Host an Onsite Workshop

ACH workshops equip learners with practical skills, derived from evidence-based methods for effective healthcare communication. Small group learning sessions engage participants in a supportive environment  while expert ACH faculty guide learning through skills practice, role-play, and feedback. ACH also provides  large group presentations and continuing education credits upon request.


Customized Content & Delivery
Content and delivery methods are customized to the specific needs of organizations and healthcare professionals. ACH workshops appeal to clinicians and healthcare staff from a wide range of professional backgrounds. 


Expert Facilitators
Inspired by a commitment to relationships as the fulcrum of healthcare delivery, workshop leaders devote time outside their regular positions as clinicians and medical educators to conduct on-site training for institutions, community health clinics, large medical centers, and private practice groups. 


If you are interesting in hosting a workshop at your institution, please contact Laura Cooley at

Workshop Topics

Communication represents a key foundation of positive patient experiences. Workshop participants learn skills relevant to improving clinical outcomes and strengthening relationships with patients, families, and teams. Patient experience surveys now evaluate communication skills by exploring if the clinician: listened carefully, treated with courtesy and respect, and explained things in a way patients can understand. This interactive workshop demonstrates a successful model of effective, relationship-centered communication and provides opportunities to build fundamental skills essential to the delivery of high quality care. Learning Goals:

  • Building rapport and relationships
  • Acknowledging communication barriers
  • Recognizing patient perspectives
  • Negotiating an agenda
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Eliciting the patient’s story
  • Listening reflectively
  • Responding with empathy
  • Collaborating on a plan

Excellent coaching and mentorship empowers providers to realize their potential and to maximize their performance and attitudes about caring. As healthcare systems strive toward improving patient experiences and clinical outcomes, communication coaching techniques become valuable resources. Coaches and educators may prevent and correct destructive staff behaviors by learning to provide effective feedback while engaging in productive coaching sessions. This workshop emphasizes the coachiing skills necessary to improve performances of individuals providers and members across the healthcare team.  Learning Goals:

  • Building fundamental communication skills
  • Fostering understanding between supervisors/supervises
  • Helping others set goals
  • Understanding and overcoming barriers impeding performance
  • Effectively diagnosing and assessing the performance of others
  • Delivering effective feedback

Strong leaders foster a culture of mutual respect, trust and excellence. This workshop emphasizes three skill sets important for effective leadership: managerial style, accountability and conflict management. This self-reflective and skills-based workshop guides participants to examine responses to different situations, relevant to both leadership and conflict management styles. Standardized tools employed during the workshop help participants to examine mindful ways of “flexing” their style. Participants learn to practice different leadership and conflict management styles that match the situation and the people. Workshop activities focus on setting clear expectations and providing specific behavioral feedback. Learning goals:

  • Exploring managerial styles and reflecting on personal style
  • Creating accountability
  • Managing conflict

Enhanced team communication and collaboration leads to improved patient experiences, better clinical outcomes, and reduced patient complaints. Effective teams also experience heightened morale among team members and increased staff retention. By identifying relational characteristics of high-performing teams, participants learn to demonstrate effective team communication skills. As team members learn to attend to the needs, strengths and diverse backgrounds of colleagues they enhance collaborative team performance. Learning Goals:

  • Forming teams and building cohesiveness
  • Practicing relationship-centered team communication
  • Handling Conflict
  • Fostering effective team leadership
  • Establishing role clarity
  • Setting team goals

Truly patient-centered care involves an understanding of the patient’s unique circumstances, values, and preferences in order to help patients reach decisions based on individual needs. The Shared Decision Making workshop includes an overview of the history and evidence underlying SDM. Participants learn skills to elicit patient preferences, to communicate risks and benefits effectively, and to recognize and help patients resolve decisional conflict. The workshop venue provides opportunity for participants to explore strategies for the integration of SDM into their own practices and with their home institutions and teams. Learning Goals:

  • Exploring the origins and evidence of shared decision making (SDM)
  • Practicing communication skills needed for SDM
  • Integrating SDM into practices and institutions

