Aligning Expectations Rolls Out Workshop to BCH Department of Urology

5thingsAfter successfully piloting the Aligning Expectations workshop last month, project staff and faculty were excited to present the refined version of the workshop to the surgeons and nurse practitioners of the Department of Urology at BCH. On Wednesday evening, November 2 at 5:30 pm, 10 surgeons and 2 nurse practitioners grabbed their boxed dinners and joined the workshop faculty for the two-hour educational event. The workshop went beautifully, and participants were enthusiastic in their participation with all elements of the workshop, from didactic pieces, to group discussions, to enactments.

A review of the workshop evaluations reflected the enthusiasm felt in the room by staff and participants. For example, when asked about what was the most valuable thing they learned, one participant wrote “(learning about) the great variability in parent/patient understanding of consent process.” Another remarked, “How uncertain/anxious families are.”

When asked what they might do differently in a future surgical encounter based on today’s session, several participants indicated that they would give more time to the surgical consent process, and many participants said they would use of drawings. These responses represent key learning objectives for the workshop. In addition, when asked for workshop suggestions, several participants indicated that they would have liked the workshop to be longer, an exciting prospect for all involved.

Aligning Expectations staff will present the next workshop to the Department of General Surgery on the morning of Wednesday, November 23.

Posted in Aligning Expectations

World-Wide Response to Online Disclosure & Apology Course

IPEP’s online Disclosure and Apology Course continues to attract new learners, including a growing number of international participants. At our last Moderated Online Workshop, held on September 20th, we were delighted to work with participants from 13 different states across the US and 5 other countries: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Romania, and Israel. The course also continues to attract an interdisciplinary group of professionals-in the September workshop.This included physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, child life specialists, risk managers and administrators. The diversity of perspectives and experience that this mix of participants bring to these online workshops tremendously enriches the learning for all.
Don’t miss our next Moderated Online Workshop on
December 8th, that will be led by:

Robert Truog, MD, MA, FCCM, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics, Anesthesia, & Pediatrics; Director, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School Executive Director, Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice; and, Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital.
David Browning, MSW, LICSW, Senior Scholar and Co-Founder, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Posted in Disclosure and Apology

Five Questions with Robert Truog, MD

IPEP’s Executive Director, Robert Truog, MD, was recently interviewed by the Betsy Lehman Center about the challenges of apology and resolution after medical error and adverse events. In answer to five questions posed by the Center, Dr. Truog highlighted important issues for clinicians to consider when faced with disclosure and Dr. Robert Truogapology to patients and families, including:
  • The power of authenticity;
  • Communicating only known facts;
  • The different meanings of “I’m sorry;”
  • The context in which an error or adverse event occurs; and,
  • The fundamental need to move past self-interest to do the right thing even when it’s not obvious that doing so will be beneficial for the clinician.

Dr. Truog also stressed the value of institutional coaches to support clinicians as they prepare for these conversations. Finally, the interview showcased the work that IPEP has done with Atrius Health on bringing apology and resolution to ambulatory settings. You can read the full interview with Dr. Truog here.

To explore the issues Robert Truog raised in more depth, please also visit IPEP’s online Disclosure and Apology course, for which he served as content expert and course guide. Later this month, Dr. Truog and Donna Luff, PhD, the Project Leader for the onlineDisclosure and Apology course, will participate in a round-table on Public Engagement on Patient Safety hosted by the Betsy Lehman Center. We look forward to reports from that event!
Posted in Disclosure and Apology, IPEP Team, Robert Truog

Send-Off to Pia Kuhlmann


Pia (on the far left) and IPEP Staff at the Paint Bar

IPEP staff bid a bittersweet farewell to Pia Kuhlmann, our medical fellow from Germany, who spent 6 months with us supporting the research needs of the Aligning Expectations project. While none of us will be inducted into the hall of fame of art, we had many laughs and an enjoyable evening at the Paint Bar!

We all miss Pia’s delightful and intelligent presence at the office, however, we are thrilled that she will still be involved with IPEP. Pia will be completing her thesis on a topic related to her work while at IPEP and writing a systematic literature review on the topic of Aligning Expectations. We expect these projects will result in peer-reviewed publication.
Posted in IPEP Team

Aligning Expectations Moving Foward

neuroThings are moving forward at a furious pace in the Aligning Expectations project! Our visiting research fellow Pia Kuhlmann has done an amazing job recording surgical consultations this summer, and we now have over 50 surgical consultations recorded and transcribed, as well as surveys of the participating clinicians and parents after the consultations. This body of work constitutes the pre-intervention data that we are using to inform our training workshops for the surgeons and other surgical staff, and that we will use to compare with recordings that are obtained after the workshops (the post-intervention data).

