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telemedicine-supporting relationships & trust

Presented by Pamela Duke, MD, FACH

Tuesday, March 2, 2021, from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

The use of telemedicine has increased significantly since the COVID pandemic in many health care fields. The potential for telehealth to change the patient-provider relationship remains a factor that may lead some professionals to be cautious of telehealth as a method for delivering quality health care. The American Medical Association (AMA) along with many organizations have called for telehealth to become a core competency in student eduction.  In the past we have looked at how other technology like the EMR has changed the patient-provider relationship and in this workshop we continue this exploration of using the RCC skills with new telemedicine technology. ACH has already developed a tool kit for providers- “COVID-19 Telemedicine Quick-tips” which will provide the backbone for this skills workshop.

Initially the participants will explore the opportunities and challenges the virtual telemedicine platforms. Providers have biases and anxieties about telemedicine and the workshop format can help unpack some of these concerns and enhance participants curiosity in using their communication skills.

Then the workshop attendees will examine ways to decrease the distancing in telemedicine and use skills to create and maintain the therapeutic relationship with patients. Research from a variety of health care disciplines will be briefly reviewed looking at telemedicine communication skills.

The majority of the time in the  workshop will be highly interactive and we will use breakout pairing in triads to practice specific skills looking at both the provider and patient perspectives. Participants will be asked to roleplay using their own cases in order to make this as useful as possible.
Finally, we will end the workshop with using the power of the group and create our own “best-practice” list.


  1. Consider challenges, barriers, and opportunities in using telehealth
  2. Review the literature for present best practices from a variety of health care disciplines (examples from medicine, behavioral health, addiction medicine, PT/OT and rural medicine)
  3. Practice RCC clinical skills in a virtual environment emphasizing skills from the ACH COVID19 tool kit that form strong connections with patients

online relationship-centered communication (RCC):
Facilitation Skills for Online Delivery

Presented by Calvin Chou, MD, PhD, FACH and Krista Hirschmann, PhD, FACH

Two-part series occurs Tuesday, March 2nd from 11am-1pm ET (Part 1): and 2pm-4pm ET. (Part 2) 

The Academy of Communication in Healthcare (ACH) External Education team invested great efforts across 2020 to convert the standard in-person “Relationship-Centered Communication (RCC)” workshop for delivery as an online program. As with the in-person offering, the online program is conducted in real-time small-group gatherings, hosted via Zoom, and encourages skill development through conversation, reflection, and feedback.  

RCC Facilitators who previously achieved certification to teach the standard in-person workshop to peers will benefit from additional support to effectively deliver the online version of the RCC program.  

The ACH External Education team will offer an introductory two (2) part (four (4) hour) workshop to support current RCC facilitators.  

Participants will receive access to the new 2020 Standard RCC Online PowerPoint and Facilitator guide.  

Interactive Learning: Participants attend two (2) live, interactive online sessions facilitated via Zoom by Senior ACH Faculty involved in External Education programs. The online experience enables high-touch engagement as 75% of the session involves active engagement in small group activities. Rather than a didactic or asynchronous mode of learning, this effective adult-learning approach engages participants in practice and feedback on individual skills performance. Learning occurs among colleague participants and is facilitated to create a secure and supportive learning environment.  

Session 1: Demonstration of Online RCC Program for Skill Set One:  
Two (2) Hours:

  • Provides current RCC trainers with initial exposure to the online workshop experience. 
  • ACH Senior Faculty Leader(s) will guide Session One as a demonstration so that participants can experience the role of a new participant who will encounter RCC in the online space. 
  • Small groups enable an intimate learning experience; one (1) ACH Faculty will guide a maximum of six (6) participants during breakout learning groups. 

Session 2: Backstage Facilitator Skill Development:  
Two (2) Hours:

  • ACH Senior Faculty Leader(s) will share tips and techniques to support successful online facilitation, including insight regarding the nuanced differences between in-person vs online delivery of the RCC program. 
  • Participants will practice facilitation activities in an effort to begin acclimating to delivery of the online (vs in-person) format, with observation and guidance from the ACH Senior Faculty Leader.  
  • Participants will be invited to ask questions and seek additional support at the conclusion of this session.  

