Pre-Conference Courses

Pre-conference courses and workshops


Workshop 1: The art of feedback: engaging learners in feedback conversations for communication development

This workshop is for clinical communication educators and those considering taking on this role. Real-time verbal feedback is an important component of experiential clinical communication training. Effective feedback from both peer learners and facilitators increases inclusivity, engagement and knowledge retention, leading towards improved communication and thus patient outcomes. Nevertheless, divergent approaches to managing feedback during the live session result in varied student experiences. This is partially due to the limited research on feedback, most of which describes the feedback as a unidirectional information transmission. Although more recent studies allude to a dynamic co-constructed process to capture the requirements for active learner participation. Using the recently published ‘Feedback Kidney Model’ as a framework for our workshop, we will explore how to help learners fully engage in feedback interactions and process feedback to benefit their learning.

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

  1. Appraise their own feedback practices.
  2. Critique the ‘Feedback Kidney Model’.
  3. Adapt the ‘Feedback Kidney Model’ for use in local contexts.
  4. Design and facilitate dialogic feedback in clinical communication education more effectively.

Facilitators: Dr Shuangyu Li, Dr Katherine Miles, Dr Abdul-salam Sultan.

Date: Tuesday 10 September 0800 – 1145
Fee: £75 including lunch and refreshments

Workshop 2: Comunicacion Centrada en las Personas – taller ofrecido en Espanol (Relationship-Centered Communication foundational workshop, offered in Spanish)

ACH has offered the foundational Relationship-Centered Communication workshop in different cultures and languages around the world by certified facilitators. We have provided this curriculum in CDMX (Mexico City), San Juan PR, and would like to offer in Spanish for local participants to experience the curriculum in their home language for engaging in a culturally and linguistically congruent manner with patients, students, and colleagues. This workshop provides a critical overview of the fundamental communication skills that support effective, empathic, and equitable communication with patients and colleagues. After reviewing the essential importance of communication, the course teaches the key fundamental skill sets that all who communicate in healthcare can adopt. A substantial portion of workshop time is spent in small groups with facilitated skills practice using participants own cases of everyday communication in their work in healthcare.

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

  1. Describe the evidence base that supports relationship-centered communication.
  2. Describe and demonstrate how to build rapport.
  3. Demonstrate how to elicit a patient’s or colleague’s agenda.
  4. Demonstrate how to negotiate what can be managed safely in the allocated time.
  5. Demonstrate how to elicit the patient’s or colleague’s perspective.
  6. Demonstrate how to respond with empathy.
  7. Demonstrate communication skills to maximize the patient’s or colleague’s understanding of a collaborative plan.
  8. Identify 1-2 new communication skills to implement into practice

Facilitators: ACH

Date: Tuesday 10 September 0800 – 1230
Fee: £75 including lunch and refreshments

Workshop 3: The Verona Coding of Emotional Sequences (VR-CoDES). Rapid review of the coding system and reflections emerging from its use in the literature

Since 2003, the “Verona Network on Sequence Analysis,” composed of a number of EACH members coming from eight European countries (Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, and Switzerland) and from the USA, has met to define how to analyze emotional communication in provider-patient encounters. As a result, a consensus statement was published in 2011 in PEC1,2 with a description of a new coding scheme, the Verona Coding Definitions of Emotional Sequences (VR-CoDES), followed by a conceptual paper, published in PEC in 2017, that explained the theoretical and empirical framework of VR-CoDES. Since its publication, more than one hundred papers have been published by different research groups, in different healthcare settings.

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

  1. Present an overview of the VR-CoDES system;
  2. Demonstrate how the coding system works;
  3. Summarize findings from research applying the VR-CoDES
  4. Discuss the strengths and limitations of the VR-CoDES coding system

 Facilitators: Lidia Del Piccolo, Arnstein Finset

Date: Tuesday 10 September 0800 – 1145
Fee: £75 including lunch and refreshments


Curriculum Development in Communication Skills Teaching
tEACH Pre-Course: A two day course for Health Professional Educators

Monday 9 September – 9am to 5:30pm and
Tuesday 10 September – 8:30am -12:30pm

Maximum number of participants: 18

Led by representatives of tEACH, the teaching committee from EACH:  International Association for Communication in Healthcare, this course is directed toward teachers of health professionals (for example medical students, nurses, physiotherapists, doctors) who wish to develop a new curriculum or enhance an existing curriculum. We are aware that different institutions in different countries will have varying resources in terms of available teachers, simulated patients and technology and take this into account in helping you. Course content will address developing curriculum ranging from stand-alone session(s) on a specific communication skill area (for example, basic skills, motivational interviewing, bad news telling, etc) to more comprehensive longitudinal communication curriculum for any level of learners. The course will be highly interactive and participant centered and will enable individual participants to formulate concrete plans for the future.

