May 22, 2018

If your little one was born a performer, now is their chance to do it live at NRG Stadium! Texas Children’s Hospital is sponsoring an event that will give participants the opportunity to practice and perform with the Houston Texans cheerleaders on Saturday, August 18, during the pregame ceremonies of the Houston Texans vs San Francisco 49ers game.

There will be a mandatory uniform fitting on Saturday, June 16, at NRG Stadium between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A mandatory rehearsal also will be held Sunday, August 5, at Houston Methodist Training Center where the children will learn their game day performance routine. Check-in begins at 1:30 p.m. and rehearsal will be from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Children ages 7-11 who love to dance and cheer are invited to participate. Registration is $199 per child and includes a Houston Texans Jr. Cheerleaders uniform, poms, Texans hair bow, post-performance dinner, online instructional video, video link to the game day performance and a one-of-a-kind Houston Texans experience!

Texas Children’s teams up with the Houston Texans to inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives through camps, programs and events all year long. We are working alongside the Texans through community engagement and educational programs to emphasize Play 60, the National Football League’s campaign to encourage kids across the country to get off the sidelines and be active for an hour a day or more to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

The Houston Texans Jr. Cheer Program is just one of many of the exciting events we’ll take part in throughout the year. Visit to read more about Texas Children’s ongoing partnership with the Houston Texans.

Click here to register for and to get more details about the event.

The Department of Surgery hosted the ninth annual Edmond T. Gonzales Jr. Surgical Research Day May 18 at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women providing a forum for researchers across the department to showcase their work.

This year 110 abstracts were submitted for review, 11 of which were chosen for oral presentations and 99 were accepted for poster presentations. This year eight students vied for the Best Presentation award and three faculty members were chosen to present their research.

The 2018 keynote speaker was Chandan Sen, who holds various roles at the Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center, including the John H. and Mildred C. Lumley Chair in Medicine, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Surgery, associate dean of Translational Research, director of the College of Medicine, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies and executive director of the Ohio State Comprehensive Wound Center. Sen spoke about the regenerative medicine frontier and the reprogramming of tissue function in vivo.

Awards presented at the event were the Samuel Stal Research Award for outstanding research by a resident or fellow, the Research Mentor Award, and Best Oral Presentation and Best Poster Presentation.

  • The Samuel Stal Research Award was presented to Dr. Rodrigo Zea-Vera in Congenital Heart Surgery. The award is named after Dr. Samuel Stal, former chief of Plastic Surgery at Texas Children’s.
  • Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Sundeep Keswani was honored with the Research Mentor Award. The award is given on an annual basis to honor a Department of Surgery faculty member who serves as a research mentor through career development, professional guidance or cultivation of research interests.
  • Best Oral Presentation award was given to Urology Fellow Dr. Jeffrey White. He presented his work on the mining of CNV databases discovering a role for RBFOX-2 in penile development.
  • Best Poster award was given to researcher Jennifer Brown from otolaryngology for a poster on the implementation of a tracheostomy educational program for outpatient otolaryngology nurses.

Recipients of the 2018 Clayton Awards, former known as Surgical Seed Grant Awards, were announced as the grand finale of Texas Children’s Hospital Surgical Research Day. This grant program, funded by the Department of Surgery, allows surgery researchers to generate the preliminary data necessary for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications and other extramural funding. 2018 Clayton Awards recipients are as follows:

Dr. Arvind Chandrakantan, Anesthesiology
Obstructive sleep apnea in vitro: A novel approach for cellular and molecular discovery

Dr. Erin Gottlieb, Anesthesiology
Antithrombin Levels in Neonates and Young Infants Undergoing Congenital Heart Surgery

Dr. Julie Hakim, Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
Understanding the Role of Estrogen in Vaginal Scar Tissue Formation

Dr. Brian Kelley, Neurosurgery
Molecular and Structural Mechanisms of Diffuse Axonal Injury

Scott Manson, Ph.D., Urology
Myofibroblast-Targeted Therapies for Renal Fibrosis in Obstructive Uropathy

Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, Pediatric Surgery
Promoting Safe Firearm Storage in Households with Children

Dr. Irene Tung, Ophthalmology
The Effect of Oral Omega-3 Supplementation in Children with Meibomian Gland Disease and Chalazia

Xinyi Wang, Ph.D. Pediatric Surgery
The Role of Hyaluronan in Renal Tubulointerstitial Fibrosis

May 16, 2018

It’s prom season and for the first time inpatients and outpatients at Texas Children’s Hospital were able to experience this monumental occasion on-site at the Medical Center Campus. Friday was a night to remember as West and Wallace Tower floors were turned into a Hollywood Night’s themed extravaganza for the hospital-wide prom.

