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Hosted by the Center for Bioethics & Medical Humanities of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Sunday, August 18 – Thursday, August 22, 2019
in downtown Chicago

see workshop and registration info

Medical Improv Workshop

In June 2013, Prof. Watson and Dr. Fu organized the first Medical Improv Train-the-Trainer Workshop, hosted by Northwestern University's Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program. Participants took the 10 hour medical improv course that Prof. Watson has taught at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine since 2002, attended special training sessions on how to teach the course in order to bring it back to their home institutions, listened to short presentations on this method’s theory, history, and potential for further implementation, practiced teaching medical improv to volunteer medical students, and shared their own expertise and goals in this area. A list of alums of the 2013 workshop is below.

If you live near a workshop alum, consider contacting them to learn more about medical improv. Alternatively, look for potential medical improv teachers in your own environment: qualified medical improv instructors are individuals with relevant training in both medicine and improv, or a team of an improv instructor and a clinician who could teach together. Ask them to develop exercises and discussions tailored to the clinical skill sets you would like to improve, or to the specific clinical communication challenges you would like to overcome.

Alums of the Medical Improv Train-the-Trainer Workshop

[Click to show/hide]


  • Instructor: Katie Watson, JD - Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities & Bioethics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine - Adjunct Faculty, Second City Training Center
  • Aaliyah Eaves-Leanos JD, LLM - Bioethicist and Policy Advisor, US Food and Drug Administration
  • Belinda Fu, MD - Clinical Instructor, Valley Family Medicine Residency, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington - Improviser, Unexpected Productions
  • Beth Boynton, RN, MS - Organizational Development Consultant/Author
  • Dan Sipp - Improviser, Standardized Patient - Durham, North Carolina
  • Debra Piver - Theater Educator, Center Theatre Group - Los Angeles, California
  • Ed Dunn, MD - Physician and Director, Integrated Ethics Programs, Lexington VA Medical Center - Adjunct Professor of Health Policy & Management, University of Kentucky College of Public Health
  • Frazer Robb - Improv performer and instructor - Northern Ireland
  • Lauren Dowden - MSW Candidate, Loyola University Chicago - Adjunct Faculty, The Second City - Improviser, Standardized Patient
  • Lucia Wocial, PhD, RN - Nurse Ethicist, Indiana University Health
  • Lydia Franco-Hodges - Improv Workshop Instructor, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, SUNY Stonybrook
  • Ninad Athale, MD - Family Physician, Community Health Clinic Ole - Volunteer Faculty, UC Davis School of Medicine - Napa, California
  • Richard Snyder, MD - Group Health Cooperative, Virginia Mason Medical Center - Seattle, Washington
  • Stephanie Draus, ND - Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences, National University of Health Sciences
  • Stephanie Frederick, M.Ed., RN - Integrated Health Consultant/Advocate/Educator - Tucson, Arizona
  • Terry Sommer - Director, The Morchand Center for Clinical Competence - Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai - New York, New York
  • Tobias Squier-Roper - Actor - Medical School Candidate - San Francisco, California
  • Valerie Ross, MS, MFT - Behavioral Scientist / Family Therapist - University of Washington Family Medicine Residency -Seattle, Washington


  • Instructor: Katie Watson, JD - Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities & Bioethics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine - Adjunct Faculty, Second City Training Center
  • Alex J. Reed, PsyD, MPH - Director of Behavioral Health Education, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Amy Windover, PhD, Psychologist, Director of Curriculum Development, Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication, Cleveland Clinic
  • Andrea Creel, MSW - Clinical Skills Educator and Medical Improv Instructor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • Barbara Tint, PhD, Professor of Conflict Resolution, Portland State University, Private Trainer, Facilitator and Improviser
  • Claire Marx, MSW, TEP - Psychodramatist - New York, New York
  • Craig D. Woods, DDS, MA - Adjunct Professor, UCLA School of Dentistry
  • Elizabeth Darby - Clinical Skills Educator, Medical Simulation Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • Johanna Rian, Ph.D., Director, Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities in Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Karen Pavic-Zabinski, PhD, RN - Regional Director of Ethics, Providence Health & Services - California
  • Lynne Robins, PhD - Professor, Medical Education and Evaluation, University of Washington School of Medicine - Seattle, Washington
  • Marni Bonnin, MD - Emergency Physician, Seattle, Washington
  • Patricia Stern, Ph.D., Behavioral Scientist, UW Medicine - Valley Family Medicine, Renton, Washington
  • Randy Dixon, MA - Improvisation Instructor, Director, Artistic Director of Unexpected Productions; Mythologist - Seattle, Washington

Traditional Improv Classes

Clinicians interested in learning medical improv can also begin by taking a traditional improv class. Many cities have improv performance groups that also offer classes. Consider taking improv classes with fellow clinicians, then meeting after class to discuss how each session’s lessons and skills could be applied to clinical practice. Consider reading articles about medical improv with your clinician classmates like a journal club, and discussing insights the articles add to your traditional improv class experience.