WIHI: Health Care’s Newest Improvers: Patient and Family Advisors

Date: March 10, 2011


  • Kristine White, RN, BSN, MBA, Vice President, Innovation and Patient Affairs, Spectrum Health System
  • Cindy Sayre, MN, ARNP, Director, Professional Practice and Patient- and Family-Centered Care, University of Washington Medical Center
  • Dorothea Handron, EdD, APRN, Faculty Emeritus, College of Nursing, East Carolina University; Patient-Family Advisor, University Health Systems of Eastern North Carolina
  • Brandelyn Bergstedt, Coordinator, Patient and Family Advisor Program, Evergreen Hospital Medical Center
  • Martha Hayward, Executive Director, The Partnership for Healthcare Excellence; Founder, Women’s Health Exchange; Member, Dana Farber Cancer Institute Patient Advisory Council

Here’s the first thing one discovers when planning a program about Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs): there are now hundreds and hundreds of them at hospitals all across the US, and they’re a growing phenomenon internationally. In fact, there are so many outstanding examples of patients and family members rolling up their sleeves to improve the health care system, alongside quality leaders and clinicians, that it’s not easy to choose just a handful of examples to highlight.

WIHI host Madge Kaplan has assembled a terrific panel that is sure to leave you inspired and with a much clearer sense of what PFACs do and how they’re contributing to the redesign of health care today. Learn from Kristine White, Cindy Sayre, Dorothea Handron, Brandelyn Bergstedt, and Martha Hayward — each of whom represents, first, a new attitude among health care executives to fully embrace the insights and experience of patients and families; and, second, a growing sophistication among people once thought of as “outsiders” as they tackle some of health care’s most intractable problems.

Whether it’s how patients and family members feel welcomed (or not) when they walk through the door of a hospital, access to loved ones in the ICU, reliable communication with providers, or prevention of infections and medication errors, there is hardly an issue that PFACs are not involved in helping to solve or improve.

Learn how to develop and support PFACs at your organization, what makes for an effective council, and how to create clear guidelines and expectations.


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