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Southcoast Health Patient & Family Advisory Council

The Southcoast Health Hospital’s Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC) provides a vehicle for improved communication among patients, families and staff. Serving as an advisory resource to administration and trustees, the council discusses and reports on issues concerning the greater South Coast community to improve the reach and quality of care.

The Southcoast Health’s Patient and Family Advisory Council Seal ensures the councils active involvement and endorsement in developing and shaping Southcoast Health’s programs, services, and initiatives.

We are currently recruiting for members

If you are interested in being a part of the discussion, apply online today to join the Southcoast Health Patient & Family Advisory Council.

PFACtor Award

The Southcoast Health PFAC was honored in 2023 with a PFACtor Award at the 7th annual Patient Experience Symposium, hosted by the ICD Healthcare Network. The ICD Healthcare Network’s inaugural PFACtor Awards recognize leadership, creativity, and innovation factors in the implementation of these volunteer groups and other organizations with the same function.

Benefits of PFAC

  1. Transformation of the hospital culture toward patient-family centered care
  2. Patient and families have an increased awareness and understanding of the health care system
  3. Incorporating the feedback from the advisors leads to improved patient satisfaction
  4. The PFAC provides two-way communication between the hospital’s operation and clinical team and the patients and families we serve.
  5. It is a great opportunity to listen to and honor the patient and family perspectives and choices.
  6. Patients, families, health care practitioners, and health care leaders collaborate in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in facility design; in professional education; as well as in the delivery of care.

Our Mission & Goals

The PFAC’s goal is to act as a “consumer advisory group” and serve as a link between Southcoast Health Hospitals and the communities we serve. The PFAC seeks to provide a voice for patients and families about the way in which care is delivered and to discuss concerns about care, quality and access.

The PFAC’s goal is also to champion family participation in hospital care and decision-making and gather information about significant issues and trends to be considered by hospital administration and staff in its policy-making, program development and staff training and education. The PFAC also helps advise Southcoast Health on community-based education needs to better inform the public about how to play an active role in their health care.

PFAC Membership

Southcoast Health’s PFAC consists of up to 24 members, with at least 50 percent of the representation coming from the community.

The PFAC is co-chaired by someone from the community, such as a former patient or a family member, and by someone from Southcoast Health, such as an administrator, trustee or physician. Others are invited to attend the PFAC meetings, depending on the topics or issues to be discussed. Community membership is on a volunteer basis.

The PFAC meets on the fourth Monday of every month, except in July and December. The committee also meets via conference call the second Monday of each month.

Current Members

Below is a list of our sitting Community Council Members:

Kathleen Campanirio

Taunton, MA

Professional background:RN, BSN, and MBA in management with 25 years’ experience in many specialties;
30-year Vice President at a healthcare information systems company, consulting, installing, training and selling software systems; Former healthcare coordinator at Headstart; Trained and supported 100 clinical staffers for VNA on medical record software; General Manager of for-profit subsidiary, HSI, of the VNA of Providence
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:AARP driver’s ed trainer in MA and FL; Provides Medicare D education for seniors and works with Medicare Affiliates (BFAC) to educate seniors on Medicare services, patient empowerment and partnership; Enjoys traveling, computers, and supporting special needs adults; AAUW scholarship chair and Secretary
Why they joined PFAC:My experiences caring for my husband, Leo, with his terminal illness and my special needs son, my retirement and my background in healthcare and process management.
Tenure on Council:Since 2010 (Founding member)

Name:Melanie Cordeiro
Hometown:Fall River, MA
Professional background:Marketing Director for The Cordeiro Group – Insurance, Real Estate & Philanthropy
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Commissioner, Licensing Board City of Fall River
Member, Southcoast Health’s President’s Council
Member, Rotary Club of Greater Fall River
Board Member, Southcoast Insurance Agents Association
Why they joined PFAC:To assist in the improvement of the quality of care for patients and families who use Southcoast Health’s hospitals and services.
Tenure on Council:Since 2021

