Become a Patient and Family Advisor

At the heart of Michigan Medicine Congenital Heart Center lies the belief that providing the ideal care experience stems from a partnership between patients, their families, clinicians and staff. Our Patient and Family Centered Care efforts engage patients and families throughout the care journey and utilize their personal experiences, opinions, and expertise to improve care for all those we serve. When many different perspectives are considered and incorporated into the work of improving the patient experience, we are able to better meet the needs of each individual.

Patient and Family Centered Care has four Core Concepts:

      • Dignity and Respect
      • Information Sharing
      • Collaboration
      • Participation

Patient and Family Advisors help us to create a more patient-centered approach to the care we deliver every day.

NOTE: All volunteers are currently limited to virtual participation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a Patient and Family Advisor?

Patient and family advisors are individuals who have received health care at Michigan Medicine as a patient and/or family member of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center – and are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative, to help us improve care in our system.  Advisors 13 years of age and up are welcome, as each brings a unique perspective and expertise, to our shared focus on improving the care experience for all patients and families.  We recognize that each advisor has a different story, interest, and schedule, and our Michigan Medicine Office of Patient Experience volunteer coordinators work with advisors to find a placement that fits best for them. 

Advisors serve in a variety of roles, such as:

      • Members of a Congenital Heart Center advisory committee  
      • Speaking panelists
      • Participants in special projects
      • Actors in educational videos
      • Focus group participants
      • e-Advisors (respond to electronic surveys at your convenience)

What is the time commitment?

The variety of Congenital Heart Center roles and placements available to our patient and family advisors means that there are multiple opportunities to participate – whether you have many hours per month to give, or are able to respond to an online survey once every few months! When you meet with a volunteer coordinator, they will talk with you about your interests and availability, and work with you to find the best match. We know that many of our patients and families live far away from our main medical campus, so we can work with you to find opportunities that fit best with your interests and availability.

Is being a patient and family advisor right for you?

Being a patient and family advisor may be a good match with your skills and experiences if you can:

      • Speak up in a respectful way and share suggestions and potential solutions to help improve heart care for others
      • Talk about your experiences as a patient or family member in the Mott Congenital Heart Center —but also think beyond your own personal experiences
      • Talk about both positive and negative care experiences and share your thoughts on what went well and how things could have been done differently
      • Work with people who may be different from you
      • Listen to and think about what others say, even when you disagree
      • Bring a positive attitude to discussions
      • Keep any information you may hear as an advisor private and confidential

If I am interested, how can I sign up to be considered for a volunteer patient or family advisor position?

      • We’d love to talk to you! If you are interested in becoming a Congenital Heart Center volunteer patient or family advisor, please contact with a little bit about you and your interest. We’ll connect you to the right volunteer coordinator, who will reach out to set up a time to speak and learn more about you so we can find the best fit!
      • Please do not send urgent messages or messages regarding clinical care through this email; here are links with other ways to contact the Congenital Heart Center and Michigan Medicine:

Will I receive any training?

Advisors who only wish to participate in focus groups and/or serve as e-Advisors will not need any training.

Advisors in other roles, such as those serving as members of the Congenital Heart Center committee, will need to attend a virtual training that covers both Office of Patient Experience information as well as all the information you need to be a safe and effective volunteer at Michigan Medicine. Virtual trainings are offered virtually on a monthly basis by the Michigan Medicine Office of Patient Experience staff members. 

These volunteers will be required to complete:

    • General volunteer training on Michigan Medicine policies including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) & the Michigan Medicine Code of Conduct
    • Office of Patient Experience patient & family advisor training
    • Criminal background check