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PFAC Member Spotlight: Mellissa Meadows

Mellissa Meadows pens a Q&A guest blog on her time spent on the UAB Medicine Patient & Family Advisory Council.

What led you to become a member of the UAB Medicine Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC)?

I heard about the PFAC through the UAB Medicine Patient Portal. I recently had surgery, performed by ENT surgeon Bradford A. Woodworth, MD. My journey with UAB Medicine started 25 years ago when my daughter was born at UAB prematurely. She was at 26 weeks gestation and weighed only two pounds. I am extremely grateful and happy to report that she is now a physician assistant and able to give back to the health care community that gave so much to her when she needed it.

My mother lives two hours north of Birmingham and always calls me when anyone from her small town is sent to UAB Medicine. She always asks if I will “swing by” UAB and see them. Through these experiences, I have learned that UAB Medicine can be intimidating due to its size and the number of people who work there. I have been able to be a familiar face – an advocate who speaks for these people and helps make something so large not quite so intimidating. It has been very rewarding for me to help people.

What did you hope to accomplish by joining the PFAC, and do you feel that you are achieving those objectives?

I hope the greatest thing we can accomplish on the PFAC is allowing patients and family members/caregivers to play a bigger part in their health care. Not every patient understands the concept, and I look forward to patients being able to work with their providers to make decisions that will promote their health and well-being. I also bring in the family members who will be caring for them to be part of the care team. I feel like we are bridging the gap with health care workers, and more people on the UAB Medicine campus are becoming aware of who we are and what we can do for them.

What are some projects or accomplishments on the PFAC that you are most proud of?

The thing I am most proud of is being able to work alongside the great leadership team of UAB Medicine and helping make decisions that will impact thousands of patients who walk through the doors daily. One example is the new Whitaker Clinic of UAB Hospital. We were able to make recommendations on the space, and I feel that our input has an impact not only on the patients but also on the medical professionals who care for those patients.

What additional information would you like others to know about the PFAC and UAB Medicine?

I would encourage UAB Medicine staff members to identify patients, family members, or caregivers who would be a great addition to our council. We are always looking to expand our group, and we need the UAB Medicine staff who are on the front lines to recognize these patients and family members and have them reach out to us.