January 31, 2017

Five Texas Children’s nurses and two patients from Texas Children’s Cancer Center will get a chance of a lifetime to watch the football game at NRG Stadium this Sunday, thanks to the generosity of Texas Children’s community partners, Direct Energy and Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels Program.

Surrounded by colorful balloons and football-themed décor, Texas Children’s and Direct Energy hosted a pep rally on Tuesday at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women to present five heroic nurses with a pair of football tickets to Sunday’s game.

Evelyn Barren, a staff nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, was surprised to learn that she was one of the winners. When asked who she’d like to bring to the game, she had one special person in mind.

“I have a friend who works at Texas Children’s whose daughter is performing at the game with her high school,” Barren said. “Since she doesn’t have a Super Bowl ticket, I will surprise her with one so she can see her daughter perform at the game.”

The selected winners were among the recipients of Texas Children’s 2016 Nursing Excellence Awards. Click on the names below to read their heroic stories:
Amy Aaronson
Evelyn Barren
Colleen Brand
Leah Garza
Christopher Sturrock

Also, two Cancer Center patients – Eden Green and Cristian Beasley – are going to the championship game thanks to Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program, a nonprofit organization committed to finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Eden, an 11-year-old rare tumor patient, and Cristian, a 16-year-old leukemia patient, both have trudged a long road fighting their disease. Each has undergone at least one surgery, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and countless doctor’s visits.

Fortunately, both patients have won their battle against cancer and while both patients come back to Texas Children’s Cancer Center for routine follow up visits, each child is living a relatively normal life. Eden is pursuing acting and modeling, and Cristian, a huge football fan and former player, recently was given clearance to start playing again.

To help mark these milestones, Hyundai Hope for Wheels surprised the patients with tickets to the big game and will be capturing their experience via social media. You can follow Eden and Cristian on Sunday at @hopeonwheels (Twitter) and @hyundaihopeonwheels (Instagram). Also, click here to watch KHOU News 11’s story on Cristian’s reaction to getting to go to Sunday’s game.

Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, Cristian’s doctor at the Cancer Center, said the game day tickets are a remarkable kickoff to her patient’s own football career.

“He had a rough journey, and to think he’s recovered enough to be able to play football is amazing,” Dreyer said. “He’s given his recovery 1,000 percent, and now that work is really paying off. I’m thrilled he will get to celebrate at the game this Sunday.”

2117FOXsportspregame640When 60 million people tune in to watch the professional football championship game this Sunday, Texas Children’s patients will take center stage right before the on-the-field action during FOX Sports’ pregame show.

The segment highlighting Texas Children’s will focus on a very special football-themed party with Houston Texans defensive end, Devon Still. The party, held in December, was a treat for Cancer Center patients and their families. Devon’s daughter, Leah, who is now in remission following a battle with neuroblastoma, also joined the football-themed fun. The group, gathered at the Cancer Center, played football with Devon, made jewelry with Leah and received signed copies of the book  “I am Leah Strong.” The pair also spent time talking with patients in their rooms.

As the father of a child who battled cancer, Devon shares a unique perspective with the families. He offered words of encouragement and let the families know they are not alone in their fight, encouraging words for which one mother was especially grateful.

“We had the honor and privilege of meeting Leah [and Devon] tonight at Texas Children’s, and we also met more fighters and parents of cancer patients,” she said. “Once again, I am deeply moved, and my emotions rise to see the grave and harsh realities of childhood cancer. Being back on the ninth floor is the most humbling experience. I continually pray for a cure for all cancer.”

To watch the segment tune in to FOX this Sunday, February 5 beginning at 1 p.m.

2117meyermarketinside640Texas Children’s employees have a new place to grab breakfast, lunch, a snack, coffee or even a bite for dinner. The Meyer Market on the first floor of the Meyer Building opened January 24 and offers hundreds of fresh food options in a retail space built just for you.

Managed by Canteen, one of the nation’s leading vending machine service companies, the new noshing nook is a self-checkout market stocked with a full range of merchandise, including snacks, beverages, fresh and frozen food, ice cream and coffee from well-known venders such as Panera Bread, My Fit Foods, Hint Water and Oh Snap! pickling company.

Stored on racks and in coolers, the market’s merchandise can be purchased at a cashier-free kiosk similar to a self-checkout line at a grocery store. You can buy items with a credit or debit card, or you can set up a personal account, which gives you access to the payment system via your thumbprint, account card, mobile phone or user name. Click here to set up an account.

The Meyer Market is accessible with badge access from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The extended hours were put into place to accommodate our workforce of professionals with varying schedules.

“We are very excited to offer this new, innovative and healthy eating option to Texas Children’s,” said Senior Vice President Tabitha Rice. “We hope everyone enjoys the wide variety of merchandise at The Meyer Market and the extended hours of service.”

For more information about Canteen and the type of market that recently opened in the Meyer Building, click here.

