As a Nashville native and long-time Vanderbilt patient myself, my family has and will continue to utilize many of the services that Vanderbilt provides. As well, my son had an emergency medical event in 2014 that resulted in multiple surgeries and office visits since that time. We were fortunate to have the specific expertise and medical care he needed at VUMC!
I volunteered to serve on the VUH Patient and Family Advisory Council because I am passionate about improving the patient experience across the continuum of care. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with this team and contribute in a way that improves patient experience and outcomes at Vanderbilt.
My Vanderbilt story starts 20+ years ago with the birth of my first daughter at Vanderbilt Hospital in 1997 and continues today with VUMC providing pre-natal to palliative care for three generations of the Blackford/Urbano family.
As a self-employed business and technology consultant, I spend my days seeing systems, asking questions, solving problems, and crafting solutions. As a husband and a father and a caregiver myself, I've learned the importance of advocating for a patient-centered practice and the value of receiving skilled yet compassionate care in complex medical situations.
I serve on the council in honor of my mother-in-law, Dr. Terri Urbano, who passed in August of 2015 after a long battle with breast cancer. Both the length and dignity of Terri's life as a cancer survivor were made better by the excellent care she received at Vanderbilt.
In 1995, my son John was involved in a motor vehicle crash which resulted in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe abdominal injuries. Since then, I have made my life's work to advocate on behalf of families affected by a traumatically brain injured loved one. I served as the Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Tennessee and periodically participate in the Vanderbilt Trauma Brain Injury Clinic. I currently work part time for the Epilepsy Foundation. I am a Peer Visitor with the Trauma Survivor Network helping families to cope with traumatic brain injury from trauma. I also facilitate the TBI Brain Injury Survivor and Caregiver Support group at Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. John is involved in the Special Olympics, Metro Parks Disability program and loves to play computer games. By being on the advisory council, I hope to improve the experience for my family and for other patients and families.
Attorney, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, Nashville, TN
BA Union College, JD, MBA Vanderbilt University
As the spouse of a patient with a chronic illness, with many hours spent waiting for information and the opportunity to observe the flow of patient care, I appreciate the willingness of VUH administration to accept and act on feedback from patient family caregivers. Family support is so important to patient wellness, treatment and recovery. When VUH partners with family caregivers, the patients win!
I have a BSCE degree from Tennessee State University and have served as an environmental regulator for 15 years.
My family and I have received care at several Vanderbilt facilities and I view the Patient & Family Advisory Council as a proactive and progressive forum through which members can provide Vanderbilt with current and relevant feedback regarding its services and the customers it serves.
Clinical and Consulting Psychologist in Independent Practice
I personally have had to cope with chronic health care problems and have the opportunity to work with many individuals and their families who must do the same. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to benefit from excellent health care and have witnessed some of the difficulties/obstacles to good care. I’m thus honored and happy to have an opportunity to share my thoughts and expertise to help improve the system.
Former Director/General Licensing/BMI (music industry)
I worked on legal issues related to Copyrights. Previously, I worked in Hospitality Management followed by Sales Management.
Having been a patient at Vanderbilt Hospital and as a recipient of on-going treatment in the clinics, I hope to help improve the patient experience for others.
As a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, I have an executive business background including: managing a 300-store drug store chain, being a senior officer at a home decorating chain, operations manager of a national manufacturing and retail chain and as Senior VP in a Fortune 100 company. I moved to Nashville to serve as VP of Tractor Supply Company. Thereafter, I was COO of a healthcare startup which distributed drugs to nursing homes, and started a management consulting business in retail and startups. Currently, I work at the Metro Nashville Health Department and am involved in community life.
Due to my life and career experiences in marketing, health care and being a part of successful organizations, I believe I can be of value. Most importantly, the hospital and medical staff have been there for my wife and me when needed. I believe it is important to give back!
Employed at TSU, Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences, currently coordinating the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) program. TECTA is a statewide professional development system that provides opportunities for teachers in childcare to further their education in order to improve the quality of childcare. I train early childhood groups locally, statewide, and nationally on early childhood issues. I'm also an adjunct instructor in Sociology at Nashville State Community College.
I have been an assistant professor of education at Lipscomb University since moving to Nashville in 2015. Shortly after our arrival, my husband became very ill. He lost almost 70 pounds before finally being successfully treated at Vanderbilt in 2018. Throughout the journey, I learned the importance of advocating for one’s medical needs, and became acutely aware of the needs of those who cannot advocate for themselves. I volunteered to serve on Vanderbilt’s University Hospital Advisory Council in order to give back to VUMC, and to contribute to positive experiences for all patients, regardless of their understanding of the current healthcare system.
