October 27, 2022

New chairs named to lead VUMC advisory boards

Liz Potocsnak and Larisa Featherstone have been named to positions on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s advisory boards.


by Nancy Humphrey

Liz Potocsnak

Two volunteer leaders have been named to positions on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s advisory boards.

Liz Potocsnak, who has worked closely with the Potocsnak Family Foundation and spearheaded efforts to support health care initiatives, is the new chair of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute Advisory Board. Potocsnak succeeds Louise Adams.

Larisa Featherstone, CEO and co-owner of the workplace safety consulting firm Johnston & Associates Inc., and OccuSure Claims Services, is the new chair of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Advisory Board, taking over for outgoing chair Kix Brooks.

Both appointments were effective July 1.

Larisa Featherstone

Approximately 100 community members serve as volunteers on VUMC’s advisory boards and are philanthropic supporters and advocates in the community.

“The participation and guidance of these generous individuals is essential to our mission. We are fortunate for their involvement. Each brings a unique perspective along with a strong commitment to support those we serve,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer for VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Established in 2006, the VEI Advisory Board educates the community and raises funds for VEI’s highest priorities. In addition to contributing to the endowment of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the VEI Advisory Board supports faculty trainees and annually awards a discovery grant.

Potocsnak leads numerous philanthropic projects through the Potocsnak Family Foundation, focusing on the Nashville area as well as Chicago, where their family business is based.

She had first-hand experience with VEI in 2011 when her infant daughter had a serious eye condition requiring surgery. Her patient experience at VEI inspired her to get more personally involved and she joined the VEI Advisory Board in 2013.

In the spirit of her father, John Potocsnak, who inspires the family’s ethos of “helping people who help people,” the family has made a tremendous impact on health care. This has included support of vision research and leaders at VEI over the years, plus the Undiagnosed Diseases Program at VUMC to provide hope and find answers for families.

The Monroe Carell Advisory Board was formed in 1975 and is a philanthropic and advocacy board. Advisory board members are actively involved in education and outreach to important constituents in the community to raise funds for the hospital’s highest priorities.

Featherstone, who has served on the Monroe Carell Advisory Board since 2012, has been an advocate for childhood cancer research since her oldest daughter, Lily, was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 7 in 2008.

Upon diagnosis, Lily’s doctor explained that cancer cells were like weeds in a garden. Determined to see a day when a cure for childhood cancer was a reality, Featherstone co-founded Lily’s Garden to fundraise for Monroe Carell’s Pediatric Cancer Program through community events and individual donor support. This effort includes her husband, Phillip, parents Carol and Ron Johnston, as well as Lily and her sister, Sophie.

The family has established Lily’s Garden funds to advance pediatric cancer research, train pediatric oncology fellows and support an endowed lecture in childhood cancer.