March 10, 2015

Watch the newest “I Am Texas Children’s” video featuring employee Tiffany Strawn in Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

“I enjoy working at Texas Children’s West Campus and seeing the progress children have made in physical therapy,” Strawn said. “This is probably the best place to work where everybody brings different approaches to sports medicine and physical therapy.”

Check out Strawn’s video, and find out how you and your coworkers can be featured in the “I Am Texas Children’s” section on Connect.

March 3, 2015


Getting a visitor while you are in the hospital is always a treat, but having a member of the Houston Texans stop by is a dream come true for many patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Some of the team’s football players, along with their mascot, Toro, stopped by the hospital on February 25 to visit with patients and officially announce their seven-year partnership with us. Click here to watch a video of that visit.

Beginning Wednesday, April 1, Texas Children’s Hospital will be the Official Children’s Hospital of the Houston Texans. Through the partnership, the Texans look forward to helping improve the health and wellness of Houston area children through community engagement, education, sports performance and the tools necessary to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

“We want to see all Houston kids grow healthier and stronger,” said Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes. “We feel it’s our responsibility to give every child access to the tools to understand the importance of healthy choices and the benefits of physical activity, and this partnership with the world-class team at Texas Children’s will give us that opportunity. We’re looking forward to working together.”

Texas Children’s is a natural fit with the Texans because of both organizations’ emphasis on community engagement and educating Houston’s youth about nutrition and the importance of being active.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Houston Texans,” said President and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital Mark A. Wallace. “Both of our organizations want to impact our community in a powerful, positive way. Texas Children’s is helping children lead healthier, more productive lives, and this exciting collaboration will expand our reach to even more families in Houston.”

The Houston Texans and Texas Children’s will appear as partners for the first time at the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon, which will take place on April 19. Registration for the event is now open.

In addition to the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon, Texas Children’s will be the official Texans Play 60 Health Care Partner. The partnership will include the Texans Play 60 Challenge and the Texans Play 60 Character Camp. Texas Children’s will also be the presenting sponsor of the Play 60 Game.

Furthermore, Texas Children’s will be the presenting sponsor of the TORO’s Kids 1K at the Houston Texans Running of the Bulls presented by HEB, the “TORO’s Training Table” school program and the Texans Jr. Cheerleader programs.


Texas Children’s Hospital began with a promise more than six decades ago. It was a promise to the community that we would be here to take care of their children – all of them, regardless of ability to pay – for many years to come. Today that promise is even stronger and more evident and has broadened to include the women who now come to us for care.

It stands to reason that Texas Children’s next chapter would be ushered in with a bold capital campaign that will help ensure we can respond to the growing need for care. Texas Children’s has launched Promise, a $475 million comprehensive campaign.

“We are so excited about the Promise campaign,” said Laura Shuford, vice president of Development. “Supporting a fundraising effort that has a goal of providing the best possible care to even more children is a cause that speaks to the heart and one that so many people can relate to.”

The Promise campaign focuses on five key initiatives:

  • CareFirst, for the expansion of our Critical Care services, ORs/PACU and Emergency Center at the Main Camp
  • Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, our new 548,000-square-foot dedicated pediatric hospital serving the growing communities north of Houston
  • Endowed Chairs, which are a powerful tool in recruiting and retaining world-class physicians and scientists
  • Divisions and Centers of Excellence to provide ongoing support for specialty care programs and projects
  • Charity Care and hospital priorities, to help alleviate the financial burdens families take on with complex medical care and to provide flexible funds to address the hospital’s most pressing needs at any given time

Of the $475 million campaign total, $350 million of the funds raised will support the CareFirst expansion and renovation projects, scheduled for completion in 2020, and The Woodlands campus, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2017. These two initiatives are the hospital’s top priorities.

“This is one of the biggest challenges Texas Children’s has ever faced,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace. “But I know we can meet the challenge head on and keep the promise we made so many years ago – and the promise we make every single day – to serve all the children and families who come to us for help.”

How you can help
You can help us spread the word about the Promise campaign and the impact it will make right here in Houston and beyond. Visit and share the page with family and friends who may be interested in supporting our efforts.


