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Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

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Stanford Health Care Peer 2 Peer

About the Program

Mission: To broaden health care for patients and families through the unique support and understanding of peer-to-peer mentoring to foster coping skills, promote healthier lives and reduce isolation.


  • Provide unique support and understanding in peer-to-peer mentoring to patients and caregivers.
  • Help patients and their caregivers cope with the challenges related to a medical condition or the effects of treatment.
  • Work to develop meaningful relationships based on trust and shared experiences.

Population Served

Format: 1:1

Setting: Health care

People served: Subject to disease criteria; transplant patients; Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer; gynecological-oncology.

Program location: Hospital, Clinic and Community in Stanford CA.

Estimated number served: 39 in 2015 and 52 in 2016

People in the Program

One part-time program coordinator & 50 Mentors in 2016

Recruitment & selection: Recruitment and training of mentors is continuous via social workers, nurses, physicians, and other staff.

Training: Mentors are required to complete the standard hospital volunteer training program via computer,  as well as a four hour interactive workshop to develop mentoring skills.

Motivation: To share their experience, to help others manage difficult health care challenges, and to give back to the hospital and the community. 

Sustaining the Program

Key strategies: Multi-base support from Social Work, Nursing and Patient Experience; support and Integration as part of the larger hospital wide Patient and Family Partner Program; ongoing Patient and Family advocacy (some of the Patient Advisory Councils have made it a goal).

Critical support: Stanford Health Care Administration, Department of Social Work and Case Management, and the Department of Patient Experience have all committed to sustain this program. 

Marketing and communication strategies: Educational presentations to staff and physicians; inclusion in the Volunteer Program Newsletter; a brochure with program information is in development. 

Quality control: Utilize a variety of recording forms for data collection; new tool for program evaluation is under development (initial tool was too long).

Challenges and Solutions

Health of the Mentors: As this is a program relying on patients and families with significant health challenges, there are periods when mentors cannot participate. The program coordinator monitors mentor’s health.

Matching difficulties in small programs: The match is based on issues/concerns and whenever possible , on  age and  gender. Informational updates to mentors: Difficult to reach all constituents- many venues utilized. Recruiting younger mentors in certain areas: Outreach to key staff for assistance. Mentors completing hospital volunteer requirements: Program coordinator ensures HIPPA compliance and provides individual/group assistance; have decreased the number and complexity of volunteer modules.

Mentors with compromised immune systems: We limit in person contact, use phone or e-mail strategies

Clinical areas underutilizing services: Coordinator meets with key staff/patient leaders; utilizes social workers in these areas as champions.

Growth of program: Occurs systematically or individually as people volunteer; constraining factor is funding for the coordinator’s time.

Contact Us

Morgan Gross, LCSW
Program Coordinator
Peer to Peer and Woman to Woman Programs

300 Pasteur Drive, HC029
Stanford, CA 94305

Phone: 650-474-1001
Fax: 650-725-3589