The Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice is a leader in medical communication focusing on difficult conversations, unexpected diagnosis, medical error, and disclosure. Our expert faculty and staff work in collaboration with your team to bring our state of the art approach to navigating difficult conversations among clinicians, patients, and families. Our goal is to help organizations navigate difficult conversations with confidence, presence, and humanity and to improve the clinician and patient experience in your institution.

To learn more about our consultation services please contact Stephen Brown, MD or Donna Luff, PhD at 617-355-5021 or via email.


Customized Workshops

Educational and training workshops of varying lengths (day-long; half-day, multi-day) can be customized to address a specific medical specialty area or a particular communication challenge. Your team members participate as a group in a customized experiential workshop designed to enhance their communication skills, confidence, and approach to having a difficult conversation. Workshops include didactic sessions, simulated cases re-enacted by professional actors, and ample opportunities for feedback, self-reflection and discussion. These can take place at our headquarters or onsite in your organization.  Webinars and online learning opportunities are also available.

Implementing a Program in your Organization or Department

Our faculty can help you delve deeply into the multi-layered considerations for implementing a successful training and educational program across your institution, or within a department or unit. This is well-suited for health care organizations and initiatives committed to incorporating or enhancing difficult communication training and relational learning skills programs in their institutions. 

Areas of communication and program development that we can address:

  • Ethical, Legal, and Moral Implications of Difficult Conversations
  • Actors as Teachers
  • Using Simulation: Concepts, Setup, Theory
  • Simulation-based Case Development
  • Curriculum Design
  • Incorporating the Patient/Family Perspective
  • Working with a Multi-disciplinary Faculty
  • Working with Inter-professional Teams

Professional and Faculty Development

Faculty development opportunities including a specially designed course for multidisciplinary healthcare professionals (physicians, social workers, nurses, medical educators and others) are available for practitioners interested in and/or involved in teaching in the areas of interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, relationship-centered care, and patient-practitioner.

Consultation and Tailored Programming for Individual Practitioners

Clinicians and other direct patient service providers receive individualized communication training, a practice session utilizing a realistic case simulation, and expert feedback on navigating a difficult conversation.


Consultation services can be delivered in a variety of ways and combined, if needed, to maximize the effectiveness of the project and needs of our clients.

  • Onsite (IPEP, Boston, MA)
  • Site Visits
  • Webinars
  • Video-conferencing