About Us

The Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice (IPEP) is a leader in medical communication training focused on difficult conversations among clinicians, patients and families. IPEP specializes in developing and conducting innovative educational communication programs and interventions targeting difficult conversations across a wide range of healthcare settings in pediatric and adult medicine. Programs, interventions, and pedagogy are based on robust research conducted by our faculty. Our geographical reach extends locally, nationally, and internationally.


An upsetting diagnosis. Complex care. Every day, healthcare professionals must discuss highly-charged news with patients and families.

The Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice trains institutions, teams, and clinicians worldwide to plan for and engage better in their most difficult conversations with greater readiness, confidence, and skill.

With faculty based at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, The Institute offers an array of programs integrating its innovative, validated approach to hands-on learning:

  • A robust calendar of online & in-person workshops
  • Monthly, facilitated clinician peer support rounds
  • Trainer-training and customized coaching 
  • Consultation on hospital-, team-, and individual-specific issues
  • Customized programs in Boston, regionally, or nationally. 

 Simulation-based communications training approach and expertise

IPEP’s innovative, validated approach to hands-on learning, the Program to Enhance Relational & Communication Skills (PERCS), builds skills by incorporating:

  • Ethics and practice, taught by experts in medical communication, education, empathy, and bioethics in pediatric and adult settings
  •  Powerful simulation, engaging skilled improvisational actors, generating unscripted, real-world experience that goes far beyond role-play & theory
  • Patient and family voices, bringing the perspective of real patients into the room

The Institute’s special areas of expertise, particularly in error disclosure and apology and peer support, offers guidance in even the most challenging situations.

Developed for institutions, teams, & individuals

IPEP programs are designed to strengthen the work of hospitals, risk managers, safety & quality managers, training directors, teams, and units, as well as individual physicians, nurses, social workers, and healthcare professionals.

Since 2002, more than 6,000 individuals and institutions have turned to the Institute for training and consultation, both generally and in its offerings designed for specific specialties such as radiology, neurology, NICU, nursing, and critical care.

For better care, and a better patient experience

As our research and publications demonstrate, better communications skills are essential for achieving:

  • Better patient care
  • Better patient and family experience
  • Stronger, more effective interdisciplinary teams with better peer support
  • Reduced clinician burnout and emotional exhaustion, with positive implications for hiring, retention, and resilience
  • More complete, proactive training for early-career physicians, nurses, and trainees

Go to video galleryVideo Gallery:  Visit our video gallery with insights from the top thought leaders in the field of ethics, communications, and disclosure in medicine.