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Patient and Family Advisory Councils

At Vanderbilt Health, we believe quality health care is grounded in the partnership between patients, families and their care teams. 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 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 health care 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 Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, 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. This council meets 6-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
  • Advise Vanderbilt. This online advising community 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. To join our online advising community, complete our questionnaire.

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 includes

  • 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 materials to provide input and ideas
  • Share a health care 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 hospital leadership to collaborate on facility improvements

Vanderbilt Health combines the work of all facility advisory councils through the Advisory Council Cabinet. The cabinet 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

Terrell Smith
Director of Patient and Family Engagement
(615) 343-0248

Lisa Cunningham
Patient and Family Engagement Program Manager 
(615) 343-5660