Resources for Health Care Professionals

 MD Anderson Teaching Communication Skills Resources
 Other Teaching Communication Skills Resources
 MD Anderson Cancer Center links
 Courses/Programs/Training Opportunities
 Notices of Conferences/Lectures/Workshops
 Communication Skills Organizations
 Recommended Reading

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MD Anderson Teaching Communication Skills Resources      Top of Page

        On Being An Oncologist (pdf) – This workbook accompanies a video and can be used to promote and foster discussions related to the demands, the rewards, the emotional costs and personal burdens that oncology places on clinicians. Free download of workbook

        Pocket Guide of Culturally Competent Communication (pdf) - Free download of ways cultural competence can help you plan patient care.

        Challenging Emotional Conversations with Patients & Families (pdf) - A guide to forming a therapeutic alliance with patients and families. Free download

        Effective Communication in Supervision (pdf) – Giving Feedback - The good, the bad and the ugly. Free download

        Conducting a Family Meeting Booklet (pdf) - David Kissane, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Free download

        Conducting a Family Meeting Blueprint (pdf) - David Kissane, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Free download


Other Teaching Resources      Top of Page

OncoTalk Teach — Valuable information for those who teach communication skills.

American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) - Doctor/Patient Relationship Course — Will tailor institutional courses for faculty or clinicians and will work collaboratively with you to create a course that fits your needs.

London Deanery (E-Learning) — This series of open access short modules covers core topics in clinical teaching and learning. They have been developed for the London Deanery to inform and support the professional development of clinical teachers.


MD Anderson Cancer Center links      Top of Page

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Department of Faculty & Academic Development — This program, as part of Academic Affairs at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, can provide you with the skill sets you need to succeed at every phase of your career.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Clinical Cancer Genetics - The Clinical Cancer Genetics Program — Dedicated to providing hereditary cancer risk assessment and consultation services. Our multidisciplinary team is comprised of specially trained genetic counselors and physicians who work together to provide education, hereditary cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling and genetic testing, individualized cancer screening and prevention programs to people who are concerned about their personal and family history of cancer.

Medical Education — Outstanding clinical opportunities for physicians and other medical professionals and students.

Note: These links can only be accessed by MD Anderson employees
Education & Training page


Courses/Programs/Training Opportunities      Top of Page

Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute - Offers professional training, supervision, on-site in-services, psychodrama services, and consultation to hospitals, substance abuse inpatient and outpatient programs, mental health programs, battered women's programs, schools and universities, human service agencies and industry.

Queen's University of Charlotte - Queens University of Charlotte’s course work and teaching methods are specifically designed to provide instant, real-world applicability and provide students with the most current theory and best practices in the field. Learn how to effectively engage individuals and communities across digital, social and traditional platforms at the James L. Knight School of Communication.

BMJ Learning - Is the leading online provider of continuing medical education (CME) and postgraduate training for doctors and other healthcare professionals. Covering a range of clinical and non-clinical topics, the website contains over 900 online modules written by experts and peer reviewed. BMJ Learning is accredited by several authorities providing a quick and convenient way to earn CME credits.

European School of Oncology — Offers a distance learning programme on the Internet called e-ESO. e-ESO sessions are available on and are CME and ESMO MORA accredited. CME credits are also recognized as Physician’s Recognition Award (AMA PRA Category 1TM Credits) by the American Medical Association. 

European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) — With over 9,000 members worldwide, the "European Association for Cancer Research", founded in 1968, is Europe's largest member society for cancer research. EACR has always had one guiding aim "The advancement of cancer research". In pursuing this aim, the Association provides services to members, presents educational, training and scientific meeting opportunities, and facilitates communication and collaboration between the cancer researchers who make up its membership.

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA — Read about major new national research and outreach initiatives concerning risk communication, health promotion, behavior change, technology development and information dissemination to promote effective cancer prevention, screening, control, care and survivorship.

George Mason University M.A. program in Health and Strategic Communication — The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in communication at George Mason University examines the powerful role played by communication practices in contemporary society. The program has two major areas of emphasis: strategic communication/ public relations and health communication.

