Parents with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses identify having medical and mental health clinicians with expertise and attunement to their parenting concerns as an important unmet need.

This course will provide a format for identifying parenting concerns and providing expert parent guidance to parents in treatment for cancer, from a new diagnosis to recurrence and end of life. This multi-session course includes both didactics and video of clinical interactions.

Course topics include a brief review of literature that supports the need for parent guidance during a parent's serious illness, a discussion of the impact of child development and temperament on a child's adjustment to parental illness, and a video illustration of the clinical intervention. Content is targeted for mental health clinicians who work in medical settings, community mental health providers who see families impacted by cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, and non-mental health practitioners who treat patients facing parenting challenges during illness.

Course materials are available beginning on October 5, 2020, and all online course work must be completed by November 20, 2020.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Describe and address common parenting concerns when a parent has cancer
  • Discuss developmental stage and temperament-related considerations affecting a child's adjustment to a parent's illness
  • Explain and anticipate challenges faced by children at different phases of a parent's cancer care
  • Utilize a framework for conducting a parent guidance intervention


Participants must complete all 4 course sessions and their required components of each session to receive credit, including:

  • Activity Overview
  • Video Lecture
  • Reading and Resources
  • Post-Course Quiz

Session 1

Introduction to the Parent Guidance Intervention

Key Points:

  • Identify two components of the beginning of an initial parent guidance consultation
  • Describe four content areas that should be covered during the initial parent guidance interview
  • Explain the differences between parent guidance and family therapy

Session 2

A Review of the Literature Supporting the Value of Parent Guidance

Key Points:

  • Discuss common parenting concerns of patients with cancer
  • List three ways that being a parent affects a patient's experience and treatment choices
  • Explain the importance of facilitating parent-child communication to support child coping

Session 3

Child Adjustment Informed by Child Developmental Stage & Temperament

Key Points:

  • Describe how developmental stage affects a child's understanding and adjustment to a parent's illness
  • Suggest ways parents may engage the school and other community supports to enhance child and family adjustment
  • List practical recommendations to parents to enhance coping for children of different ages

Session 4

End of Life & Bereavement

Key Points:

  • Describe ways to help parents communicate about transitions in care, advanced illness, and end of life
  • Discuss considerations for supporting child adjustment during advanced illness and end of life
  • Describe parent guidance about legacy leaving, end of life decision making, and funeral planning


  • Clinical Social Work Specialist, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Social Worker, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Associate Director, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program
    Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Timothy Christopher Davidson Chair of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Founding Director, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program
    Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Psychiatrist, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program
    Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Psychologist, Marjorie E. Korff PACT (Parenting At a Challenging Time) Program
    Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
    Massachusetts General Hospital

Target Audience

This program is intended for:

  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Nurses
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselors

Course Disclaimer

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Special Thanks

The Marjorie E. Korff Parenting At a Challenging Time Program is supported by an endowment from the Korff family and other generous donors including the Davidson family, Epstein family and funding from the MGH Cancer Center.

The online When a Patient with Cancer is a Parent course was made possible through a generous grant from the Lynch Foundation.

The creation of this course in partnership with the MGH Psychiatry Academy would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our project manager, Greer Dent. Her attention to detail, her excellent writing skills and her commitment to the quality of this course made each step of the process possible.


MDs/Doctoral-Level Professionals

Early Bird Registration (on or before October 2, 2020): $349.00

Regular Registration (after October 2, 2020): $399.00

Other Professionals or Trainees

Early Bird Registration (on or before October 2, 2020): $249.00

Regular Registration (after October 2, 2020): $299.00

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

A refund minus a $25.00 administrative fee will be issued for refund requests received by October 23, 2020. No refunds will be issued for refund requests made after October 23, 2020. Payments made may not be applied to future conferences or other educational activities. There are no exceptions to these policies.

CME Information

Release Date: February 3, 2020
Expiration Date: March 23, 2020






AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM

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 McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. McLean Hospital is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

McLean Hospital designates this enduring material for a maximum of 10.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Psychologists CE Credits

The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

This offering meets the criteria for 10.00 continuing education credits for psychologists.


Nursing Contact Hours

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 13, sections 13, 14, 14A, 15 and 15D and Chapter 112, sections 74 through 81C authorize the Board of Registration in Nursing to regulate nursing practice and education.

This program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at (244 CMR 5.00) for 10.00 contact hours of nursing continuing education credit. Advance practice nurses, please note: Educational activities which meet the requirements of the ACCME (such as this activity) count towards 50% of the nursing requirement for ANCC accreditation.


Licensed Mental Health Counselors

MaMHCA, and its agent, MMCEP has been designated by the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Service Professions to approve sponsors of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for licensure renewal, in accordance with the requirements of 262 CMR 7.00.

This program has been approved for 10.00 Licensed Mental Health Counselor Category 1 credits. MaMHCA Authorization Number 19-0564S.


Social Work CE Credit Hours

The Collaborative of NASW, Boston College, and Simmons College Schools of Social Work authorizes social work continuing education credits for courses, workshops, and educational programs that meet the criteria outlined in 258 CMR of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers.

This program has been approved for 10.00 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW and the Boston College and Simmons Schools of Social Work Authorization Number D80771.



Other Professions

Other Providers can claim a Participation Certificate upon successful completion of this course.

Participation Certificates will specify the title, location, type of activity, date of activity, and number of AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM associated with the activity. Providers should check with their regulatory agencies to determine ways in which AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM may or may not fulfill continuing education requirements. Providers should also consider saving copies of brochures, agenda, and other supporting documents.


David H. Rubin, MD, reviewer
Jane Pimental, MPH

Disclosure Information

In accord with the disclosure policy of McLean Hospital as well as guidelines set forth by the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education, all people in control of educational content, including speakers, course directors, planners, and reviewers, have been asked to disclose all relevant financial relationships with commercial interests of both themselves and their spouses/partners over the past 12 months, as defined below:

Commercial Interest

The ACCME defines a "commercial interest" as any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients. The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests. For more information, visit

Financial relationships

Financial relationships are those relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities from which remuneration is received, or expected. ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

Relevant financial relationships

ACCME focuses on financial relationships with commercial interests in the 12-month period preceding the time that the individual is being asked to assume a role controlling content of the CME activity. ACCME has not set a minimal dollar amount for relationships to be significant. Inherent in any amount is the incentive to maintain or increase the value of the relationship. The ACCME defines "'relevant' financial relationships" as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest.

Conflict of Interest

Circumstances create a conflict of interest when an individual has an opportunity to affect CME content about products or services of a commercial interest with which he/she has a financial relationship.

The following planners, speakers, and content reviewers, on behalf of themselves and their spouse or partner, have reported financial relationships with an entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services (relevant to the content of this activity) consumed by, or used on, patients:

Paula K. Rauch, M.D.
Royalties: McGraw-Hill Publishing
Consulting Fee (Consultant): WGBH Children's Broadcasting

Kristin Russell, MD, MBA
Consulting Fee: Vertex Pharmaceuticals

All other individuals including course directors, planners, reviewers, faculty, staff, etc., who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity have, on behalf of themselves and their spouse or partner, reported no financial relationships related to the content of this activity.

Hardware/Software Specifications

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration

Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.1+
Browser: Firefox 3+, Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 4.0+, or Google Chrome 7.0+
Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+
Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements

Windows PC:500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card at least 16-bit; Macromedia Flash Player 10 or higher, audio playback with speakers for programs with video content; Firefox 1.1+, Internet Explorer 7.0+, Safari 1.0+, Google Chrome, or Opera
Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.3 or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit

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