June 23, 2015

62415tcpapp640Managing health care decisions and accessing provider relationships just got easier for thousands of patients and families in the greater Houston area thanks to a new mobile application introduced by Texas Children’s Pediatrics.

The ParentAdvice Center, available for free on iTunes and Google Play, will help families make smart decisions about what level of care is needed for their child and how to provide symptom relief for minor illnesses or injuries at home. The new app also includes answers to common behavior and wellness questions, medication dosage tables, links to each Texas Children’s Pediatrics practice web page and maps to our urgent care locations.

“As the world moves in a more digital direction, we feel it is important to meet patient families exactly where they are, providing the information they need in the way they want to receive it,” said Dr. Stanley Spinner, chief medical officer and vice president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. “The clinical advice, validated by TCP leadership, is the same evidence-based, high-quality advice we already give patients, only now it will be available in a digital format around the clock.”

Produced by StayWell, a leading provider of health education and engagement solutions, the app will help families better understand their children’s health symptoms. The app will give parents the support and information they need to make timely decisions about the appropriate level of care for their child – whether that means providing care for minor illnesses at home or finding a Texas Children’s facility. The mobile app also will give parents access to their child’s health records via the MyChart patient portal.

Some of the app’s valuable features include:

  • Online symptom checker with access to 129 care guides, first-aid illustrations, parent message boards and over-the-counter medication guides.
  • Access to MyChart patient portal for personal medical information and to manage relationships with Texas Children’s hospitals and clinics.
  • Ability to find a practice or care facility within the Texas Children’s Pediatrics, from individual pediatricians, urgent care centers or emergency rooms.
  • Tips on how to prepare for an appointment and connections to popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“This is an important step in meeting the needs of our families where it’s convenient for them – on their smart phones,” said Lou Fragoso, vice president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. “Now, patient families can have easy and quick access to helpful medical information and links to our pediatric practices, urgent care facilities and emergency rooms.”

Download the app and tell patients, friends and family about it today. Anyone who has children or spends time with children can benefit from Texas Children’s Pediatric ParentAdvice Center. For more information about the app, click here.



Patrick Hatcher from Facilities Planning and Development is the latest Texas Children’s Super Star leader. “A Super Star at Texas Children’s is one who takes initiative, leads by example and focuses on the opportunities in spite of the obstacles,” Hatcher said. Read more of Hatcher’s interview, and find out how you can nominate a Super Star.

Q&A: Patrick Hatcher, January – March 2015 Leader

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Patrick Hatcher, Logistics Program Manager, Facilities Planning & Development. I have worked here for 2 ½ years.

What month are you Super Star for?
First Quarter 2015 (January – March)

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
The good news came through my leader, Allison Muth, disguised as an “Organizational Update” meeting. Very surprising!

What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do?
It is great to be appreciated, but also very humbling. I work alongside so many other super stars both in Facilities Planning & Development and other departments.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
A Super Star at Texas Children’s is one who takes initiative, leads by example and focuses on the opportunities in spite of the obstacles.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
Contributing to the well-being of our patients and coworkers is my main motivation.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about working at Texas Children’s is understanding that our efforts are tied to a greater purpose.

Anything else you want to share?
I would like thank my leaders Pete Dawson, Jill Pearsall and Allison Muth for affording me with opportunities to grow personally and professionally. I am truly fortunate to work for such an amazing organization with an equally amazing mission and vision.

June 17, 2015

Tropical Storm Bill has been downgraded to Tropical Depression Bill.  As the storm moves northward through Central Texas, additional periodic bands of rain will impact the Houston area throughout the day. Some localized street flooding will be possible with an additional 2 to 3 inches of rain expected.

We urge employees to continue to exercise caution when navigating roadways, and do not drive into flooded areas as you head home or make your way into work today.  If you plan to commute by Metro, all services are operating normally.

This is the last communications update regarding Tropical Depression Bill.