George Mason University Ph.D. program in Health and Strategic Communication — The doctoral program in communication focuses on health and strategic communication. It prepares students for increasingly complex public and private communication environments. Students receive a strong theoretical and multi-methodological foundation, which enables them to examine the critical role communication performs in health promotion, disease prevention, quality of care, risk assessment and crisis management.

George Mason University — Offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a communication minor and the Health, Risk and Crisis Communication graduate program.

University of Pittsburgh – Fellowship program — The Senator H. John Heinz III Fellowship in Palliative Care Medicine (pdf) offers two fellowship options: A one-year clinical fellowship is offered by the Section of Palliative Care of the University of Pittsburgh, a high-volume, multidisciplinary clinical program and includes the opportunity to receive a certificate in clinical education. A two-year fellowship option extends beyond the clinical year to prepare individuals for an academic career in the growing specialty of palliative medicine enabling fellows to earn a Masters in either clinical education or research.

Duke University, Dept of Medicine Fellowship Programs, including Palliative Care — The Duke Fellowship in Palliative Medicine is a one-year program designed to train future leaders in palliative care. Fellows interested in an academic career have the option of doing an additional one- to two-year research training program through the Durham VA Center for Health Services Research. 

University of California, San Diego – Physician Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program — Anger Management for Healthcare Professionals Program - This course is designed to help those physicians and healthcare providers who have contributed to a disruptive working environment by way of inappropriate expression of anger. The Anger Management for Healthcare Professionals program is a small, (six to eight participants), intensive and highly interactive three day course taught by UCSD faculty from the Department of Psychiatry.

Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology (EPEC™-O) — Curriculum contained on CD-Rom is a comprehensive curriculum in palliative and end-of-life care developed specifically for clinicians caring for persons with cancer. The curriculum is divided into three plenary sessions, 15 content modules and two teaching skills modules. Available online with CME credit.

Voices from the Lived World of Illness: Advanced Cancer – The Center for Communication in Medicine — Award winning film and CME program to help healthcare professionals to learn how patients perceive their illness and how they would like us to care for them.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine - Center for Communication and Medicine — Works to improve communication in and about medicine through innovative teaching and assessment, theory-driven research with practical value and an international exchange of information, tools and experience.

Multi-lingual Core Curriculum in Psycho-Oncology — This series of online presentations on psycho-oncology is available online in English and five European languages: French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish. Topics include: Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Cancer Care, Anxiety and Adjustment in Cancer Patients, Distress Management in Cancer, Depression and Depressive Disorders in Cancer Patients and Psychosocial Assessment in Cancer Patients.


Notices of Conferences/Lectures/Workshops
Received      Top of Page

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Achieving Communication Excellence (ACE) — National/international speakers provide video lectures on communication skills. Continuing education credit available for attending and/or online participation. For Upcoming Lectures visit our Home Page under Upcoming Events on the right side of the page.

University of California, San Diego – Physician Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program — "Clinician-Patient Communication to Enhance Health Outcomes" is offered as a full day workshop for groups with six to thirty participants. The workshop is a fast paced interactive program designed to provide participants with opportunities to practice skills and techniques.

Harvard Medical School - Children’s Hospital Boston - Program to Enhance Relational & Communication Skills (PERCS) — Interdisciplinary training program designed to improve the communication skills and relational abilities of trainees and staff members who must deliver and discuss difficult news with pediatric patients and their families. The program is delivered as a day-long workshop.

Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice (IPEP) — An interdisciplinary educational initiative dedicated to cultivating relational competence in health care. They specialize in developing and conducting innovative educational programs and interventions focused on difficult conversations occurring across a wide range of settings in pediatric and adult medicine.

For more information on communication skills conferences please go to the AACH Bulletin Board.


Communication Skills Organizations      Top of Page

ASCO — The American Society of Clinical Oncology is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with the overarching goals of improving cancer care and prevention. More than 27,000 oncology practitioners belong to ASCO, representing all oncology disciplines and subspecialties. Members include physicians and health-care professionals in all levels of the practice of oncology.

NCCN — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is a not- for- profit alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer.

George Mason University - The Center for Health and Risk Communication — The CHRC provides an important organizational framework for stimulating innovative health and risk communication research collaborations, health promotion intervention projects and community interventions. The establishment of the CHRC parallels the development of innovative new health and risk communication graduate programs at both the Masters and Doctoral levels within the Department of Communication, as well as the development of a strong cadre of distinguished faculty scholars with expertise in health and risk communication.