The Child Life department, hosted the prom for all Texas Children’s teens to be able to experience a night of glitz, glam, and guaranteed fun.

“I was so excited to see the joy on these kids’ faces, and have a normal high school opportunity that they wouldn’t get ordinarily,” said Zoe Williamson, Child Life activity coordinator. “It was great seeing them celebrate that here with their friends they met at the hospital, and to just be teens for the night.”

Certain floors across the hospital were designated for patients to get dressed to impress. A local salon called Dry Bar styled the female patients’ hair, while the males got their hair transformed at the in-hospital salon. Kendra Scott, a popular jewelry and accessories boutique, also provided beautiful stones and chains so that the patients would be able to create their own jewelry set to match their outfits for the night. Lastly, international cosmetic company, Sephora, came on-site to apply makeup adding the finishing touches to their appearance. Child Life also partnered with several donors, to provide formal wear for all patients who participated.

After patients were finally dressed in their prom best, it was time to walk the red carpet towards the mesmerizing lights and exhilarating music. The first stop down the red carpet was the photo booth, where patients were able to take pictures with their dates and families. Just down the hall, double doors opened to a room with refreshments for attendees to partake in as well.

Parents said their goodbyes as most of them either left and came back when the event was over, or waited in a designated area. One parent, Betty McGee, stayed with her son to make him more comfortable and soothe his nerves about the night. However, his reaction to the music, dancers, and several kids his age enjoying themselves, made her rethink her decision as she was stunned by how enjoyable and ultimately therapeutic this night was for him.

“This has really made my night,” said McGee. “I have been crying, I’m overjoyed, it’s a miracle, because he would stand, but he would never stand this long.”

The Child Life department knew how much this night would mean to patients and their families at the beginning of the planning stages. Their goal was to provide normalization for them, and according to many patients they were successful.

“I am actually missing my school prom, so I was really excited at the opportunity to go still,” said Ella Ware. “The music was great and it’s just a great opportunity for the patients to be able to come and have fun, in a setting where they don’t really have to be embarrassed.”

For four hours they danced to resounding, kid-friendly tunes that even drew in on-lookers such as nurses and doctors who wanted to witness the excitement themselves. The event turned out to be much more of a success than expected and has paved the way for a more extravagant event for years to come.

“We hope that the amount of participants doubles next year, and grows and grows every year,” said Williamson.

May 15, 2018

Texas Children’s recently participated in a large-scale exercise focusing on the transport of an Ebola-positive pediatric patient from a facility in The Woodlands to Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-designated pediatric Ebola treatment center for the southwest region, Texas Children’s was chosen to be a part of the exercise organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to test the nationwide ability to move patients with highly infectious diseases safely and securely to regional treatment centers.

“Providing safe, high-level care for patients with highly infectious special pathogens, such as the Ebola virus, requires an incredible amount of training and preparation,” said Dr. Amy Arrington, medical director of Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit. “We do this exceeding well at Texas Children’s Hospital, with a state-of-the-art Special Isolation Unit and incredible team of volunteer health care workers who train regularly to care for these patients. But it is also critical to practice coordinating the transport of these patients as a medical community, between health care facilities.”

More than 50 organizations throughout the nation participated in the exercise, including the Department of State, Department of Transportation, the Regional Ebola Treatment Centers, local and state health and emergency management agencies, hospitals, airport authorities, and non-government organizations.

The exercise focused on moving seven people acting as patients with Ebola symptoms in different regions of the country. At each health care facility, clinical workers simulated the collection and shipment of samples for diagnostic tests to state laboratories, which in turn practiced running the necessary laboratory tests to diagnose the patients with Ebola.