Since Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus opened almost four years ago, it has become one of the most active pediatric hospitals in the Houston area, and all indications point toward continued growth.

To keep meeting the steady increase in demand and community growth, Chanda Cashen Chacón, West Campus’ new leader, recently announced an aggressive capital improvement project. The project, approved by Texas Children’s Board of Directors, will cost an estimated $50 million and will focus on three key areas – inpatient capacity, ambulatory capacity and supporting hospital infrastructure.

“At the West Campus we are dedicated to the patients and families we serve, the process in which we serve them and our overall outcome,” Chacón said. “To accomplish all three of these things well, we need to continue to expand the facility that allows us to further our commitment to the community. This capital expansion project will ensure that promise continues.”

3415westcampusinside640The first phase of the project includes a $16 million, 18-bed expansion of the hospital’s acute care capacity. The new unit will include an eight-bed special isolation unit designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, entervirus D68, Ebola and many others. The design for the acute care and special isolation unit is in the approval process and construction is anticipated to begin in May. The unit should be up and running by October.

“This unique unit will be an indispensable resource to our local community, Texas and our region,” Chacón said. “Taking care of some of the sickest children in our hospital system is one of our top priorities.”

In addition to the new acute care and special isolation units, the first phase of the capital project will include the following five projects, which are estimated to cost $6.9 million and be completed by the end of the year:

  • Create dedicated suite for Interventional Radiology services
  • Design shell space for OR/PACU expansion
  • Convert 13 offices within existing clinics into clinic exam space
  • Build office and administrative support space for dedicated physicians and providers

The second phase of the capital improvement project will include the following four projects, which are estimated to cost $27.1 million and be completed by the end of 2017:

  • Build additional 24 acute-care beds
  • Build four additional operating rooms and expand pre-operative and post-operative areas
  • Equip all beds in critical care unit
  • Expand clinics to support OR expansion

“Most of these projects are in the design phase or will be soon,” Chacón said. “We look forward to continuing to serve our patients and families.”


The 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Hilton Americas on February 25 at the 10th annual “An Evening with a Legend.” The event featured an insightful onstage discussion with President Bush conducted by CBS Host Bob Schieffer and raised funds for Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Sitting front row were President Bush’s parents, President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.

3415Legendsinside640The event was attended by Texas Children’s supporters who helped raise $1.2 million to support research and patient care at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, the largest pediatric cancer and blood disease center in the United States.

“The Legends event is a very special one for the Cancer Center, and there’s no better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary than with the distinguished company of a former president,” said Dr. David Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center. “We’re so grateful for the donors and supporters who have made this evening a success.”

Emceed by Dr. Mark W. Kline, physician-in-chief of Texas Children’s Hospital, the event featured a video highlighting President Bush’s notable career as well as a presentation by the Houston Fire Department Honor Guard and Texas A&M Singing Cadets.

In 10 years, this event has raised more than $47 million for Texas Children’s Cancer Center and has featured notable honorees such as Robert Duvall, Dr. Denton Cooley, Gloria Gaynor, the Texas A&M Junction Boys and Apollo astronauts.


I felt compelled to share the story of my late son, Anthony Jaxon Llanas, who was born at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women on October 16, 2014. Alongside his two older siblings, he was my pride and joy. I only knew him for one month, but in those 29 days, we developed a strong, unbreakable bond.

Anthonyand MommyUnlike my previous pregnancies, this pregnancy was complicated. At 32 weeks, I was hospitalized at the Pavilion for Women. During my two-week stay, many of the nurses were wonderful and made me feel comfortable. Because of polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid), I had an emergency C-section and delivered a handsome 4 pound, 7 ounce baby boy.

While still in my womb, I knew Anthony’s chances for survival would be uncertain. When I was 20 weeks pregnant, Anthony was diagnosed with esophageal atresia – a congenital defect where the upper esophagus does not connect with the lower esophagus and stomach – and tracheoesophageal fistula, an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea. Two weeks later, doctors discovered he had coarctation or narrowing of the aorta. Anthony was also diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome which was not confirmed until after my son passed away peacefully in my arms.

