The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is a key element of UM Upper Chesapeake Health’s patient- and family-centered care model, which strives for continuous improvement and innovation while reimagining how we provide care and services to our community.

The PFAC includes community-minded patients and their family members who work side by side with our leadership. Together, the goal is to design an exceptional patient and family experience by sharing their own experiences, observations and insights.

Contact UM UCH PFAC to learn more.

PFAC Mission and Goals

  • Promote patient and family centered care.
  • Hold UM UCH accountable to delivery of an exceptional experience.
  • Prioritize goals and strategies related to policies and programs that support our patients and their families.
  • Provide empathetic support to patients, families and the healthcare team.
  • Serve as ambassadors and a link between the community and UM UCH.
  • Engage in facility planning and patient-centered design.
  • Promote, grow and diversify the council.

The PFAC Impact

Patient Family Advisors (PFAs) partner with UM UCH teams to improve patient safety, quality, empathy and efficiency. The following are examples of some of the many areas within which PFAs have impacted our policies and procedures.

Patient Safety

  • Adverse drug reaction and medication error committee membership
  • Committee membership for development of patient and family education systems, which are provided on in-room televisions
  • Designated signage for patients and families on their ability to activate an internal Rapid Response Team for medical emergencies


  • Revised patient information folder content, which every inpatient is given to take home as an organizational tool for their ongoing health care
  • Participated in a committee that developed a clinical tool to enhance safe discharges and transfers while reducing patient risk – this innovation was awarded the 2018 Minogue Award for Patient Safety Innovation at the 14th annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference
  • Membership on workgroups to reduce conditions acquired while in the hospital, such as pneumonia, bedsores and I.V. complications


  • Emergency department enhancements to include warm blankets and cell phone charging stations in the waiting rooms, as well as monitors displaying patient wait-time to be seen
  • Participation in communication and customer service training for hospitalist physicians and providers
  • UM UCH's annual Patient Experience Week and planning activities to include a PFA speaker's panel, as well as a lunch-and-learn session for team members


  • Committee participation to enhance campus wayfinding, signage and patient parking
  • PFA workgroup membership to enhance the patient experience with transfers between UM UCH's hospitals
  • PFA membership on UM UCH patient portal team to include development, education and community awareness

Join Us as a Patient Family Advisor

  • Interested parties must attend an information session to learn more about the program.
  • Upon receipt of an application, an interview will be scheduled.
  • Participation requires on-boarding as an UM UCH Volunteer and its related requirements.

Committee Members

PFAC Committee Leadership

  • Nancy Reynolds – Chair of PFAC
  • MaryBeth Foard Nance – Co-Chair of PFAC

UM UCH Committee Members

  • Jo Anne Thomson – Vice President of Patient Experience
  • Michelle D’Alessandro – Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Sandy Acton – Director of Guest Services

Are you interested in engaging with the UM UCH Patient and Family Advisory Council?

Contact us to learn more about the PFAC, opportunities to join and provide feedback.