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Sharp Health News

Learning from our patients and their families

Feb. 20, 2019

Learning from our patients and their families

Gary Mangum and Gabriella Malagon-Maldonado work together as part of the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

Some of the best ideas for patient care come from those who receive it. Who else has a better perspective on how to make hospital patients and guests feel safe and valued than patients and families themselves?

One way Sharp hospitals focus on those they serve is through the Patient and Family Advisory Council at each hospital. Gabriella Malagon-Maldonado, PhD, RN, director of education, research and professional practice at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, believes that their advisory council connects employees and caregivers to the surrounding community.

“The council provides another opportunity to engage our patients and families to develop and implement practices that encompass a culture of patient-centered care,” she says.

The council meets monthly and develops annual priorities specific to patient care, education and process improvement planning. This includes:

  • Opportunities for patients and families to review recommendations referred to the council by staff or administration
  • Collaboration between staff, doctors, hospital administration and former patients
  • Providing feedback regarding educational programs for staff, patients and families
  • Helping implement changes and innovations to improve care

“After being hospitalized twice over the course of two months at Sharp Chula Vista, I inquired about how I might be able to give back to the hospital,” explains Gary Mangum, former patient and volunteer. “Soon after I joined the Patient and Family Advisory Council, and have been a member ever since. It gives me the opportunity to provide a perspective that I hope helps the hospital maintain its high quality of care.”

Not only does the council help implement change, but it provides increased emotional support and access to information for patients and their families.

“The goal of the council is to provide the patient and family perspective on all aspects of care,” Malagon-Maldonado says. “It helps us improve our quality of care and our patient and staff engagement by building a culture that’s driven by the voice of patients and families.”

All of Sharp HealthCare’s acute-care hospitals are designated as “Patient-Centered Hospitals” by the internal organization, Planetree, Inc. Sharp is the only health care system in the world to have all of its acute-care hospitals recognized with the Gold Certification, the highest Planetree designation.

For more information on how to participate in a Patient and Family Advisory Council, connect with a Sharp team member at

For the news media: To talk with Gabriella Malagon-Maldonado for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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