January 28, 2019

 

Director of Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center Dr. Julie Kaplow was recently named Chief of Psychology.

Kaplow, who also serves as head of psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, is an expert in childhood trauma and bereavement. As director of the Trauma and Grief Center, a SAMHSA-funded Treatment and Service Adaptation Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Kaplow oversees evidence-based assessment, treatment and research with youth and families exposed to traumas and/or losses, and develops and disseminates trauma- and bereavement-informed “best practices” to community providers nationwide.

A strong proponent of a scientist-practitioner approach, Kaplow’s primary research interests focus on the biological, behavioral and psychological consequences of childhood trauma and bereavement, with an emphasis on therapeutically modifiable factors that can be used to inform psychosocial interventions. Kaplow’s ongoing studies examine the effectiveness of treatments for various populations of youth including those with a history of trauma, youth exposed to traumatic bereavement, and youth anticipating the death of a loved one.

Shortly after joining Texas Children’s, Kaplow helped launch the Harvey Resiliency and Recovery Program, dedicated to serving the needs of the many children and families adversely affected by the storm and its aftermath. She was also integral in the creation of the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center, along with the Gulf Coast Center and others in the Santa Fe community, to provide mental health services to those impacted by the shooting. These efforts have been made possible by the generous support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, New York Life Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rebuild Texas Fund, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Children’s Health Fund, and the JPB Foundation. Additional funding for the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center was provided by the Victims of Crime Act.

Kaplow is also actively engaged in community-based participatory research. She leads a practice-research network of sites across the country (including community clinics, grief support organizations, schools and academic medical centers) that use “common denominator” theory, assessment tools and interventions to address the unique needs and strengths of bereaved youth and families.

Kaplow earned her Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from Duke University in 2002. She completed her internship at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship in childhood trauma at Boston Medical Center. She is board-certified by the American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology.

To learn more visit texaschildrens.org/departments/psychology.

October 8, 2018

Time is something every grieving parent wishes they had more of when saying goodbye to their child. Katie and Phillip Hurlbut would have loved to have had more time with their daughter Ella Grace, who passed away seven weeks after birth due to complications from an infection in September 2015.

“We felt rushed after she passed away,” said Katie, who is a nurse practitioner at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Humble Fall Creek. “We had very little time for our family to come and say goodbye to her.”

To extend the narrow window of time families have with a lost loved one, the Hurlbuts recently donated two Caring Cradles in Ella’s memory – one to the Women’s Specialty Unit at the Pavilion for Women and the other to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

The cradles use a cooling blanket to cool the baby’s body, which prevents any distressing physical changes and lengthens the preservation of the child by 24 to 48 hours. The cradles can be positioned in a private setting so that families not only have more time with their baby but can say goodbye in a private, dignified way.

“After we lost Ella, feeling her body change was one of the most upsetting things for me. Those changes made me realize how quickly she was slipping away from me,” Katie said. “As a grieving mother, I struggled knowing I only had a short amount of time to create memories with her. It’s our prayer for these Caring Cradles to give the gift of time to grieving families.”

Jenni Fair, patient care manager in the NICU at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center campus, said the cradles are especially helpful to mothers who might have been ill during delivery and unable to spend time with their child immediately after birth.

“Some mothers are literally physically unable to mourn the death of their child for a day or so until they are doing better themselves,” Fair said. “The cradles are very helpful in these situations.”

The Hurlbut’s donation of the Caring Cradles came a little more than a year after the grand opening of the Butterfly Bereavement Room at the Pavilion for Women. Devoid of medical equipment, the Butterfly Room is a nicely decorated nursery where families can separate themselves from the hospital setting and mourn privately. When they leave the room, families can take a purple bag filled with things such as a bereavement gown for their baby, a blanket and a book.

The Butterfly Bereavement Room also was an initiative spearheaded by the Hurlbuts.

“Our goal is to bring peace and comfort to other families going through the same painful experience we did – losing a baby,” Katie said. “We’re very thankful for the opportunity to turn something so tragic into something good. Ella’s life will continue to impact grieving families in a positive way for many years to come.”

December 23, 2014

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Five years ago, Priscilla Boos heard the worst news she could ever imagine – her husband had been given six months to a year to live.

“I was devastated,” said Boos, who is a business manager in the Department of Pathology. “I started grieving the loss of my husband of 39 years that day.”

To deal with her feelings and to try and prepare for when her husband really was gone, Boos said she attended the Texas Children’s Employee Assistance Program’s Grief Recovery Group.

The free 10-week program is dedicated to helping people find the support they need to move beyond grief, whether it’s over the loss of a loved one, a divorce or a situation at work. Facilitated by EAP staff and open to all Texas Children’s and Baylor employees, the program follows specific tasks outlined in The Grief Recovery Handbook by John James and Russel Friedman.

“Recovery from loss is accomplished by discovering and completing all of the undelivered communications that accrue in relationships,” said EAP Program Manager Brent Lo-Caste-Wilken. “If you have experienced one or more losses, and you wish to move beyond the pain, this program offers you the probability of a richer and more rewarding life.”

Boos said the group made a huge difference in her life and that it made the journey toward her husband’s death much easier to bare.

“When it was time for him to go, we talked about a lot of things most couples don’t talk about during that time,” she said. “We wouldn’t have been able to have had that conversation had I attended the Grief Support Group.”

Most people don’t get the opportunity to complete unfinished conversations like Boos did because their loved is already gone or their loss has already occurred. Grief recovery helps people who are both anticipating a loss as well as suffering the effects of a loss that has already happened. In short, it helps people complete anything that was left unfinished at the time of a loss.

“Successful completion of unfinished emotions allows us to become complete with the often painful reality that the physical relationship has ended,” James and Friedman said.

To sign up for the next session of the Grief Recovery Group see below. Space is limited, so don’t delay.

What do I need to know if I am interested in participating in the Grief Recovery Group?

  • For the safety and success of all participants, commitment to and attendance at the 10-week program are essential.
  • Group sessions will be held in the Meyer Building first-floor conference room from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. every
  • Thursday beginning January 22 and ending March 26.

To register for the program go to the Learning Academy webpage, call Ext. 4-3327 or email eap@texaschildrens.org.