June 21, 2016

62216journal640The third issue of The Journal of Texas Children’s Hospital was recently released along with its companion website for online readers. Visit the site here to get a look at the third issue, which features a special section on the separation of conjoined twins Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata.

The special section is organized into three main parts: pre-surgery, surgery and post-surgery, all of which demonstrate the expertise, talent and comprehensive care available at Texas Children’s. The section lays out the extent to which our team nurtured a trusting rapport with the family, and skillfully cared for and thoughtfully treated the Mata babies from the time they were born until a little more than a year later when they were discharged to their home in west Texas.

Additional features of this edition’s The Journal include:

  • A column from Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace detailing how we have grown as an organization in size, staff and programming in order to continue to meet our ever increasing demand and to be the court of last resort for so many in need.
  • An in-depth look at the U.S. News and World Report rankings, what they mean, how they are formed and whether they have made Texas Children’s, which is ranked the 4th best children’s hospital in the nation, a better, stronger health care institution.
  • A story about the opening of the Special Isolation Unit at Children’s Hospital West Campus and how it demonstrates how Texas Children’s runs toward problems instead of away from them when it comes to the wellbeing of children and their families.
  • An intriguing piece about the research Texas Children’s is doing on a promising treatment using fecal bacteriotherapy to treat inflammatory bowel disease in children.
  • A spotlight on the successful care of morbidly adherent placenta, a potentially fatal condition, in pregnant women.
  • A column from Dr. Stanley Spinner, the chief medical officer of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, about retail-based after-hours care and Texas Children’s efforts to fill that gap by opening quality pediatric urgent care center across the Houston area.

The Journal launched in January 2013, replacing Shine magazine as the organization’s flagship publication. The magazine shares Texas Children’s advancements with intelligent, compelling stories featuring our people, our patients and timely, broadly relevant topics. Along with a philanthropic audience of about 30,000 recipients, the twice-yearly Journal is distributed to another 20,000 recipients, including:

  • CEOs and clinical leaders at all U.S. children’s hospitals and women’s hospitals
  • All U.S. medical school deans and chairs of pediatrics, pediatric surgery, OB/GYN and genetics
  • Physicians in pediatrics, 25 pediatric sub-specialties and women’s health services in Texas and four contiguous states

3416ChristianSchaaf175Dr. Christian Schaaf, an assistant professor of Human and Molecular Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and investigator at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s, recently received the Baylor College of Medicine Rising Star Clinician Award.

This annual award recognizes outstanding up and coming clinicians for their exemplary contributions to clinical excellence and expertise, consistent high level of patient care, commendable leadership skills and continuous exemplary service to the Baylor community.

Schaaf’s contributions have not gone unnoticed by his Texas Children’s and Baylor colleagues. “Besides Schaaf being an internationally recognized researcher and educator,” Dr. Robert Voigt says “his constant above and beyond dedication to his clinical work makes him a superstar.”

“In addition to expertise across all competencies of clinical care, Dr. Schaaf’s dedication to and advocacy for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, both within and outside the clinic, is unrivaled,” said Voigt, head of the Section of Developmental Pediatrics and director of the Autism Center and Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics at Texas Children’s.

As a Texas Children’s medical geneticist and NRI researcher, Schaaf devotes much of his time to solving complex genetic medical mysteries to help families obtain a diagnosis for their children’s previously unknown neurological conditions. Schaaf has made groundbreaking contributions in advancing the understanding of the genetic basis of autism spectrum disorder and the discovery of several genes for neurodevelopmental disorders and rare genetic syndromes. Two of these rare syndromes now bear his name: Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf Optic Atrophy syndrome and Schaaf-Yang syndrome.

“It is impossible to fully convey how thankful we are for Dr. Schaaf,” said Amy Bell, whose child is a patient of Dr. Schaaf’s. “He is a true godsend to our family. His authentic, genuine care on such a human level is, without a doubt, the standard of excellence in medicine.”

In addition to receiving Baylor’s Rising Star Clinician Award, Schaaf has been the recipient of other prestigious awards including the Seldin-Smith Award for Pioneering Research and the Bowes Award in Medical Genetics for demonstrating a proven record of academic accomplishments, exemplary research and clinical excellence early in his career.

“I am humbled to receive the Rising Star Clinician Award,” Schaaf said. “Receiving this recognition is a tremendous honor, and I really owe it to the outstanding clinical and research environment and my instrumental mentors here at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.”

62216jjwatt640When 8-year-old Texas Children’s patient Jeston Adams woke up June 12, he could barely contain his excitement. It was the moment he had been waiting for; the day he was going to meet his hero – J.J. Watt.

