Families as Partners

At Children’s Minnesota, your input matters — whether your child is a patient in our clinic, or has spent time in the hospital. There are lots of ways that you can help make the Children’s experience better for patients and families like you.

To learn more or get involved as a patient family in any Families as Partners pathway described below, contact Tessa Billman, patient-family centered care coordinator, at 612-813-7407 or [email protected] Families interested in participating in Families as Partners pathways will be asked to submit an application form.

The Families as Partners program promotes, coordinates and supports family involvement throughout Children’s through the following pathways:


In the Family-to-Family Program, families use their experiences to mentor, provide encouragement, emotional support and non-medical information to other families in a variety of ways.

Heather and her family; Family-to-Family volunteers

“Our boys were born at 24 weeks gestation and spent the first 4 months of their life in the NICU and ICC. It was like a roller coaster ride – one day we would get good news and the next would be a day we would have to face a new obstacle. We were so thankful for the nurses and doctors for helping our twin boys. Today, they are healthy 7 year old boys who love piano, soccer and are incredibly silly.

For the past year, as a way to honor the great work Children’s does for my family and others – I have been hosting coffee breaks to connect NICU families to one another. Community is important and I love that Children’s is supportive of all families!” — Heather, Family-to-Family Volunteer

Family Advocates

Family Advocates play a role in advocating on behalf of Children’s patients and on the behalf of the health of children. Families receive specific training and are informed of advocacy opportunities about public policy issues affecting the health of children.

The Ullom family with Al Franken

“It was important for us to go to D.C. in order to tell our Shelby’s story and inform our legislators that programs and funding that support children’s health care do make a difference,” “Without specialized health care, Shelby likely would not have survived.” — Dan and Suzanne Ullom, Family Advocate

Family Advisors

Family Advisors are designated family representatives involved in committees, design teams, unit advisory councils, experience teams, policy groups, family panels, family focus groups and family testimonial events.

Jody and family; Families as partners Family Advisors

“Participating on the Cystic Fibrosis Family Council (CFFC) has been a great opportunity as a parent to partner with my daughter’s care team to enhance our life experiences as well as experiences for other patients and families living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). In an effort to support these families, the team developed a brochure, ‘Traveling with CF’, to help families prepare for and enjoy traveling.” — Jody, Cystic Fibrosis Family Council

The Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council is a diverse group of families whose children have received care at one of Children’s facilities (inpatient and outpatient experiences). They work collaboratively with staff to promote and enhance patient and family-centered care and to improve the family and patient experiences. Learn more about the Family Advisory Council.  

The Youth Advisory Council

The Youth Advisory Council is a dedicated group of patients, ages 10 to 18, offering practical ideas on how to help Children’s focus even more closely on the special needs of children and teens. They eagerly voice their ideas and perspectives — from choices of food on the hospital menu to how they want adults at Children’s to relate to them. Learn more about the Youth Advisory Council.  


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