October 18, 2016

101816chronsurgeryad250Texas Children’s is the honored sponsor for every Tuesday’s “Houston Legends” series. We will showcase the legendary care Texas Children’s has provided since 1954, and focus on milestone moments in our unique history. Also, a complementary website offers a more detailed look at our past, our story and our breakthroughs.

On the right is the Texas Children’s ad that is featured in this week’s Chronicle. Click the ad to visit our companion website at texaschildrens.org/legendarycare. The website will change weekly to complement the newspaper ad, which will be published in section A of the Chronicle on Tuesdays for the next several weeks. We also will spotlight this special feature weekly on Connect, so stay tuned to learn and share our rich history.

101916toss640On October 6, more than 500 guests donned their boots and Texas-chic apparel at Houston Polo Club for the 4th annual Toss for Texas Children’s Heart Center. The tailgate meets Great Gatsby-themed event under the stars raised $180,000 for Texas Children’s Heart Center, which is ranked Number 2 in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

The bean bag tournament featured light bites and cocktails by A Fare Extraordinaire and a special performance by country music singer, Gary P. Nunn. The event was chaired by Staci & John Donovan and Brooke & Scott Hutson, both of whom have children who received expert care from Texas Children’s Heart Center. The “Toss” trophy was presented at a special awards ceremony to conclude the evening’s festivities.

101916medstobedsinside640A case study of the “Meds to Beds” pilot project at Texas Children’s Hospital was featured online in the NEJM Catalyst, a health care management and strategy website from the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Meds to Beds” is a program led by the departments of Surgery and Pharmacy whereby post-surgical medications are delivered to a patient’s bedside by a pediatric pharmacist following ambulatory surgery. The pharmacist then counsels the family on the medication and answers questions the family might have.

“While we knew this program was needed and would enhance surgical outcomes for our patients, we didn’t realize the overall benefits in terms of patient experience and financial bottom line to the hospital,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, associate surgeon-in-chief for clinical affairs and surgical director of patient experience.

Ultimately, “Meds to Beds” resulted in positive patient satisfaction scores. One hundred percent of those surveyed were very satisfied with medication bedside delivery and 99 percent were very satisfied with for pharmacy education. In comparison, outside pharmacies received very satisfied scores in the 20 percent range for these questions.

“We are very proud of the service we are able to provide to our patients and families,” said Jeffrey Wagner, director of pharmacy services at Texas Children’s. “Our ability to improve patient care and experience is exciting, particularly as we look to expand our services and medication delivery program to other areas of the hospital.”

To read the case study, click here.

101916bipai640Chevron, the YPF Foundation, Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children’s Hospital, and the Health Ministry of Neuquén province are pleased to announce a new program to support maternal-child health care, focusing on the public health center in the town of Añelo.

Neuquén’s public health system is nationally recognized for its high quality and efficiency. The public-private partnership proposed in this program seeks to create mutual collaboration, with the support of various institutions in the Neuquén health system, including Castro Rendón Hospital, Añelo Health Center, Sanitary Zone V, Health Under-Secretariat, Health Ministry and the Municipal Government of Añelo.

“At Texas Children’s Hospital, we have a long history of public-private partnerships,” said BIPAI Chief Operating Officer Michael Mizwa. “We are very excited about starting up a new project in Latin America, and about working together with the Neuquén health system to improve health and welfare conditions for children and their families.”

The program is funded by Chevron over a three-year period and will leverage additional contributions from the YPF Foundation and YPF to support housing and logistics for physicians and to further development of the program. The initiative also creates a non-government organization for BIPAI in Argentina, which will employ Argentinian physicians to reinforce the program, create alternatives for training, and facilitate professional exchanges among health care specialists in the province.

“We believe this joint maternal-child health program could be very important to improve the quality of life for families in Añelo,” said Silvina Oberti, YPF Foundation executive director. “Health is one of the main pillars in the sustainable development plan we have been working on with the municipal and provincial government for the city.”

