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Vanderbilt Behavioral Health Advisory Council

The Vanderbilt Behavioral Health Advisory Council was established in 2012. It is open to patients or family members who receive care at the psychiatric hospital or outpatient clinics. This includes all levels of care, such as inpatient and outpatient services, and partial hospitalization programs. The Council focuses on the overall treatment experience, and the redesign of programs, services and facility aspects. Members also serve as a resource to other behavioral health councils across the country.

The Council meets 6-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.

Our objectives

  • Collaborate with the Vanderbilt Behavioral Health administrative team to promote principles of patient- and family-centered care
  • Collaborate with leadership to improve quality of care and patient and family satisfaction
  • Offer suggestions to Vanderbilt Behavioral Health leadership in planning and evaluating services, programs, policies, teaching materials and education to health care providers.
  • Promote positive relationships between Vanderbilt Behavioral Health, patient families and the community
  • Contribute to the education of Vanderbilt Behavioral Health health care providers
  • Serve on key committees related to patient care, such as those involving patient safety and satisfaction


Rhonda Ashley-Dixon

Rhonda Ashley-DixonMA

    Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement
Katie Welsh

Katie Welsh

    2022 Chair

Key Accomplishments

Design projects

  • Members participated in the development of communication strategies and collateral for the new Substance Use Disorders Bundle available through Vanderbilt Health.
  • Provided feedback on the system-wide suicide risk assessment initiative


  • Selected and awarded inaugural Patient and Family Choice 2022 Award winner
  • Patient and Family Choice Award-Created infrastructure and nomination process, and awards
  • Members participated in a Pillar Goal review session


  • Designated members participated in the interview process for a replacement for our Discharge Phone Call Nurse Specialist
  • Provided additional feedback on My Health At Vanderbilt as it relates specifically to behavioral health patients
  • Provided feedback related to specific quality and patient experience metrics
  • Provided feedback to the new director for our PHP/IOP services
  • Provided feedback on potential new patient education materials, both written and electronic
  • Provided feedback to our new COO regarding overall facility operations
  • Provided feedback related to safety and security measures
  • Provided feedback regarding the potential for developing additional services for targeted populations


  • Designated members participated in the Magnet appraisal process as a part of the panel session focused on community partnerships
  • Hosted representatives from Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs, Social Work and Therapeutic Services, VUMC Marketing & Engagement, and VUMC Patient Education to provide feedback on targeted initiatives
  • Participated in visitor guidelines and potential changes discussion
  • Collaborated with marketing to develop a marketing plan for council member recruitment
  • Hosted our Chief Medical Officer to discuss various initiatives


  • Participated and shared stories for VBH Orientation for approximately 100 new employees
  • Increased focus and training on storytelling
  • Participated in education session to broaden knowledge about pediatric rehab services and resources


  • Members provided handwritten messages of appreciation to all staff by unit/program
  • PFAC members provided approximately 240 hours of volunteer service
  • Assisted in the reorganization of the Patient Clothing Closet
  • Select members volunteered to participate in a research project focused on patient and family experiences in the healthcare system

Workgroups and committees

  • Members participated in the Vanderbilt Behavioral Health Patient and Family Resources Work Group, Technology Work Group and Volunteer Services Work Group
  • Continued workgroup efforts related to resources and the use of technology