Cancer Patient & Family Advisors

Patient-and family-centered care means working with patients and families, rather than just doing it to or for them. Patients, families and the entire healthcare team collaborate to improve the experience of care and enhance quality, safety and efficiency for all.

The University of Michigan Health System Cancer Center Patient and Family Advisory Board was created in 2012 to act as an advisory resource committee to the administration, faculty and staff of the cancer program throughout University of Michigan Health System and Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Our mission

To ensure the delivery of exemplary patient- and family-centered care in the adult cancer areas of the University of Michigan Health System and Comprehensive Cancer Center through an active partnership of patients, families, health care providers and the community.

Our Accomplishments

The Patient and Family Advisory Board has actively participated in many initiatives since its establishment, including:
  • 2012 Congressional briefing on cancer research funding
  • Cancer Center team meetings to introduce PFAB to faculty and staff
  • Distress Screening Task Force to assess patient and family satisfaction
  • Inpatient leadership rounds
  • Patient and family centered care improvements for hospitalized patients
  • Patient Toolkit revisions
  • Planning committees for the proposed North Campus Outpatient Cancer Center
  • Survivor's Day celebration
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center's Website Task Force

Who is the Patient Family Advisory Board:

We are a partnership of the University of Michigan Health System's patients, families, health care professionals, and community members who understand what it's like to be treated for cancer. We are committed to putting our patients and their families at the center of everything we do. By sharing experiences about our care, we can help ensure that exceptional care is delivered to all of our patients and their families.

How do we work?

We're an advisory board that provides input to the faculty, staff and administration of the cancer program throughout the University of Michigan Health System and Comprehensive Cancer Center on decisions and plans that affect cancer patients and their families.

The board has established four standing committees to address the areas that most impact patient and family care and satisfaction:

  • Education and Communication
  • Improving Outpatient Care
  • Improving Inpatient Care
  • Patient & Family Support and Education

Committee membership is open to all cancer patients and family members and is not limited to board members.

Advisors:

Patients and their family members have an essential role in guiding the work we do at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and throughout the University of Michigan Health System. Through a partnership with Cancer Center faculty, staff and patient advisory board members will promote excellence in cancer and family centered care.

Would I be a good advisor?:

Are you able to communicate and work with families and staff whose backgrounds, experiences and styles may be different from yours?

Do you listen well?

Do you have a positive approach and an ability to share and see many different points of view?

Are you enthusiastic about the Cancer Center's mission of excellence in patient care, education and research?

Do you have an ability to share both positive and negative experiences in a constructive way?

Do you have time to be an active participant in meetings and other board activities (some committee work such as reviewing materials will allow participation from home)?

If you've answered yes to the questions above, then please join us! Help us create the ideal environment for the best cancer care possible.

Who is a successful advisor / board member?

The University of Michigan Health System and Comprehensive Cancer Center's Cancer Patient & Family Advisory Board and its committees are composed of members who:

  • Have recent experience within the adult cancer areas of the University of Michigan Health System
  • Provide input fairly and objectively
  • Communicate effectively
  • Offer a patient or family point of view
  • Register as a UMHS volunteer
  • Register as a Cancer Center volunteer
  • Work in partnership with others


  • Members may also need to:
  • Have basic technical skills (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and use of internet)

More Information

f you have questions or comments about the Patient & Family Advisory Board, OR if you think it's right for you, please contact Karen Hammelef, director of Patient & Family Support Services, at Cancer-Support-Services@med.umich.edu.

Patient & Family Advisory Board Members

Patient & Family Advisory Board Documents and Forms

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updated 09.2013