As part of the exercise, each patient received a positive diagnosis. Using appropriate isolation techniques and personal protective equipment, health care workers then took steps to have six of the patients transported by air to designated Regional Ebola Treatment Centers. These patients were placed into mobile biocontainment units for these flights. The pediatric patient was placed into protective equipment and transported by ground ambulance.

“Saving lives during crises requires preparation and training,” said Dr. Robert Kadlec, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “A tremendous amount of coordination, synchronization, and skill is needed to move patients with highly infectious diseases safely. We have to protect the patients and the health care workers caring for those patients. This type of exercise helps ensure that everyone involved is ready for that level of complexity.”

The 2017 Texas Children’s Annual Report website highlighting last year’s growth and success with compelling stories, videos and graphics about our patients, staff, clinical programs and expanding facilities is here! This is the second time the Texas Children’s annual report has been released in a website format offering a dynamic representation of the breadth, depth and growth of our organization.

Titled Texas Children’s Strong, this year’s website illustrates in a special section how Texas Children’s successfully weathered Hurricane Harvey with strong leadership, a unified culture and fierce determination. It also includes an archive page that houses previous Texas Children’s annual reports, giving readers a centralized location to find such rich information about our organization.

Each section of the site – news, notes and numbers – gives readers an opportunity to experience how and why Texas Children’s health care system continues to set records organization wide. You also can hear directly from our President and CEO Mark Wallace in a video address about our accomplishments and what’s to come.

“I’m pleased to share some of the amazing work and triumphs that happened last year at Texas Children’s,” Wallace said. “We were incredibly busy in 2017.”

Read all about it at Share the link to the online report with friends and colleagues, and encourage them to do the same.

On May 10, Texas Children’s celebrated the soft opening of Texas Children’s Legacy Tower with a special ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing of the new 400-foot-tall building, part of which will officially open on Tuesday, May 22.

In the heart of the Texas Medical Center, more than 200 guests gathered outside Legacy Tower to attend this historic celebration. Guests included members of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees and Executive Council, Services in Chief, In-Chiefs, Chiefs of Service, donors, patient families, as well as Legacy Tower leadership team members and construction partners who together helped bring this massive project to fruition.

Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace delivered opening remarks and thanked everyone in attendance for their commitment to turning this vision into reality.

“The opening of Legacy Tower is another dream come true for Texas Children’s,” Wallace said. “There are so many people who worked tirelessly to bring us to this day. With 640,000 square feet of space, Legacy Tower will help us continue to serve our patients and their families, particularly children who are critically ill and have complex needs.”

When Phase One of Legacy Tower opens on May 22, the tower will house new state-of-the-art operating rooms with one intraoperative MRI, as well as a new pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), which will span four floors and open with six ORs and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neuro and transitional ICU beds.

The second phase of the Legacy Tower will open in September. The tower will be the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® – ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in cardiology and heart surgery. The Heart Center will have an outpatient clinic, four catheterization labs with one intraprocedural MRI, cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), four CVORs and cardiology acute care beds. The tower will also have a helistop, allowing for greater access to Texas Children’s most critically ill patients.

During the ribbon cutting event, Texas Children’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline and Texas Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier delivered their messages of appreciation, and explained what Legacy Tower will mean to our patients and their families.

“As the largest and busiest department of surgery in the country, we are called upon every day to provide some of the most complex surgeries on some of the most sickest children that this world has ever seen,” Hollier said. “The calls come in every day. Legacy Tower is the answer to those calls. I want to thank Mr. Wallace and the Board for the vision that it took to build the tower that rises above us today. It is a testimony to the commitment that they and others have made to show the rest of the world what excellence in pediatric care looks like.”

Kline also thanked the crowd for their commitment to this project, and specifically thanked Texas Children’s Chief of Critical Care Services Dr. Lara Shekerdemian and Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny for their instrumental leadership in making Legacy Tower possible. He also shared the thoughtful design that went into building the Legacy Tower to ensure we created the best and safest environment of care for our patients.

