October 2, 2018

Texas Children’s Hospital Hygiene Work Group for the Central Line Acquired Bloodstream Infection, Hospital Acquired Conditions (CLABSI HAC) recently spearheaded a poster competition on the five moments of hand hygiene.

“Performing proper hand hygiene is our first line of defense in preventing hospital acquired infections,” said Mona Clark, assistant clinical director of Nursing (General Medicine and operational lead for the Hygiene Work Group. “Our organizational goal for hand hygiene is equal to or greater than 95 percent. Through collaboration with our infection control department and nursing, all ancillary care providers received education and training on the five moments of hand hygiene.”

To further engage and capitalize on the momentum of awareness and compliance for hand hygiene, the system-wide poster competition was created. Across the system there was a total of 28 outstanding posters submitted from Texas Children’s Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Posters were placed at entrances to the units and clinical areas to be viewed by both staff and visitors.

Senior executive leaders from all campuses graciously participated as judges for the competition – Mark Mullarkey, Mary Jo Andre, Jackie Ward, Bert Gumeringer, Dr. Judith Campbell, Dr. Paul Sirbaugh and Dr. Jeffrey Shilt.

A first place winner was selected at each campus:

Medical Center Campus – 12WT General Medicine Transplant Unit poster “Now Showing the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene
West Campus – Emergency Center “Hand Hygiene Challenge
The Woodlands Campus – Emergency Center “Be Incredible – They wash their hands

“This fun competition further engaged our teams in working together to ensure we all perform proper hand hygiene for the safety of our patients and families,” Clark said. “Thank you all for participating. Our hand hygiene scores clearly reflect your dedication and hard work.”

February 27, 2018

The U.S. Department of State announced that Dr. Peter Hotez has been appointed as a representative to the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation Board of Governors. Hotez is a world renowned expert in neglected tropical diseases, the most common diseases affecting the poor. He is also the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics.

The foundation promotes scientific cooperation between the United States and Israel by supporting collaborative research projects in a wide area of basic and applied scientific fields for peaceful and non-profit purposes.

“I’m excited to be re-engaged in science diplomacy in the Middle East,” Hotez said. “From my time as U.S. Science Envoy and now with the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, I have found that our nation has extraordinary capacity to reach out and promote science and technology across the globe.”

The Foundation also supports workshops and travel grants for young scientists. Since it was established, they have awarded over $600 million to more than 4,500 research projects that have resulted in significant advances in many scientific fields.

Hotez previously served as U.S. Science Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, focusing his work on Saudi Arabia and Morocco. This is just one of the many honors that Hotez has received, and he plans to continue innovating and inspiring through his work within Texas Children’s and internationally.

October 3, 2017

Dr. Peter J. Hotez is the 2017 recipient of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his far-reaching work in the areas of neglected tropical disease (NTD) research and vaccine development.

Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology. He serves as the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, where he leads a unique product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and SARS/MERS, diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative, he co-founded a Global Network for NTDs to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people. Hotez was among the first to predict Zika’s emergence in the U.S. and is recognized as an authority on vaccines. He is an outspoken leader of national efforts to educate the public about vaccines amid growing misconceptions about them, and he has appeared on BBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Hotez is founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

September 27, 2016

Texas Children’s is committed to the health, safety and well-being of our patients, families, and employees. This commitment is especially evident as we enter flu season. Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and can even lead to death. Older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year.

Getting vaccinated at Texas Children’s is quick and easy. This year, receiving the vaccine is even quicker and easier than in the past as our flu vaccine consent forms are available online via the Employee Health and Wellness Portal. Click here for flu vaccine event schedules. Employees are to complete their online consent form before attending a flu vaccine event – click here for instructions.

Employee Health will be administering seasonal influenza vaccinations at no cost to:

  • Texas Children’s employees
  • Texas Children’s medical staff
  • Texas Children’s volunteers
  • Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities

Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Health Centers and The Center for Women and Children will receive separate instructions from their leaders about seasonal flu vaccination.

