Family Advisory Council | Members

Together, the volunteer members of the Boston Children's Hospital Family Advisory Council (FAC) have decades of experience navigating pediatric health care. These individuals joined the council to share the experiences, knowledge, and insights they've gathered along the way. In collaboration with FAC leadership, physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and support staff, members of the Family Advisory Council work hard to improve aspects of patient and family experiences for all who seek care here at Boston Children’s.

Interested in joining the council? Fill out our Family Advisory Council Interest Survey and one of our team members will reach out to connect with you.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Natasha Aljalian

Natasha Aljalian

Member since: 2016

Experience/Areas of Interest: pediatric hematology/oncology, Dravet syndrome/neurology/epilepsy/rare disease, research, clinical trials, Emergency Department, Child Life

Natasha Aljalian is mom to Gabriel (born in 2008) and Mary (born in 2013). Gabriel was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2013. He was cared for by the Boston Children’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Blood Disorders Center, in conjunction with Dana Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, for three years while he underwent cancer treatment and care for after-effects of treatment. Mary was diagnosed in 2015 with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, and is cared for by the Department of Epilepsy and Neurophysiology at Boston Children’s.

Natasha and her family are grateful that their children are receiving care at the best hospital in the country, and from the best doctors, nurses, and staff at Boston Children’s. Her children have been cared for by most every department in Boston Children’s. She considers herself fortunate to have formed partnerships (and friendships) with the caregivers at Boston Children’s, and to feel a valued and contributing part of their treatment plans. Natasha joined the Family Advisory Council to partner with Boston Children’s, help implement systemwide improvements to benefit other patients and families, and to provide valuable insight from a parent’s perspective. An attorney by profession, she is also a member of the Boston Children’s Virtual Advisors group.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Katie Baker

Katie Baker

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Expertise: tracheomalacia, bronchomalacia, airway abnormalities, antibiotic allergies, inpatient care, Emergency Department, airway clearance vest, home oxygen, portable oxygen

Katie is a wife, full-time employee at a global asset manager, and mom to Jack. Jack was diagnosed with tracheomalacia at 8 weeks of age and then hospitalized repeatedly at another Boston hospital before coming to Boston Children’s at the age of 2. Here at Boston Children’s, Jack was diagnosed with severe tracheobronchomalacia (TBM). Jack also suffered from numerous arteries compressing his trachea, which made airway clearance impossible and led to many more hospital stays. Since his diagnosis, Jack has had two major airway surgeries and has spent significant time at Boston Children’s receiving inpatient care. To complicate things further, Jack is allergic to most common antibiotics so when he is sick, which is very frequent, it’s a great challenge to safely and effectively treat his illnesses.

Katie joined the FAC because she wants to leverage her own experiences at the Boston Children’s and elsewhere to help improve aspects of the patient and family experience for others. Katie sees this as her opportunity to give back to a hospital that has been life changing for her own family.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Kate Bazinsky

Kate Bazinsky

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Interest: hemophilia, hematology, Emergency Department, laboratory and diagnostics, infusion therapy, home care nursing, care coordination, patient and family experience, patient safety and quality, patient advocacy

Kate is the mother of two children. In 2017, her 16-month-old son was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A with inhibitors, a genetic condition for which there is no cure in which the blood does not properly. While hemophilia generally runs in families, approximately 30 percent of cases are spontaneous mutations, as was the case with Kate’s family. Kate is grateful for the outstanding care that her son has received from the Boston Children’s Hemophilia Treatment Center as well as the Emergency Department, inpatient, and surgical teams.