2117heartmarathoninside640When Jack Guyre was born, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, which changes the normal flow of blood through the heart. Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles Fraser Jr. repaired the defect when Jack was 9 months old. Following a relatively healthy childhood combined with monitoring by Texas Children’s cardiologists, Dr. Henri Justino placed a stent via catheter in Jack’s heart in 2014.

Jack, now 12, isn’t restricted in his activity, and he is not on any medication. He visits Texas Children’s once a year for a check-up and enjoys playing competitive soccer. With the approval of his cardiologist, Dr. Daniel Penny, Texas Children’s cardiology chief, Jack set out to accomplish a bucket list goal – completing the 2017 Aramco Houston Half Marathon.

On January 15, in a sea thousands, Jack crossed the finish line alongside his mom and dad with an impressive time of 2:44:25. Though he will likely need to undergo heart surgery again in the future, his parents and doctors couldn’t be prouder.

“Jack has overcome challenges that none of us, thankfully, have had to face,” Penny said. “And he’s come through those with great spirit and determination.”

Click here to watch Channel 11 KHOU’s story about Jack’s extraordinary accomplishment.

2117crititicalcare640The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) held its 46th Annual Congress on January 21 to 25 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The SCCM is the largest and best attended annual meeting of the specialty of critical care.

This year, the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital’s section of Critical Care Medicine had an outstanding presence at the meeting with 28 presentations from our faculty and fellows. Highlights from our section included Junior Faculty members Barbara-Jo Achuff and Tessy Thomas, who received Star Research awards. Other highlights included research snapshot presentations from Intensive Care Unit (ICU) fellows Dalia Bashir, Nirica Borges, Melanie Kitagawa, Erin Kritz, Sonia Labarinas, Andrea Ontaneda and Chinu Onyearugbulem, and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenny Tcharmtchi.

“This has been a fantastic year for us at the SCCM,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Critical Care Dr. Lara Shekerdemian. “We are so proud of our ICU team for representing our section and Texas Children’s Hospital and for all that they are doing to advance the field.”

2117DrGreeley175Dr. Christopher Greeley, chief of the new section of Public Health Pediatrics at Texas Children’s, has been awarded a 2017 Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute grant from the TMC Foundation to study the medical and mental health care needs of children in foster care in Texas.

As part of this multi-center study in collaboration with Texas Children’s Chief Quality Officer Dr. Angelo Giardino, Greeley and his colleagues will perform a systematic review of the current knowledge of medical and mental health implications to children in foster care and identify the obstacles and successes these children have in receiving medical and mental care in Greater Houston. Following an analysis of this data, the team will develop national policy and practice recommendations to ensure children within the foster care system in Texas receive high quality medical and mental health care.

Children from representative sites across Greater Houston will be recruited for this study. These include children currently in foster care from the CPS clinic and community and Texas Children’s clinical sites as well as those children who have aged out or transitioned out of the foster care system. In addition to recruiting from these clinical sites, Greeley and his team will collaborate with community organizations that work with foster children to arrange focus group interviews of children and adolescents. Semi-structured interviews will also be conducted with current and past foster parents, and medical and mental health providers who provide care to foster children across Greater Houston.

“Our study will provide insight on what gaps currently exist in data regarding children in foster care, both at the level of clinical care and more broadly, for payers and policy makers,” said Greeley, the study’s principal investigator. “Our findings will help influence clinical policies regarding the implementation of care models for children in foster care and refine CPS policies so that services can better align with the needs of this population. Also, by providing data on the mental health care needs of this population, we hope our work will help improve Texas Medicaid reimbursement rates to enhance access to care.”

Besides Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine, other institutions participating in this study include researchers from the University of Texas at Houston and Rice University.

12517hearthealthy640There are several numbers we all know by heart: our phone numbers, dates of birth, debit and credit card PINs, and social security numbers. But do you know the most critical numbers for your heart health? That knowledge could save your life.

The Employee Medical Clinic will help you learn that information if you don’t already know if by offering heart education and blood pressure checks at no cost to employees. We encourage you to come and learn the most critical numbers in your life.

Date: Friday, February 3
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Main Campus location: Pavilion for Women, Fresh Bistro (entrance)
West Campus location: DOTS Kitchen (corridor)

In celebration of Go Red for Women, employees are encouraged to wear red on this day to raise awareness for heart disease.

Complimentary Heart Healthy Sweet
Texas Children’s is partnering with Morrison Chefs to offer heart healthy meal options in celebration of Go Red for Women. With the purchase of a heart healthy meal you will receive a complimentary heart healthy sweet* during lunchtime at the Pavilion for Women Fresh Bistro and West Campus DOTS Kitchen.

Healthy Heart Program
Year-round, the Employee Medical Clinic offers a Healthy Heart Program at no cost for employees. The program features three individual sessions with a registered dietitian who will work with you to improve your blood pressure and/or cholesterol through healthy lifestyle modifications including nutrition, physical activity, stress management and blood pressure monitoring. Click here to learn more.

For more information about the Healthy Heart Program or to make an appointment, please call ext. 4-2424.
*Free heart healthy sweet with purchase, while supplies last, to Texas Children’s badge holders wearing red.