Jeston, whose wide smile and personality light up a room, spent more than three hours having lunch, sharing stories, playing video games and talking about his road to a heart transplant with the larger-than-life Houston Texans defensive end.

In January, congenital heart surgeon Dr. Iki Adachi and his team implanted the HeartWare® HVAD® into Jeston’s small chest, connecting the device to his heart. A red pack filled with the VAD’s controller and battery is now a fixture on Jeston’s back, allowing him to enjoy his childhood as he awaits a much-needed transplant. He is closely monitored by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Aamir Jeewa, VAD coordinator Barb Elias, and the Heart Center’s heart failure team.

“Giving patients like Jeston an opportunity to meet a hero and be inspired by someone like J.J. is really uplifting,” said Dr. Jeff Dreyer, medical director of the Heart Transplant Program. “His positive attitude and moments like this keep him going on the long road ahead.”

After the visit, Watt had one more surprise for Jeston before they said goodbye – an Xbox. Jeston was thrilled, and without hesitation wrapped his arms around Watt’s waist for a big hug. The starstruck patient now calls Watt his brother and hopes this is just the beginning of their friendship.

“Thank you for everything!,” Jeston said grinning from ear to ear. “I hope I see you again one day.”

Jeston and his mom weren’t the only ones who had a memorable day. Watt posted a photo and video of his time with Jeston on social media and received an overwhelming, supportive response.

“He is one of the nicest, kindest, funniest kids that I have ever met. He has an old soul combined with the energy and enthusiasm of a child,” Watt wrote about Jeston. “He spoke openly about his condition and the pain that he endures, but he never complained about it or used it as an excuse. He never stopped smiling the entire day and he, without question, has inspired me to attack each day with a smile and a positive mentality.”

Click here to watch highlights from Jeston’s special day.

62216TCHPquilt640Debbie Spence, LVN, recently designed a colorful signature quilt to honor the nurses from the Texas Children’s Health Plan (TCHP) where she works as a medical compliance auditor.

“I’ve made special quilts in the past, but most, if not all, were for a specific person or to honor someone who was going through a difficult time,” Spence said. “I felt in my heart that making a quilt would honor the nurses I work with and making a signature quilt would be the best way to accomplish this honor.”

Designed with various combinations of fabrics to represent the uniqueness of our nurses, the individual quilt squares contain the name, nursing school and the year of graduation for each TCHP nurse including the nurses from The Centers for Women and Children in Greenspoint and Southwest.

“Everyone was very supportive of this project,” Spence said. ”It was such a joy to create this quilt to represent us – the Texas Children’s Health Plan.”

Spence’s quilt will be displayed in the TCHP’s new offices at 6330 West Loop South and will serve as a constant reminder of how special and dynamic our nurses are at the TCHP.

62216urgentcare640Texas Children’s Hospital is proud to announce the opening of its sixth Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinic. Located at 10420 Louetta Road, Suite 104, Texas Children’s Urgent Care The Vintage offers high-quality, efficient and affordable pediatric care at a convenient northwest Houston location.

“We are very excited to open our sixth location. This allows us to expand the care that has been provided after hours at the FM 1960 Cypresswood location to the entire northwest Houston community,” said Kay Tittle, president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. “Our Urgent Care sites provide an immense resource for the communities we serve and I am looking forward to seeing the impact this location will have on the children and families of northwest Houston.”

Texas Children’s Urgent Care The Vintage is open Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. The clinic is staffed by board certified pediatricians who have privileges at Texas Children’s Hospital. Pediatricians diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments, illnesses and conditions, including: asthma, strep throat, fever, minor burns, influenza, ear infections, allergic reactions and more. Procedures provided include: antibiotic injections, breathing treatments, fracture care and splinting, IV (intravenous) fluids, lab services, laceration repair and X-rays onsite.

Oftentimes, families turn to an emergency center after hours, on weekends or perhaps even during the day, when a significant event occurs with their child. Though the emergency center is the right place for some incidents or ailments, the majority of the time minor illnesses can and should be treated at a pediatric urgent care facility.

Texas Children’s Urgent Care accepts major insurance plans and has self-pay rates, which are less than emergency center charges, and there are no hospital fees. A complete list of insurance plans is available on the website. Texas Children’s Urgent Care specializes in after-hours care, but does not replace the need for children to have a general pediatrician. Routine physical exams and vaccinations are services that should be obtained from a general pediatrician, and these services are not available at Texas Children’s Urgent Care.