Kate is a senior consultant at Bailit Health and teaches yoga. Previously Kate handled health policy issues for Senator (then-Representative) Ed Markey. Kate also serves on the board of directors for the New England Hemophilia Association and holds a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Jackey Bennett

Jackey Bennett

Member since: 2021

Experience/Areas of Interest: pediatric nephrology, endocrinology, genetics, nephrotic syndrome, chronic kidney disease, autism, neurodiversity, non-speaking patient advocacy, CAT/CR, creating a sensory friendly environment

Jackey is mom to Keith (born 2016) who has two rare diseases: nephrotic syndrome, a protein-spilling kidney disease, and Chromosome 15q11.2-13.1 duplication syndrome (Dup15q), a genetic abnormality causing autism. Keith is followed by the Boston Children’s renal team, and his nephrotic syndrome has proven particularly difficult to treat. Keith spent much of 2019/2020 both inpatient and visiting for frequent outpatient infusions. Keith is also followed by Genetics as more is learned about the 15th chromosome duplication.

The Bennetts are grateful for the wonderful care Keith receives at Boston Children’s. Keith has even been able to have some fun experiences at the hospital: making gingerbread houses with Rob Gronkowski, visiting Santa, and a fourth birthday party from the CAT/CR nurses. The hospital always tries to create a positive healing environment for kids.

Jackey joined the Family Advisory Council because she has a passion for advocacy and an immense appreciation for the staff at Boston Children’s. She hopes to give back by representing a voice for families of children with unique sensory and communication needs and empower parents to access services to create a positive and trauma-free experience for their kids.

Jackey; her husband, Tony; and son Keith live in Windham, New Hampshire. She works for a Boston-based executive recruiting firm and is involved in community diversity and inclusion efforts.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Chava Cohn

Chava Bolotin

Member since: 2020

Experience/Areas of Interest: GI, feeding disorders, swallowing disorders

Chava is a wife and mom of two active boys. Shortly after her youngest one was born, both boys started seeing the Aerodigestive clinic for their own respective feeding issues. Right from the first appointment, Chava was impressed at how her boys’ new medical team valued her questions and insights. She knew right away that Boston Children's would be a place of healing and hope for her boys.

Chava wants to use her own experience at BCH to help make the patient experience even better. She is excited to join the FAC to help ensure families feel supported and heard.

Chava lives with her husband and kids in Brighton, where she is involved in the Jewish community and teaches high school math.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Lisa Cleary

Lisa Cleary

Member since: 2021

Experience/Areas of Interest: pediatric oncology/neuroblastoma, bone lesions, hematopoietic bone marrow transplants, endocrinology, allergy, dermatology, MIBG/CT/MRI/z-ray, neurology/developmental delays, urology, ophthalmology, orthopedic, cardiology/EKG/Lipid clinic, audiology/otolaryngology, in/outpatient surgery, home care, central line care, long-term inpatient stays

Lisa Cleary lives in Franklin with her husband, Greg, and her two boys, Jack and Nicholas. In April 2015, 22-month-old Nicholas was diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. He immediately started his treatment on the oncology unit at Boston Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Nick has been in remission since 2016 and is thriving. He is followed by multiple specialists at Children’s to manage side effects and other medical issues. In 2017, Jack, then 7, was diagnosed with a bone cyst after breaking his wrist. He is doing great after several procedures, under the care of the Orthopedic Specialists. Lisa felt humbled by the overwhelming support from the staff since day one, and found comfort in how much the care providers valued parental opinions and feedback.

Since 2015, Lisa has connected with and advocated for many families whose children are battling cancer, and she is considered a trusted resource. She has also been involved with several fundraisers and awareness projects for Boston Children’s Hospital, her favorite being Moms on a Mission, co-founded by her and other “momcologists” she met during their children’s treatment. Lisa joined the Family Advisory Council as a way to give back to the organization that not only saved her son, but helped her family cope during their darkest days.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Prisnel Dominique

