Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) is a program designed to promote effective parenting skills to parents of children with hemophilia, and to educate and support parents through classroom discussions and exercises. Written originally in 1995, the program has spread across the United States, and is has moved into the international bleeding community. Over a thousand parents have been through the program!

The PEP program was created in 1995 and co-authored by Danna Merritt, LMSW, MSW, a social worker from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan with consultation with the Treatment Center Staff at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and Sandra Joseph, Ph.D., the director of MapleTree Counseling Centers in Livonia, Michigan. To keep it current, Danna Merritt, along with the members of the National PEP Steering Committee, recently revised the content of the program and the parent manuals.  

The Story of PEP International

Raising a child with a genetic bleeding disorder is a significant challenge that impacts the entire family. The PEP program was designed to address this need by affirming positive parent/child behaviors while focusing on the unique problems faced by parents of children with bleeding disorders.


It is very rewarding to see the participants’ relationships  and confidence grow over their time together.  The communication, problem solving, conflict management and emotional awareness skills learned in the program are invaluable in parenting, but also in all other relationships. And, we have some great laughs! -social worker

I have used the PEP program in my own parenting and as a facilitator, I have seen it be very helpful to other families.  Attending a PEP session allowed me to share many of the same parenting challenges that come with having a child with an inherited bleeding disorder, and benefit from other families’ experiences. My own extended family and friends can’t understand the way other CHS families do. -parent/facilitator

I believe in this program, and feel that there are so many more families out there that could benefit from it. I have over the last year spent many weeks reaching out to find people that are going through the same thing as us. I have made so many close friends and connections and this was probably the most effective.     -parent

The PEP program is designed to enhance the therapeutic relationship between parent, child and treatment staff; increase the parents’ understanding of the child’s bleeding disorder; heighten the parents’ ability to respond objectively and consistently to bleeding episodes; and provide the parent with the skills necessary to effectively parent the child at the earliest age possible.

The program addresses many important issues, including the impact of bleeding disorders on child development; understanding and dealing with frustrations, anger and other feelings; compassionate discipline; child management skills; building self-esteem and confidence; parenting styles; and parent/family communication.

The PEP program was originally sponsored by Bayer and introduced to Canada in 2009 when the US PEP training team delivered a Train the Trainer workshop to a group of Canadian parents, HTC social workers and nurses. 

As of May 2018, 19 PEP workshops and 8 PEP mini-workshops have been held, inlcuding the 1st ever French workshop. 

Canada has trained

  • 13 HTC Social Workers
  • 9 HTC Nurses
  • 2 HTC Physiotherapists
  • 23 Parent Facilitators

For more information about PEP or upcoming workshops in your area, please contact Rachel Leslie at

The PEPTalk e-newsletter goes out regularly with the goal being to raise awareness about the program and to create stronger community. Past issues are available by clicking here.