February 28, 2017

Texas Children’s Hospital was recently re-verified as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and the Texas Department of State and Health Services.

During the re-verification process, the American College of Surgeons evaluated whether Texas Children’s Hospital met criteria put forth in its Committee on Trauma’s manual, Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient. The evaluation included a lengthy and through questionnaire as well as a site visit.

The evaluation found no deficiencies and listed multiple strengths highlighting the excellent multidisciplinary efforts, leadership, quality improvement, and commitment to research by the hospital and its staff.

The trauma center is led by Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, medical director, and Christi Reeves, the director of trauma services.

There are only 49 Level 1 pediatric trauma centers nationwide. Texas Children’s Hospital was first verified as one in 2010. The re-verification process occurs every three years.

Texas Children’s Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Program recently earned national accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA). Texas Children’s is among only six pediatric programs nationwide, and the only one in the southwest, to be awarded this high level of distinction.

“This accreditation is a recognition of the care that our program provides for children who suffer from PH,” said Texas Children’s pulmonologist Dr. Nidhy Varghese. “It is an honor to collaborate with other PH specialists across the country to advance the understanding and treatment of this lung condition that can affect heart function.”

The PHA designation means a lot for patient families like Jessica Johnson, whose 11-year-old daughter Kayleigh, was diagnosed with PH two and a half years ago.

Prior to her daughter’s diagnosis, Kayleigh experienced multiple fainting episodes with exercise. After seeing several pediatric cardiologists in their home state of Louisiana, Kayleigh finally received a diagnosis of PH, but her condition was so far advanced that she was in severe right heart failure. Since their local hospital did not have the resources to treat her condition, the family came to Texas Children’s Hospital for treatment.

“To know that my child is receiving state-of-the-art treatment reassures our decision in choosing the PH team at Texas Children’s as Kayleigh’s care facility,” Johnson said. “My husband and I are extremely happy to hear that Texas Children’s received accreditation from PHA.”

In order to be designated an accredited PH Care Center, a program must demonstrate dedication to making a proper diagnosis and have the capacity to appropriately and comprehensively manage PH patients through a set of criteria established by the PHA’s Scientific Leadership Council and PHCC Oversight Committee.

“PH is a rare disease which requires care from highly trained specialists,” said Dr. George Mallory, director of the PH Program and medical director of the Lung Transplant Program at Texas Children’s. “PHA-designated comprehensive care centers are committed to providing state-of-the-art care and therefore achieving the best possible outcomes.”

Since Kayleigh’s treatment at Texas Children’s through the PH Program, Johnson says her daughter has made great progress.

“She runs, plays, rides her bike and has gone back to taking dance lessons,” Johnson said. “Kayleigh has not had another episode since her diagnosis and she is doing many of the things she enjoyed prior to her diagnosis. I truly believe the doctors and staff at Texas Children’s saved my daughter’s life. For that, I am forever grateful.”

Texas Children’s Pulmonary Medicine is ranked No. 1 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. For more information on the PH Program, click here.

On February 23, Texas Children’s therapy dog, Elsa, celebrated her second birthday with a party thrown by patients and staff in The Zone at West Tower. To commemorate her special day, Elsa donned a colorful tutu, party hat and a birthday bandana. As you’ll see, she loved being the center of attention.

Elsa spent time greeting patients and guests, playing with her new toys, and after the children sang her a “Happy birthday” song, it didn’t take long for her to devour a dog-friendly peanut butter birthday cake.

The party also included an area where children decorated cookies and engaged in arts and crafts.

Texas Children’s wishes Elsa a very happy birthday!

Twenty years ago, a young girl named Gracie was treated for leukemia at Texas Children’s Hospital. Despite the difficult circumstances her own family was facing, support from extended family and friends empowered Gracie’s parents to have the eyes to see beyond their own situation. Within the walls of Texas Children’s Hospital and the compassionate, creative mind of Erin Kiltz, Gracie’s mother, the idea for a foundation that would bring comfort to people going through similar situations was born.

His Grace Foundation began its work on Valentine’s Day in 1997 by serving a gourmet, family style meal to the caregivers on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. This “touch of home” type of service was inspired by the support the Kiltz family received during Gracie’s time at Texas Children’s Hospital, and the realization that their strong support system was not the norm.

Today, His Grace Foundation focuses its efforts on providing physical, emotional and financial support to patients and families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, ensuring a legacy of hope and care for patients and caregivers alike.

“His Grace Foundation exists to help ease the multitude of stressors faced by families with children on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Texas Children’s Hospital,” said His Grace Foundation Executive Director Val Anderson. “We want families to be able to focus on supporting their child during the crucial treatment and recovery period.”

Some of the services offered by the foundation include: emergency funding, educational support and scholarships, arts in medicine programming, massage therapy, holiday and birthday celebrations, and temporary housing while families are required to maintain close proximity to the hospital. Additional services include a personalized gift basket that is given to patients when they arrive on the unit, necessities for family members, free parking for patient families, several monthly catered meals and weekly shopping runs.

Richard Daphne, whose daughter spent about 14 months on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, said His Grace Foundation is “wonderful in so many ways.”

In addition to providing him and his wife with housing during a bulk of the time the couple was in Houston for their daughter’s care, His Grace Foundation staff and volunteers made numerous shopping runs, purchasing necessities and items their daughter simply wanted such as fuzzy socks and soft blankets. Staff and volunteers also supplied the family with plenty of smiles and hugs.

“They brought a bright spot into what was a pretty dark time,” Daphne said. “You can tell they really love what they do.”

Child Life Specialist Regina Burdett has worked on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit for the past four years and has developed a deep appreciation for the services His Grace Foundation offers patients and families.