We have also been busy this summer planning our training workshop. We held several high-powered planning meetings attended by study leadership, project champions (both surgeons and nurse practitioners), IPEP Family Faculty, BCH Family Advisory Committee reps, and IPEP’s Performing Arts Consultant. We are honing both our learning objectives and workshop design, and we finalized our Pilot workshop date: Monday September 19, 2016. Currently, teams of project staff are working on both the clinical and background elements of the case scenario that will be used by the actors during the realistic enactment for the workshop. We are excited to be creating a brand new workshop to meet the needs of the Aligning Expectations project!

Posted in Aligning Expectations

IPEP Book Discussion: “When Breath Becomes Air”

Join us  for our inaugural Writing Institute Book Discussion.  Longtime IPEP supporter and BCH Psychiatrist Barbara Burr, MD.will lead our what will no doubt be a When Breath Becomes Airmemorable discussion.  We will provide a light lunch and refreshments.

When Breath Becomes Air is a powerful look at a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis through the eyes of a neurosurgeon. When Paul Kalanithi is given his diagnosis he is forced to see this disease, and the process of being sick, as a patient rather than a doctor– the result of his experience is not just a look at what living is and how it works from a scientific perspective, but the ins and outs of what makes life matter. – Amazon Review

Book Discussion Details

Thursday, August 11, 2016
12noon – 1:00 pm
Light lunch and refreshments provided


Discussion Leader
Our first book club leader is longtime IPEP supporter and BCH Psychiatrist Barbara Burr, MD. Read her book review.


Landmark Building
401 Park Drive, 5th Floor East
Kenmore Square conference room
Boston, MA 02228


Join us!
Join us for a fascinating discussion and a light lunch.  Anyone interested in welcome to attend.  Please RSVP to Dee Gallett so that we know how much food to provide.  Or call us at 617-355-5021.
Posted in Uncategorized

IPEP Staff Active at AACH Research Forum, June 2016

A strong representation of IPEP staff – including Elaine Meyer, Donna Luff, Adena Cohen-Bearak, Elizabeth Rider, and Research Fellow Pia Kuhlmann – was in AACH Forum June 2016attendance at the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare’s annual Research Forum in New Haven, CT on June 17-19. Located in the beautiful and modern School of Management at Yale University, our staff attended, presented, and participated in numerous oral presentations, workshops, general sessions, and poster sessions, all with the goal of improving communication in healthcare settings.  Here are some highlights:
  • Beth Rider discussed data from IPEP’s asset inventory from her research on “Asset inventory: exploring the value of intangible assets and nurturing collective capacity in relational education organizations.”
  • Adena Cohen-Bearak presented qualitative data from parent focus groups and interviews in her presentation Qualitative research exploring the ecology of conversations during surgical informed consent.
  • Donna Luft presented two sessions on her online disclosure and apology work: A needs assessment for online training in disclosure and apology conversations, and Understanding the feasibility of online moderated workshops on disclosure and apology.
  • Beth Rider and colleagues presented a workshop entitled “Sharing our stories through narrative writing: from reflection to publication.”
Keynote sessions included a presentation by Darcey Cobb-Lomax, Executive Director of Project Access of New Haven, who described how her agency’s provision of patient navigation services increases access to care and decreases health inequities. Sharon Schindler Rising, who created the Centering Model of Group Healthcare, described how her model creates a “sacred space” for women as they go through their pregnancies together. By creating groups of eight to twelve women, that are led by facilitators who carefully listen and allow the group members answer each other’s questions, community is created and preterm births averted.  Finally, Marcella Nunez-Smith, founding director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at the Yale School of Medicine described the difference between explicit and implicit bias, and how minority patients are more likely to forgo asking questions, and less likely to be involved in decision making than their white counterparts.
Posted in Conferences Tagged with:

Liz Dodds Visits IPEP

From May 23rd-June 1st Liz Dodds came over from England to visit the IPEP team and also spend time in the Children’s Hospital.  Liz is a PICU RN in Nottingham liz-doddsEngland and was awarded a Florence Nightingale Travel Scholarship to come to the US and Canada. Her project is aimed at investigating strategies to support children and families through their PICU admission which might help improve their long-term psychological and emotional wellbeing. The aim is to bring ideas for improvement back to PICUs in the UK and work to implement them.

Liz first heard about IPEP through the OPENpediatrics session on Facilitating Parental Presence so she was pleased to be able to attend the PERCS Supporting Families by the Bedside workshop, led by Elaine Meyer, which she found very inspiring. Improving the education that RNs receive on family centred care and on how to support families is one of Liz’s main aims of this project so she was also very interested to see a PERCS ward round and also attend an end of life simulation day for new nurses. She also spent time learning about the other research projects going on within IPEP, spent time with the ICU Child Life Specialists and had a morning shadowing a nurse on the Medical Surgical ICU. Liz was very impressed with everything she saw within both IPEP and Boston Children’s, particularly with the scale of research being done and the resources in place for families that really highlight how vital this work is to help get families through what can be an incredibly traumatic time. She leaves Boston to continue her trip with lots of ideas!
If you would like to learn more about her trip please look at her blog.
Posted in Uncategorized