The focus is on how to develop a curriculum suitable to the healthcare setting the participant operates within. The course looks at what to include in the curriculum, and how to deliver and evaluate the curriculum.  The course combines large group interactive sessions presenting theory and concrete steps in developing curricula with small group sessions where participants work on their individual curriculum development needs.

As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • apply educational theory to designing communication skills curricula
  • ensure learners master an increasing range of skills and retain them over time.
  • organize the core content of the communication curriculum tailored to their learners’ needs
  • select appropriate teaching methods for each component of the curriculum
  • integrate communication with other clinical skills and the rest of the learners’ program
  • describe key issues in evaluation and implementation of communication curriculum

Course facilitators include:

Dr Anne Marie Regan is a practising clinical/ Neuro psychologist working in clinical practice in varied clinical settings for the last 30 years including Health Service Executive West, & National Disability Authority in Ireland. She an Assistant Scheme Director with the Irish College of General Practitioners GP training programme and has a lead role in overseeing the development of a national curriculum for communication skills teaching in postgraduate GP training.

Dr Claudia Kiessling is a medical doctor by training with a Master degree in Public Health and holds the position of chair and professor for the Education of Personal and Interpersonal Competencies in Health Care at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. She has been involved in medical education since 1999, working in several universities in Germany and Switzerland. Her work experience includes the development and implementation of medical education programmes, assessment, programme evaluation, and faculty development. Teaching experience includes clinical communication, teamwork, reflection, problem based learning, and methodology of scientific working. Her research interests are the development of assessment instruments in the field of clinical communication (SJTs, performance-based assessment) and the evaluation of educational interventions in medical education. She has been member of EACH since 2006 and tEACH since 2011.

Dr Gozie Offiah, Senior Lecturer and Director of Curriculum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and practised medicine (with a background in Surgery) for over 15 years in the Health Service Executive (HSE). She is also the Clinical Lead for the National Intern Training programme in the HSE and the chair of the cross-cultural group of tEACH, Her teaching experience spans undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education in health professions education and training.


Member £315
Non Member £355
Student £195

Systematic Coding of Observed human Behaviour (SCOBe) in healthcare interaction
rEACH: A two day course

Monday 9 September – 9am to 5:30pm and
Tuesday 10 September – 8:30am -12:30pm

Maximum number of participants: 18

Interactions between healthcare professionals and patients are complex. Obtaining a deep understanding of such interactional dynamics is challenging for healthcare communication researchers. To unpack complex interaction and disentangle specific communication behaviours, Systematic Coding of Observed human Behavior (SCOBe) can be used. Several observer-based coding schemes are available. However, it may seem daunting to decide when observational coding is useful, how to select or adapt the appropriate coding scheme, and how to use it to answer your research questions. This course is developed to help researchers and other professionals in using SCOBe for their research.

Course Objectives

The primary focus of the course will be on using systematic coding to analyse communication behaviour in medical interaction. The course will enable participants to:

  • decide when (and when not) to use SCOBe
  • become acquainted with various coding systems and choose the appropriate system for answering their own research question(s)
  • apply a coding system through hands-on practice
  • if no suitable coding schemes are available, modify existing schemes or newly develop a coding scheme
  • analyse and interpret data
  • adequately report on research using SCOBE, using newly established guidelines
  • avoid common pitfalls of SCOBe.

Please note: This course does not focus on discourse analysis or conversation analysis as coding methods.