Stay tuned for updates about Texas Children’s seasonal vaccination program. If you have questions, please call Employee Health at 832-824-2150, option 1.

For more information about the flu and the flu vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

August 9, 2016

81016ZikaBaginside640Texas Children’s Hospital recently teamed up with H-E-B and Cutter® Insect Repellents to launch a community-based initiative to help Houstonians prepare for and prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

As part of this collaborative initiative, all three community partners will distribute 50,000 bags with free educational brochures in both English and Spanish, duct tape and insect repellent to those in targeted areas who may be at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the Zika virus.

The free bags will be distributed to patients of Texas Children’s Pediatrics Community Cares practices in Gulfgate, Corinthian Pointe, Cullen, Gulfton, Ripley House and Kingsland. The bags will also be available to Texas Children’s Health Plan patients at the Centers for Children and Women in Greenspoint and Southwest Houston.

Members of the community who are not patients of these locations can also pick up a free bag while supplies last at any of the following HEB locations:

  • H-E-B Gulfgate at 3111 Woodridge
  • H-E-B at 10251 Kempwood
  • H-E-B at 10100 Beechnut

“We are excited to work with H-E-B and Cutter Insect Repellents to help meet a critical need for so many members of our community,” says Dr. Mark W. Kline, physician-in-chief at Texas Children’s and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “We believe it is only a matter of time before the Zika virus is prevalent in our community. Helping to educate and provide the tools needed to protect those families most at risk of contracting and spreading the disease is something we feel strongly must be done.”

Zika is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitos. Once infected, a person can spread the virus by being bitten by an Aedes mosquito that then bites another individual or through sexual contact. Pregnant women can transmit Zika to their unborn child as well. In recent months, the virus has raised concern among pregnant women since the virus may increase the risk of microcephaly, a rare neurological birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

Although most children and adults infected with Zika will only have mild illness – usually accompanied with symptoms of rash, fever, pink eye and joint pain that typically clear up in less than a week – a small number may suffer complications involving the brain and nervous system such as temporary or permanent paralysis. Deaths from Zika are rare.

As of July 2016, no cases of Zika have been transmitted locally by a mosquito bite but the virus has been diagnosed in travelers returning to Texas from other countries. Aedes mosquitoes are common in Texas and across the Gulf Coast, so Zika cases among returning travelers have the potential to result in the local spread of the virus.

To reduce the risk of becoming infected with Zika, there are three simple steps families can take:

  • Repel: Apply a DEET-containing insect repellent when outdoors. DEET is the most effective form of insect repellent and is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children older than 2 months of age. Follow instructions on the product and do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes or mouth, or onto a cut or irritated skin. Insect repellent may need to be reapplied. If using sunscreen, apply that first and insect repellent second.
  • Repair: If possible, use air conditioning and close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. Repair or replace damaged screens on windows or doors. Inspect screens throughout the house. Simple duct tape can be used to repair any holes in screens.
  • Remove: Inspect the area around the home and eliminate places mosquitoes can use to lay eggs. Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce, so empty, turn over, cover or throw out anything that can hold standing water, including old tires, buckets, planters, plastic pools, birdbaths, flower pots, trash cans, cups, toys, etc.

Click here to view educational flyer about Zika. For more information on Zika, click here.

Recent articles related to Zika:
New Zika clinic opens at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
Senator Cornyn visits Texas Children’s to attend roundtable on Zika virus
Zika virus cases surface in Texas, travelers to epidemic regions most at risk

July 12, 2016

71316AmyArrington175Amy Arrington, MD, medical director of Texas Children’s special isolation unit, was recently named one of Healthcare Design magazine’s 4th Annual HCD 10 winners.

The HCD 10 is an elite group of design and architect professionals who represent the most exciting, inspirational and influential health care work of the previous year. Nominations were accepted earlier this year and were reviewed by the Healthcare Design editorial staff, which determined the final winners.