Den DeMarinis

New Bedford, MA

Professional background:Director of Day Services at Lifestream, Inc.
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Chairperson, Commission for Citizen’s with Disabilities Member; Southcoast Health Community Benefits Council
Why they joined PFAC:My past experiences with the health system and a need to try and make a difference.
Tenure on Council:Since 2016

Name:Pam Ellis
Hometown:Mattapoisett, MA
Professional background:Non-profit office management; Software product management; Informal educator
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Leadership Southcoast Alumni Committee member; Enjoys water activities and biking.
Why they joined PFAC:My passion for quality of care, recognizing improvement opportunities based on my own health and family experience.
Tenure on Council:Since 2015

Mary Louise Francis

Dartmouth, MA

Name:Mary Louise Francis
Hometown:Dartmouth, MA
Professional background:Retired Educator
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Mary Lou is the president of the Bristol County Retired Teachers Association. She remains dedicated to educators after a career as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in the New Bedford Public Schools. She also taught a course on brain-based teaching and learning at Fitchburg State College and served on the Acushnet School Committee.
Why they joined PFAC:Mary Lou attended a information session that saved her life.  She discuss how she owes her life to the notice of the information session, and to the doctors at Charlton Memorial.” Read her story here.
Tenure on Council:Since 2022

Name:Sarah Long
Hometown:Swansea, MA
Professional background:Mortgage Advisor
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Spending time with my family and friends, especially my niece, as well as traveling and yoga.
Why they joined PFAC:After being diagnosed with a lifelong illness in 2019 and becoming a frequent visitor to many Southcoast facilities, I decided that I wanted to be a member of PFAC. Sharing my experiences could be of benefit to other patients and families who use Southcoast services. I feel that I can make a difference in improving the quality of our care.
Tenure on Council:Since 2022

Name:Cathie Markow
Hometown:Wareham, MA
Professional background:Healthcare information technology and quality measurement and improvement
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Volunteer Emergency Department Patient Liaison – Tobey Hospital; Volunteer Habitat for Humanity
Why they joined PFAC:A passion for improving patient and family experience with our healthcare system and an opportunity to get to know and give back to my community.
Tenure on Council:Since 2021

Name:Susan Melrose
Hometown:Wareham, MA
Professional Background:Newspaper Advertising & Marketing
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Gardening (current Membership Sec.,  former Corresponding Sec of The Wareham Garden Club), Cooking, Active book club member,  Intrepid Traveler, Former member of the Democratic Town Committee in CT, Campaign Manager on numerous political campaigns), Consumer of healthcare, Caretaker
Why they joined PFAC:Health Care is perhaps the most critical issue of our time and the most stress inducing for people from all walks of life, every generation and every income level. I want to be a part of the solution for improved access, quality and cost of healthcare.
Tenure on Council: Since 2023

Joan Menard

South Dartmouth, MA

Professional background:Started career in customer service and support in tech; Higher education; Transitioned to healthcare in 2008; Project management, training and consulting
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Trustee of the Dartmouth Public Libraries; Member of the DNRT and Helfand Community Garden; Supports and participates at the Marion Institute and Round-the-Bend Farm; Personal interests include music, reading, food and nutrition and sustainable living.
Why they joined PFAC:Just as the decline of company paid pensions prompted individuals to take control of their own retirement funding, the Affordable Care Act has created an environment where individuals will be best served by increasing their role in their own healthcare. I want to help patients be successful by sharing what I’ve learned about healthcare through my work with doctors, executives and staff at hospitals, and also in an outpatient primary care setting.
Tenure on Council:Since 2015

Name:Brian O’Hare
Hometown:Dartmouth, MA
Professional background:Marketing and Sales manager with over 35 years of experience in start-ups and large, global firms in the hi-tech, consumer, and commercial and industrial goods and services; Launched and manages a sales, marketing and management process improvement consultancy
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Board Member of a homeless shelter; Elected City official; Volunteer with My Brother’s Keeper; Member of the Dartmouth Harbor Development Committee; Active runner, cyclist and hiker.
Why they joined PFAC:Brian became interested in patient advocacy after a very positive experience at the St. Luke’s Emergency Department.
Tenure on Council:Since 2017

