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Vanderbilt Patient and Family Advisory Councils

At Vanderbilt Health, we believe quality health care is grounded in the partnership between patients, families and their health care 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.

If you are considering joining an advisory council, already serve on one of our councils, or are forming a council at your health system, we have detailed more information about how Vanderbilt Health uses advisory councils to further our mission. Our councils are at differing stages of maturity, but all support each other in improving quality and safety at Vanderbilt Health.

What Does a Patient and Family Advisory Council Do?

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. 

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 Monroe Carell website.
  • Guiding a redesign of the pediatric patient journey at Monroe Carell.
  • 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.

There are currently six patient and family advisory councils at Vanderbilt Health. Learn more about each council's activities and accomplishments:


Terrell Smith

Terrell Smith

    Senior Director, Patient and Family Engagement
Lisa Cunningham

Lisa Cunningham

    Patient and Family Engagement Program Manager