Complex Care Conversations: Creating a Climate of Healing

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Program Overview

Complex Care Conversations is an interactive curriculum designed for small groups to increase clinician ease and effectiveness in approaching goals of care conversations with patients dealing with serious, progressive illnesses such as heart failure, cancer and dementia. This program offers guidance in how to approach this sometimes awkward subject so that important discussions are not delayed or postponed. The sessions offer a framework for navigating these conversations that elicit patient values and preferences in a way that is mutually transformative for clinicians and patients


(Click on the date of the session you wish to attend below to register.) 

Who Should Attend?

Practice teams including physicians, nurses, nurse care managers, medical assistants, and other team members as well as public health professionals. Non-clinicians who work or volunteer with seriously ill patients may also benefit from this training and are invited to attend.


This program is funded in part by two Rhode Island State Grants* There is no fee to attend for providers and others licensed in or who practice in Rhode Island,  but registration is required and participants will be asked to provide practice data as part of the grant. 

Providers and others not licensed in or practicing in Rhode Island are welcome to attend but should contact for Fees and more information.

Cancellation / No Show Policy
Please notify the Brown CME Office at least 3 days prior to your session if you are unable to attend. Due to the interactive nature of this program, attendance is limited and there is a waiting list of interested individuals. No Shows/No Calls will be charged $100.

Learning Objectives

The overall objective of this program is to give participants key tools for effective communication, and learn skills of balancing patients’ values with the medical reality when recommendations are given to patients and families. Providers will learn how to properly bill and code for these reimbursable activities. In addition, participants will receive education on bedside ethics when faced with surrogate decision makers, as well as prognostication that will help them guide patients and families in effective ways as patients approach the end of their life. Lastly, participants will learn techniques to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue in caring for very complex and fragile patients, creating a climate of healing for all involved.

Planning Committee

Christine Ann Nevins-Herbert, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University
Medical Director, Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island

Jennifer M. Ritzau, MD
Complex Care Conversations Program Director, 
Medical Director/Director of Palliative Care
Hope Hospice and Palliative Care Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island

C. Kelly Smith, MSW
Program Manager, Comprehensive Cancer Control Program
Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI

Mercedes Pacheco, MD
Medical Director, Hope Hospice and Palliative Care Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island

Tammy Bhang DNP, ARNP, ACHPN
Board Certified Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Educator
Juan C. Iregui MD, MA, FAAHPM
Board Certified Palliative Medicine Physician, Ethicist, Educator
CORE Healthcare Consulting Group, Snoqualmie, WA

Julia Issa, CME Coordinator & Maria Sullivan, Director
Office of Continuing Medical Education
Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University
Providence, RI

CME Accreditation

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education.

Credit Designation

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University designates this live activity for a maximum of 8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Physicians Assistants/Nurse Practitioners:
Participants will receive a Certificates of Attendance stating this program is designated for 8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. These credits are accepted by the AAPA and AANP.

Nurses: As an American Psychological Association approved provider CES programs are accepted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Every state Board of Nursing accepts ANCC approved programs except California and Iowa, however CES is also an approved Continuing Education provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing, (Provider Number CEP15567) which is also accepted by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Nurses completing this program receive 7.5 CE hours of credit.

Social Workers: Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES), provider #1117, is approved as a Provider for Social Work Continuing Education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. CES maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 10/5/15 through 10/5/18. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive 7.5 clinical continuing education clock hours.

Program Funding*

-This program is funded in part by the Rhode Island State Innovation Model Test Grant. There is no fee for Rhode Island licensed providers to attend, but registration is required and participating providers will be asked to provide practice data as part of the grant. 

 -This program is supported in part by Cooperative Agreement Number NU58DP006291, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and awarded to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Rhode Island Department of Health.

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