Name:Bonnie Pearson
Hometown:Wareham, MA / Boca Raton, FL
Professional background:25-year background in hospitality and sales and marketing for several hotel corporations throughout the US; industrial software sales and real estate development
Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:Co-Director and Organizer for Acupuncture for Veterans Inc. a 501(c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to providing acupuncture and acupressure services and clinics for veterans in the Southeast Florida community. Volunteered with Changing Lives of Boca Raton, Inc. a 501(c) 3 nonprofit offering services to the homeless in the Boca Raton, Florida area.
Why they joined PFAC:Interested in giving back in the community and work with team members to assist Southcoast Health to better reach out and assist the needs of patients and family members. Utilize my involvement in volunteering with non-profit organizations, as well as personal and family healthcare experiences.
Tenure on Council:Since 2021

Name:Frederic “Tim” M. Schaefer Jr.
Hometown:South Dartmouth, MA
Professional background:Early career began as a Journalist in the Navy
stationed in Japan from 1967 to 1969. Joined Schaefer
Marine in New Bedford in 1973 becoming
President in 1979. Joined Korn /Ferry executive search in
in Denver, Co in1987 and founded Schaefer Partners in
Denver/S. Dartmouth in 2000. Retired in 2021.
Personal Interests/Community AffiliationsNew Bedford Whaling Museum Governance Committee
Why they joined PFAC:With the inevitable exposure to hospital care with a parent
and the recent death of my brother combined with my
daughter becoming a Nurse Manager in Denver Colorado,
my interest and focus in healthcare begged for some
form of participation.
Tenure on Council:Since 2022

The Southcoast Health Council Members are listed alphabetically below:

  • Tracey Benson, Service Excellence Specialist
  • Nitya Bhattarai, MD, Hospitalist, Southcoast Health
  • William Burns, Executive Director, External Affairs & Planning, Southcoast Health
  • Kimberley Coon, Executive Director of Hospital and Medical Staff Services, Southcoast Health
  • Jadene Elden, VP Revenue Cycle, Southcoast Health
  • Rachael Hart, Patient Service & Experience Specialist
  • Tonya Johnson, SVP & COO Southcoast Hospitals Group
  • Robert McGowen, MD, Medical Director for Patient and Provider Experience
  • Traci McNeil, Executive Director, Brand, Southcoast Health
  • Lauren Melby, Executive Director, Operations, Southcoast Health
  • Yinka Oluwole, Director of Service Excellence and Patient Experience, Southcoast Health
  • Alicia Pimental, DNP, RN, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, St. Luke’s Hospital
  • Chris Snow, RN, Executive Director of Emergency Services
  • Jacqueline Somerville, PhD, RN, Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer, Southcoast Health
  • Dilip Sthapit, MD, Hospitalist, Southcoast Health
  • Melissa Svay, Patient Service & Experience Specialist
  • Michele Wakeman, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Tobey Hospital
  • Trish Wollner, Manager, Service Excellence & Patient Experience

Governance Structure & Previous Activities

For relevant information about PFAC governance and the impact we’ve already had on our community, view our by laws or download:


Issues and trends deemed as significant or urgent by the PFAC will be brought to the attention of senior administration and Southcoast Health’s Quality Steering Committee. An update on PFAC activity will be a standing agenda item for the Quality Steering Committee of Southcoast Health Hospitals Group. PFAC updates will be included in Quality Steering Committee minutes and available to the Board of Trustees via the Board Quality Committee.

Contact Us for More Information

We welcome questions and suggestions about Southcoast Health’s Patient & Family Advisory Council. Please email If you have any concerns and compliments regarding the service you received as a patient, please call the Southcoast Health Hotline at 877-264-7244 or complete our  feedback form.


If you are interested in joining PFAC, please complete the form below. All information submitted on this form will remain confidential. Once accepted into Southcoast Health Patient & Family Advisory Council, members names are published on Southcoast Health’s website and contact information is shared with other PFAC members.

Your application will be shared with Southcoast Health leaders and community council members as part of our application process. Information submitted on this form will otherwise remain confidential.