Prisnel Dominique

Member since: 2018

Experience/Areas of Interest: Neurology, Neurosurgery, ENT, Infectious Disease

Mr. Dominique is a father of three living in Sharon, Massachusetts. He works at a top law firm, Goodwin, in the Seaport District as a director within information technology. Father to Jayden, Jasmine, and Arrivee, the Dominique family went through a severely traumatic experience when Jasmine was diagnosed at 7 with a condition called Pott's Puffy Tumor. Prior to coming to Boston Children’s, several different types of antibiotics were given to Jasmine to treat symptoms associated with a sinus infection. Prisnel’s wife, a nurse, noticed that her daughter's forehead was beginning to protrude and that she was not improving with antibiotics. A decision was made to take Jasmine to the Emergency Department at Boston Children’s. Within minutes of seeing a physician, they mentioned what they thought it might be and ran tests to validate that Jasmine had a Pott's Puffy Tumor. Because of the time that had elapsed during initial efforts to treat Jasmine the tumor had progress to a point where Jasmine required emergency surgery. Prisnel was impressed by how the nurse educator explained to Jasmine, in a way she could understand, what her surgery would entail. The conversation ended with the nurse educator explaining to Jasmine that she would sort of be like a unicorn with no horn. That seemed to make perfect sense to Jasmine! Jasmine’s procedure was successful, and the care that she received enabled her to return to her normal activities following a recovery period. It’s this and 100 little positive stories nested within that have put Boston Children’s in a special place in Prisnel’s heart. Saving his daughter’s life wasn’t enough. Along the way staff made her happy, safe, and even helped her have a little fun along the way.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Fiorella Downey

Fiorella Downey

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Interest: Oncology, advocacy, parent involvement, primary care

Fiorella is a wife and mother of boy/girl twins — Thomas and Stella. Fiorella was no stranger to Boston Children’s Hospital when her daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 13 months old, as she works as a Certified Child Life Specialist in the Boston Children’s Primary Care Clinic. Experiencing the hospital as a parent of a daughter who is medically complex made Fiorella see the hospital through new lenses and be a better advocate for her daughter and other families.

Fiorella and her family are eternally grateful to Boston Children’s Hospital for the care Stella received. Each step of the way, the Boston Children’s Hospital staff was professional, transparent, and kind, which allowed Fiorella’s primary focus to be on her daughter’s well-being.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Steve Favulli

Steve Favulli

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Interest: congenital hypothyroidism, managing chronic conditions, Milagros Para Ninos, transition of patients returning to school after extended absence

Steve is the proud father of four wonderful children. He and his wife. Lauren, consider themselves incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring their oldest son to Boston Children’s Hospital when he was diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism at just five days old. As new parents, they were anxious and unaware of what this would mean for their baby boy and their family, but knew that the best place to support him moving forward was Boston Children’s Hospital. At their first meeting in the Endocrine Clinic, Steve and Lauren were overwhelmed with the compassion and support of their son’s team. The time spent educating them, reassuring them, and simply listening to their questions and thoughts is something that they haven’t forgotten.

Steve’s position on the FAC is one that represents his family’s appreciation for BCH and all that the hospital provides to families. At the same time, it is a way for his and Lauren’s passion for BCH to be shared with others.

Steve works as an educator and is a program director at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. In addition, he runs an adult education program for English language learners at Worcester State University.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Valerie Fleishman

Valerie Fleishman (emeritus member)

Member since: 2012

Experience/Areas of Interest: liver disease, GI clinic, radiology, emergency department, digital health, care coordination, patient and family experience, patient safety and quality

Valerie is the mother of two children. In 2004, at just eight weeks old, her son was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare, chronic liver disease. He underwent immediate surgery at Boston Children’s and continues to be followed there by the Gastroenterology and Transplant teams. Valerie’s deep connection to Boston Children’s comes from her family’s experiences with the doctors, nurses, and other staff and the extraordinary care they have provided her son. She is passionate about advancing patient-centered care and working in partnership to improve the patient and family experience.

In addition to serving on the Family Advisory Council, Valerie is executive director of NEHI, a non-profit health policy institute whose mission is to advance innovation in health and health care. Valerie also serves on the board of trustees for Hebrew Senior Life and Playworks. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her husband and two children.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Serena Hadsell

Serena Hadsell

Member since: 2014

Experience/Areas of Interest: ICU, ECMO, outpatient cardiology, high reliability

Serena is the mother of two children, Julia and Sebastian. In late 2013, her daughter, then nearly 4 years old, was transferred to Boston Children’s Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU), where her breathing difficulties from RSV required advanced intervention. She spent six days on ECMO; the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator takes over the function of the heart and lungs while the body heals.

