Developed with & by IMS Patient and Family Advocate/Advisors Committee (PFAC)
To support the IMS core purpose by sharing patient & family perspectives and experiences and advocating for physician-patient relationships in health care.
Want to learn more about IMS partners with patients and families? Contact Kady Reese.
PFAC Profiles - Get to know the two patient leaders supporting IMS’ work to create a Patient and Family Advisor Committee (PFAC) that will strengthen IMS' role as the preeminent voice for both physicians and patients
Allie Wulfekuhle - Ames
Member, Mary Greely Medical Center Patient & Family Advisory Council
I stumbled into patient advocacy after a charge nurse approached me during one of our daughter’s admissions, asking what they could do better and I rattled off some ideas. That conversation led me to Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Patient and Family Advisor Council. I’ve been lucky to be a part of their council since it’s inception, as well as break out MGMC PFAC’s focusing on Maternity/Peds and Behavioral Health. My experience there prepared me to serve on councils with Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, and the Central Iowa Community Services governing board and child services advocacy council. One of the things I enjoy most about serving in these places is working directly with administrators and providers to create positive change. I specifically have many experiences in both pediatric spaces and the mental health world. I am passionate about mental health care and desire to see increased understanding and access to services in our community.
I believe the patient voice is an important part of healthcare’s success. As the focus on patient centered care continues, I hope our PFAC here at IMS provides a tangible example and working model of how providers and organizations can work with their patients. The safety provided within a PFAC for both patients and providers to speak to each other as people and partners, while creating collaborative relationships, is essential. Healthcare is a group effort with the providers, patient and family. We are all on the same team.
I have seen this collaboration create essential changes in healthcare systems. Those that work in healthcare are so close to day to day operations that it can be hard for them to see things through the eyes of a patient. Patient advisors ask questions, provide support and share personal stories to bring the focus back towards the patient’s lived experience. We have to know how things look and feel to a patient if patient centered care is to happen in our organizations and offices. Together we can make positive change for organizations and providers and the patients and families they care for.
Roger Lacoy - Des Moines
Past Chair, Board of Directors, Primary Health Care
After being diagnosed and living with HIV, I knew I had to get involved, to take control of my own health and be part of the discussions and the decisions around my health care. So, I got involved, learned as much as I could, and made myself available to others; sharing my story, asking and listening, and being able to help others. It is really about being a part of something bigger than ourselves. I have seen the outcomes from sharing our perspectives as patients and that has kept me coming back.
Patients and families are the center of healthcare. It has been shown that patients and families who work together with their healthcare providers have better health outcomes. The council can benefit physicians when they have questions that are unique to patients that only we can speak to. This gives them the opportunity to capture that and share it.
A patient advocate is someone who is able to share; be open; be able to share experiences and knowledge to help improve health outcomes for everyone. It is being recognized as a patient who is willing to speak and be part of the change; and knowing you can make a difference. Patient advocacy is having shared experience and relationship with my provider, while sharing that experience with other people. It is all about trust – even in their own care, and being part of and trusting the decisions made.
What inspires me as a patient and family advocate is breaking down those barriers of trust; creating a system that is best for everyone – patients, providers, all of us. It is empowering when we realize what we can do together – save money, time, and hopefully saving lives. I was awarded the unsung hero award and it is a joy to me. To me, being a patient advocate means personal growth, being part of the bigger picture, sharing unequivocally, and boils down to helping other people.