Despite Anthony’s lengthy list of health problems, I was overjoyed to see his precious little face staring right at me, but at the same time, I was nervous about his prognosis. My Little Angel was wheeled away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Texas Children’s Newborn Center where many of the NICU nurses took excellent care of him and answered all of my questions. He spent two weeks in the NICU before he was transferred to the Cardiovascular ICU, where a team of physicians and nurses closely monitored him.

As I struggled to stay positive while my baby was courageously fighting for his life, Anthony’s health problems quickly stacked up, one after another. Shortly after birth, Anthony was diagnosed with choanal atresia which prevented him from breathing through his nose. At 10 days old, doctors diagnosed him with severe immune system deficiency. His T-cells were lower than most normal babies at birth.

JuliaWhen Anthony was one week old, he had his first surgery to correct esophageal atresia, and two days later, he had surgery to treat choanal atresia. Anthony underwent bypass open heart surgery a few days later to repair the narrowing of his aorta, which eventually caused his heart rate to increase and be off rhythm. He was placed on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECHMO) machine because his lungs and heart were too weak to function on their own. While he was on the ECHMO machine, his left lung collapsed. The day after his bypass, he was taken off the machine, but since his heart could not tolerate it, he was placed on the ECHMO machine for a second time. Sadly, Anthony’s extremely weak heart and lung were not cooperating.

On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, doctors told us Anthony’s heart rate was steadily dropping and that his body was not recovering from the multiple surgeries. He was getting sicker and they felt there was nothing more that could be done.

After hanging on for so long and enduring all of the surgeries to save his life, he passed away in my arms in a room full of people who loved him. He was by far the strongest and the most beautiful baby boy I’ve ever met. As all parents who’ve dealt with a loss of a child, I wish I could have done things differently to prevent his death, but with the support of Zoey’s Angels, they’ve helped me understand that I did as much as a parent could do and that his memory is not erased. If anything, it has just begun.

Four months after the tragic loss of my baby, I am back at work. While it’s been a difficult road for me and my family, my colleagues and manager, Lindi Stegeman, have been so supportive and I am so grateful to be working with such wonderful people.


Texas Children’s Hospital recently hosted its first craniosynostosis reunion, bringing together 150 people who have been touched by a condition that causes one or more of the seams between the bones of a baby’s skull to close prematurely.

“For parents of babies with craniosynostosis, it is a scary and stressful time,” said Dr. Sandi Lam, a neurosurgeon and co-director of the Craniosynostosis Surgery Program at Texas Children’s. “Families want to know they are making the right choices for their little loved ones. Connecting them with other parents who are going through the same thing provides a level of support that is irreplaceable.”

At the February 7 reunion, patients who have had craniosynostosis surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital joined their families and gathered at the Meyer Building for a few hours of fun, games and camaraderie. Child Life specialists and volunteers from Neurosurgery and Plastic Surgery hosted sports-themed activities for the children while parents shared stories over coffee and kolaches. A group of mothers who had met and chatted about craniosynostosis online got to meet each other in person at the reunion and were thrilled to be invited to the same event.

“Families tell us this type of patient networking event is amazing because it proves they are not alone,” said Sandra Galvan, coordinator of the program. “They have no doubt we at Texas Children’s will be here for them, delivering superb care for their families, neighbors and friends in Houston and across the nation.”

Craniosynostosis affects one in 2,000 babies and usually requires surgery to separate the fused skull bones to achieve a normal appearance and to allow a baby’s brain to continue to grow and develop properly. Here at Texas Children’s, we have a team of specialists dedicated to treating craniosynostosis. Pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons Dr. Laura Monson, Dr. David Khechoyan and Dr. Edward Buchanan and pediatric neurosurgeons Dr. Sandi Lam and Dr. Robert Dauser work together to provide the best care for children and their families.

In addition to having the highest quality surgeons on hand to correct the defect and a dedicated team to care for the children before and after surgery, Texas Children’s Hospital has formed a parent-to-parent network to match pre-operative patients’ families with post-operative patients’ families to support each other.

“It has been an incredible experience to see how generous, brave and wonderful our families are,” Lam said. “Many parents want to give back and share. The reunion gives them the opportunity to do just that.”