August 27, 2015


Congratulations are in order for Texas Children’s esteemed President and CEO Mark A. Wallace for winning Houston Business Journal’s (HBJ) inaugural Best Not-for-Profit CEO and Executive of the Year awards.

Wallace accepted both awards at HBJ’s C-Suite Awards dinner on Thursday, August 27,  at the Hilton Post Oak.  He was one of six finalists in the Best Not-for-Profit CEO category. He then went on to win the overall Executive of the Year award, beating out the winners of five executive categories from across a wide variety of industries in Houston.

The packed house gave Wallace a standing ovation, and true to form, he gave all the credit back to the organization and to the patients and families we serve. He attributed both honors to Texas Children’s “one amazing team.”

“I was honored to receive both awards, but really what I thought about most was how much it would mean to the employees,” Wallace said. “I knew they would be excited and that it would just instill even more pride within the organization.”

The HBJ awards recognized this year’s top C-level executives of for-profit and non-profit companies who are innovators, trailblazers, role models, standard-setters and leaders in the Houston area. A panel of judges scored each nominee based on their contribution to company success, civic involvement and career achievement.

In addition to Wallace’s recognition, HBJ awarded the top executives in the following roles:

  • Chief Executive Officer (For-Profit): Edna Meyer-Nelson,  The Richland Cos.
  • Chief Financial Officer: Daniel Molinaro, Now Inc.
  • Chief Operating Officer: Ed Gay, US Med-Equip
  • Chief Information or Technology Officer: Lori Kittle, Landry’s Inc.
  • Chief Marketing Officer: Scott Brown, The Company of Others

Click here to read The Business Journal interview with Mark Wallace, C-Suite Executive of the Year

August 25, 2015

82615backtoschool640Hours before the Texas Children’s Health Plan (TCHP) back to school event kicked off, a line was forming in Almeda Mall, the site of this year’s biggest event with 8,000 in attendance. With the promise of backpacks, school supplies, information on community resources and vaccines for students going back to school, parents were eager to participate.

“It’s a very rewarding event for us to bring a little relief to these families as they struggle to provide their children with everything they need to go back to the classroom,” said Veronica Arzayus, manager of community relations. “The parents are so grateful for something as simple as a backpack. For these families, it’s one less thing to worry about as the school year starts.”

According to an annual survey of back to school costs, on average, it could cost close to $200 to purchase the needed supplies for an elementary student to head to the classroom. That number jumps to nearly $400 for high school aged students. With more than half of the public school children living in poverty, these costs can be nearly impossible for some families to bear. The TCHP back to school event handed out 5,000 backpacks to the families present. The mobile immunization unit was there to administer about 130 vaccines, and the City of Houston Bureau of Oral Health was on hand to administer teeth cleanings, sealants and 115 dental screenings.

“We chose the Almeda Mall location to gage the community’s interest and acknowledgement of Texas Children’s,” Arzayus said. “That area is home to a lot of Health Plan members, but we were also able to attract a lot of non-members who benefitted from the vaccines, screenings and information we provided in conjunction with our community partners.”

Along with a kid DJ, Dynamo players and other entertainment, 40 non profits joined Texas Children’s to give out other school supplies and information about resources available throughout the community to assist their families.

Arzayus said attendance grows every year and the group knows it’s fulfilling a need for the community that not only assists the families, but ensures they receive information to help keep their children healthy throughout the school year.

What would you do if your pregnant patient, who was five centimeters dilated, told you in the examination room, “I need to get married before I have my baby?”

For Dr. Karla Wagner and her Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) team at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, the response to their patient’s request was a no brainer. Instead of saying no, they embraced this rare and exciting opportunity.

“We knew how important it was for our patient to get married before her baby arrived,” said Aimee Jackson, a nurse practitioner and clinical manager for maternal medicine at Texas Children’s Fetal Center. “It wasn’t a matter of, “Can it happen?” It was more like, “It will happen.”

With little time on their side, the MFM staff sprung into action to fulfill their patient’s wedding wish. Within an hour, they pieced together a simple, yet elegant ceremony for expectant mom Stephanie Tallent and her soon-to-be husband Jason Nece.

The couple planned to get married over the weekend, but their plans abruptly changed on August 21 when Wagner discovered during Stephanie’s reassessment exam that she was five centimeters dilated and her baby was still breeched. Luckily, the couple had their marriage license in the car along with a white sundress that Stephanie planned to drop off at the dry cleaners.

With these two items checked off the list, the rest of the components for the ceremony fell perfectly into place.