NOTE: This four (4) hour workshop does not ensure success or result in “certification” to facilitate online; participants should additionally and independently aim to continue practice and strategic development to ensure success as they prepare to deliver the online RCC program at their home institutions.  


mindfulness for tough times

Presented by Auguste Fortin, MD, MPH, MACP, FACH

Tuesday, March 2, 2021, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST

The relentless buffeting of the past year has led many of us to exhaustion. We feel the need, if not the calling, to be the “soul on deck” and play a role in mending “the part of the world that is within our reach”. Yet we can get stuck in our inner monologue or hijacked by our emotional responses. How can we become more clear about what part of the world is within our reach and what it needs from us to be mended? At a time when there seems so much that needs doing, can there be wisdom in simply being?

In this workshop we will focus on being, not doing. We will experience three activities that will cultivate our ability to be aware of and dwell in the present moment. We will also participate in paired activities designed to increase our awareness of and comfort with our own emotions, to minimize blind spots and hot buttons.  A calmer and more present self is better able to reach out to and be of service to others.

Activities may include (depending on the venue) mindful eating, breath meditation, body scan, mindful walking, paired emotional check-in.
We will share our experiences and receive support from each other. Discussion may include secularized aspects of Buddhist philosophy (cause of suffering, a path to ending suffering, mindfulness)


  1. Practice and debrief three mindfulness exercises
  2. Improve recognition of one’s own emotional states
  3. Receive support for one’s practice and struggles

Exploring Racism and Mending Using Narrative Reflection

Presented by Stuart Sprague, PhD, FACH

Tuesday, March 2, 2021, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST and 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

Each participant will write two short narratives prior to the Gathering. One should be about an experience which was impacted by one's own racism or that of another. The other should be about an experience of division or distress which led to or needs to be addressed by mending. Individuals will be invited to share narratives in the themed sessions in the expectation that the shared experience will facilitate the personal awareness and growth of all the participants. There may be additional materials, poems or essays, which are introduced.
There will be two two-hour sessions. Each two-hour session will address one of the themes.  You may participate in either or both workshops. 

Each participant will:

  • Experience small group interaction using narrative reflection facilitation
  • Deepen the themes of the Winter Gathering; Mending and Racism
  • Apply the new and shared insights to one's work and social interactions

non-violent communication and Conflict Engagement

Presented by Timothy Gilligan, MD, MS, FASCO, FACH and Kara Myers, CNM, MS, FACH 
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST and 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

Does the word “conflict” strike terror in your heart? Do you flee or avoid conflict conversations like a swimmer who has spotted a large dorsal fin? Do you dive in only to later regret a brash approach? Either way, this workshop is for you!  

In this experiential-learning workshop, we will present both fundamental conflict engagement skills and the four key steps of nonviolent communication. Our goal is for you to march bravely yet humbly into conflict, confident that you have the skills to strengthen relationships.

What is nonviolent communication? It represents a framework for navigating and engaging in conflict conversations with fairness, honesty and accountability. The key skills provide a clear strategy for avoiding defensiveness and accepting responsibility for our own role, emotions and needs. NVC provides a framework for asking for what we want or need in a manner that the request can be fairly heard and not mistaken for a demand. When used skillfully, NVC allows us to have necessary and important conversations that lead to stronger relationships and more productive outcomes.  

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate self-awareness as a preparatory and ongoing step in effective conflict engagement.
  2. Climb down the ladder of inference.
  3. Distinguish interests from positions and people from problems.
  4. Express curiosity rather than judgment when someone says something that is just truly ridiculous.
  5. Describe the practice of nonviolent communication.
  6. Demonstrate the four key steps of nonviolent communication. 
  7. Find common ground where others see only swamp land.
  8. Solve all major global conflicts.