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Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council (PPFAC)

  • Pediatric PFAC members at a meeting

    Since our inception in 1999, the Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council (PPFAC) has served as a national model for healthcare institutions. By partnering with staff members of Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, we help improve the patient experience and ensure patient- and family-centered care.

    What we do

    • Advocate for expanded support services, including our Transitioning Off Treatment program, which guides families whose child is nearing the end of his or her treatment
    • Partner with hospital administration for more flexibility, including the Home Hydration Program, which allows patients to hydrate at home instead of overnight at the hospital
    • Improve infrastructure and physical spaces, including the renovations to the Jimmy Fund Clinic and Boston Children's Oncology Unit
    • Implement more family-friendly initiatives, including the Weekend Initiative, a monthly coffee hour during which patients and families can drop in to share their thoughts and ask pediatric council members questions

    Get involved

    Do you want to share your voice and experience, guide the development of projects, and shape key decisions that affect the patient care and family experience at Dana-Farber? Contact us today.

    You do not need to be a member to provide your input, although new applicants are always welcome. Five to six key administrative staff members serve as voting members of the Councils. Other staff leaders are invited guests and routinely attend meetings.

    For more information about the Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council, including membership, please call 617-632-4319 or email

    Apply to join the Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council

    Co-chairs, Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council (PPFAC)

    Julia Pettengill

    Julia Pettengill

    Pettengill is executive director of the African Food and Peace Foundation. Raised in southern Africa and educated in South Africa, she has a personal interest in addressing development initiatives in third world countries. Her daughter, Sophie, was treated at Dana-Farber for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is now an active member of the Dana-Farber community.

    Karen Rossman

    Karen Rossman

    In July 1999, as Rossman's daughter was completing treatment for Ewing sarcoma, she was asked to join a fledgling group of parents and staff of a new council to improve the systems of the pediatric oncology program. She has been a member ever since, and has watched the program evolve over 17 years. A mother and a dietitian, Rossman has a master’s degree in health care administration and an interest in hospital operations.

    Learn about the Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC)