Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council is a diverse group of families whose children have received care (inpatient or outpatient) at one of Children’s facilities. 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 our expectations of members of the Family Advisory Council.

For staff

Are you a Children’s staff member interested in collaborating with patient-families?  Would you like feedback on a project?  Do you have an idea or topic you would like to share before the Family Advisory Council?  If so, we would like to hear from you.  Please complete this form and send it to [email protected].

What the family advisory council does:

As part of our mission, the Family Advisory Council uses experiences, wisdom and diverse points of view to:

  • Promote patient- and family-centered care
  • Advise and advocate for children and their families
  • Encourage positive changes to Children’s and the community.

Core activities

Activities the council participates in enhance the quality of child and family care experiences. Some examples of work the council has advised on are:

  • Service and facility development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Educational opportunities for staff, leadership, students, managers and all new employees.
  • Management of recommendations and concerns expressed by parents, family members, parent associations and others.
  • Policy review.


Use these fill-in-the-blank forms to help organize and track your child's medical information.

Resources and materials

The Family Advisory Council also publishes documents and resource materials to:

For example members of the Family Advisory Council prepared A Resource Guide for Families from Families (PDF), tips for well-being while your child is in the hospital, along with helpful videos,  to share important information and resources members have found to be useful. While this packet may contain only some of the information families need, many families have found it to be a great place to start.

Excellence in Patient and Family-Centered Care Award

The Family Advisory Council also established the Excellence in Patient and Family-Centered Care Award. This award gives families an opportunity to recognize and honor care providers who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to family-centered care. Nominate an individual or care team.

Current members and staff

Take a minute to meet current members of the Family Advisory Council — including patient family members and Children’s employees.

Our staff

  • Anupam Kharbanda, Chief of Critical Care Service
  • Brian West, Program Assistant
  • Douglas Turk, Social Worker
  • Joy Johnson-Lind, Senior Director of Child and Family Services
  • Tera Bollig, Brand Marketing Consultant
  • Tessa Billman, Patient and Family-Centered Care Coordinator
  • David Collier, Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

 Family council members

Children: Jaden, born 2006; Mikenna, born 2012; Lejla Mae, born 2013
Diagnosis: Lejla Mae: Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2020

Children: Emmily, born 2004; Grace, born 2008
Diagnosis: Emmily: flu and pneumonia, sepsis
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2020

Amy and family

Children: Marvin, born 2007, Cary Lynn, born 2011
Diagnosis: Marvin: O’Donnell-Luria-Rodan Syndrome and ASD; Cary Lynn: Mitochondrial Disease, Hydrocephalus, Cerebral Palsy, and multiple other concerns
Campus: St. Paul, Minneapolis
Member: Since 2021

Children's Minnesota FAC Wakefield family

Children: Max born in 2009, Anna born in 2012; Sam, born 2016
Diagnosis: Anna: Ring 21 Chromosome with Q Deletions
Campus: Minneapolis, St. Paul
Member: Since 2015

Christie and family

Children: Jackson, born 2012; Alexa, born 2017
Diagnosis: Alexa: Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (open fetal surgery for tumor debulking), Premature birth at 29 weeks, multiple other conditions caused by teratoma and prematurity
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2021

Children: Ezekiel, born 2012; Ariana, born 2013
Diagnosis: Ezekiel: Esophagitis, Asthma, Developmental Delays, ADHD, Migraine, Insomnia, Non Allergic Rhinithis, Chronic Ear Infections
Ariana: Asthma, Hypotonia, Developmental Delays, Non-Allergic Rhinithis
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2020

Children: Abdihamid, Born 2006; Atika, born 2011
Diagnosis: Cortical visual impairment; Feingold syndrome type 2; Delayed growth and development,Seizure disorder,
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2019

