Families as Educators Highlights

Families as Teachers (FAT) is a program that matches residents and trainees with families for home-based experience. The FAT visit offers an extended opportunity to have candid and personal conversations about the realities of living with an ongoing health condition and the family's experiences with healthcare professionals – what works, what doesn't, what matters and makes a positive difference. Families involved in the program receive initial support to prepare for the visits and generally make an annual commitment to host one or two visits.

Call me anytime.... I loved having an opportunity to share our story with someone interested in learning about it – and from it.


I have worked with children who are dependent on ventilators and trachs, but this opportunity to be with the family in their home drastically changed my perspective of how to approach and support families. Though I had some idea of the challenges they encounter, I did not realize to what extent, and the strength required to overcome them. These families truly are amazing teachers if we are willing to slow down and listen. I am so grateful for the chance to visit.

Pediatric resident

Every fall, at the intern retreat, five parents present Do You Know What They Said to Me? This 20-minute skit was developed by parents and is presented in a reader's theater format. It has been a successful catalyst for an honest discussion that explores the parent-physician relationship. In the dialogue that follows, residents share their reactions, ask questions, discuss their frustrations and present situations for feedback. Parents field the questions based on their personal experiences and give examples of how residents have made a positive impact on their hospital experience. From the interns:

Super valuable and inspiring. I will think of these parents' voices when I am interacting with families in the future.


Very useful. The best part of the retreat. I really felt that the message of treating families individually came across. And, that we are vital to their experience... how we communicate and interact really matters.


For more information about the Families as Educators Program, contact Lawrie Williams, family-centered care specialist, at 206-987-1119.