“It’s remarkable to walk through the intensive care units and to see the way the equipment has been located, the size of the rooms, the layout, the flow that will occur in patient care in those rooms,” Kline said. “Every detail has been addressed in the most thoughtful manner and in the input from the families has been really extraordinary and absolutely critical to that process.”

After Texas Children’s Chaplain James Denham delivered the blessing, the yellow ribbon was cut to symbolize the completion and imminent opening of the first phase of Legacy Tower. Guests also got a chance to meet Bailey, Texas Children’s new Legacy Tower therapy dog, and take a tour of Legacy Tower.

Texas Children’s Office of Philanthropy organized this event.

Each year as we salute nurses across the country during National Nurses Week from May 6 to May 12, Texas Children’s celebrated our incredible team of more than 3,000 nurses for their many successes, accomplishments and contributions to patient care.

This year’s theme for Nurses Week was Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence. From developing Texas Children’s first-ever Nursing Innovations Solutions Council to partnering with families in the design of patient care rooms in Legacy Tower, our nurses play a key role in developing novel strategies to optimize the care we deliver to our patients and families.

During Nurses Week, the Nursing Retention Council organized several activities that centered on health and wellness to remind our nurses how important it is to take care of themselves so they can provide the best care to their patients. Activities included educational presentations including a presentation on financial wellness, blessing of the hands, massages, a photo booth, cupcakes and punch and special cookie deliveries for all of the units.

On May 9, Texas Children’s Nursing Excellence Awards ceremony honored six recipients for their commitment to improving nursing care and patient outcomes.

The award honorees included:

Staff Nurse of the year: Imelda Salcedo
Preceptor of the year: Melissa Campbell
Rookie of the year: Tanya Facio
Leader of the year: Kerry Sembera
APRN of the year: Emily Charles
Advanced degree: Miranda Rodrigues
Friend of Nursing: Dr. Binita Patel

Jillian Aragon was awarded the 2018 David and Polly Roth Nursing Education Scholarship Fund. This education fund will provide tuition assistance for Texas Children’s employees who have worked in the organization for at least three years and are interested in pursuing a professional nursing degree.

Leanne Petters and Janae Harris received the Molly Mae LeBlanc Nursing Education Scholarship. The scholarship was named in memory of Molly Mae, daughter of Texas Children’s employees Jill and Andy LeBlanc, who passed away at Texas Children’s on May 6, 2017. The purpose of the scholarship is to perpetuate Molly Mae’s memory and recognize nursing staff members for going above and beyond their required job duties to enhance the quality of life for Texas Children’s patients and their families.

The Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses included Rhonda Bolin from the Spina Bifida Clinic and Allison Carter from Transition Medicine who were among the top 15 award recipients. Click here for more on the Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses honorees.

In addition to the two nurses honored in the top 15, 23 Texas Children’s nurses were recognized as being among the top 150 in the Greater Houston area.

Max Abogador (Progressive Care Unit)
Heidi Aghajani (Bone Marrow Transplant Unit)
Sandy Alfaro (14 West Tower)
Lauren Altendorf (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit)
Cynthia Baker (Texas Children’s Health Plan: The Center for Children and Women)
Elizabeth Bernard (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 2)
Jennifer Dalton (Community Clinics)
Lisa Davenport (The Woodlands – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)
Casey Fontenot (Hayslett) (DSRIP – Pulmonary)
Stacey Foshee (Cardiovasvular Intensive Care Unit)
Stephanie Gonzales-Hughes (Labor and Delivery)
Lauren Harsany-Salinas (Cardiovasvular Intensive Care Unit)
Judy Holloway (West Campus – Nursing Operations Leadership)
Lastenia Holton (Cancer Center and Hematology Center – Outpatient)
Jennifer Hopkins (15 West Tower)
Rachel Leva (Newborn Center)
Winsyl Montojo (Operating Rooms)
Sharon Moreau (Progressive Care Unit)
Lisa Pali (The Woodlands – Multispecialty)
Melissa Silvera (Nursing Operations)
Lynda Tyer-Viola (Nursing Executive)
Emily Weber (Nursing Administration)
Rhonda Wolfe (14 West Tower)

Congratulations to our Texas Children’s nurses for their commitment to our patients and families.