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Family-Centered Care

Family Matters - Summer 2010

Including the Patient ― and the Family

Rhonda Armstrong, right, program coordinator for family-centered care, presents Manale Elewah, parent representative on the Family Advisory Council, with the Award of Excellence for Family-Centered Care.


Although the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital has always focused on patient care, the newer concept of family-centered care takes things a step further.

Today, an active Family Advisory Council of 32 members including parents, faculty and staff meets monthly to learn and share what is happening with patients, facilities, clinical care, communication, hospital policies and operating procedures and programs within the Children’s Cancer Hospital.

In the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, the first Family Advisory Council began its work in April 2008. Members are proud of the accomplishments they have made since that time. From creating a new mission and vision statement for the Children’s Cancer Hospital to participating in interviews of potential new staff members, the group has moved along its goal of establishing family-centered care throughout the hospital.

To date, among many projects, the Family Advisory Council has:

  • participated in training opportunities through the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care
  • provided input into numerous brochures and communication/awareness vehicles
  • established a quarterly online newsletter for parents and patients
  • assisted in the formation of the Adolescent and Young Adult Advisory Council
  • formed the Supportive Care Steering Committee, and
  • worked with the design committee for new facilities for the Children’s Cancer Hospital.

In April 2010, a few original members of the Family Advisory Council rotated off. The Council recognized parents Angie Farmer, Jana and Russell Jarrell, Barbara and Jon Robin, Debra Williams and Nancy Winsman for their hard work and contributions. In addition, staff members Lisa Getz from social work, G9 nurse Soraya Neal and Rhonda Robert, Ph.D., from psychology were recognized as they left the council.

At a meeting that included new and old council members, the Children’s Cancer Hospital Award of Excellence for Family-Centered Care was given to parents Missy Ramirez, Manale Elewah and Cip and Rhonda Cardenas and to staff and faculty members Donna Herrera-Bell and Rhonda Robert, Ph.D. The award winners were recognized for advocating family-centered care throughout the Children’s Cancer Hospital.

New members coming on for a two-year term include parents:

  • Carl and Sherree Buckland
  • Gerardo Camarillo
  • Cip and Rhonda Cardenas
  • Rosie Gonzalez
  • Steve Henley
  • Val Marshall
  • Holly Meredith
  • Dawn Mortus, and
  • Angela Simmons.

Staff and faculty members are:

  • G9 nurse Jennifer Beathard
  • Tracy Cimo, associate director, clinical nursing
  • Shanicca Joshua, program director, pediatric education program
  • G9 nurse Colleen Leonard
  • Mae Reyer, patient care nurse manager
  • Julie Segovia, associate director, clinical nursing, and
  • Anna Smith, outpatient clinical nurse.

Family-centered care is a concept used in many hospitals around the country. As defined by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, patient- and family-centered care is an innovative approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients, and families. Patient- and family-centered care applies to patients of all ages, and it may be practiced in any health care setting.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center