DFCM welcomes first Patient & Family Engagement Specialist

Feb 19, 2021

DFCM is pleased to welcome Ms. Dana Arafeh as the Department’s first Patient & Family Engagement Specialist. The role, shared with the Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition (Lawson Centre), will support DFCM to grow our capacity for engaging patients and families, and move toward routinely doing so in all areas of our work. 

“When patients and families have opportunities to partner with clinicians, we see improved health outcomes, patient safety and adherence, as well as greater provider and patient satisfaction, and lower costs and reduced wait times,” explains Ms. Arafeh. “Patients have an important role to play in their own health care. My goal as Patient & Family Engagement Specialist is to promote patient and family voices as a key driver in care and education at DFCM, and look for opportunities for meaningful engagement.” 

The Patient & Family Engagement Specialist role sits within the DFCM’s Quality & Innovation Program. Working closely with the Q&I Program, and broader DFCM leadership team, Ms. Arafeh will focus on building capacity and facilitating patient engagement.

Drawing on her experience in patient engagement and research at SickKids and Women’s College Hospital, as well as input from patients and caregivers, Ms. Arafeh will conduct needs assessments and environmental scans to determine potential areas of work and methods for engagement. 

“We are delighted to welcome Dana to the DFCM team,” says Dr. Tara Kiran, the Fidani Chair in Improvement and Innovation and Vice-Chair Quality and Innovation at DFCM. “Patient and family perspectives are key to ensuring that our work in DFCM improves care in meaningful ways, and makes the system work better for the people it is trying to help. This new role is an important step towards greater integration of these perspectives in all areas of our work at DFCM.”

Ms. Arafeh brings a diverse background of skills, including experience managing a national paediatric research network and a Master’s degree in Health Informatics from the University of Toronto. As someone with a chronic condition and a patient partner on multiple projects and committees, she also hopes to bring the patient lens to her work at DFCM and the Lawson Centre.