Patient and Family Advisory Councils


At Vanderbilt Health, we believe quality healthcare is grounded in the partnership between patients, families and their healthcare team. Our goal is to create patient- and family-centered care by listening to your needs, incorporating your ideas, partnering in your safety, and educating you to advocate for your own care. 

Patient and Family Advisory Councils 

Our advisory councils are a vital link between the hospital and the community. Our councils allow us to listen to your needs and use your ideas to enhance the quality of care and the experience we provide. Advisory council members are as diverse as the patients we serve, representing a wide range of healthcare challenges, diagnoses and cultures. 

There are four Patient and Family Advisory Councils at Vanderbilt Health:

  • Vanderbilt University Hospital Advisory Council. This serves Vanderbilt University Hospital and is open to patients or family members who receive care at the hospital or outpatient clinics. This council meets 6-8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.
  • Children’s Hospital Advisory Council. This council serves Children’s Hospital and is open to patients or family members who receive care at the hospital or outpatient clinics. It meets 6-8 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.
  • Behavioral Health Advisory Council. This serves Vanderbilt Behavioral Health and is open to patients or family members who receive care at the psychiatric hospital or outpatient clinics. It's available to meet once a month for two hours.
  • Advise Vanderbilt. This group is an online advising community that provides feedback through surveys sent once or twice a month. One of the largest patient and family advisory councils in the country, it is open to anyone interested in improving the patient experience at Vanderbilt — including patients, faculty and staff. Currently this council is not accepting new members.

To join our online advising community, visit Also, submit an application.

What Does a Patient and Family Advisory Council Do?

Our advisory councils influence services, programs, policies and education materials at Vanderbilt Health. Some of the work that has come from our advisory councils include:

  • Prioritizing staff education to fulfill our patient promise.
  • Improvements to patient billing.
  • Guidance on the redesign of the Children’s Hospital website.
  • Guiding a redesign of the pediatric patient journey at Children’s Hospital.
  • Creating a volunteer services program at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital.

During an advisory council meeting, a patient or family advisory member might:

  • Review education or marketing material to provide input and ideas.
  • Share a healthcare experience with members of the Vanderbilt Health team.
  • Discuss new service offerings and provide ideas on how we can improve care, quality or safety.
  • Meet with the hospital leadership to collaborate on facility improvements.

Vanderbilt Health combines the work of all facility advisory councils through the Advisory Council Cabinet. The cabinet is includes 12 council leaders, with representation from each council. The cabinet sets the direction of the advisory councils and shares best practices. The cabinet meets quarterly and all the councils come together for an annual meeting.

Learn more details about our advisory councils, including members, mission, charter and presentations.

Contact Us

For more information about a particular council, call (615) 343-0248 or email Terrell Smith, Director of Patient and Family Engagement, at, or, assistant.