Julia is followed in outpatient cardiology and the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program. In her professional life, Serena’s career as a dance/movement therapist has focused on emotional expression and the creative process. She has treated people dealing with mental health issues across the lifespan from preschoolers to the elderly. She has also been involved in the education of dance/movement therapy students as a clinical mentor and adjunct faculty.

Serena joined the Family Advisory Council in 2014 and has worked on the High Reliability Initiative, an effort to eliminate preventable harm to patients and employees. She seeks to bring to light the emotional needs of patients and families. She feels immense gratitude for the expertise and care Boston Children's offers. On the weekends, Serena can be found walking in the woods with her husband and children, listening to the woodpeckers and enjoying the stream near her house.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Erin Lasker

Erin Lasker

Member since: 2018

Experience/Areas of Interest: polydactyly, surgery, oncology, Jimmy Fund Clinic

Erin and her husband, Matt, have been utilizing Boston Children’s Hospital since the birth of their son Ian (born 2012). Ian was born with a condition called polydactyly, where he had an extra digit on both hands and feet. At 9 months, he underwent surgery to remove the non-functioning extra digits. When he was 3½, his pediatrician recommended a visit to the Boston Children’s Hospital emergency department for concerns of dehydration after a weekend of fever, vomiting, and not eating/drinking. After many tests, Ian was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), and he remained in the hospital receiving intensive chemotherapy for a month and a half. He was treated at Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in collaboration with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic for two years and continues to be monitored after his remission/end of treatment. Erin joined the Family Advisory Council to give back to the organization that was instrumental in Ian’s remission and has been a support for the family during his life. Erin and family are forever grateful for having a world-renowned pediatric hospital so close to home and have been amazed by the generosity and care provided by the staff. Erin is a licensed social worker providing care coordination services to youth and their families. Erin is also a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Virtual Advisors Forum.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Katie Litterer

Katie Litterer

Member since: 2012

Experience/Areas of Interest: Complex chronic illness, chronic lung disease, care coordination, home oxygen, G-tube, home care nursing and durable medical equipment, feeding/swallowing/voice challenges, long-term inpatient stays

Katie Litterer is the mother of identical twins, Sophie and Maddie. In 2008, Maddie and Sophie were born at 27 weeks gestation and experienced severe complications associated with their prematurity. Following the girls’ birth, Katie left her career in financial services to care and advocate for her daughters. As a result of Sophie and Maddie’s needs, Katie has extensive hospital and health care experience, both in- and outpatient, as well as with home nursing care.

Katie began her volunteer efforts at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2009, while Maddie was still hospitalized. She served on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Family Advisory Council for two years and then joined the hospitalwide Family Advisory Council in 2012. In 2016, Katie joined Boston Children’s Hospital as an employee, taking on the role of a Family Partnerships Coordinator in which she seeks to extend and broaden the reach of the patient/family perspective throughout the hospital.

Katie lives with her husband, Paul, and their daughters outside of Boston. She also serves as trustee of a charitable private foundation dedicated to supporting archaeological research of native peoples in the Americas. Most importantly, though, Katie continues to coordinate care and advocate for her girls as they navigate school, friends, activities, and their complex chronic illnesses.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Esterlina MacInnes

Esterlina MacInnes

Member since: 2017

Experience/Areas of Interest: integration care, kidney disorders, G-tube, feeding/swallowing difficulties, vision impairment, speech/AAC, home care nursing, complex care

Esterlina is a mother of a young son named Ian. At 4 months old, he was diagnosed with Lowe syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the eyes, the kidneys, and the brain. Since her son’s first surgery at 5 weeks, Esterlina has spent countless hours navigating Boston Children’s Hospital, including inpatient, ambulatory, ER, as well as therapy services. She is grateful for the excellent attention and care she and her son have received at Boston Children’s.

