Speaking with patients or their families after a medical error or an adverse medical event is one of the most difficult and emotionally challenging conversations any clinician can have.  Handling it well is critical for your patient’s experience, your own resilience, and your institution, too. You can learn to have such a conversation with good preparation, presence, and compassion. This workshop will introduce clinicians to the understanding, ethical underpinnings, best practices, tools, and skills to conduct these difficult conversations. It is also valuable for anyone working to implement disclosure policies and processes within their institution.

Participants: Developed for physicians, nurses, social workers, and other care providers. It is also appropriate for practice managers, risk managers, and interdisciplinary team coordinators. 

Course Description

Participants will gain a solid grounding in the core principles of error disclosure and apology, so they and their patients can move forward in care. Each of the modules that make up this course can be taken independently of each other, though to get the full benefit and solid understanding, we encourage you to take all three.

  • Disclosure and Apology Online Workshop: Facilitated
  • Preparation for Disclosure and Apology: Self-paced
  • Disclosure and Apology in Practice: Self-paced

Online Moderated Workshop: Deep Dive into Error Disclosure

Delve deeply into disclosure and apology in this interactive online workshop. Led by Harvard Medical School experts in bioethics and communication, this 2-hour workshop offers you the opportunity to prepare and practice for disclosure and apology conversations. You will watch a realistic enactment video of a disclosure and apology scenario, contribute to guided discussions, and learn from our faculty and other participants nationally and worldwide.

CME:  2.0 credits
Cost:  $50 CME / $25 non-CME
When offered: 3-4 times per year 
Next date: Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at 9am EST

> Register here.

Self-paced Learning Pathways

Pre-workshop Module: Preparation for Disclosure And Apology In Practice

Gain a solid introduction to the rationale for disclosure and apology and be exposed to profound experiences of error and disclosure and apology from the perspectives of patients and providers. You will have the opportunities to reflect on your learning throughout the module and get access to state-of-the-art tools, tips, and guidelines that you can use to support successful disclosure and apology conversations.  Ideally, this self-paced module should be taken prior to the online workshop. 

CME:  2.0 credits
Cost: $50 CME / Free non-CME
When offered: Self-paced. Available at your convenience

> Register here.

Post-Workshop Module: Disclosure and Apology in Practice

Building on the learning gained from the prior two modules, you will have opportunities to consider disclosure and apology across a wide spectrum of medical errors and adverse events.  You will also learn more about how to give to and receive support from your peers as well as ways to create an institutional culture that supports disclosure and apology.  Finally, you will gain insights into the changing landscape of medical error. This self-paced module is best taken after the online workshop. 

CME: 2.0 credits
Cost: $50 CME / Free non-CME
When offered: Self-paced. Available at your convenience

> Register here.

Workshop Faculty

A unique feature of the course is the Online Workshop led by renowned experts in communication. The next workshop on May 27, 2020, will be led by:


Stephen D. Brown, MD

Director, Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School
Past Chair of the Professionalism Committee of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)


David Browning MSW, LICSW

Co-founder and Senior Scholar Emeritus, Institute of Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Boston Children's Hospital



Course Directors


Robert Truog, MD, MA, FCCM

Co-founder and Executive Director, Institute for Professionalism & Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital
Senior Associate, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Director of The Center of Bioethics, Professor of Anaesthesia (Pediatrics), Harvard Medical School

Donna Luff, PhD

Associate Director, Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School