The signing ceremony was attended by Neuquén Health Minister, Ricardo Corradi Diez; Neuquén Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Alejandro Nicola; Mayor of Añelo, Darío Díaz; Chief Operating Officer, BIPAI, Michael Mizwa; Chevron Argentina General Manager, Chris Stevens; YPF Foundation Director, Silvina Oberti; and other dignitaries.

“This agreement will allow for the improvement and extension of maternal and child health care in a zone where we are expecting a high family migration,” said Corradi Diez.

This initiative will be implemented mainly in Añelo, the closest municipality to the Loma Campana development area, currently the second largest oil field in Argentina and the largest unconventional oil field in the world outside of the United States.

“For Chevron, community support, particularly involving health care, is one of the values behind everything we do. We are delighted to be part of this project and to help benefit the community of Añelo,” said Stevens.

101916babybistro640As a nationally designated Baby Friendly Hospital, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women offers many helpful services to patients and employees to support them during their breastfeeding journey.

For Veronika Javor, choosing to exclusively provide breast milk to her babies during their first year of life was an important commitment. To ensure her now 3-year-old daughter, Harper, and 1-year-old son, Lincoln, both born at the Pavilion for Women, continued to receive the nutritional health benefits of being fed her breast milk, she had to overcome several challenges. She credits the supportive environment at Texas Children’s as one reason why she was able to continue pumping when she returned to work.

“Having a place where you can both pump and rent a pump, right where you work, is incredible,” said Javor, a senior public relations specialist at Texas Children’s. “On numerous occasions, I have had busy days with media shoots and meetings at the hospital, and the Baby Bistro has always opened their door to me and allowed me to use one of their lactation rooms to pump between my meetings.”

Conveniently located inside the Bella Luna Boutique on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women, the Baby Bistro offers lactation support services to nursing mothers, including breast pump rentals. Employees pay a monthly rental fee just like everyone else does but they have the opportunity to get reimbursed through Texas Children’s Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance provider.

Under the BCBS plan, Texas Children’s employees can select a single-user breast pump that is mailed directly to them or receive reimbursement for the rental of a hospital grade rental pump. Since the insurance plan does not cover both options, it is important to determine which breast pump is appropriate based on one’s personal preference and breastfeeding needs.

“For moms returning from maternity leave, remembering to pack a breast pump may not always be top of mind,” said Gina Marrinucci, manager of Retail and Concierge Services at the Pavilion for Women. “Our services are here to help them during their pumping journey. Besides the Baby Bistro, employees can also take advantage of several other employee pumping locations throughout the Pavilion for Women and in West Tower to meet their breastfeeding goals.”

In addition to these services, one-on-one consultations with board certified lactation consultants are available at the Baby Bistro to help new mothers learn the breastfeeding basics, how to overcome breastfeeding challenges such as latching issues, and develop strategies to achieve their breastfeeding goals. There is a fee for this service and appointments should be scheduled by calling Baby Bistro at Ext. 6-8881.

“Pumping for your baby is a huge commitment and it’s great to have access to the tools and support to make it easier,” Javor said. “I hear so many mothers facing challenges in the workplace over having to express milk and I am grateful to work for an organization that both values this important job and facilitates the process.”

Texas Children’s commitment to providing lactation support for both patients and employees is one of the many reasons why the Pavilion for Women is a Baby Friendly Hospital. This coveted designation means Texas Children’s is providing the highest level of care related to breastfeeding education, instruction and support to our patients. For a summary of our breastfeeding initiatives, including a link to Baby Friendly USA, read this Connect article.

For a list of employee pumping locations at the Pavilion for Women and West Tower, click here.

For other breastfeeding and lactation support services at the Pavilion for Women, including how to donate excess breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank to support critically ill babies in the Newborn Center, click here.

12016HoustonMarathon640Want to achieve a personal fitness goal and help preserve the mission of Texas Children’s Hospital? Runners can still enter the sold out 2017 marathon and half marathon races through the Chevron Houston Marathon’s Run for a Reason charity program.