As a result of her journey with her son, Esterlina decided to embark on a new career helping families going through similar circumstances. To complement her personal experience, in 2016, she completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and other Disabilities (LEND) program at Boston Children’s. This is a multidisciplinary, family centered fellowship that covers health and cultural issues related to disabilities, public resources, and policy initiatives. In 2017, Esterlina joined Boston Children’s as an employee, taking on the role of Family Partnerships Coordinator, concentrating her work on developing projects to support and empower Latino patient families who receive care here at the hospital.

Esterlina is a member of the Lowe Syndrome Association and the Region 3 Advisory Committee of Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. She has also participated in advocacy activities at the state and federal level. Esterlina lives with her husband and son in Medford, Massachusetts, where she advocates for her family within the education system, as well as community and social activities. But, especially, she continues coordinating the care of her son’s complex health condition.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Emily Martins

Emily Martins

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Interest: NICU, prematurity, complex care, inpatient stays, home care, necrotizing enterocolitis, surgery, and neurology

Emily lives in Franklin, Mass., with her husband and daughter. Emily’s daughter became a patient at Boston Children’s Hospital when she was born prematurely and developed necrotizing enterocolitis at just five days old. In total, Emily’s daughter underwent four surgeries and was inpatient for ten weeks. She continues to receive follow-up care with various Boston Children’s specialties for needs resulting from her prematurity.

Emily and her husband feel eternally grateful for the care their daughter received at Boston Children’s Hospital, and feel confident that their daughter is alive and thriving because of the incredible treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital. Emily is honored to be able to give back by becoming involved with the Family Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Virtual Advisors Forum.

Prior to having her daughter, Emily worked as an attorney practicing in civil litigation in Virginia. She was recently sworn into the Massachusetts bar. Emily continues to coordinate her daughter’s care and involvement in Early Intervention.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Susan McCarthy

Susan McCarthy (emeritus member)

Member since: 2017

Experience/Areas of Interest: complex medical care, pediatric palliative care, home care nursing, epilepsy, home parenteral nutrition program, and bereavement

Sue lives in Walpole with her husband, Joe, and is a mom to three children: Matthew, Daniel, and Caitlin. At the age of 1, Caitlin was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease and at the age of 5, with Rett Syndrome. Caitlin spent a great deal of time at Boston Children’s, both inpatient and outpatient, and received excellent care from the Gastroenterology, Epilepsy, Complex Care, Palliative Care, Neurology, Nephrology, Orthopedics, Endocrine, Home Parenteral Nutrition, and the C.A.P.E team. Sadly, Caitlin passed away in March 2020. Sue and Joe remain deeply grateful to all of the doctors and nurses at Boston Children’s who cared for Caitlin for so many years, and look forward to continuing to support the hospital.

Sue is particularly passionate about projects which aim to help children with complex medical needs both inpatient and at home. In many ways, Sue pioneered a hospital-at-home model for Caitlin, doing the research and advocacy work so that Caitlin’s needs were met and so that Caitlin was able to live as normal a life as possible at home with her family. Sue hopes to use her knowledge and experience to help other families in similar situations.

Connected with her work as an FAC member, Sue currently serves on the Practice, Quality, and Outcomes Council, Emergency Department Specialty FAC, the Safety Committee for Central Lines and Catheters, the IPASS/FAC family centered rounds project, and presented as a parent voice at the 2019 Patient Safety Forum.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris

Member since: 2012

Experience/Areas of Interest: tracheostomy, G-Tubes, home nursing, durable medical equipment navigation, NICU/ICU, coordinated care, parent-to-parent Networking, esophageal atresia, infusion therapy, medical coping psychology, laryngeal cleft, posterior tracheopexy, and Children’s Miracle Network

Sarah Morris is the proud mother of twins, Drew and Emma, born prematurely in 2008. Emma has spent more than 400 nights at Boston Children’s Hospital. Emma was born with esophageal atresia, a type 3 laryngeal cleft, and a primary immune deficiency that brings her to Boston Children’s for monthly infusions. Emma has been able to receive multiple lifesaving surgeries that were first performed at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Sarah has had to learn how to care for a child who does not fit under one specific diagnosis. She has become a strong advocate for her children and is able to skillfully navigate the medical world. She has also worked alongside the Boston Children’s government relations team to help support growth within the hospital. Sarah’s nights are often spent researching diagnoses and organizing medical equipment and supplies. She feels that, as a caregiver, she has been given one of the most amazing jobs which brings new surprises every day.

