be made by a draft on a United States Bank or by Visa or MasterCard.

If paying by CHECK, please make payable to Harvard Medical School and mail with completed registration form to Harvard Medical School‑Department of Continuing Education, PO Box 825, Boston, MA 02117‑0825.

If paying by credit card, please register online.

Telephone or mail‑in registration with credit card payment is not accepted.

Inquiries should be directed to the above address, made by phone: (617) 384‑8600, Monday ‑ Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM (EST), or by email: hms‑cme@hms.harvard.edu

Upon receipt of registration a confirmation will be mailed to the address listed on the form.

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A handling fee of $60 is deducted for cancellation. Refund requests must be received by mail one week prior to the course. No refunds will be made thereafter.


Children’s Hospital Boston at Waltham
9 Hope Avenue
Waltham, MA 02453


Hotel rooms in Boston are limited. You are urged to make your reservations early.

A map of Boston listing local hotels will be sent with your confirmation of enrollment. For additional housing assistance, call Boston Reservations at 781‑547‑5427.


Please do not make non-refundable airline reservations until you have been confirmed into your course. You can make your airline reservation by calling: the HMS Travel Desk toll free 1‑877‑4HARVMD (1‑877‑442‑7863) Monday ‑ Friday 9 am ‑ 8 pm (EST). From outside the U.S., Canada and Virgin Islands, please call 617‑559‑3764.

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Director, Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care, Education Development Center, Inc., Senior Scholar, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Children’s Hospital Boston, Lecturer on Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Family Faculty, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Children’s Hospital Boston, Project Director, the Catalyst Center: Improving Financing of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Boston University School of Public Health
(Course Director) Director of Academic Programs, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Children’s Hospital Boston, Director of Programs for Communication Skills, John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, Massachusetts General Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Co‑Chair, Medicine Academy, National Academies of Practice, Co‑Author, A Practical Guide to Teaching and Assessing the ACGME Core Competencies
Professor of Medical Ethics & Anesthesia (Pediatrics), Harvard Medical School, Executive Director, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Children’s Hospital Boston, Director of Clinical Ethics, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Chair, Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, Harvard University, Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston

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Last update 11.10.09