“Stephanie got the good luck tradition for a bride,” Wagner said. “She borrowed a beautiful pearl necklace from one of my nurses, we found something blue, we decorated the room with flowers, and I gave her a bouquet of roses that I grabbed from my office so she could hold it as she walked down the aisle.”

The staff rounded up the wedding troops to ensure every detail of the ceremony was covered. Texas Children’s videographer Wally Crow and photographer Allen Kramer captured the ceremony, maternal fetal scheduler Ashanti Riggs sang a cappella and the hospital’s chaplain Johnna Faber officiated the ceremony.

Wagner’s primary nurse Susan Hardee Crosky played the “Wedding March” on her cell phone, as Wagner walked her patient down the hallway aisle into Clinical Room 3 where Stephanie and Jason exchanged their vows in front of a congregation of roughly 25 Texas Children’s MFM employees.

At the end of the ceremony, the staff quickly scrawled on a piece of paper, “Just Married” and stuck it on the back of Stephanie’s wheelchair before she was whisked away to the delivery room. Later that afternoon, Stephanie and her husband welcomed their precious baby girl, Sophia, who was delivered by caesarean section.

“I love the maternal fetal department,” Stephanie said. “They pulled everything together at the last minute and did an unbelievable job. We cannot be any happier than we are right now.”

For Wagner, she is proud of her team who went above and beyond to meet the spiritual needs of her patient.

“We value the importance of family and spiritual values,” Wagner said. “We all came together as a team on such short notice to make this couple’s wish come true, while at the same time, meeting the medical needs of our other patients in clinic.”

Texas Children’s is committed to providing the highest quality patient care, a critical component of which is how our patients and their families experience that care. As we continue to grow, it is our responsibility to ensure we provide a consistently exceptional experience system wide.

Recognizing the importance of the patient experience and its integral role in quality patient care, we have created several teams to drive improvements in our patient and family experience. During the past 10 months, hundreds of leaders, physicians, and employees on those teams have reviewed the feedback we receive on our patient satisfaction surveys and helped implement more than 25 projects aimed at improving the patient and family experience throughout Texas Children’s.

The patient satisfaction survey is administered by Press Ganey to patient families on all three of our campuses (Main Campus, West Campus and the Pavilion for Women). Every patient encounter is eligible for a survey, including the scheduling process, the courtesy of our staff members and our billing procedures.

We track our performance in 14 clinical areas across the system and our scores are compared to those of similarly sized children’s and women’s hospitals across the country. This year, we set our goals to ensure we perform better than at least half of the other hospitals surveyed by Press Ganey. This goal is aligned with our organizational goal to raise satisfaction score performance system wide.

We survey families throughout the year, therefore families you encounter each and every day will be surveyed about their experience. We need to work together to ensure they receive the best possible experience. According to our patients who are surveyed, two things we need to focus on are: showing concern for their needs and keeping them informed about any delays that might occur. If you have not participated in one of the many improvement projects this year, talk to your leader about the efforts in your area targeted to enhance the patient and family experience.

In the words of Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace: “If our care is absent of compassion, we are not fulfilling our promise to our patients and their families. From the moment a family member calls to schedule an appointment, their experience with us begins, and every single thing that happens thereafter will leave a lasting impression.”

We encourage all employees and physicians to watch Mr. Wallace’s video on this subject and think about how you and your teams can improve the experience starting now.


Texas Children’s Hospital recently unveiled its 2014 Annual Report, a commemorative publication that celebrates our remarkable contributions and historic milestones over the last 60 years.

Centering on the core elements of our mission – patient care, education and research – this 88-page book spotlights our early pioneers and shares the work and accomplishments that have made Texas Children’s such a stellar organization for more than six decades.

As you read through the report, you’ll find beautiful images and inspirational stories that chronicle our hospital’s humble beginnings and the illustrious history that continues to define us. The front and back cover feature a then and now photo of Texas Children’s first patient, Lamaina Leigh Van Wagner.

“Since 2014 coincided with Texas Children’s 60th birthday, our goal was to create an annual report that was memorable, impactful and inspiring,” said Annual Report Editor Rosanne Moore, a member of Texas Children’s Corporate Communications team. “Our efforts involved months of intensive research, creative writing and design and multiple rounds of edits to bring this project to fruition.”

The success of this monumental endeavor would not have been possible without the collaboration from our talented Creative Services team, who meticulously designed this masterpiece with a retro feel in mind.

“We used different color tones, vintage designs and characters to help readers navigate through different time periods in Texas Children’s 60-year history,” said Assistant Director of Creative Services Owen Sears. “All of the design elements came together perfectly to produce this top-notch commemorative publication.”

