Advanced Communication Skills Retreat 2021


For all health professionals working with cancer patients.  

Due to COVID-19 the Advanced Communication Skills Retreat has been postponed until March 2021.
If you would like us to keep you informed about the Advanced Communication Skills Retreat please email us at

In the fourth iteration of this unique program, our expert clinicians will deliver experiential learning to enhance core skills in clinical communication.

Areas of focus include:

  • Delivering bad news
  • Managing mismatched expectations
  • Determining goals of care
  • Discussing end-of-life care

 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."
  • "This was a powerful 3 days where I realised small changes in how we communicate can have dramatic differences in how the communication can impact on our patients."
  • "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 a range of professional specialties including general practice, palliative medicine and all areas of oncology.

For more information about this retreat please contact    



Participants will sharpen their clinical consultation skills with expert clinicians who facilitate small group activities and utilise trained, simulated patients for practice of real-world scenarios.

Through learning that is tailored to challenges from participant’s own individual clinical practice, they will enhance core skills.

A detailed program for the event will be released shortly. 

Please contact to subscribe to updates.


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, Deakin University, Faculty of Health.

Palliative Medicine Physician & Regional Director of Palliative Care for Barwon Health.

Peter has been a clinician for 30 years. After doing a variety of medical rotations as a junior doctor he came to Australia hoping to train as a cardiologist. A Fellowship in Palliative Medicine & Progressive Neurology changed his career direction. He trained at a large University Hospital in south-east Melbourne (Monash Medical Centre) in a Professorial palliative care unit mainstreamed in a large tertiary hospital with a big cancer service. He returned to work in an NHS Cancer Unit in the UK before returning to direct one of the largest inpatient palliative care units in Australia at St. Vincent's Health in Melbourne. In 2006 he moved to Geelong to direct a large integrated palliative care program. He has led a dedicated cancer cachexia service since 2004; one of only a few worldwide.

As a contrast Peter spent a year as a Monash Institute of Public Health scholar in the Department of Medical Informatics following up on his thesis on clinical database design.

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.

More recently Peter has become the Australian National Representative for the International Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and chairs the policy / practice sub-group (pEACH) of this group.


@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. 


Professor Jennifer Philip Jennifer Philip

Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Jennifer was appointed Chair of Palliative Medicine, following a career in palliative care research and clinical practice of more than 20 years. Her clinical work largely in consultative practice has frequently involved caring for patients who are navigating new phases of their cancer illness and care - from curative to palliative treatments, from cancer treatment to focus on symptom treatment, and from stability to end of life care. Part of her research agenda examines the ways we best care for patients and their families at these times.

Parallel and interfacing with this research and clinical work, Jennifer has been involved in enhancing health care professionals' communication skills. She has extensive experience in communication training, is a (former) member of the Communication Skills Workshop team for Palliative Medicine Trainees (FAChPM) and has been involved in training for Victorian Doctors (Victorian Doctors Communication Program) and medical oncology trainees for a number of years.

Registration rates

Registration rates for the 2021 Advanced Communication Skills Retreat will be released shortly. 

Please contact to subscribe to updates.


Continuing professional development points may be available upon completion of the 2021 Advanced Communication Skills Retreat. 

Further details will be published as soon as they are available.

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Cancer Council Victoria is looking to offer two scholarships to attend the 2021 Advanced Communication Skills Retreat.

Information on how to apply and eligibility criteria may be made available in the coming months.   

Please contact to subscribe to updates.