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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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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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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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Mikaela A.

Information coming soon!

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Nate W.

Diagnosis/Primary Condition

I have spastic quad cerebral palsy.

Gillette's Impact

Gillette became a significant part of my life in the late 1990’s after I came to Gillette for a gait analysis and follow up surgeries and physical therapy. I’m thankful for the care I receive at Gillette. The care I receive from so many people at Gillete helps me live life to the fullest.

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Rebecca A.

Diagnosis/Primary Condition

Nicholas had bi-lateral clubbed feet and knee complications. 

Gillette's Impact

Nicholas first visited Gillette at 4 days old when he met the orthopedic team and had the first of many casting appointments.  He has been seeing the doctors at Gillette his entire life and has spent time in the clinic, physical therapy and several overnight stays for surgeries.  We have been pleased with Nicholas’s care and all the staff we have worked with from the surgeons to the administrative assistants.  The team has been very caring and supportive along the way.  Most importantly, we’ve never felt like he was a number, the personal care and attention is genuine at Gillette. 

 

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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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Stacy M.

Child's Diagnosis/Primary Condition
Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. He is a former 26 week preemie twin.

Gillette's Impact
My son has been working with Gillette since he was 14 months old. They have been there every step of the way during his diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and have continued to work with our son addressing his spasticity by having the SDR surgery and now next summer having the SEMLs (Single Event Multi-Level Surger) to correct the bone alignment. We are grateful for all the care received from Gillette, for not only our son, but the entire family. 

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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