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.
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.
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.
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 last Monday of every month, except in July and December. The committee also meets via conference call the second Monday of each month.
Below is a list of our sitting Community Council Members:
|Professional background:||K -12 Teacher; Trainer in Psychological Education|
|Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:||Volunteer at Swansea town events; Enjoys Zumba and distance running.|
|Why they joined PFAC:||My elderly family members received care at Southcoast Health and I wanted to give back in return for the care they were given.|
|Tenure on Council:||Since 2016|
|Professional background:||RN 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 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)|
|Professional background:||Director of Development, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council|
|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|
|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|
|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:||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|
|Professional background:||I taught healthcare communication at Stonehill College for three years prior to retirement. Served as president of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce. Served on numerous committees, boards etc in the Newton community during my tenure at Newton-Wellesley Hospital as Director of Community Partnerships.|
|Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:||Education, Volunteering.|
|Why they joined PFAC:||I have had 35 years’ experience working in the healthcare field. Most of my career in healthcare involved improving the quality of the patient/family experience. I have been retired for four years volunteering in non-healthcare organizations. I am ready to share my experience for the improvement of healthcare in our community.|
|Tenure on Council:||Since 2019|
|Professional background:||Customer advocacy/experience and process improvement manager in the technology sector|
|Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:||Extensive community involvement in nature conservancy, children services, healthcare services, and business mentorship.
Avid traveler (50 states, 50 countries, 5 continents), photographer and hiker.
|Why they joined PFAC:||To further serve the community and improve the healthcare experience, beyond my volunteer role at St. Luke’s Emergency Department.|
|Tenure on Council:||Since 2018|
|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|
|Professional background:||Technology professional specializing in software implementation, process improvement and project management.|
|Personal Interests/Community Affiliations:||I love getting creative- everything from gardening, interior design and crafting. I also enjoy learning about holistic and natural lifestyle changes including aromatherapy, energy healing, meditation and yoga.|
|Why they joined PFAC:||I was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. My entire experience from diagnosis through treatment, occurred within the Southcoast Health organization. I have so much gratitude and appreciation for everyone I met throughout my journey. The compassion and respect I received will always stay with me. I knew I wanted to give back by using my personal and professional experience to help others in the community.|
|Tenure on Council:||Since 2020|
The Southcoast Council Members are listed alphabetically below:
- Nitya Bitthairi, MD, Hospitalist, Southcoast Health
- William Burns, Director of Government Affairs, Southcoast Health
- Aubrey Latessa, Manager of Patient Experience and Service Excellence at Southcoast Health.
- Julie Lizotte, RN, Director of Process Improvement, Southcoast Physicians Group
- Dilip Sthapit, MD, Hospitalist, Southcoast Health
- Beth Sylvia, Director, Patient Access, Southcoast Health
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 contact Aubrey Latessa, our Manager of Patient Experience & Service Excellence at Southcoast Health. 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.