“The things they do go a long way,” Burdett said. “They provide things families don’t realize they need, including a fresh, friendly face and some social interaction from someone off the unit that they don’t encounter every day.”

Staff and volunteers with His Grace Foundation celebrated their 20th anniversary by doing what they do best – serving the families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Throughout the day, staff and volunteers served meals, distributed goodie bags, provided massages and spread good cheer to some of those at the hospital who need it the most.

To learn more about His Grace Foundation or offer support click here. To learn more about Texas Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant program click here.

At Texas Children’s, we are a community that cares for our patients, their families and each other, so as we get ready to celebrate National Nutrition Month® in March, it is important to remember that healthy eating is always in season.

To celebrate this year’s theme, Put Your Best Fork Forward, the Food and Nutrition Services department, in partnership with Employee Health and Well-Being, is sponsoring several events throughout the month of March. Whether you are planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when eating out, Put Your Best Fork Forward to help find your healthy eating choices. Throughout March, there will be several events and resources offered across the organization:

Celebrating National Nutrition Month Event

This event will teach you how to incorporate healthy fats into your diet, show you which foods have the most protein, provide healthy eating strategies, and much more. Our Texas Children’s health coach and registered dietitians will be present to answer your nutrition questions. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 16
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
West Campus, DOTS Kitchen corridor

Wednesday, March 22
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Main Campus, The Auxiliary Bridge

Well-Being Wednesdays
Join our Fresh Bistro chefs every Wednesday to enjoy a healthy meal while our registered dietitians and Well-Being Team provide nutritional facts and creative cooking tips.

  • Wednesday, March 8 – Taco Salad Bar with Chef Joseph
  • Wednesday, March 15 – Vietnamese Pho Station with Chef Kenya
  • Wednesday, March 22 – Gyro Station with Chef Dee
  • Wednesday, March 29 – Taco Salad Bar with Chef Lyle

Pavilion for Women, Fresh Bistro
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Healthy Plentiful Bowl Promotion at Fresh Bistro

Starting Monday, March 6, through Friday, March 31, if you purchase a minimum of five healthy plentiful bowls from the Wild Greens Salad Station, you will receive one at no cost. To learn more about the promotion, visit the Fresh Bistro at the Pavilion for Women.

Skinny Latte Challenge and Breakfast Meal Samples

Can you taste the difference between a regular latte and a skinny latte? Our registered dietitians will provide these latte options to see if you can tell difference. Enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card from Snap Kitchen.

Thursday, March 9
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Clinical Care Center Food Court and West Campus DOTS Kitchen corridor

Friday, March 24
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Meyer Building lobby
*Healthy breakfast samples will be provided!

Weekly Nutrition Tips

We are excited to announce that beginning March 1, you can receive year-round weekly nutrition and well-being tips by texting WellBeing to 882-02 (message and data rates may apply).

Check out the Texas Children’s Blog and Voice of Nursing Blog during the month of March for weekly tips about healthy eating and proper nutrition.

Resources to Support Your Nutrition

The Employee Health and Well-Being Team provides a variety of nutrition resources:
Snap Kitchen – 10 percent off purchases in store
Weight Watchers – 50 percent subsidy on membership
Health Coaching Program – no cost for Texas Children’s employees
Nutrition Consulting – no cost for Texas Children’s employees

#NationalNutritionMonth, #TexasChildrens

Use these hashtags and share pictures of your healthy meals, at work, home or while dining out, throughout the month of March. You can also submit your healthy meal photos to culture@texaschildrens.org to join our photo gallery on Connect.

For more information about proper nutrition and National Nutrition Month events at Texas Children’s, please visit the Well-being website on Connect or email wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

Amy Lucille Rockefeller, BSN, RN, Women’s Services, passed away on February 5, 2017 at the age of 39.

Amy began her career at Texas Children’s on November 28, 2011. She was a member of the inpatient Women’s Services Labor & Delivery team and an intensive care nurse. Amy was passionate about the care she provided for her patients and education/teaching. While an ICU nurse in L&D, she also took on the role of Training Partner. Amy was kind and known for her sense of humor and ability to get along with everyone. While Amy was passionate about her job, her greatest love was her daughter, Lyndsey. Amy was a true friend and will be greatly missed by her team and fellow employees.

Amy is survived by her daughter, Lyndsey; her father, Ralph; her brother, Michael and his wife, Regina; her niece, Julia; and grandmother, Avis Bass.

A Memorial Fund has been established through Wells Fargo Bank, “Amy Rockefeller Memorial” and all proceeds will directly benefit Amy’s daughter, Lyndsey who is a senior in high school this year.

Dr. Laura Monson, co-director of the Craniofacial/Craniosynostosis Clinic, was recently appointed Chief Surgical Quality and Safety Officer for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Monson was selected for the position after a thorough nationwide search and will succeed neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Luerssen, who has been the voice of surgery within Quality Operations Management at Texas Children’s driving surgical quality efforts at the hospital and throughout the system.

Among the many quality projects Luerssen was instrumental in establishing during his tenure are the OR-specific Surgical Checklist and the Surgical Quality Committee. Luerssen also was essential to the success of the hospital’s American College of Surgeons Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center Verification.

Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser and Senior Vice President/Chief Quality Officer Dr. Angelo Giardino said Monson distinguished herself in the selection process as having just the right vision and passion to lead the Texas Children’s surgical quality program into the future.

“Dr. Monson has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to improving the quality of care and quality of life for her patients as evidenced by her many cleft lip and palate and craniofacial research programs,” Fraser and Giardino said. “She is continually educating herself on quality improvement and has been an internal champion for it within the Department of Surgery.”

Monson will begin her new role on Wednesday, March 1. Click here for more information about Monson and her clinic experience and interests.