Giving back to Boston Children’s Hospital has always been a priority for Sarah and her husband. Both are former members of the NICU Family Advisory Council and both have found individual avenues over the years to bring the parent voice into different areas of the hospital. Emma has learned to share her story over time. She was named the Boston Children’s Miracle Network Champion for 2020 and 2021.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Katie Nill

Katie Nill

Member since: 2020

Experience/Areas of Interest: allergy, orthopedics, cardiology, Emergency Department, psychiatry

Katie is a mother of three children, two of whom have received extensive medical care at Boston Children’s. Her elder son was born with a rare congenital condition that required surgery to restore his ability to walk without pain. When researching providers, Katie and her family found Boston Children’s was one of a few hospitals nationwide with surgeons experienced in treating his condition. Her younger son has a congenital heart condition and is also managing antibiotic allergies to almost every class of antibiotics. Katie is grateful for the excellent care her boys continue to receive from orthopedics, allergy, and cardiology.

Professionally, Katie has a background in medicine and is currently working as a child and adolescent therapist. She joined the FAC to bring her perspective of having navigated the medical system as a provider, and as a parent, to the group.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's William O'Donnell

William O’Donnell (emeritus member)

Member since: 2012

Experience/Areas of Interest: pulmonary hypertension, cardiology, high reliability organization

Bill lives in Medford, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter, Shannon. Shannon was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension in 2001 has been a patient at Boston Children’s ever since.

Bill feels it’s imperative to give back to the hospital that saved his daughter’s life. In addition to being a member of the Family Advisory Council, Bill and his family have been involved in several fundraisers, including Shannon being a patient partner for marathons. Bill is an avid blood donor and encourages everyone who is eligible to donate.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Erin Poirier

Erin Poirier

Member since: 2019

Experience/Areas of Expertise: rare genetic conditions, autism, assistance with non-verbal communication, epilepsy

Erin Poirier is a wife and mother of two daughters, Lily and Elise. At very young ages, both girls presented with developmental delays, physical delays, and epilepsy, and were also non-verbal. For many years Lily and Elise were considered “mysteries” to their team in the Neurology Department at Boston Children’s. After 6½ years of searching, both girls were diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called SYNGAP1. Currently, Lily and Elise are two out of 250 individuals in the world with this diagnosis and only the second known sibling set. Erin and her husband, Andrew, are grateful for both the expertise and persistence of their Boston Children’s team for finding the answer to their question of “why?”

Erin joined the Family Advisory Council as a way to help other families on their journey at Boston Children’s and to have a voice in a place that matters most to her family.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Padmaja Raman

Padmaja Raman

Member since: 2020

Experience/Areas of Interest: complex care, managing a home “ICU” setting, IEP for cognitively fine physically disabled children, coordination between physicians, specialty drug, insurance, infusion, respiratory, enteral, home care

As a mother to a complex care child with an orphan disease called infantile pompe, Padmaja has been in immersed in complex care and related issues for over a decade. For her, the lobby of Boston Children’s is the "lobby of hope." It is truly humbling to see the depth of skills, dedication, and commitment of the physicians and staff to help children with various disorders. Seeing this "mission"-driven work is what motivates Padmaja to volunteer at Boston Children’s.

Padmaja and her family experienced a steep learning curve as one of the first patients at Boston Children’s dealing with an orphan disease that was administered a life-saving therapy under clinical trials. The drug has since been FDA approved and continues to be administered through infusion.

