October 11, 2016

101216wesson640Texas Children’s is pleased to announce that Dr. David Wesson joined The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio family October 1 to serve as interim Surgeon-in-Chief. Wesson will continue his duties at Texas Children’s Hospital in addition to the responsibilities of his new interim role at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

Wesson has been at Texas Children’s Hospital for the past 20 years, beginning as the Chief of Pediatric Surgery and most recently as the Associate Surgeon-In-Chief. Wesson also serves as the Texas Children’s Chief of the Department of Surgery and is a tenured professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

Since his arrival at Texas Children’s Hospital, Wesson has built a preeminent division of pediatric surgery through surgical sub-specialization – trauma, acute care, gastroenterology, fetal, and oncology – while also guiding Texas Children’s to American College of Surgeons Level I designations for Trauma and Children’s Surgery.

“I am extremely excited about having the opportunity to be part of the incredible growth and development at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio,” Wesson said. “It is a great opportunity to strengthen our ties with the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and to bring some of the special qualities of our Department of Surgery to that historic center of surgery for children.”

Texas Children’s, Baylor College of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio joined forces in 2013 to help ensure children of San Antonio and South Texas have access to world-class pediatric care. Since then, Baylor College of Medicine has recruited, employed, and overseen physicians at the hospital while Texas Children’s has provided consulting and clinical expertise.

That expertise helped CHRISTUS Health System, which owns the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, transform its downtown San Antonio campus to create the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, a world-class, freestanding hospital anchored by a broad, integrated network of community-based services and partners. Wesson’s new role at the hospital will deepen the relationship between Texas Children’s and Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and allow the South Texas hospital to continue to grow and prosper.

“His wealth of leadership experience, desire to serve as a mentor and experiences in developing departmental infrastructure will be invaluable during his time with us,” said The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio President Elias Neujahr. “We are deeply appreciative for his leadership, dedication, and his willingness to serve.”

The Texas Children’s Hospital October 2 Kids Day game against the Tennessee Titans was a huge success with the Houston Texans raking in a victory while Texas Children’s employees attending the event enthusiastically cheered for their hometown football team.

Twenty-five employees who won a pair of tickets via the Employee Health and Wellness Go for the Gold challenge sat near the end zone whooping and hollering at each and every play. Another 50 employees – many of whom were recently selected as the 2017 Catalyst Award winners (to be officially announced later this month) – enjoyed the game from a suite also near the end zone.

The tickets to the game are one of the benefits of Texas Children’s Hospital being the official children’s hospital of the Houston Texans football team. Texas Children’s and the Texans launched a seven-year partnership last season to inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives.

“The experience all around was amazing,” said Cynthia Alegria, one of the Go for the Gold ticket winners and an administrative supervisor in the Pathology Department. “Because of the hospital’s generosity, I was able to spend some real quality time with my husband and enjoy some well-deserved down time.”

During the football game, the Texas Children’s logo could be seen on several screens throughout NRG Stadium. One shot was of a boy wearing one of the 20,000 pairs of eye blacks that were passed out to young fans as they walked into the game. The eye blacks sported the hospital’s logo. See photos from the game below.

“I saw the red Texas Children’s Hospital eye ‘stickers’ everywhere walking around the stadium and on the big screen,” said Executive Vice President Mark Mullarkey. “This was a fantastic way to reinforce our partnership with the Texans and what we are doing with the football team in the community.”

Mullarkey was the honorary coin toss captain and got to go out onto the field prior to the game with his family and with Infection Prevention and Control Department Medical Director Dr. Judith Campbell and her husband. The group stayed on the field and helped present $50,000 in PLAY 60 grants to six local schools: Southmore Intermediate (Pasadena ISD), Cornerstone Academy & Academy of Choice (Spring Branch ISD), J.C. Mitchell Elementary School (HISD), Attucks Middle School (HISD), Westbury High School (HISD) and Blackshear Elementary (HISD).

PLAY 60 is the National Football League’s campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Nearly 80 local schools applied for the grants, which are worth up to $10,000, to help purchase the equipment they need to get kids moving throughout the school day and in after-school programs. Five of the schools selected for grants are Title I and all have demonstrated a commitment to getting kids active and on the path to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime. In the four years of the program, the Texans have awarded $170,000 in PLAY 60 grants to local schools for PLAY 60 projects.

For more details about the hospital’s partnership with the Texans click here.

4115Drzoghbi640The Shaw Prize Foundation awarded the 2016 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine to pioneering neuroscientist Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Dr. Ralph D. Feigin professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

The award was presented jointly to Zoghbi and Dr. Adrian P. Bird, Buchanan professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, during a special ceremony on September 27 in Hong Kong for their groundbreaking discovery of the genes and the encoded proteins associated with Rett syndrome.

Considered the “Nobel Prize of the East,” the Shaw Prize is an international award established in 2002 designed to foster scientific research. Awarded annually, the prize honors individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or applications and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind.

“I am humbled to be honored by the esteemed Shaw Prize Foundation,” Zoghbi said. “We will use this support to continue the research into how Rett syndrome affects the brain with the hope that our research will impact future treatment options.”

Rett syndrome is the leading cause of intellectual disabilities in girls, affecting one in 10,000, and is particularly devastating as girls affected by the syndrome develop normally for the first few months of life before a catastrophic decline in neurological capabilities.

Zoghbi’s discovery that mutations in the MEPC2 gene cause this devastating neurological disorder paved the way for the development of a diagnostic genetic test for Rett syndrome.

The $1.2 million Shaw prize will be shared by Bird and Zoghbi to advance Rett syndrome research.

101316caremanagement640National Case Management Week is October 9-15, where we recognize the work of our entire Care Management team. This year’s theme for Case Management Week is “Case Management: We listen. We care. We lead.”

Texas Children’s Care Management team is comprised of care managers, access care managers, utilization review nurses, care management assistants, appeals and audit nurses, an educator, two physician advisors and leadership. There is representation at Main Campus, West Campus, and there will be a team for The Woodlands. With all campuses combined, Care Management is comprised of more than sixty staff members.

Each member of the team serves an important role in the care of Texas Children’s patients before, during and after their stay at Texas Children’s. From the beginning, access care managers work closely with the Emergency Center and Post Anesthesia Care Unit teams to make sure that each patient, upon admission to Texas Children’s Hospital, is in the correct level of care. Care from there is transitioned to the unit care managers who believe that discharge planning starts on admission, working to assess discharge needs and barriers early in the patient’s stay. They listen and collaborate daily in Care Progression Rounds, looking at the ongoing discharge needs of each patient. Using their knowledge of community resources and insurance, they assist the interdisciplinary team in coordination of complex patient discharges.

Other members of the team provide support for utilization review, appeals and denials. They advocate for the patients, which involves communicating with each patient’s insurance payer to ensure that the patient’s hospital stay is covered. Leading tirelessly, there are members of Care Management in the hospital around the clock working to meet patient needs. They help to ensure that each patient gets the best care, in the correct setting, for optimal patient outcomes.

Celebrate the contribution of the Texas Children’s Care Management team! Teams are located in A165 on Main Campus and 379.00 at West Campus.

101216chroniclepromisead250Texas Children’s is the honored sponsor for every Tuesday’s “Houston Legends” series. For more than 20 weeks, 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.

Click here to visit the Promise website.

October 5, 2016

active-shooter-exerciseTexas Children’s emergency response plan will be put to the test during a comprehensive mass casualty exercise this Friday.

Our Emergency Management team is working with the Houston Police Department SWAT team and Houston Fire Department emergency medical services to coordinate a full-scale active shooter exercise with students and staff at Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions.

“Every day we hear reports in our own community of incidents that can result in a significant number of patients arriving at Texas Children’s requiring critical care,” said Risk Management Director Melissa Murrah. “Whether the issue is an active shooter – which is all over the media today – a chemical release or severe weather, it is essential that we are prepared to respond in support of our community.”

The nearly six-hour exercise will involve mock shootings, an improvised explosive device and a hostage situation. The intent is to observe the agencies’ emergency response, to refine the collective response and to help us be better prepared to treat those harmed in a real incident. In addition, Texas Children’s Emergency Management is hoping to test our mass casualty incident plan, emergency communications, incident command structure and patient flow.

About 400 DeBakey High School staff, students and parents will be involved in the exercise, which will begin with a safety briefing to prepare students. The exercise will be activated at 9 a.m. on the campus with an active shooter incident. Students will be triaged initially on site at the high school, and about 50 of them will arrive at Texas Children’s Emergency Center around 11:20 a.m. with mock life-threatening injuries like gunshot wounds, crushing injuries, blast and shrapnel injuries and psychological trauma.

When the students arrive at Texas Children’s, they will be mostly contained to the Emergency Center and Rapid Treatment Areas on the first floor of West Tower so as not to impact care and treatment of our actual patients. Injured students will be in full moulage, which is a detailed application of make-up that simulates wounds.

