Johns Hopkins University

The Cameron Kravitt Foundation Seminar at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

A unique training component for second year pediatric residents, the Cameron Kravitt Foundation Death and Bereavement Seminar has been held annually at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center since 1996, housed within the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It was developed in response to simultaneous needs for Harriet Lane Pediatric Residents to gain exposure to death and bereavement issues in a protected setting and to gain expertise in communication techniques. The seminar’s development is supported by generous contributions from the Cameron Kravitt Foundation. We integrated the seminar experience into the second-year of residency because trainees needed sufficient clinical exposure in order to understand the relevance of these life changing issues.

We incorporate three principles of adult learning when developing this seminar. Adults learn better when they (1) are motivated through active mental and physical participation in the learning activities, (2) have opportunities to practice and successfully apply what they have learned, and (3) realize there is a focus on relevant and realistic problems and the practical application of learning.

During the seminar, we allow the residents to become active learners, provide experiential opportunities through simulated encounters with standardized parents, afford the residents with an opportunity to develop insight into their own behaviors, and encourage them to learn from their peers. In addition, we involve personal experiences shared by faculty members who have expertise with bereaved patients.

The seminar is deeply embedded into the Harriet Lane Residency Program’s curriculum and is endorsed by the chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the pediatrics program director. Approximately 14 faculty members donate their time annually to participate as facilitators or discussants. The residents have no clinical responsibilities from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on the day of the seminar. The seminar takes place off site, at our state-of-the-art simulation center, so the residents can be geographically removed from the hospital and concentrate without distractions on the issues involved.

This seminar is vital to teaching the next generation of pediatricians the importance of compassionate care, with particular focus on communication skills training utilizing professional simulated patients and caregivers. More than 400 residents have participated in the Johns Hopkins Cameron Kravitt Foundation Death and Bereavement Seminar to date, and the number grows by more almost 30 every year.  Although they are trained in Baltimore, the information gleaned from this seminar impacts patients and families across the country as our residents go on to work at medical institutions nationwide.  Our seminar “alumni” are currently practicing in more than 30 different states at more than 50 different medical institutions.  The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center is forever grateful to the Cameron Kravitt Foundation for supporting our shared vision in helping to train future pediatricians – impact that goes beyond the patients and loved ones for whom they care.

Learn more about CKF activity at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Sharing Bad News with Parents: Death and Bereavement Seminar

Some Elements to Consider When Sharing Bad News

Components of Sharing Bad News

Autopsy Reports at the Johns Hopkins Hospital

Information for Healthcare Providers: Answering Questions about Postmortem Examination

Information for Healthcare Providers: Answering Questions about Funeral or Other Arrangements After a Fetal or Neonatal Death