Helping us improve

Patients and family members provide an important perspective on the care they receive at UW Health.

Patient and Family Advisors are volunteers who have received care or who have had a family member who received care from UW Health in the last two years. Depending on their interest and availability, advisors can serve a two-year term or volunteer for a specific commitment. Advisors offer constructive feedback on their experiences so that together with healthcare providers, they can help patients experience even greater levels of satisfaction in the care provided by UW Health.

Roles and responsibilities

What do Patient and Family Advisors do?

Patient and Family Advisors play an important role at UW Health. Through participation in a council or a project, they play a meaningful role in helping to shape the patient experience.

When you volunteer, you'll have the opportunity to:

  • Share your ideas on how to improve the UW Health experience for others

  • Know you are making a difference

  • Gain valuable skills by collaborating with others as part of a team

  • Get an insider’s look into health care and improvement efforts

  • Offer design suggestions for new buildings

  • Serve on hiring committees for UW Health leadership positions

  • Provide feedback on patient education materials

Frequently asked questions about the program

Together with healthcare providers, Patient and Family Advisors help shape the patient experience at UW Health.

Anyone who has been a patient or family member of a patient who has received health care from UW Health in the past two years.

We are looking for people who are willing to be totally open and honest with us about the experiences they have had at UW Health and help us look for better ways to deliver care.

You will choose the number of hours you volunteer to help us. Some assignments do require attending a monthly meeting for up to two years, but others are a one-time or short-term commitment. We will work with you to find something that works for you.

Most Patient and Family Advisory Councils have a set day and time they meet each month and are managed by a group facilitator. Depending on the council or the activity, meetings may take place at any UW Health facility. You will be notified of the date and location in advance.

We know that your time is valuable, and you may not always be able to attend. We just ask that you let your group facilitator know.

About the council

Patient and Family Advisory Council

Advisory councils are structured groups of patients, family members, staff and physicians that meet regularly to provide constructive feedback on a range of topics affecting the patient and family experience.

Most advisory councils meet monthly or quarterly, with meetings held in the early evening or on Saturday mornings. UW Health currently has active Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC) dedicated to each of the following topics:

  • American Family Children's Hospital

  • Behavioral Health

  • Cystic Fibrosis-Pediatric

  • Heart, Vascular and Thoracic

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Collaboration between UW Health and UnityPoint Health - Meriter)

  • Northeast Family Medical Center

  • Oncology

  • Primary Care

  • Transplant

  • UW Health (focusing on overall issues that affect all UW Health patients and families)

  • UW Health in northern Illinois (focusing on overall issues that affect UW Health patients and families in northern Illinois)

UW Health committees, quality councils and workgroups

Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs) also partner with staff by volunteering to represent the patient and family perspective on standing committees, quality councils, improvement projects, facility design teams, executive search committees and short-term workgroups. These groups usually meet once per month for 60 to 90 minutes and are comprised primarily of medical providers and staff who are working to set organizational priorities and/or improve processes and ways of delivering care. Examples include:

  • Breast Center Steering Committee

  • Dementia Workgroup

  • LGBTQ Task Force

  • Nursing Quality Council

  • Patient Safety and Quality Committee

  • Population Health Management Workgroup

  • Sustainability Committee

How to volunteer

Interested in becoming a Patient and Family Advisor?

If you are interested in volunteering as a Patient and Family Advisor, it is a three-step process.

  • Step 1: Complete and submit the online PFA Interest Form.

  • Step 2: Have a phone conversation with the program manager to discuss more about your interest and background, to learn more about the program and help us assess whether you are the right match for this role.

  • Step 3: Attend a PFA Orientation Session, discuss specific participation opportunities and complete additional paperwork.

Contact us

Do you have questions about the UW Health PFA Partnership Program?

Our staff would be glad to discuss with you via e-mail or phone. Please send an e-mail to PFAPartnerships@uwhealth.org or call (608) 826-6861. We look forward to talking with you.

You can also reach us by mail at the following address:

UW Health PFA Partnership Program
Mail Code 1005
7974 UW Health Court
Middleton, WI 53562