Judy Swanson, Administrator on call
Amy Puglia, Emergency Management

June 16, 2015


Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace was on hand at the recent commencement ceremony at Baylor College of Medicine, as he has been on more than 20 other occasions. But this time, he too was being honored.

Wallace received an honorary degree – the Doctor of Humanities in Medicine. The honorary degree is awarded to individuals who have provided exceptional support or service, either directly or indirectly, to Baylor College of Medicine or to academic medicine as a whole.

As he received the honorary doctorate and shook the hand of Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor’s president and CEO, Wallace said he reflected on how his relationship with Baylor began.

“In 1977 when I joined Houston Methodist, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was Baylor’s president and was regarded as the number one cardiovascular surgeon in the world,” Wallace said. “I remember how aspirational DeBakey was about making Baylor a great medical school. I learned a great deal from DeBakey about the importance of teaching hospitals.”

DeBakey’s sister, Lois DeBakey, had nothing but kind words for Wallace regarding the recent honor.

“I am pleased to see Mark’s inordinate intellect, capabilities, talents and laudable personal qualities recognized in this way,” Lois said. “He should take just pride in the growth, expansion and high stature of the hospital system he’s shepherded for so long and so successfully.”

Wallace said it was during his early days at Methodist that he began to understand what contributes to the success of great academic centers of excellence – teaching hospitals like Johns Hopkins, Mass General or Boston Children’s, for example – is their affiliation with a medical school which attracts the best minds and the brightest individuals. He carried that knowledge and DeBakey’s wisdom with him to Texas Children’s, which has been affiliated with Baylor since its inception more than 60 years ago.

Today, Texas Children’s has a complementary mix of Baylor faculty and outstanding private pediatricians, surgeons and Ob/Gyn physicians who choose to practice at Texas Children’s and are dedicated to fulfilling our mission.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the tremendous work and dedication of everyone associated with Texas Children’s – the Board, executive and physician leaders, our extraordinary employees and everyone else who is somehow involved in our commitment to patient care, education and research,” Wallace said. “It is their dedication that allowed me to celebrate that very special moment.”

This news story includes excerpts from Mark Wallace’s June 4 On the Mark blog post “An honorary degree 38 years in the making.” Click here to read the blog post in its entirety.

Tuesday, June 16, 3:51 p.m.

Tropical Storm Bill has made landfall

Texas Children’s leadership and the Department of Emergency Management are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Bill, which made landfall this morning.

The Houston area is still expected to experience up to 8 inches of rainfall. There may be pockets of roadways that will be problematic during the course of the afternoon. With the potential for more heavy rain expected this evening, we urge employees to exercise caution as they drive home or make their way into work.

Any faculty, staff or trainees who need to leave early due to potential hazardous conditions at or near their home should contact their leader. Your personal safety is our priority and we ask you to take appropriate precautions when driving in areas with high water on the roadways.

We are taking all appropriate precautions according to our response plan, and we ask staff and employees to do the same.

Reminders and previous information

  • Inpatient and Outpatient Operations. At this time, we are continuing operations as normal throughout the Texas Children’s system. Leaders will continue to assess staffing needs over the next 24 to 48 hours and will make adjustments accordingly.
    • Please direct Main Campus inpatient calls to the NAC at Ext. 6-4282.
    • Please direct West Campus inpatient calls to the House Supervisor at Ext. 7-4700.
    • Please direct Pavilion for Women inpatient calls to Ext. 2-8133.
    • Some clinics and outpatient areas may delay patient arrivals or have cancellations. Please be patient with and accommodating of these adjustments.
  • Texas Medical Center parking accommodations. TMC has reprogrammed their parking system to allow 24-hour access to Texas Children’s night shift employee parking cards effective today at 5 p.m. through Wednesday.
  • Public transportation. Currently, Metro  is operating normally. If you are planning to travel by Metro bus or rail, you should not expect any issues with parking.

More information, including the latest weather, traffic and road conditions are available on the Emergency Management Connect site and the National Weather Service website.

