Personal and Professional Development (PPD) Facilitators’ Guide

Publication ID Published Volume
167 January 23, 2007 3


This personal and professional development curriculum consists of 14 sessions, each 2 hours long. The aim is to make participants more competent, compassionate, and ethical clinicians. Topics covered include an introduction to personal and professional development, professionalism, the medical interview, the history of the present illness, understanding the social context of medicine, cultural competence in medicine, physician-patient communication, patient counseling, and handling death and dying/spirituality. The curriculum also contains a role-model session, interview sessions, and a service activity. The two sessions on balancing the demands of medical school with other aspects of student life both involve one-on-one interactions with simulated patients. These interviews are video recorded and made available for students to review and then discuss with their colleagues during the curriculum. The sessions on cultural competence in medicine and physician-patient communication involve having two simulated patients visit each group to give students additional practice with history taking related to specific situations. Discussion activities are provided for most sessions. The curriculum also includes written assignments to be completed by the students; feedback from facilitators and students is consistently very positive about this aspect of the course.


Ferguson K. Personal and professional development (PPD) facilitators' guide. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2007;3:167.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this resource, learners should be able to:

  1. Practice medicine in its sociocultural context.

  2. Continue self-directed learning in clinical practice.

  3. Apply relevant basic and clinical science to the practice of medicine.


  • PPD, Professional Competence, Attitude to Death

Prior Scholarly Dissemination


  1. Rosenbaum ME, Ferguson KJ, Herwaldt LA. In their own words: presenting the patient's perspective using research-based theatre. Med Educ. 2005 Jun;39(6):622-31.
  2. Ferguson KJ and Woodard VS. Personal and Professional Development: A Semester-long Small Group to Promote Social Support, Reflection, and Clinical Skills Development. Poster presented at CGEA, 2004.
  3. Ferguson KJ and Woodard VS. Understanding the Patient's Perspective through Personal and Professional Development Group Discussion. Poster to be presented at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare. Chicago, Il, October 2005.

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