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 Medical Center (DHMC) 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 DHMC Volunteer and should have experience as a patient, family member, or caregiver of a patient who has received care at DHMC.

To be a PFA, you must have the following qualities:

  • Be available to be a full member of your assigned committee, project, or program and contribute to building decisions as equals with others involved
  • Be able to see beyond your own personal experience and be able to work in partnership with others and collaborate on solutions
  • Be positive and candid in your 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


These are some of the programs that PFAs 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: Patient and Family Voices Volunteers (PFVs) are specially trained volunteers who meet with patients and their families throughout the medical center. They gather information about successes and opportunities for improvement from the stories people share. PFVs:
    • Talk with patients and families during a confidential interview in person or by phone about their care experience
    • Collect information to be used to further improve the quality and safety of patient care
    • Recognize and celebrate staff based on feedback
    • Engage and partner with staff to identify areas where we can serve our patients and their families better
    • Gather real-time feedback to be shared with leaders
  • Patient and Family Faculty Program: Patient and Family Faculty teach new DHMC staff and providers using an experiential simulation process. This work ensures 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 or PFV

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