When your team makes a medical error, your leadership is critical.

So much is at stake: patient care and trust, above all, as well as ethical and practical considerations including transparency, hospital policy, legal exposure, your institution’s reputation for quality care, and clinician resilience. Being prepared is your best approach.

Physician/clinician leaders and risk managers must coach staff through the nuances of implementing hospital disclosure and apology protocols, even as many institutions’ approaches are still evolving.  The availability of trained disclosure coaches, who can provide “just-in-time” support to clinicians in preparation for disclosure conversations, is increasingly a marker of best practice. This course will help you understand the essential elements of disclosure coaching With greater insight and skills, you can guide your team through difficult conversations and highly-charged situations—moving your patients, families, clinicians, and institution forward in care.

The Fundamentals of Disclosure Coaching provides you with a solid grounding in the core principles of coaching colleagues throughout the process of error disclosure and apology, including while an event is still being investigated. Learning from Harvard Medical School experts in bioethics and communication, you’ll gain insight into:

  • The disclosure coach role—and what helps or hinders positive outcomes
  • Anticipating the range of reactions patients, families, and clinicians may experience or express
  • Risk management and legal perspectives
  • Understanding your institution’s expectations
  • Convening, debriefing, and counseling your team
  • Documenting disclosure conversations
  • Support services

Workshop Format: You will experience live simulations of disclosure coaching and a disclosure conversation with a patient and family member ( portrayed by professional improvisational actors), as well as group debriefs on coaching strategies, and interactive exercises to develop and practice skills for disclosure coaching across a range of error cases.

Designed for:

  • Physician leaders, at the level of Division Chiefs, CMOs, and senior staff
  • Risk managers, patient safety leaders

Participant Testimonials


“Even better than I anticipated. Very dynamic, very moving, with concrete learning points/suggestions for coaching.”


“Fantastic workshop. You gave me lots to think about. I hope we can expand this program throughout the hospital and make it a standard practice going forward.”

Tuition Rates

Tuition:  $225

Early bird registration by 3/9/20:  $195

Group rates available:  Please contact Sylvia Lewinstein for more information.

Register here.

[registration is through the Dept. of Medical Education at Boston Children's Hospital]


Led by Harvard Medical School medical and ethics experts Stephen Brown, MD and Donna Luff, PhD, and accomplished psychosocial faculty, Pamela Varrin, PhD, you'll return to your team with a framework for teaching colleagues what to say, what to avoid, and how to express empathy and be proactive with a grieving patient and family. 

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