Advanced Communication Skills Retreat 2021


For all health professionals working with cancer patients

Due to COVID-19 this event has been postponed until 2021.

If you would like us to keep you informed about the Advanced Communication Skills Retreat please email us at 

Sharpen your clinical communication skills at this three-day intensive retreat. In the fourth iteration of this unique program our expert clinicians facilitate small group workshops using simulated patients for practice of real-world scenarios.

Through learning tailored to challenges from your individual clinical practice, you will enhance your core skills in:

  • Delivering bad news
  • Discussing life-limiting illness and end-of-life care
  • Managing mismatched expectations between patients and treating teams
  • Discussing advanced care planning and determining goals of care
  • Using feedback to maximise learning
  • Shared decision making between patients and healthcare teams
  • Engaging and empowering patients

 Presented by


Hear what previous participants had to say:
  • "I identified enormous improvements in my communication skills, and now have frameworks I will work with in my clinical practice"

  • "I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who interacts with patients.  The skills you learn not only make you a better communicator, they make you a better clinician."

  • "Fantastic course! Small group experiential learning meant the teaching could be tailored to our individual needs. Totally relevant to my practice – in fact it should be encouraged for all clinicians no matter their field."

Previous participants have represented general practice, palliative medicine and all areas of oncology.

For more information about this retreat please contact    

Teaching faculty

Peter Martin, MB BCh BAO, MMed, FAChPM
Peter Martin

Professor of Clinical Communication & End-of-Life Care, Deakin University School of Medicine.

Director, Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare (OCPH), Deakin University, Faculty of Health.

Palliative Medicine Physician at Barwon Health.

Peter has been involved with communication skills training for 25+ years and has been a clinician for over 30 years. His clinical interest is cancer cachexia. He has taught communication skills with Cambridge, Monash, Melbourne and Deakin medical schools. He has taught at numerous postgraduate courses with a variety of health professional disciplines nationally over the last 15+ years.

Since becoming the Director of OCPH he has developed and run numerous 1,2 or 3-day courses on healthcare communication including numerous train-the-trainer courses. The OCPH’s major intervention is an organisational level intervention to drive person-centred healthcare communication called Your Thoughts Matter.


@EACH_Aus (Australian EACH)

Meg Chiswell Meg Chiswell

Deputy Director, Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare, Deakin University, Faculty of Health

Meg originally worked as a Radiation Therapist and educator at RMIT University in Melbourne before moving into strategic oversight of programs at Cancer Council Victoria including 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support, Cancer Education and Peer Support Programs, and the Victorian Cancer Clinicians Communication Program.

Meg has been instrumental in building communication skills programs for health professionals and non-clinical staff working with cancer patients in Victoria. Meg has personally delivered more than 100 experiential healthcare communication skills programs to over 600 professionals.

Meg is a member of the International Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and is the Australian representative on the teaching subcommittee (tEACH) for this group. In 2016, Meg convened the inaugural Teaching Communication in Healthcare Conference and Education Program in partnership with EACH and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, bringing together more than 120 local and international delegates. Following the success of these events, Meg has worked closely with Peter Martin to establish and lead the Australian tEACH network for communication skills educators in healthcare.


Dr Derek Eng Derek Eng

Palliative Medicine Physician, Royal Perth Hospital
Head of Palliative Care Services, St John of God Subiaco Hospital

Dr Derek Eng is a Palliative Medicine Physician at Royal Perth Hospital and Head of Palliative Care Services at St John of God Subiaco Hospital. Dr Eng has extensive experience in training educators, facilitators and health professionals in clinical communication. In 2015, Dr Eng was appointed Lead Clinician (Communication Skills Education) for the Department of Health (WA) and has been a member of the Communication Skills Workshop team for Palliative Medicine Trainees (FAChPM) since 2007. Dr Eng's involvement in education also extends to his current appointment as a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia and Notre Dame University Fremantle. 


Dr Debra Leung, MBBS (Hons), BMedSci, FANZCA Debra Leung

Debra is a staff specialist anaesthetist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. Her areas of clinical specialty include onco-anaesthesia and the prehabilitation of high-risk surgical patients undergoing major cancer surgery.

Her related academic and clinical interest lies in Shared Decision Making for high-risk surgical patients. In this capacity, she has established a Shared Decision Making pathway for high-risk surgical patients at the Peter Mac. She has also headed up a project, working in conjunction with the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Perioperative Medicine SIG and the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCOA) in the UK, to produce the first short animated film to increase patient engagement with perioperative shared decision making.

Debra is a trained facilitator in healthcare communication skills and works closely with the Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare based at Deakin University. In 2017, she started the first experiential communication skills Shared Decision Making workshop specifically tailored for perioperative clinicians. She is also currently undertaking a Masters of Medicine by research examining the use of patient focus groups to redesign surgical risk and shared decision making aids for high-risk surgical patients.

Registration rates

Registration rates for the Advanced Communication Skills Retreat will be announced in 2021.

To receive updates, please email