Click here to read a flip book version of Texas Children’s 2014 Annual Report.

August 18, 2015

Flanked by a group of former Texas Children’s Hospital patients and hundreds of supporters, Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace looked on as a 7-foot-tall Mexican White Oak tree was hoisted to the top of what will soon be Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

“Go, go, go!” Wallace and the children cheered until the tree with was in place. “We did it!”

The tree hoisting was the highlight of an August 14 tree topping ceremony at the site of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. The milestone event marked the halfway point in the construction of the hospital, which will open its doors in 2017.

Adorned with promises made by Texas Children’s employees to The Woodlands community, the tree will remain atop the unfinished hospital for a week before being planted on facility grounds.

“All of you who are here today are here because you share our commitment, our promise, to provide the very best care when and where our families need it most,” Wallace said. “That is why we are topping out The Woodlands campus with this very special tree.”

Following the tree-topping ceremony, guests took shelter from the almost three-digit temperatures under a cooling tent, sipped lemonade and nibbled ice cream and popcorn. Some event goers got a tour of the construction site. The tours were led by Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands team members and crew from Tellespen Builders, the company that is leading the construction project.

“You coming out today means you join in our excitement about a project that will bring children the best pediatric hospital right to their community,” Tellespen CEO Howard Tellespen Jr. told the crowd. “You have helped fulfill our legacy of being part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands President Michelle Riley-Brown and Chief Medical Director Dr. Charles Hankins shared their excitement about what’s to come for the hospital and The Woodlands community during a BBQ lunch at tables set up on what will be the first floor of the hospital.

“At Texas Children’s, we are not only committed to meeting the needs of patients and families we serve, but we are committed to doing that in a way that works for them,” Riley-Brown said. “For so many, this means providing care close to home; that’s exactly why we are building Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.”

The hospital will serve children and families in the Woodlands, Kingwood, Conroe, Spring, Magnolia, Humble, Huntsville and beyond, and will build on a decade’s worth of relationships Texas Children’s has built in the community through our primary and sub-specialty care at Texas Children’s Pediatrics locations and the Texas Children’s Health Center The Woodlands.

The hospital will complete that picture, offering services in more than 20 areas of specialty care at a facility with 32 acute care beds, four operating rooms, 10 radiology rooms with 2 MRI’s, an emergency center with 22 patient rooms, a helipad, 1,000 free parking spaces and, by the end of 2017, an intensive care unit with 12 beds. Opening in 2016, the hospital also will include an outpatient facility with 74 exam rooms, 23 subspecialty clinics and a Texas Children’s Pediatrics Primary Care Clinic.

Hankins said he and The Woodlands team already have hired several top-notch physicians in hematology-oncology, endocrinology, neurology, otolaryngology and sports medicine, and that they are continuing to recruit the best and the brightest from across the world to serve patients at The Woodlands campus.

“As a resident of The Woodlands, you will have your very own community hospital right here in your own backyard,” he said. “Patients at The Woodlands campus will receive the same high quality care as those at Main Campus without having to drive more than 30 miles.”

81915TexansJuniorCheer640Patients got a special treat last week when the Houston Texans cheerleaders paid them a visit and hosted a mini Jr. cheerleading camp at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“We are going to teach you to dance like we do during the games,” one of the cheerleaders told the crowd as her squad mates handed out fluffy red and white pom-poms. “Show me how to shake ’em.”

For the next hour, the cheerleaders worked with the patients on their dance routine, played games, signed autographs and posed for photos. Excitement filled the room as the patients showed spirit for their hometown NFL team.

“I loved it!” 8-year-old Zoe Rosales squealed. “I want to be a cheerleader and practice all the time at home.”

Following the camp, the cheerleaders visited heart patients, bringing along pom-poms and autographed posters. For cheerleader Ashley S., the August 10 visit was extremely meaningful since she used to be a patient at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Ashley was diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease nine years ago and stayed at Texas Children’s Hospital for four weeks. During her time at the hospital, she enjoyed Radio Lollipop, our fully-equipped, on-site radio station that broadcasts to patients’ rooms via Texas Children’s television system.

“The staff at Texas Children’s Hospital worked really hard to make me feel like I was more than just a patient,” Ashley said. “It’s a blessing to be able to give that experience back.”

Texas Children’s teamed up with the Houston Texans earlier this year 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 education programs to give Houston-area kids the tools necessary to make healthy choices throughout their lives. Last week’s mini Jr. cheerleading camp is just one of many of the exciting events we’ll take part in throughout the year. Click here to learn about some of the other ones.