Texas Children’s Hospital is an official charity for the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon, taking place on Sunday, January 15, 2017. The Run for a Reason program is a way for runners to run the race of their choice with a guaranteed entry – on behalf of a charity.

Running for Texas Children’s Hospital is not just about the race, it’s a promise to our patients. By signing up to run and fundraise on behalf of Texas Children’s Hospital, your donations will directly impact the lives of countless children. Your race will become the race for our patients who are too sick – sometimes too sick even to play outside. Your support will allow us to expand our care to even more children who need our help.

Make your promise and join the Texas Children’s Running Team today!

1. Fundraise to Run
A fundraising entry is a way for runners to secure a guaranteed entry to the race of their choice while fundraising for Texas Children’s Hospital.

The minimum fundraising milestone to receive the guaranteed entry for the full marathon is $750 and for the half marathon is $500. Please complete this form and email it to Eileen Condit in the Office of Development at runforareason@texaschildrens.org to sign up and secure your registration.

Donations will be received through February 2017. These donations can come from friends, family and employer matching programs.

2. Support the Team
To support the Texas Children’s running team with a donation, please visit our fundraising page.

Please contact Eileen Condit at Ext. 4-6823 or runforareason@texaschildrens.org.

October 11, 2016

101216modinside640When Leanne O’Brien glances down at her healthy 18-month-old twins, Remy and Ronan, she knows their lives are nothing short of a miracle. Born nearly 28 weeks premature as a result of severe preeclampsia, her twins spent the first four and a half months of their young lives at Texas Children’s Newborn Center.

“As soon as they were born, the NICU team took care of our babies who each weighed between two and three pounds,” said O’Brien, assistant director of IS Customer Service at Texas Children’s. “They immediately went to NICU 3, then we went to NICU 4 for PDA closures to treat a congenital heart defect and then to NICU 2 until our babies were well enough to come home.”

At the time, O’Brien didn’t know much about the causes and complications of infant prematurity. After her family’s NICU journey, she decided to do something she’d never done before – participate in the March for Babies Walk with her husband and their twins, and her mom and sister on behalf of Texas Children’s to support other NICU families who have encountered similarly challenging situations.

“I wanted to use my voice and share my testimony to help pregnant women and families wherever and however I can,” O’Brien said. “Participating in the walk was a pretty emotional day for me. I thought about all of what my family and my kids went through and how blessed we are to be here today. But I also thought about the families and babies who are currently fighting and all the babies who lost their fight.”

With the generous support from O’Brien and other Texas Children’s employees and their families, Texas Children’s was recently honored as the top corporate team in Houston to raise nearly $180,000 in total funds for the March of Dimes based on corporate sponsorship and employee and team fundraising.

“Of the Top 50 participating teams, we are thrilled to see Texas Children’s Hospital take the number one spot in Houston for the first time,” said Darcie Wells, executive director of the March of Dimes Foundation of Greater Houston. “We thank Texas Children’s leaders and employees for their incredible efforts for moms and babies.”

Several months prior to the March for Babies walk, departments and units from across the organization formed their own teams to help raise money and rally support around this worthy cause. Teams hosted barbecues, designed and sold t-shirts, held bake sales, arranged bike tours and even paid to give their leaders a pie in the face to raise money and awareness. Each of the 63 teams raised an average of $1,476, all of which helped Texas Children’s exceed this year’s fundraising goal of $120,000.

“Since 1984, Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine have received more than $16 million from the March of Dimes to support research to prevent birth defects and prematurity,” said Cris Daskevich, senior vice president at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “Our long-term partnership has helped significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for some of our most fragile babies – giving hope to patients and families when there once was none.”

O’Brien encourages everyone thinking about participating in next year’s walk to help support the March of Dimes. “It is such an amazing cause, and by donating or walking, you can help give every baby a fighting chance,” O’Brien said.

The March of Dimes will officially celebrate the Top 10 Teams at a citywide kickoff of its 2017 campaign on February 8, 2017.

Click here to watch the slideshow of the 2016 March for Babies Walk.