I have worked in the insurance industry and in health care for many years. I am able to share my perspectives as a member of the council since both of my parents are frequent flyers at Vanderbilt; one with arthritis resulting in total joint replacement & the other with Lymphoma. They are advancing in age and I have taken the responsibility to be their advocate. I want the best possible care for my entire family, hence the reason we came to Vanderbilt.
One of the most important things I would like to accomplish as a member of the council is to focus on communicating with the patient and the family member who is responsible for their medical care. In years prior to coming to Vanderbilt, providers did not feel the need to communicate with anyone other than the patient. Vanderbilt has recognized the need to include the family members in the discussion of health care and I applaud their efforts.
As health care moves into the future, I see where the council will help & assist Vanderbilt to become the best hospital in the nation.
I joined the Advisory Council after my wife and I battled her five year journey trying to eliminate the cancer that eventually she succumbed to. With my Healthcare background in the Information Technology area, I hope that I can assist Vanderbilt by giving a different viewpoint possibly on issues and processes that come before the Council.
I am presently the Privacy and Security Officer for Onlife Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. Onlife contracts with organizations to manage their wellness programs so that through guidance by Onlife staff, employees can manage their health to reduce or in some cases eliminate their use of the Healthcare system for medical issues.
I graduated in December, 2013 with a social work degree, and am currently interning at Family Voices of TN. For the past ten years, I have traveled doing motivational speaking. I am also a pianist.
I have a passion for advocacy. I have various chronic illnesses that require frequent medical care. I want to team up with the council to advocate for all those who are blessed to receive care at Vanderbilt. I also just completed the transition from pediatric care to adult care and want to ensure that my experiences can help others to have a smooth transition.
Retired Supply Chain/Manufacturing Manager with a background in Marketing and Customer Service. My wife Judy received a heart transplant at Vanderbilt in 2004 and survived for many years. The excellent care she received at Vanderbilt gave us the gift of those years. When asked to participate on the Council we could only say yes. We’re so glad we did. As a charter member of the Council and as a past Chair, I see the impact of the Council’s efforts every time I visit.
Originally from Louisiana, I’ve lived in Nashville since 2006 and am happy to call Tennessee home. I’ve worked in the healthcare IT industry for more than 20 years, starting out as a paramedic, then consulting to major hospitals nationwide, and later founding and running a national healthcare IT company. I joined the Vanderbilt Patient and Family Advisory Council in 2015 to help lead change and improve the patient experience. I also volunteer on multiple patient-centered research committees at both Vanderbilt and other hospitals. The volunteer experience has been tremendously rewarding and I am honored to serve at Vanderbilt.
As the mother of a daughter who was diagnosed at Vanderbilt with Ehler-Danlos Syndrome and Autonomic Dysfunction, I can understand what patients and their families go through with chronic disease. I stayed home for three years to research, attend webinars and help my daughter and others with her condition any way that I could. I am very organized, dedicated and passionate about helping those with chronic conditions such as my daughter’s. I have been an Executive Assistant for 20 years.
I am an employee of the US Government and have been for over 18 years. I am currently a School Liaison Officer, negotiating for the rights of military connected students as they transition from one school system to another or from one country to another. I am a mother, wife of a retired military service member (29 years) and a world traveler. I love discovering cultures new to me, seeing new sights and developing lasting memories with and about those I meet.
My interest in the advisory council stems from a visit to VUMC's emergency room and sharing my perspective about that experience. I am also a user of services at the Women's Clinic at 100 Oaks including the website. I look forward to being part of the council because it is an avenue to facilitate changes...and because I have learned that VUMC considers forward thinking as a gift rather than a challenge.
I work as a consultant focusing on issues related to healthcare, long-term care, and aging for clients in the private and philanthropic sectors. I have spent many hours and days in the Vanderbilt clinics and hospital as a high-risk maternity patient. In 2018, my first child passed away after a complicated pregnancy. In May 2019 my daughter was born and we now frequent Vanderbilt’s pediatrics clinics as well! I choose Vanderbilt for my family’s care because of the hospital’s clinical excellence. As a member of the Council, I hope to bring the perspective that patients have transformative life experiences at Vanderbilt—not just medical experiences.
Retired Nurse, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Worked in various positions at Vanderbilt for over 20 years. Was adjunct professor at Columbia State
I have had multiple experiences being a patient, family member and professional at Vanderbilt. I can look at issues and problems from varied perspectives to advocate for the patient experience.
I serve as Administrative Assistant to Terrell Smith and to the Council. I have worked at Vanderbilt many years and have served in Patient and Family Centered Care since 2008. Working with the Council is the most fulfilling part of my job. I am able to witness the good things the Council has achieved from both an employee and a family member perspective. My husband developed Parkinson's several years ago and receives excellent care from his physicians at Vanderbilt.