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Youth Advisory Council

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At Cook Children's we have a lot of medical expertise when it comes to treating babies, kids and teens and helping them feel better. But the experts on what it's feels like to be a patient, are the kids themselves.

Cook Children's Youth Advisory Council-Patients Advising for Change (YAC-PAC) is a group of current and former patients (6-12 grade) who work with hospital staff, sharing their perspective and suggestions to create a hospital environment that meets their needs, emotionally as well as physically. Our YAC-PAC members take a leadership role where they can speak freely, share ideas and provide a voice for other young patients.

The YAC-PAC meets once a month. There are occasional retreats that allow teens and staff to brainstorm new and creative ways for Cook Children's and the YAC-PAC to be more supportive of our teen patients. Through this experience, YAC-PAC members learn how to advocate for themselves and others, while gaining confidence and leadership skills.

If you know of the ideal candidate for YAC-PAC, or are a teen interested in interviewing to join the council, please let your Child Life specialist, nurse, doctor, or staff know so they can nominate you. Nominations for the council are taken every fall.

Want to learn more about the YAC-PAC?

Contact Julia Smeltzer and Sarah Lang, facilitators of the Youth Advisory Council, at