Family Advisory Council Children's Minnesota Grant family photo

Children:  Ryan, born 2001; Will, born 2006; Abby, born 2008; Sam, born 2016
Diagnosis:  Sam: Trisomy 21, Long Gap Esophageal Atresia, Type II Laryngeal Cleft, multiple other concerns
Campus:  Minneapolis
Member:  Since 2019

Children: Harrison, born 2009; Lincoln born 2013; Tallulah, born 2019
Diagnosis: Tallulah: Down Syndrome, premature 33 weeks, congenital heart defect, congenital hypothyroidism
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2020

Family advisory council Wagner family photo

Children: Scarlet, born 2009; Fritz, born 2012; Clementine, born 2014
Diagnosis: Scarlet:  Schinzel-Giedion Syndrome with global brain and organ degeneration; Fritz: retinoblastoma, mild asthma, and developmental delays
Campus: St. Paul
Member: Since 2019

Jill and family

Children: Myranda, born 2000; Trevor, born 2007; Lacey, born 2009; Elizabeth, born 2013; Deacon James, born 2016
Diagnosis: Elizabeth:  Immune thrombocytopenic purpura and immunodeficiency post treatment; Deacon James: 22q11.2 duplication, epilepsy, dysautonomia, and many other associated conditions
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2019

Mary and family

Mary / Vice Chair
Children: Aaron, Amanda, Emily
Grandchildren: Emma, born 2004; Natalie, born 2009; Isabelle, born 2010; Tabitha, born 2012; Jacqueline, born 2012; Gabriella, born 2012; Caroline, born 2013; Sebastian, born 2015; Lorelei, born 2017
Diagnosis: Tabitha: Deceased by drowning
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2019

Matt and family

Children: Cora, born 2008; Celia, born 2010.
Diagnosis: Cora: Pilocytic astrocytoma; Celia: Ruptured appendix
Campus: St. Paul
Member: Since 2021

Family Advisory Council Children's Minnesota Klein Family photo

Children:  Aubrie, born 2009; Dahlia, born 2010; Hudson, born 2012
Diagnosis: Dahlia: Severe food induced anaphylaxis and allergies; Hudson: Severe food induced anaphylaxis, allergies and asthma
Campus:  Minneapolis
Member:  Since 2019


Children: Omar: born 2018
Diagnosis: Brain Injury, respiratory issues, and multiple other concerns
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2021

Raphael and family

Children: Jakari, born 2002; Alec, born 2005; and Ty’Ree, born 2015
Diagnosis: Ty’Ree: Chronic Lung Disease due to prematurity
Campus: St. Paul
Member: Since 2020

Children: Ben, born in July 2005
Diagnosis: Traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures due to injuries received in a motor vehicle accident in May 2018
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2020

Shana and son

Children: Xaiver, born 1993; Adante, born 1995; Danita, 1996; Joshan: 2005
Diagnoses: Joshan: Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Quadriplegic, nonverbal and multiple other concerns
Campus: Minneapolis
Member: Since 2021

Shelby with her husband and four children

Shelby / Chair
Children: Mya, born 2012; Jackson, born 2013; Adrian, born 2015; Charlie, born 2015
Diagnosis: Charlie: Congenital heart disease, Respiratory Issues, Immunodeficiency, Anxiety/PTSD, and multiple other concerns; Adrian: Global Developmental Delays
Campus: Minneapolis, Minnetonka
Member: Since 2017

Join the Family Advisory Council

As the family member of one of our patients, you have important views and experiences that Children’s cannot get from any other source. Consider the opportunity to contribute your unique perspective as a member of the Family Advisory Council.

How to apply

Applications are always welcome for consideration for the following year’s recruiting period.

Becoming a council member is a four-step process:

  1. Learn about the time commitment and expectations of participation and training.
  2. Submit the two-page member application form.
  3. Meet with the Family Advisory Council recruitment committee (meet and greets are scheduled by the recruitment committee).
  4. The council communicates new–member selection results in December.


If you have any questions about  Patient Family Involvement at Children’s, contact Tessa Billman at 612-813-7407.