American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) — (formerly American Academy on Physician and Patient) Has dedicated more than 25 years to research, education and professional standards in patient-doctor communication. Its goal is to change the practice of medicine by helping clinicians and patients, and learners and teachers relate more effectively.

Reflective Practice & Leadership in Medicine & Medical Education — Defines "Reflective Practice" as the disciplined analysis of complex situations that result in strategic, effective action. "Leadership" is defined as the ability to guide patients, families, staff and colleagues through threatening and challenging circumstances in clinical, research and educational settings. These definitions and methods are not definitive or exhaustive. Rather this approach is offered as a tool to help prepare physicians and allied health professionals for the leadership dimensions of their roles. Specifically, this site will help medical professionals apply RP&L principles to all of their professional responsibilities — whether assisting patients, conducting research, teaching, serving as mentors or supporting colleagues. In essence, the RP&L process will help equip medical professionals with a critical leadership skill: the ability to take action after systematic reflection.

WHO (World Health Organization) — The directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

European Association for Communication in Health Care (EACH) — EACH is an interdisciplinary non-profit organization which brings together researchers and trainers in the field of communication in healthcare. Its objectives are to facilitate the exchange of ideas and products of teaching and research activities across a network of individuals and institutions in Europe and beyond.

James Madison University Health Communication Institute — Established in the spring of 1984 and was funded by a grant from James Madison University. The institute is located in Harrison Hall on the James Madison University Campus in Harrisonburg, VA. The institute has sponsored two national conferences on health communication and published the presented papers, conducted and published research in the area of health communication, promoted and conducted educational programs to make the general public and those in the health professions aware that ineffective communication interaction in the health field is having serious negative effects on the general wellness of the American public, published a newsletter four times a year about health communication, helped students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain jobs in the health promotion field through the Health Communication Concentration and a Minor in the School of Communication Studies.

IPOS – International Psycho-Oncology Society — The mission of IPOS is to be the international multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to fostering the science of psychosocial and behavioral oncology and improving the care of cancer patients and their families throughout the world. 

Federation of the National Societies of Psycho-Oncology — The objective of the IPOS Federation is to represent psycho-oncology, world-wide, speaking compellingly in a unified voice the message that all cancer patients and their families throughout the world should receive optimal psychosocial care at all stages of disease and survivorship.

University of Ferrara (Section of Psychiatry) — Promotes education and research in psychological, psychiatric and social assistance to cancer patients and to their families based on programs designed by psycho-oncology and general and specialized training in psychiatry.

Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision Making (CeMPeD) — Supports excellent research across the interface of psychology, medicine and public health to answer questions about the behavioral factors which promote good health and prevent disease, ways to enhance the psychosocial adjustment of patients and careers, ways to increase use of evidence in health care decision making and ways to support patients to be more involved in their own health care. CeMPED's research strengths lie in three themes: doctor-patient communication, evidence-based, shared decision making and psycho-oncology.

Duke University Center for Palliative Care — Promotes the relief of suffering for patients with advanced life limiting illness and their loved ones, through compassionate care, innovative teaching and pioneering research.

University of Pittsburgh Institute to Enhance Palliative Care — The mission of the institute is to improve the access to and quality of palliative care in western Pennsylvania by (1) educating healthcare providers regarding palliative care, (2) conducting research into the most effective ways to provide palliative care, (3) raising public awareness about the availability of palliative care and (4) advancing public policies that support excellent, high-quality care for people who are seriously ill.

University of California at San Diego - Physician-Patient Communication Program Physician Assessment and Clinical Education Program — Dedicated to the education of physicians and other health care professionals; the detection, evaluation and remediation of deficiencies in medical practice; and assisting the medical profession in its quest to deliver the highest quality of health care to the citizens of the United States.

ONCOTALK Teach - Improving Oncologists' Communication Skills — Provides both learning and teaching opportunities.

AAMC MedEdPORTAL — In 2005 the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) developed and launched MedEdPORTAL as a free publishing venue and dissemination portal to support educators and learners as they create and use on-line teaching materials, assessment tools and faculty development resources.