Arrington was recognized under the clinician category for her work in the design of Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit, which opened in November 2015 and is the only one of its kind in Texas and the southwest region. Designated just for children, the eight-bed unit is located on the fifth floor of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and is fully equipped to care for any infant or child with a serious communicable disease and has all of the measures available to assure safety of the health care team, other patients and their families.

Arrington was involved in the development and design of the special isolation unit from the beginning of the project, including the initial concept planning, facility design, construction, and ultimately the staffing of the unit. She and several of her colleagues traveled to other biocontainment units in the United States, including units in Nebraska and Georgia.

“As a team, we designed a unit that incorporated all necessary requirements for true biocontainment, while adapting this unit to fit the needs of pediatric patients and the community,” Arrington said. “Additionally, I led a mid-construction patient simulation, which was performed in a to-scale mock up space to recognize and address latent safety threats and design needs prior to the completion of construction.”

The simulation identified 48 unique recommendations: 33 were related directly to physical space and design, while 15 were recommendations related to systems and processes, as well as clinical performance and procedures. Arrington currently oversee all training of the unit’s special response team, and full patient simulation exercises are performed four times a year in the unit in order to practice safe patient care and unique unit workflows. She also is the section chief of Global Biologic Preparedness and she is an attending physician in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

Healthcare Design magazine serves an audience of architects, interior designers, hospital administrators, facility managers, engineers and key members of the construction community as a premiere source of insight, information and inspiration for planning, design and constructing new or renovated health care facilities.

Click here to read more.

July 6, 2016

7616zikaclinic640Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women recently opened a Zika clinic to ensure women, mothers and babies continue to receive the highest quality health care during every important stage of their lives.

Located on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women in the Baylor Ob/Gyn clinic, the Zika clinic focuses on women who have traveled to Zika-affected countries, have shown symptoms of the Zika virus or have partners who have traveled to Zika-affected countries and/or have shown symptoms of the Zika virus.

Zika is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites. In recent months, the virus has heightened concern among pregnant women since the virus may increase the risk of microcephaly, a rare neurological birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

“It’s very important that we have a Zika clinic here at the Pavilion for Women,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician and vice chair for Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine. “In an emerging disease, where new evidence arises daily, having a dedicated group of providers who can keep up with large amounts of crucial information, understand what testing to perform, and discern clinically important information and how to readily apply it are critically important.”

In addition to blood, urine and amniotic fluid tests and counseling, the clinic offers a targeted diagnostic ultrasound that can be performed as early as 15 weeks into pregnancy to determine if there are any concerning developmental signs for Zika infection in a fetus. Physicians and staff at the clinic are thoroughly prepared to safely and confidently treat any patient who exhibits symptoms of the Zika virus.

The Zika clinic is a direct outcome of a recently created task force that convened earlier this year. Under the guidance of Texas Children’s Ob/Gyn-in-Chief Dr. Michael Belfort and Maternal Fetal Medicine Division Director Dr. Gary Dildy, a task force of physicians and researchers from Baylor and Texas Children’s have developed management and research strategies based on important screening criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control for pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus. This task force has been led by Aagaard alongside Drs. Carey Eppes and Martha Rac.

The Zika clinic sees patients on Friday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. The clinic is staffed by one registered nurse, one medical assistant and the physician team includes Drs. Eppes, Aagaard, Rac and Magda Sanz Cortes.

The clinic will initially see patients who are internally referred by either Baylor Ob/Gyn, Partners in Ob/Gyn Care or The Women’s Specialists providers. Patient referrals to the Zika clinic from outside physicians will be accepted and expanded this summer once internal patient volume demands are addressed.

Recent Connect articles related to Zika:
Senator Cornyn visits Texas Children’s to attend roundtable on Zika virus
Zika virus cases surface in Texas, travelers to epidemic regions most at risk