A campaign has been launched to recruit 5,000 people as members of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
Hospital officials said members would be able to influence future decisions in the county.
The campaign is part of a consultation process before the Royal Cornwall Hospital bids to become a foundation trust.
Lezli Boswell, the trust's new interim chief executive, said members could be as young as 11-years-old.
Staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro have already signed up more than 60 members of the public at an event in the city centre.
One of those, Vic Atkinson, from Bugle near St Austell, said: "I feel strongly about the hospitals, but I feel also strongly they could do with a change.
"It depends if we get any input. If we can get some input we might be able to give some ideas and if it gets the backing they might be taken on board."
The hospital said becoming a foundation trust would give it more freedom to meet local needs.
Hospital officials said it would be more answerable to the community.
Lezli Boswell, who took over as the trust's interim chief executive on Thursday, said: "I think that members can be very, very influential and we have to, as directors of the board, ensure they have the correct information, that we directly provide information to them about plans and proposals, and listen to what they have to say."
Ms Boswell said that by becoming a foundation trust, it would be a "good indication of a well-led, efficient and good quality organisation, providing excellent patient outcomes."