  • Evaluation: This course does not involve any exam or other type of evaluation for participants. However, during the 3rd and final course day, participants present their work in progress and receive personalized feedback. Upon course completion, participants can contact the facilitators for follow-up advice.
  • Indication of time investment: 32 hours in total, including the course days, preparatory work and reading.
  • Who can apply: researchers of healthcare communication at any stage of their career, including PhD students, junior researchers, postdocs, and more senior researchers.



Janneke Noordman, PhD; Senior Researcher ‘Communication in healthcare’; Nivel, Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, The Netherlands.  Janneke investigates patient-provider communication, with a focus on vulnerable patient groups (e.g. patient with limited health literacy, elderly). Topics include: shared decision making, participatory research, lifestyle counselling. She is an expert in observational coding and trained many researchers in this research methodology, and provides video-feedback to healthcare providers based on their real-life consultations. Janneke is the secretary of the Patient-Provider-Interaction (PPI) Network in The Netherlands and Flanders

Marij Hillen, PhD; Associate Professor ‘Medical Communication’ & Principal Educator; Amsterdam University Medical Centers, The Netherlands. Marij researches physician-patient communication, with a focus on patient trust and (communication about) uncertainty. She has led the development of an online database of coding instruments for physician-patient communication for the research committee of EACH. In her research, she has developed and used observational coding to assess communication about uncertainty and shared decision.


Member £315
Non Member £355
Student £195

Goals of Care
tEACH: A two day course

Monday 9 September – 9am to 5:30pm and
Tuesday 10 September -8:30am -12:30pm

Maximum number of participants: 12

“If you were to get worse” training in sensitive and skilful communication around prognosis and goals of care. Discussing prognosis, disease progression and ceilings of care is a challenging task which has become an integral part of many health professionals’ role.

This new two-day experiential course has been developed by subject experts to help clinicians with these essential conversations and aims to help them to:

  • identify patients at risk of dying in the next 12 months
  • initiate conversations with these patients about their condition and options, and about their values, goals and priorities.
  • enable patients’ preferences to be heard, respected and recorded.
  •  Who is the course aimed at?
  • Originally designed for hospital clinicians this course is appropriate for all senior Healthcare staff working in both primary care & secondary care.

 What does the course involve?

The course involves two full days of training in groups of 8-10 healthcare professionals.  The skills for conducting this type of conversation are explored and practised by participants through role­play with the simulated patient. Each group is led by a highly skilled facilitator & simulated patient.


Member £400
Non Member £450
Student £195

Power, Policy & Politics: Why it is important and how to influence Power brokers and policy makers?
pEACH: A half day course

Tuesday 10 September – 8:30am -12:30pm

Maximum number of participants: 100


  1. Shakaib (Shak) Rehman, MD, MACP, FACH, FEACH, FAMIA, CSH USA
  2. Calum MacKichan, PhD, BSc, Belgium

Learning objectives

  1. Appraise and practice developing effective communication and negotiation techniques, skills and strategy while preserving and enhancing the relationship with policy makers.
  2. Understand the way one deals with conflict can impact negotiation.
  3. Explain how personal interests and positions influence negotiating.
  4. Identify personal strengths and opportunities for improving communication and negotiation skills.
  5. Recognize the value of understanding your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA).

Research shows that most patients around the world do not get humanistic, patient-centric, and empathic care resulting in high burden of disease & sufferings. pEACH is committed to influencing policymakers in developing & implementing humanistic, evidence-based communication policies.

Influencing policy is challenging, requiring motivation and skill to affect change. The pre-course will help enhance effective, efficient, and evidence-based communication skills, and providing ready to use resources to engage policymakers to build a system that can serve the needs of our patients and healthcare workers.

Effective communicators use innovative thinking to create lasting value and forge strong professional relationships. They take a deep dive in to what motivates and influences differing perspectives to better understand and tackle challenges and disagreements. The ability to negotiate requires a collection of interpersonal and communication skills used together to bring about a desired result. It is based on exploring underlying interests and positions to bring parties together for better outcomes for all.

The 4-hours highly interactive pre-course provides evidence-based tools & interventions for identifying individual communication preferences, delivery methods, conflict resolution styles, negotiation skills/tools, problem-solving techniques, alternate delivery formats and resources & applications such as links to policy briefs.

The pre-course is intended for practitioners, researchers, administrators, trainees & students.


Member £195
Non Member £225
Student £140