Become an Advisor

What does it mean to be a patient and family advisor?

Patients and their families have valuable wisdom gained from their health care experiences that can be used to make improvements to how we deliver health care at The University of Vermont Medical Center. The role of the patient and family advisor is to bring the patient and family voice and perspective to all aspects of planning and decision making at the UVM Medical Center. Our patient and family advisors become part of our team on committees and workgroups designed to improve patient care. Advisors share their health care experiences to educate and train our staff and providers. Advisors help us better care for our patients.

Patient & Family Advisors Storyslam group photo.

Why are advisors important team members?

Patient and family advisors partner with health care staff at all levels to help make UVM Medical Center services more responsive to the needs of patients and families. Advisors bring the patient and family perspective to policies, programs, facility design, operations and education at The University of Vermont Medical Center in an effort to improve safety, delivery of care and patient and staff satisfaction. The patient and family advisors are key to promoting patient- and family-centered care concepts and practices among administration, staff, health care providers, patients and families. It is important that these advisors are willing to:

  • Share insights, information and experiences in constructive ways
  • Explore issues beyond their own personal experience
  • Listen in order to understand
  • Ask questions
  • Practice cultural humility and respect different opinions
  • Respect diversity and differing opinions
  • Work in partnership and collaborate on solutions
  • Show compassion
  • Maintain open communication with other advisors and hospital staff

You may be invited to:

  • Participate in Advisory Council meetings
  • Share perspectives, experiences and advice in a variety of settings and situations
  • Help create, implement and evaluate policies, programs and services
  • Promote patient- and family-centered care initiatives by participating in presentations, publications and projects
  • Serve as a patient- and family-centered care resource for families and staff

Guiding principles of patient- and family-centered care

We actively partner with patients and families, institutional leaders, health care providers and staff to implement the core principles of strong patient- and family-centered care:

  • Dignity and Respect: Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care. Their perspectives and choices are listened to and honored in all phases of care.
  • Information Sharing: Patients and families receive timely and accurate information in order to effectively participate in their care. Health care providers communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful.
  • Participation: Patients and families are encouraged and supported to participate as integral members of their health care team.
  • Collaboration: Patients and families are included on an institution-wide basis. Health care leaders collaborate with patients and families in policy and program development, implementation and evaluation; in health care facility design; in professional education; and in the delivery of care.

Contact Us

If you have questions, you can contact Vicki Mascareño Nelson, Patient and Family Centered Care Coordinator, by sending an email to Vicki.MascarenoNelson [at] or calling the Patient Experience Department at (802) 847-3536.

Become an Advisor