Realizing the richness of our cultural and personal backgrounds enhances our abilities to connect with patients. Inevitably, our personal or cultural assumptions may bring ‘blind-spots’ that can pose challenges. Connecting with and appreciating our own cultural identities in this non-defensive workshop environment encourages participants to notice their own culturally-based blind spots. Developing skills for eliciting and listening to the stories and experiences of others builds appreciation of divergent cultural identities. Listening allows for approaching others with fewer preconceptions and can help to expand empathic capacities. This workshop space provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of one’s own relation to power and culture as an underlying influence on clinical encounters. Learning Goals:

  • Exploring personal backgrounds and the influence of culture
  • Recognizing and appreciating cultural "blind spots"
  • Developing listening skills
  • Identifying power dynamics impacting clinical encounters
  • Communicating more skillfully to improve cultural competence

Motivational interview techniques enable providers to offer a supportive, facilitative, and respectful atmosphere for patients to explore beliefs impacting health behavior change. Workshop participants learn skills to better explore and appreciate patients' attitudes, values, and feelings about health behavior change. Participants learn skills to respond emphatically and collaboratively when patients voice ambivalence or reluctance about changing behavior, including risky behaviors. This workshop experience empowers providers to implement more effective conversations regarding recommendations and advice. Participants develop enhanced skills for communicating about change in a way that honors the needs, commitments, and readiness of the patient to adopt actual behavior change.     Learning Goals:

  • Understanding how behavior change happens and how we can help others sustain new behavior
  • Assessing commitment to change
  • Assessing confidence in ability to change
  • Learning to manage and motivate during challenging situations

The train-the-trainer (TTT) program affords organizations the opportunity to develop internal trainers for the sustainable dissemination of AACH workshops by members of hosting organizations. AACH leaders visit host organizations to guide an onsite, intensive learning process for the certification of internal trainers. The TTT program prepares new trainers to deliver AACH content and the host organization obtains a license and copyrights for internal use of the specified content. Learning Goals:

  • Facilitate skills-based practice sessions in small groups
  • Deliver appropriate and helpful feedback
  • Foster improved communication skills among peers

I have no doubt that this work will change the way that physicians interact with patients and others and has the capacity to more deeply engage physicians in the patient experience of care. The work is extremely gratifying and I believe that, as a result of training and awareness of more effective communication, it has made me a better physician, colleague and leader.”-Steven Kaplan, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Ambulatory Care and Patient Experience, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

"I was highly impressed by the facilitators' ability to meet the learning needs of a diverse group of trainers. The facilitators fully embodied the skill set they taught, which heightened the impact of the training. Skills practice was  heavily prioritized, which increased the competence and confidence of participants. The facilitators have provided ongoing, hands-on support through direct observation, feedback, and coordination."- Kara Myers CNM, Associate Clinical Professor, UCSF Department of OB, GYN, & RS

"The Relationship Centered Communication workshop transformed my approach to patients, colleagues, trainees and loved ones.  More than a valuable communication framework, the training imparted the ethos of respectful, caring communication as a means for deeper connection.  From this opening flows more meaningful therapeutic interactions, effective team dynamics, and satisfying interactions with learners.  I am now a more effective provider, teacher, and colleague.  I am energized each time I teach the skills and each time I use them."- Jeff Critchfield, MD, Chief, Division of Hospital Medicine, Medical Director, Risk Management, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

"My experience leading the trainings has deepened my comfort with the core communication and facilitation skills, but I have most enjoyed supporting the participants as they have adapted the content and format of the relationship-centered communication training to their own clinical settings.  Their outstanding trainings have confirmed that this model translates to a myriad of encounters in every healthcare setting. Seeing this message spread across my professional home is the most fulfilling aspect of my work."- Neda Ratanawongsa, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Informatics Officer for CareLinkSF, Relationship-Centered Care Curriculum Director, San Francisco Health Network; Associate Professor, UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine and UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations

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