The outstanding and continuing support of various physicians and staff has helped Padmaja’s family to navigate this unique journey.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Erin Sullivan

Erin Sullivan

Member since: 2018

Experience/Areas of Interest: cardiology, in- and outpatient visits, transition to adult care, Boston Adult Congenital Heart (BACH) and Pulmonary Hypertension Team

Erin Sullivan has been a patient at Boston Children’s Hospital since the day she was born. Erin had open heart surgery at 3 months old and has been followed by Boston Children’s cardiology ever since, requiring the expertise that cardiologists trained in both pediatrics and adult cardiology can provide.

Erin is grateful for the excellent care she has received at Boston Children’s Hospital. Erin volunteered at Boston Children’s Hospital during high school and college, and joined the Family Advisory Council to bring her patient perspective to the group.

Erin has spent most of her career in healthcare research and education; she is currently the research director at Harvard Medical School’s (HMS) Center for Primary Care, holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (HMS), and teaches in the Simmons School of Management’s healthcare MBA program. In her free time, Erin enjoys running, spinning, yoga, and adventures with her partner, Matt, and miniature golden doodle, Sully.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Aimee Williamson

Aimee Williamson (parent co-chair)

Member since: 2014

Experience/Areas of Interest: spina bifida, complex care

Aimee Williamson is the mother of two children, Colton and Lena. She and her husband, Rob, lived in Colorado when both children were born, Colton in 1994 and Lena six years later. While Colton experienced little aside from common childhood issues, Lena was born with a lipomyelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida occulta. After an initial detethering surgery at 7 weeks old to separate her spinal cord from the lipoma it was embedded within, the early years were relatively uneventful and related medical problems were well controlled.

In 2007, the family moved to Massachusetts and Lena has received care at Boston Children’s ever since. Initially, this just meant regular check-ups, but in 2011, Lena began experiencing symptoms that ultimately led to three more detethering surgeries over the next few years. Related losses of function and complications have required multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and visits with many specialists and departments throughout the hospital. Despite these challenges, Lena is thriving. She is an involved student, serves as a member of the hospital’s Teen Advisory Committee, and plans to be a medical professional herself some day.

Aimee is grateful for the dedication, kindness, and responsiveness of physicians, nurses, and other staff across the hospital. She joined the Family Advisory Council as a way to give back to the hospital for all the time and effort providers have given to her family over the years. As a public administration professor with work related to children’s issues and a board member of the Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England, Aimee has also found that the experience serves as a rewarding connection between her personal and professional interests.

Hospital leadership and staff members

Lisa Rubino headshot

Lisa Rubino, MBA

Lisa Rubino is the Director of Patient Experience at Boston Children's Hospital. Key components of her work include managing the hospital’s patient and family experience surveys and overseeing the Family Partnerships Program. Lisa also plays an active role supporting the Family Advisory Council, both from an administrative and communications standpoint.

Headshot of Family Advisory Council's Sara Toomey

Sara Toomey, MD, Mphil, MPH, MSc

Dr. Toomey serves as Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at Boston Children’s Hospital. Together with Marcie Brostoff, she leads the Office of Experience. Dr. Toomey is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a general pediatrician and health services researcher. Dr. Toomey is the managing director of the AHRQ/CMS-funded Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement at Boston Children’s Hospital. As part of the center’s work, she is also a member of the core team tasked with developing a measure of pediatric inpatient experience of care, the Pediatric Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Pediatric HCAHPS) Survey.

Dr. Toomey serves as the physician liaison between the Boston Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council and the enterprise. She also currently practices inpatient and outpatient pediatrics.

Jonathan Whiting headshot

Jonathan Whiting, DNP, RN, CCRN

Jon Whiting is Vice President and Associate Chief Nurse of Clinical and Patient Care Operations at Boston Children’s Hospital. Jon serves as the Leadership Co-Chair of the Boston Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council. In partnership with the Chief Experience Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Jon leads the Office of Experience.

Jon provides system-level leadership to advance nursing and hospital-wide initiatives ranging from safe and effective care delivery for a broad scope of patients and care services to providing organization-wide leadership during emergencies, including COVID-19. Jon is passionate about improving aspects of patient and family care experiences, and he is committed to partnering with patients and families to do so.