“Two essential elements of good performance are training and exercise,” said Emergency Management Manager Aaron Freedkin. “Training provides the foundation, and exercises test that foundation. To ensure our training is tested, we must practice as closely as possible to reality. Whether through use of realistic make-up for patients in a mass casualty incident or donning personal protective equipment for decontamination exercises, training efforts pay off when a real incident occurs.”

More than 20 Texas Children’s operations, clinical and logistics teams will be involved in Friday’s exercise, including Emergency Medicine, Trauma Services, Respiratory Therapy, Diagnostic Imaging, Pathology, Child Life, Security, Marketing/PR and others. This is the first exercise of its kind and scope that Texas Children’s has coordinated, but the current climate makes it critical that the organization be prepared.

“Given the risks we face along the Texas Gulf Coast, we spend significant time preparing Texas Children’s in hurricane response and preparedness,” said Emergency Management Assistant Director James Mitchell. “Yet, the reality is that we face a wide range of hazards that are manifesting more frequently than ever before.

“Severe weather and flooding, as we experienced repeatedly this spring, increasing occurrence of active shooter incidents and acts of terrorism all require our planning and preparation. As such, we are dedicated to testing our system in innovative and realistic ways across a variety of scenarios throughout the year.”

October 4, 2016

Texas Children’s unveiled the Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Outpatient Building last week during a private welcome celebration that included breakfast, comments from organization leaders and tours of the six-floor, 209,973-square-foot facility. The building will be open for service to patients and families on October 4.

“This is one of the best projects we’ve done at Texas Children’s Hospital and it’s all about the kids,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace to a crowd of about 500 community members, employees, supporters and friends. “We are coming to The Woodlands to make sure we take care of all of the kids who need our care.”

As the only dedicated pediatric hospital north of Houston, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, which is scheduled to open in April 2017, and the Outpatient Building will serve children and families in The Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe, Spring, Magnolia, Humble and communities in surrounding areas.

“On any given day, there are 150 children from these communities who receive care at Texas Children’s Hospital Main Campus, which is 35, 40, 50 miles or more from their homes,” said Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands and executive vice president of Texas Children’s Hospital. “Estimates indicate that there are about 380,000 children and adolescents in this area right now and each and every one of them needs and deserves the best medical care.”

Designed with a “spirit of the woods” theme to incorporate the lush, woodsy landscape that surrounds it, the new Outpatient Building will house almost 20 areas of specialized care including cardiology, sports medicine, neurology, hematology/oncology. A dedicated medical staff will work in conjunction with the Texas Children’s system to provide top-notch medical care.

The Outpatient Building will be connected to the hospital on floors one and two and offers a fresh, new kid-friendly environment to families seeking the best pediatric care for their children. A state-of-the art sports physical therapy gym is on the first floor, check-in and check-out stations resembling a child’s club house are at the entrance of each clinic, and spacious exam rooms and provider work stations line many of the building’s halls.

  • Level 1 – two radiology rooms, 10 exam rooms, sports physical therapy gym and motion analysis, gait lab
  • Level 2 – six speech therapy rooms, four feeding therapy rooms, swing gym, spasticity clinic, tricycle track, developmental therapy gym
  • Level 3 – six eye exam areas, 18 exam rooms, two audiology sound booths
  • Level 5 – six infusion rooms, plus open living room, 28 exam rooms
  • Level 6 – two pulmonary function testing rooms, 12 exam rooms, three ECHO rooms, one fetal ECHO, one EKG/holter room, and a cardiology stress test lab

During his time at the podium, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Chief Surgical Officer Dr. Jeffery Shilt incredible technology that will be used in the building and thanked the unwavering support of The Woodlands community during the planning and construction of the facility.

“Everyone always jokes that everything in Texas needs to be the biggest and the best, and the entire organization of Texas Children’s certainly checks off being the biggest,” he said. “But I believe The Woodlands community exemplifies being the best.”

Chief Medical Officer of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Dr. Charles Hankins agreed and said the community is part of the Texas Children’s family.

“It’s all about family now,” he said. “We are family to each other and we will be family to your families; that’s our commitment to you.”

Hankins, Riley-Brown and Shilt were named part of The Woodlands leadership team last year. The rest of the hospital’s administrative leadership team includes:

  • Julie Barrett, director of Outpatient and Clinical Support Services
  • Dan DiPrisco, senior vice president
  • Hillary Griffin, senior project manager
  • Bobbie Jehle, senior project manager
  • Trent Johnson, director of Business Operations and Support Services
  • Cathy Pierantozzi, director of Human Resources
  • Ketrese White, director of Patient Care Services