May 2, 2024

Relaunched Staff Advisory Council better reflects makeup of Medical Center

The Medical Center Staff Advisory Council has evolved to better reflect today’s VUMC, which has grown significantly since the council’s formation.

When results of the 2023 Engagement Survey indicated employees wanted improved internal communication, Medical Center leaders began looking for additional ways to make that happen.

One major connection point — the Medical Center Staff Advisory Council — had long been an avenue for leadership to engage with employees and listen to what matters to them, but it was realized that the council no longer reflected today’s VUMC.

The Medical Center now includes seven hospitals and over 180 outpatient clinics, employing more than 40,000 people. It is the largest nongovernmental employer in Middle Tennessee.

Because the numbers and locations of VUMC employees had grown significantly since the council’s formation, it needed to evolve to reflect this growth. In the council’s reformation, diversity among its membership was addressed so it would be more representative of employees and an effective tool for two-way communication between staff and leadership.

“It is so important that our employee council serves as a true means of real-time discussion and feedback that can, in turn, drive action to further elevate our workplace culture,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Amy Schoeny, PhD. “Every employee at VUMC has a voice, and by restructuring the Medical Center Staff Advisory Council, we’ve made it easier to hear those voices and get a clearer picture of our climate. This is the employees’ forum to spark meaningful change.”

By June 2023, 40 individuals nominated by their respective entity leaders were selected to serve on the council. In August 2023, the first meeting of the revitalized Medical Center Staff Advisory Council was held, and meetings continue at minimum every other month.

“It is rewarding to see all facets of VUMC’s employee experience embodied on the council by staff-level representatives,” said Susie Lyons, senior learning consultant with HR Workforce Development. “We were very intentional about making sure this was not just a ‘main campus’ experience, but that it was balanced. There is diverse, equitable representation.”

The council’s objectives are to:

  • Advance the vision, mission, values, and goals of VUMC.
  • Provide input and recommendations and/or guidance regarding matters related to VUMC staff members.
  • Provide a regular forum to present information to VUMC staff representatives, while ensuring staff recommendations and feedback are provided to VUMC leadership.
  • Serve as a liaison between the staff and other assemblies concerned with VUMC affairs.
  • Identify staff concerns and advocate on behalf of staff on key topics related to the overall employee experience.
  • Promote positive morale and strengthen the sense of community and belonging among VUMC staff.
  • Participate in service work that will promote VUMC and the greater Vanderbilt community.

Another important element of the renewed council is that support for the council, its members, and its mission by VUMC leadership has been engaged from day one, Schoeny said.

“For this council and its members to be empowered and effective, VUMC leadership really has to support the members and their responsibilities as part of this group,” Schoeny said. “We’ve got that promise in hand, and leadership will be held to that promise. The council is also a forum for reciprocal information exchanges involving the council and leadership; it’s not a ‘top-down’ process.”

Council members are charged with connecting with their respective leadership teams and the employee groups they represent to actively solicit their input and feedback. After council meetings, members typically have action items related to a topic that has been discussed to further engage with fellow employees.

To date, no subcommittees have been formed to address specific issues, but as the council’s work continues, that is expected, Lyons said.

Schoeny and Lyons expressed their gratitude for past Medical Center Staff Advisory Council officers who led the charge for the group prior to the restructuring. They are Christi Gray, Tabbi McKinney and Manideepthi (Deepthi) Pemmaraju.

Medical Staff Advisory Council
Janie BaileyHealth and Clinical Affairs
Paxton BakerAcademic Enterprise
Stacey BasfordVanderbilt Wilson County Hospital
Carrie BennettVanderbilt Bedford Hospital
Yvonne BernardMonroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Maggie BrownVanderbilt Medical Group/The Vanderbilt Clinic
Deanna Bryant-NormanMonroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Katie BuntinOther Medical Center Administration
Steve BurkesVanderbilt University Hospital
Julie BurtonPopulation Health
Brenda CapersLegal Affairs
Samantha CunninghamFinance
Adam DoddVanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
Katie DouglasVanderbilt University Hospital
Tiffany EdmondsonVanderbilt University Hospital
Catey FennerVUMC IT
Beth FikejsHealth IT
Jessica GanzieAcademic Enterprise
Shanda GraceVanderbilt Health Service
Erin GravesAcademic Enterprise
Rebecca GrimVanderbilt University Hospital
Traci HeckermanVanderbilt Wilson County Hospital
Jabari IchimuraAcademic Enterprise
Steven KlintworthAcademic Enterprise
Vinnie LopesEmployee Resource Groups
Jessica LoweryVanderbilt Medical Group/The Vanderbilt Clinic
Michelle MartelleVanderbilt Health Service
Michael McAnlyVanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital
Jazmyne McClaryHuman Resources
Taylor McFarlandMonroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Mary McKayVanderbilt Medical Group/The Vanderbilt Clinic
Blaire MyrickVanderbilt University Hospital
Emily NeelyMonroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Victoria OrtegaVanderbilt Medical Group/The Vanderbilt Clinic
Payton PardonVanderbilt University Hospital
Jamie PrattVanderbilt Medical Group/The Vanderbilt Clinic
Jenny SheltonVanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital
Dewanna SimmonsFinance
Alex WhiteDevelopment
Angelea YoderEmployee Resource Groups