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Patient and Family Advisors

Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs) work in partnership with the hospital and outpatient clinics to create a patient- and family-centered care environment and experience. Advisors provide the patient and family perspective across a wide range of Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) initiatives and give direct input on the decisions, policies and practices that affect the services our patients receive.

Each PFA must be registered as a D-H volunteer and should have experience as a patient, family member or caregiver of a patient who has received care at D-H. Following are necessary qualities for becoming a PFA:

  • Available to be a full member of their assigned committee, project or program and contribute to building decisions as equals with others involved.
  • Be able to see beyond their own personal experience and able to work in partnership with others and collaborate on solutions.
  • Be positive and candid in their approach to sharing insights, information and opinions in a group setting while remaining objective and constructive, understanding that each person’s experience differs.
  • Have a passion for enhancing the health care experience for patients and families.
  • Be a good listener.


Following are some of the roles that PFA’s may be a part of:

  • Advisory Council/Board: Patients/families and faculty/staff work together to identify solutions and implement improvements to health care delivery in defined areas.
  • Task Committees: Advisors offer input into the design of targeted improvement goals or evaluate the results of implemented policies, programs and processes.
  • Patient and Family Voices Program: The subset of PFAs called Voices Volunteers meet directly with patients and families to share compliments and comments with hospital unit leadership in real time. This process allows us to collect and review data, categorize information into useful themes and strategize and plan for improvement.
  • Patient and Family Faculty Program: Patient and Family Faculty teach new D-H staff and providers using an experiential simulation process. The goal of this work is to ensure that the patients’ care experiences are focused on dignity, respect, information sharing and collaboration.
  • E-Patient Advisor: Advisors review and evaluate proposed materials for how information is developed, presented and communicated.
  • Employee Patient and Family Advisor: Employee Advisors offer two perspectives: that of a patient and that of an employee who has knowledge about our internal system. Advisors do not volunteer within the section where they work.

How to Become a PFA

If you are interested in becoming a Patient and Family Advisor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, please contact our Office of Patient- and Family-Centered Care by phone at (603) 650-7800 or email