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Gillette Children's spinal cord injury patient Guadalupe with her family in skyway

What Is the Family Advisory Council?

The Gillette Family Advisory Council (FAC) is a diverse group of parents, adult patients and staff who are committed to promoting family-centered care and improving the quality of care at Gillette. 

The FAC serves as an advisory resource for programs, departments, publications, committees or projects at Gillette by:

  • Providing an avenue for understanding the needs of patients and families who use Gillette services
  • Offering suggestions for improvement 
  • Strengthening communication among patients, families, caregivers and staff

Join the Family Advisory Council

Eligibility:

The Family Advisory Council (FAC) is a dedicated group of up to 13 members, including:

  • Parents and caregivers who have used Gillette services in the past year 
  • Patients aged 18 and older who have used Gillette services in the past year 
  • Gillette staff as co-facilitators 

FAC Member Expectations:

  • Participation in one-hour meetings every other month
    • Meetings will be held virtually until further notice. 
  • Commitment to serve on the council for at least one term of two years
  • Commitment to improving care for all Gillette patients and families 

Application Process:

Applications are accepted through October 31 each year. Interviews and final selections occur in November. New family council members begin their two-year commitment in January. The first meeting of the year will be used for orientation and introductions of new and current members.

 

Complete and Send the DHS Background Study Form

Please email the completed DHS Background Study form to Lina Abdennabi (linaiabdennabi@gillettechildrens.com).

For More Information

If you have questions or would like more information about the Family Advisory Council, please contact the co-facilitators:

Annie M.

Home Town
Saint Paul, MN

Gillette's Impact
Our daughter was born with a birth defect that requires multidisciplinary and very specialized health care. We moved to the Twin Cities when she was four and were nervous about finding a new care team. We were referred to Gillette and have been unbelievably pleased. At Gillette, we can see specialists in surgery, orthodontia, speech therapy, audiology, and ENT. Our care providers treat our daughter with the utmost respect, explaining every procedure at her level and making sure her questions are answered. She loves going to Gillette to play and see other kids as well! As we are entering a more manageable, less overwhelming phase of our daughter's care, I wanted to contribute to the Family Advisory Council as a way of giving back and helping the place we enjoy so much!

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Brian N.

Home Town
New Ulm, MN

Diagnosis/Primary Condition
I was born with Spina Bifida (Myelomeningocele, L5) and have been a patient at Gillette facilities since 1962. I am a left BK amputee and use crutches and a wheelchair for mobility.

Gillette's Impact
Gillette’s team approach to treatment increases the efficiency and reduces the stress, of complex medical treatment. I appreciate that Gillette has a lengthy history of treating Spina Bifida and the associated medical issues. The staff consistently impresses me with their outstanding professionalism and patient care.

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Devin H.

Family Members
Holli (daughter)

Home Town
Oak Grove, MN

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Gillette's Impact
After Holli was diagnosed with her genetic condition, we were left with several questions that no other institution could answer, until Gillette! Immediately we knew that there was going to be a team to help ensure that Holli wasn't going to be defined by this diagnosis. They answered all of our questions and reassured us of the treatments she would need. Gillette has become a family to us, and I wanted a way to give back. The FAC offered that and has been so rewarding.

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Jennifer B.

fac member jennifer b and family

Family Members
Curt (husband), Abby, Jonathan

Home Town
Maple Grove, MN

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Hydrocephalus

Gillette's Impact
Jonathan was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as an infant.  We were told this would be a lifelong condition and to prepare for regular doctor visits with a variety of specialists.  After researching physicians and consulting with several clinics, I knew Gillette was the right location for us after our very first visit!  We discussed Jonathan's medical needs and developed a plan, but they went a step further and focused on his overall quality of life.  They patiently answered all my questions about playdates, school, sports, vaccine schedules, sleepovers, and more!  We never feel rushed at our visits and every question we have is answered before we leave.  Gillette's medical care is outstanding and their true team approach helps Jonathan live his best life every day!

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Katie R.

fac member katie r and family

Family Members
Keith (husband), Ethan

Home Town
Lakeville, MN

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Conditions
Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Chronic Lung Disease, Hydrocephalus, Neuro-irritability

Gillette's Impact
Gillette has given our son options to live a quality and most importantly, a happy life. That is everything that makes life a little easier like equipment, procedures to help function in therapy, and surgeries to help Ethan participate more in everyday life. The Complex Care Team at Gillette has been so helpful as the right medical team to help navigate difficult medical decisions with different providers for the best outcome for Ethan. We are very thankful for his team and all the support to help limit the runaround and provide solutions.

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Kelly M.

fac member kelly m and family

Family Members
Aaron (husband), Addison, Breslyn

Home Town
Hudson, WI

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
ZARD (ZC4H2 Associated Rare Disorders) formerly known as Wieacker-Wolff Syndrome

Gillette's Impact
We always knew that our oldest daughter Addison (born in 2007) had a medical diagnosis of some kind, but it wasn't until we moved to the area in 2013 that we were finally able to get a true diagnosis thanks to Gillette.  We were incredibly thankful to finally receive some answers. Since then we have received almost all of our specialty medical care at Gillette and we see a large team of providers.  We love the team approach that Gillette takes. They have made a huge difference in our lives and we love the partnership we have in navigating this rare medical diagnosis. 