Judy Swanson, Adminstrator on call
Amy Puglia, Emergency Management


Dr. Peter Hotez works with several leaders in his current position, and he’s recently added the leader of the free world to that list. Hotez, who heads the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, is also dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He recently took on the role of U.S. Science Envoy appointed by the White House and State Department.

The U.S. science envoy program began in 2009 when President Obama expressed the need to reach out and engage with other countries beyond military activities. The program was created through the state department and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The U.S. Science Envoy program selects renowned and distinguished American scientists to promote the United States’ commitment to science, technology and innovation as tools of diplomacy and economic growth.

“President Obama recognized that our greatest resource here in the U.S. is our research universities and institutes as well as our hospitals,” Hotez said. “Yet we don’t really portray that to the world. This is our chance to change that.”

Currently the program officially employs three science envoys for a one year term. Hotez’s fellow envoys are involved in climate change and environmental initiatives while Hotez is taking on the task of vaccine diplomacy, creating a framework for foreign institutions to build their own infrastructure and develop vaccines needed in their region. Hotez’s initial targets for this work are Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Located in Northern Africa and the Middle East, the two countries are situated in areas with almost no ability to make vaccines.

“When diseases of regional importance strike, they are generally not of interest to the major multi-national pharmaceutical companies so vaccines don’t get made,” Hotez said. “As we saw with Ebola, once a substantial outbreak happens, it will likely not stay in that region.”

For Hotez, the envoy was both a great opportunity and a great responsibility. He said working for the first true global children’s hospital with the greatest global outreach of any pediatric institution, made the task an easier one to achieve. Texas Children’s already shares intellectual capital and manpower with countries in the developing world through the Baylor International Pediatric Aids Initiative, global surgery work, heart center outreach, the Cancer Center’s international initiatives as well as several other physicians who continue to expand the reach of their programs across the world. Hotez said it’s important to share intellectual capital and help these countries build their own infrastructure in order to have a lasting impact and succeed in this humanitarian goal.

“Citizen Diplomacy, our so-called ‘soft power,’ is one of the great underachievers in US foreign policy at this point,” Hotez said. “The idea that scientists would put aside their nation’s ideology to work together on a lifesaving product is what this is all about.”

While implementing science diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, may be a tough task, it’s a role with global impact.


By Janielle Harrison

In less than a month, my husband, Terrence, and I will welcome the arrival of our precious daughter, Addison, at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Her expected delivery date is July 24.

While most mothers-to-be discover their expecting after taking a simple home pregnancy test, that wasn’t the case for me. I never knew I was four weeks pregnant until my husband took me to the emergency room because I was having dizzy spells, feeling lightheaded and my blood pressure spiked. While I was waiting for my X-rays and blood test results to come in, Terrence and my 8-year-old son Dramodd stepped away to get something to eat. When they came back with their McDonald’s bags clutched in their hands, I broke the exciting news, “We are expecting!”

My husband was completely shocked and excited at the same time, and so was I. Immediately, he called his mom and dad to tell them the exciting news that they’d be grandparents! My son’s immediate reaction was, “Mom, you’ve been pregnant all this time and you didn’t know it?” I think he was saying my belly was getting slightly “bigger” like a pregnant person.

bwatchAs my due date approaches, my last trimester is going pretty smoothly. The first few months of my pregnancy was tough since I couldn’t hold anything down. I was severely dehydrated and my OB/GYN Dr. Carla Ortique had me admitted to the Pavilion for Women where I stayed overnight to receive intravenous fluids and anti-nausea medication. The nurses took excellent care of me. I am still taking medication for high blood pressure and visiting Texas Children’s Maternal Fetal Center every week to monitor my baby’s growth and development.

As we prepare for our daughter’s homecoming, my husband and I finished decorating Baby Addison’s nursery with princess and frog theme colors: mint green, lavender and chocolate brown. So many of our family members have showered us with beautiful gifts for Addison and they are so excited to meet our little princess.

I haven’t packed my hospital bag yet, but I am working on it. I expect to have everything ready to go by July 1 in case Addison decides to make her debut ahead of schedule.