Texas Children’s Urgent Care has five additional convenient locations:

  • Cinco Ranch located at 9727 Spring Green Blvd., Suite 900 Katy, TX 77494
  • Memorial located at 12850 Memorial Drive, Suite 210 Houston, TX 77024
  • The Woodlands located at 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite C300 The Woodlands, TX 77381
  • Main Campus located at 6621 Fannin, Suite 2240 Houston, TX 77030
  • Pearland located at 2701 Pearland Parkway, Suite 190, Pearland, TX 77581

62116USNEWS640The 2016-17 edition of Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report ranked Texas Children’s Hospital fourth in the country out of nearly 200 pediatric institutions. For the eighth straight year, Texas Children’s Hospital was placed on the Best Children’s Hospital Honor Roll, and for the first time Texas Children’s has a no. 1 ranked service – Pulmonology.

Texas Children’s national rankings for each subspecialty area are:

#1     Pulmonology
#2     Cancer

#2     Cardiology and Heart Surgery
#2     Neurology and Neurosurgery
#3     Nephrology (kidney disorders)
#5     Urology
#6     Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
#11   Diabetes and Endocrinology
#14   Neonatology
#21   Orthopedics

Five services are ranked in the top 5 percent, and two services are in the top 10 percent. Also, based on last year’s rankings, eight services made gains or maintained their current top rankings.

“These rankings continue to reflect the steadfast commitment Texas Children’s has to providing the highest-quality patient care and outcomes possible for the families we serve,” said President and CEO Mark A. Wallace. “The diligent efforts and enthusiasm our staff and employees display every day for Texas Children’s mission, along with our outstanding results in this survey, proves we are unquestionably the best in Texas.”

To be considered for the honor roll distinction, a hospital must have high rankings in at least three specialties. Texas Children’s Hospital is 1 of only 11 hospitals on the Honor Roll this year. We are also the only pediatric hospital in Texas – and the Southwest region – to make the Honor Roll all eight times since the specialty-specific rankings began in the 2009 – 2010 survey year.

In addition to ranking children’s hospitals overall, U.S. News & World Report also ranks the top 50 pediatric hospitals in 10 major subspecialty areas.

“From a measurement perspective, our survey results demonstrate how hard we’re working as an organization to deliver high quality care to our patients,” Wallace said. “The more consistently we deliver high quality care and the safer we deliver that care to our patients, the better their outcomes are, and the better our overall numbers are.”

The results also reflect the diligent efforts of a solid structure focused on the U.S. News survey. The process of compiling and refining our data is an ongoing challenge, which will continue to improve under the leadership of Texas Children’s USNWR Operations team, including Dr. Angelo Giardino, Trudy Leidich, Paola Alvarez-Malo, Elizabeth Pham, Roula Smith.

“These rankings continue to reflect what we all already know, that the trajectory of Texas Children’s is absolutely incredible,” Wallace said.

For more information about the U.S. News rankings, visit:

U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll 2016-2017
Rank Hospital
1 Boston Children’s Hospital
2 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
3 Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
4 Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
5 Seattle Children’s Hospital
6 Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
7** Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
7** Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
9 Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora
10** Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, Calif.
10** Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

*2 points per specialty for ranking in highest 5 percent of hospitals; 1 point if in next 5 percent.


June 14, 2016

61516RadioLollipop640Radio Lollipop is searching for volunteers who can bring energizing music to patient rooms through the volunteer-run radio station at Texas Children’s Hospital Main Campus.

Radio Lollipop broadcasts to all patient rooms from the Kids’ Own Studio located on the 16th floor of West Tower. Children can phone in song requests, sing along to the songs on the radio, tell jokes and serve as a guest DJ every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For children who are not able to make it to the studio, volunteers visit them in their rooms where they do crafts, play games and participate in call-in contests to win prizes. Volunteers deliver prizes to the winning patients on their floors as well as patients who need an extra pick me up to brighten their evening.

“We depend entirely on our volunteers to keep our radio station up and running,” said Texas Children’s Child Life Activity Coordinator Leslie White. “In the past month, we had to cancel our Radio Lollipop services three times due to not having enough volunteers which means we missed out on visiting more than 500 patients. We hope to get an adequate amount of volunteers this year so we can continue providing this amazing program to our patients and families.”

As a completely volunteer-run program, Radio Lollipop is always looking for energetic, committed and dedicated volunteers who want to add fun to the lives of our patients while making their hospital stay more enjoyable and less frightening.

Radio Lollipop volunteers must be 18 years or older (no high school students) and commit to Radio Lollipop for at least six months. Orientation is offered to new volunteers and individuals are welcome to shadow Radio Lollipop volunteers to watch the radio program in action before making a commitment to volunteer.

No radio experience is necessary. If you have what it takes to be one of the few, the proud, the silly, click here to access the online application form. Be sure to indicate that you want to volunteer for Radio Lollipop under the “Please provide any additional information about yourself,” portion of the application form.

For more information about Radio Lollipop including a virtual tour of the studio, click here.