National Cancer Institute - Patient-Centered Communication in Cancer Care: Promoting Healing and Reducing Suffering — This monograph lays the foundation for future innovative research in the area of patient-centered communication in oncology as well as other illness settings.

AAMC - Initiatives in Medical Education — The AAMC serves and leads the academic medicine community to improve the health of all.

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (NBCC) — Effective communication skills are a core skill for clinicians and a key element of cancer care but one in which few health professionals have received much formal training. National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre has developed a range of resources to support health professionals to implement evidence-based communication skills training. These resources are relevant for all cancer types. The way a clinician and the treatment team relates to, and communicates with a patient can significantly benefit the patient and their family, including improvements in psychosocial adjustment, decision-making, treatment compliance and satisfaction with care.

TeamOncology — (Japanese) is a resource for physicians and other health care professionals in oncology as well as patients and their family. Members of this on-line learning network learn the concepts of patient-centered multidisciplinary cancer care and standards of care. Links on the Web site include articles on topics such as effective communication among health care professionals and between health care professionals, patients and patient families. Their objective is to familiarize members with the concepts of team-based oncology care and patient-centered medical care, which do not depend on the type of cancer or the type of health care professional.

Cancer Tales: Communicating in cancer care — Workbook that aims to improve communication skills for all people involved in the care of patients with cancer. It is based on the play "Cancer Tales" by Nell Dunn. This play is based on the real-life experiences of five patients with cancer and their families.


Recommended Reading      Top of Page

Medpage Today is the fastest growing online destination for clinicians seeking breaking medical news. is a trusted news service for physicians that provides a clinical perspective on the breaking medical news that their patients are reading.  Free online CME available.

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre Clinical Best PracticeNBCC Communication Skills Training Initiative recommended reading list.

Managing Uncertainty – Part I: Background — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Oct. 10, 2011 issue. First in a 4-part series on ways to help patients manage uncertainty.

Managing Uncertainty – Part II: Serenity — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Nov. 10, 2011 issue. Second in a 4-part series on ways to help patients manage uncertainty.

Managing Uncertainty – Part III: Hope — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Nov. 25, 2011 issue. Third in a 4-part series on ways to help patients manage uncertainty.

Managing Uncertainty – Part IV: Patient Handout — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Feb. 10, 2012 issue. On ways to help patients manage uncertainty.

Letting Go — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, June 10, 2013 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the risks and benefits of telling patients “It's Okay to Let Go.”

Real Good News — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Sept 25, 2011 issue. Dr. Harpham offers ways to help patients deal with the uncertainty while undergoing evaluation.

Stopping Time — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, July 10, 2011 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses ways to overcome the difficulty of stopping treatment.

Introducing Late Effects — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, March 10, 2011 issue. Dr. Harpham offers insights into the task of talking about late effects with patients.

Right is Best — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Feb. 25, 2010 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the benefits of helping patients strive to make the best decisions when choosing treatment.

'Bad News' Pearls — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, May 25, 2010 issue. Dr. Harpham offers phrases that may be helping when breaking bad news.

Temporary hope — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Dec. 25, 2009 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the value of acknowledging and grieving temporary losses.

Meeting the M.D. in Room 2 — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Feb 25, 2009 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses some of the challenges of caring for physician-patients.

Final Good-byes — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Sept 25, 2008 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the importance of saying good-bye when transferring patients to hospice.

Informed Consent — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Sept 10, 2008 issue. Dr. Harpham offers a practical tip to help decrease patients' stress prior to procedures and surgery while ensuring consent is informed.

A Certain Uncertainty — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Aug 10, 2007 issue. Dr. Harpham offers insights about helping patients accept and adjust to uncertainty.

Duds — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, June 25, 2007 issue. Dr. Harpham shares insights about ways to help patients respond in healthy ways to false alarms.

The “H” Word — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Dec. 25, 2006 issue. Dr. Harpham shares insights about overcoming the difficulty of transferring patients' care to hospice.

If-Not When — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, July 10, 2006 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the value of highlighting uncertainty when the prognosis is poor.

Time to Celebrate — By Wendy S. Harpham, M.D., Oncology Times, Feb 25, 2006 issue. Dr. Harpham discusses the healing power of celebrating the small victories along the way.