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Kevin Y.

Family Members
MariAnne (spouse), Hannah, Hope, Noah, Peter, Jane, Oliver

Hometown
Elk River, MN

Diagnosis/Primary Condition
I have a condition called Distal arthrogryposis type 8, which is also known as DA8 or Multiple Pterygium Syndrome. It is a condition that is autosomal dominant which means my children have a 50% chance of inheriting it from me.

Gillette's Impact
Our story begins when I started going to Gillette as a child, seeing a village of specialists to support my growth and development. When my wife and I found out that some of our children may likely inherit this condition, it was a fairly easy decision as to where we would be looking for specialist care for them.

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Leah B.

Family Members
Mike (husband), Peyton, & Whitten

Home Town
Minneapolis, MN

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Our daughter Peyton is a medically complex kiddo with diagnoses affecting many different body functions. Her most significant Gillette endeavor was undergoing spinal traction followed by a spinal fusion utilizing Magec rods. She sees over 20 different doctors and therapists on a regular basis, so we are quite familiar with many of Gillette’s specialties.

Gillette's Impact
Gillette Children's hospital carries a warm spot in our family's hearts. From providing a one-stop-shop for all of Peyton's needs, to making a life-changing surgical procedure, to providing fun experiences like "Target's Winter Wonderland" - they are the best and we love them for it! Family, friends, and a community who will help facilitate your child reaching their full potential and living their best life!

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Meghan M.

fac member meghan m. and family

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Moyamoya disease and cerebral palsy caused by two strokes at nine months old

Gillette's Impact
Gillette was where my son's rare disease was diagnosed, which saved his life. If it weren't for the work of his neurologist at Gillette his condition would have eluded us further. Most of our son's treatments are done at Gillette and his team has been instrumental in helping him thrive.

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Samantha L.

fac member samantha l and family

Family Members
Bill (Father), Carinne (Mother)

Home Town
Edina, MN

Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Cerebral Palsy

Gillette's Impact
The care I receive at Gillette has made it possible for me to continue to be ambulatory and to reach my full potential. “Can’t” disappears the moment a person walks, wheels, or rolls through those doors. The doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff at Gillette truly are the “The Creators of CAN”.

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Sandy T.

fac member sandy t and family

Family Members
Adam (husband), Lauren, Alex

Home Town
Madison, WI

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Cerebral Palsy and a lot of other conditions that tend to go with it: low vision, ADHD, and a variety of other neurologic and orthopedic needs.

Gillette's Impact
Gillette staff have the experience and commitment to kids with disabilities that makes the 4 hour drive worth it for our family. Although we have access to good medical care and a children's hospital in our town, we don't have a Gait Lab or physicians who have the same level of expertise and focus on treating kids with our daughter's specific needs that Gillette does. We have relied on Gillette Gait Lab analyses and Gillette medical staff to help us understand how to best address her medical needs; decide which orthopedic surgeries would be most beneficial; and to guide equipment evaluations, modifications, and creation. We really appreciate how Gillette physicians coordinate with our local providers and scheduling staff works hard to schedule as many of our daughter's appointments on the same day as possible so we don't have to make the drive more than necessary.

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Sarah C.

Information coming soon!

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Spencer M.

fac member spencer m. and family

Family Members
Erin (wife), Adelyn, Lucy

Home Town
Plymouth, MN

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
My daughter was diagnosed at 18 months with NMDA anti receptor encephalitis. After having stopped the spread of the encephalitis, she has been left with serious brain damage and today has similar presentation as CP.

Gillette's Impact
Gillette’s is all things therapy for my daughter- we’ve worked in many different spaces (SLP, OT, PT, Aquatics and Oral Stimulation) as well as equipment and device needs. Aquatic therapy has opened up a new girl to us, she is a happy and calm kiddo in the water. The team at Gillette’s is outstanding, accommodating and works very closely with us on supporting our daughter and helping provide us with resources we need to best meet our goals for her.

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Tina E.

fac member tina e

Family Members
Lee and Therese (parents), Julia (sister)

Home Town
Little Canada, MN

Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Cerebral Palsy

Gillette's Impact
Gillette has impacted me in many ways. The care I receive is beyond what I expected. In terms of my treatment, I cannot imagine living without these options available to me. My spine surgery allowed me to live with less pain, breathe easier and allowed me to sit upright which has given me more confidence. My implanted pump has helped me manage my spasticity and reduced the need for additional surgeries.

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"Gillette has been and continues to be an important part of our family's life as we navigate through our children’s health. It (the Family Advisory Council) is a way for me to give back to the Gillette community for all they have done for our kids!"

- Susan G., Former Gillette FAC Member