July 23, 2020

Parker-Danley named Patient Education director as Stiles retires

Lori Anne Parker-Danley, PhD, has been named the new director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Patient Education, effective Aug. 1.


by Jill Clendening

Lori Anne Parker-Danley, PhD, has been named the new director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Patient Education, effective Aug. 1.

Lori Anne Parker-Danley, PhD

Parker-Danley replaces Lane Stiles, who is retiring at the end of July. Stiles has served as the director of Patient Education since the office was created in 2010.

Prior to his arrival at VUMC, the creation of patient education materials was handled individually by each department at the Medical Center. That approach often led to conflicting information and education that was beyond the understanding of the average reader.

As director of Patient Education, Stiles established an institutional commitment to providing clear, consistent messaging across all patient-facing materials. From rewording consent forms to integrating information on diagnoses and medications into My Health at Vanderbilt and eStar, his devotion to ensuring education is accessible to all patients in all situations earned him VUMC’s Five Pillar Leader Award in November 2019.

Lane Stiles

Stiles’ team created a central repository of standardized education materials and formatted them using best practice templates that, among other things, use shorter line lengths, larger fonts and more white space. Under his direction, his team also implemented a program to teach medical staff and students about health literacy and patient engagement, including how to effectively use teach-back and how to have a conversation about advance care planning.

“Lane has been an amazing partner to so many teams across the Medical Center, and he is leaving the Patient Education Department on solid footing,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Patient Experience Officer. “His extraordinary ability to take complex medical educational documents or procedural consent forms and make them accessible to our broad and diverse population has been invaluable. He has elevated all of us and our work.”

“Lane has really touched almost every aspect of the Medical Center,” said Terrell Smith, senior director of Patient and Family Engagement. “We are fully committed to patient and family engagement, and you cannot have an actively engaged patient and family if they can’t understand what you’re saying. The work Lane has accomplished as director of what was a brand-new department has become a true centerpiece for VUMC. He has established health literacy and patient education on the Medical Center campus and throughout our entire enterprise in a way that it had never been done before.”

Parker-Danley joined VUMC in 2011 as an editor for Patient Education, and she has been

instrumental in several initiatives including the development of a comprehensive suite of patient education materials for the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI) and, most recently, the creation of a new health literacy practice rotation for VUMC’s dietetic internship program.

“I am delighted Lori Anne has accepted the director position for Patient Education,” said Sternberg. “Her nine years of experience within this department, her knowledge of health literacy and her commitment to patient engagement will continue to build on the great foundation that Lane has established.”

“I’m delighted that someone is taking on Lane’s role who already has the trust and confidence of so many people here at the Medical Center, as Lori Anne does,” Smith said. “She also has great, in-depth knowledge of health literacy and is a superb editor.”

Parker-Danley has a PhD in philosophy from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. She is also an accomplished artist, and over the past two decades her paintings and sculptures have been shown in numerous exhibits at art galleries and venues throughout the South.

“I’m beyond thrilled to have the chance to serve as director in the department I so love and to lead such an incredibly talented and dynamic team as we continue our work of promoting health literacy and advocating for patients across VUMC and VHAN,” said Parker-Danley. “Health literacy is a social justice issue that directly affects access to care and the ability of people to manage their own health, which is why it’s so important to me.

“Moving forward, I have a lot of ideas, including continuing to grow professional health literacy education at VUMC; working more closely with patients and families as we create materials and explore new ways of delivering patient education; and studying the link between listening, medical narrative, and health literacy – specifically how listening to the stories patients tell about their bodies and health can help providers better understand and empathize with their patients and, in turn, create more opportunities for meaningful patient engagement during the clinical encounter.”