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Monroe Carell Patient and Family Advisory Council


Established in 1995, Monroe Carell's Patient and Family Advisory Council includes 30 members whose children have received care at our hospital and clinics. The Council includes four clinical advisory groups in neonatal intensive care, cystic fibrosis, primary care, and Metro Nashville Public Schools. 

The Council includes parents and hospital staff who meet monthly to

  • Partner and collaborate with health care teams to promote the core concepts of Patient- and Family-Centered Care and improve quality of care
  • Offer input in planning programs and policies
  • Contribute to the education of families, students, staff and medical providers

Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Our patient- and family-centered approach to caring for children is paramount at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. When you’re in our facility, you’ll hear the administrators, doctors and staff refer to this philosophy of care. We take this commitment very seriously and enlist the help of a group of parents known as the Family Advisory Council to make sure we continually make decisions with patients and their families as the focus.


    Families with children who experience Monroe Carell or our clinics are often experts when it comes to health care matters.

    Joining the Family Advisory Council is one way to work with us to improve the quality of care and services for all children and their families. The Council provides families with opportunities to make a significant impact. Council Members play an important role in making recommendations and contributing to improvement initiatives. More information is available in our charter document (linked below).

    We welcome families from diverse backgrounds who represent a wide range of health care challenges, diagnoses and cultures among those we serve. The Council currently meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. central time via Zoom.

    If you are interested in learning more about the Family Advisory Council at Monroe Carell, complete the interest form at the link below. We will contact you about joining an information session.


    Janet N. Cross

    Janet N. CrossMEd, CCLS, CPXP

      Administrative Director, Patient- and Family-Centered Care
    Alison Bynum

    Alison Bynum

      2022 Chair

    Council Accomplishments

    Community and national involvement

    Our members are active in many efforts outside the Family Advisory Council. Their involvement goes beyond the walls of Children's Hospital. Many members play important roles on the local, state, and national levels.

    • Host for 2020 International Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IFPCC) Conference with three presentations by our family advisors
    • Participation in Beryl Institute 2020 Conference with podium presentation by one of our family advisors
    • Tennessee Voices collaboration to implement the Parent 2 Parent Advocacy Training Program
    • Training of Meharry Medical Students through our Family Faculty Program
    • Participation in the Vanderbilt undergraduate medical student curriculum development

    Internal collaboration

    Bringing a family perspective to internal projects and committees allows us to make patient and family-centered care a priority. Family Advisory Council members can be involved in many different opportunities inside the hospital. Here are some examples:

    • Monroe Carell and new employee training participation
    • Pediatric to Adult Transition Steering Committee
    • Staff Nurse Council
    • Patient Education Oversight Committee
    • Patient Engagement Steering Committee
    • My Health at Vanderbilt Advisory Committee
    • Food Committee
    • Bereavement Committee
    • Professional Advisory Group for the Clinical Pastoral Education Program
    • Medication Use Safety Improvement Committee
    • Nursing Awards Committee
    • Nursing Quality Committee
    • Patient Experience Coordinating Committee
    • Hospital Acquired Condition Safety Committees


    Our council assists the VUMC Marketing & Engagement Department in creating more patient and user-friendly resources. Members provide marketing ideas, and give feedback about format, content and ease of use. They are consistently featured in hospital publications, websites and social media.

    Performance Management and Improvement

    Family Advisory Council members have provided valuable feedback and review of initiatives such as:

    • Shared feedback on a food insecurity screening tool
    • Selected and awarded inaugural Patient and Family Choice 2022 Award winner; created infrastructure and nomination process
    • Participated in visitor guidelines and potential changes discussion
    • Collaborated with marketing to develop a marketing plan for council member recruitment
    • Participated in FOCUS orientation at Monroe Carell for 618 new employees
    • Participated in panel for medical school class on patient engagement
    • Invested 353 volunteer hours
    • Provided feedback to wayfinding consultants
    • Provided feedback about My Health at Vanderbilt message inbox    
    • Partnered with Get Well Network implementation team in planning for the integrative television system
    • Worked with Family Resource Center team to review and improve resources and processes
    • Provided feedback about how patients and families access the Ethics team
    • Partnered with the graduate medical education team to offer feedback and ideas about the 360-degree Review of Residents and Fellows
    • Joined the skin integrity hospital acquired condition work group
    • Presented information and facilitated discussion with first year medical students on day four of their education
    • Onboarded five new advisory council members
    • Participated in education session to broaden knowledge about pediatric rehab services and resources
    • Collaborated with Marketing to create strategies to increase visibility of advisory councils and their work/value


    Janet Cross, MEd, CCLS, CPXP
    Administrative Director of Patient- and Family-Centered Care
    (615) 936-0097

    Alison Bynum