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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital
At the Forefront of Kids' Medicine

Family Advisory Board

Ideas and feedback from patient families are very valuable. That's why we formed the Family Advisory Board. Since 1996, our board has included parents, caregivers, and hospital leaders who help to improve the quality of services and communication between families and hospital staff.

The Family Advisory Board is an advisory committee to administrators, physicians, nurses, and staff at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. The board provides a forum to discuss concerns and then channels them to the appropriate hospital department. In addition, the board helps to evaluate the quality of services provided by the hospital and serves as an important link between the hospital and the community.

The Family Advisory Board covers issues such as planning and operational matters, facility enhancements, and other topics related to the needs of pediatric patients and their families.

The board played a key role in planning for Comer Children's. Thanks to their suggestions, the hospital was able to create a unique, holistic healing environment for the whole family. As a result of the board's input, patient rooms are big enough to accommodate family members and there are more common spaces for families, including sleeping areas and a family area with a kitchen. Families provided input about the signs throughout the hospital, art, the playground, and the Family Learning Center. These are just a few examples of how the board has made an impact. 

Members of the board represent the rich diversity of patients served by Comer Children's. Besides family members, hospital staff members on the board include the chairman of the department of pediatrics, the pediatric director of nursing, the vice-president of Comer Children's, and other key staff members. The Family Advisory Board is led by two co-chairs who are family members. 

To qualify, members must be or have been a primary caregiver to a child who is or has been cared for at Comer Children's. They also must have the ability to support the mission of the hospital, participate in at least one subcommittee, and represent the views of other families along with their own positions in an understandable and meaningful way.

Hospital staff typically recruits new members of the Family Advisory Board, and sometimes families volunteer to serve. Board members are selected to ensure that the board includes a broad range of families with children of many ages and past medical histories. This is done in order to have a broad sampling of diverse family experiences. » Download the application (PDF).

Terms of office are for two years, with the opportunity to renew for two additional years. 

The Family Advisory Board meets on the fourth Tuesday evening of every month. Members of the board must attend nine of 12 meetings per year in order to keep active membership status.

The board welcomes input from all families using the hospital. Your concerns and feedback make a difference!

Absolutely! Some families are only available on a short-term basis, yet still have much to offer. Their services might be utilized on a hospital unit committee or for a particular ad hoc project. Parents with children experiencing long hospitalizations often have valuable feedback to offer the hospital.