April 27, 2017

Texas Children’s is dedicated to providing wellness programs to help you achieve optimal health and well-being. Therefore, we are pleased to now offer employees who are tobacco users the opportunity to participate in our new Tobacco Treatment Program sponsored by the Employee Medical Clinic in partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center.

How does the Tobacco Treatment Program work?

This program offers behavioral counseling and tobacco-cessation medications at no cost to Texas Children’s employees who meet the following criteria:

  • Current tobacco user (e.g. cigarettes, smokeless tobacco) or
  • Recently quit within the past 12 months, and
  • Currently enrolled in one of the Texas Children’s medical insurance plans.
What can you expect from the program?

Program participants will attend a two-hour consultation at MD Anderson Cancer Center to discuss steps to quit smoking as well as nicotine replacement options. Your program enrollment costs and nicotine replacement prescriptions are covered by your Texas Children’s medical insurance plan. Participants will also receive up to eight, in-person or phone sessions with a tobacco-cessation counselor over a 12-week period as well as individual follow-up sessions every three months for one year.

Don’t wait, quit today! To learn more about this program, please contact Texas Children’s Health Coach Alexandra Alonso at 832-824-3068.

Do you know the benefits of quitting tobacco?

Decreased heart risks

Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease. Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours.

Lower cholesterol

Quitting smoking will lower the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help to slow the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.

Stop lung damage

It is important to quit smoking before you do permanent damage to your lungs. Within two weeks of quitting, you may notice it’s easier to walk up a flight of stairs and not be out of breath.

To learn more about the benefits of quitting tobacco, click here.

April 26, 2017

On April 19, Texas Children’s Green Team hosted the hospital’s annual Earth Day celebration which expanded to three locations this year for employees and staff to join in on the fun.

Besides The Auxiliary Bridge event at Texas Children’s Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Health Plan hosted exciting Earth Day events.

Vendors provided eco-friendly, cost-saving tips including how to become more energy efficient, tips on eating green, and ways to reduce waste and recycle more to promote a cleaner, healthier planet. Earl the Bear greeted guests at West Campus and Captain Clean Up entertained the crowd at Main Campus.

Informative handouts and goodies were distributed to attendees including Earth Day stickers, seeded confetti packets and customized Green Team water bottles made of 100 percent recyclable materials. At Main and West campuses, employees safely disposed of their expired and unused medications as part of Pharmacy’s Medication Disposal and Medication Take Back Program.

The Earth Day celebration also included two tree plantings at West Campus and Texas Children’s The Woodlands Hospital thanks to the generous donations from Trees for Houston.

As the Green Team prepares for next year’s Earth Day celebrations, feel free to drop them a line. If you have any green ideas, suggestions for next year or want to join the team, email teamgreen@texaschildrens.org.

Jennifer Abernathy, February 2017 Employee

Jennifer Abernathy of Endocrine and Diabetes clinic, is the latest Texas Children’s Super Star employee. “A super star is someone who is able to bring a smile to BOTH patients and co-workers.” Read more of her interview below and find out how you can nominate a Super Star.

Your name, title, and department. How long have you worked here?
Jennifer Abernathy, Clinical Program Coordinator, Endocrine & Diabetes clinic. I have worked here for almost two years.

What month are you Super Star for?
February 2017

Tell us how you found out you won the super star award?
One of the providers asked me to assist her with a meeting. When I walked in, I saw everyone was already seated in the room with a big smile on their faces!

What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do? How has the organization helped you achieve your personal and professional goals?
I was so honored to be recognized by my department. I got a little teary-eyed during the speeches! My practice administrator, manager, and several of the physicians have approached me throughout the months to offer support and advice on achieving my goals. For example, because of their support, I was able to create a poster for presentation at last year’s national pediatric endocrine nursing society conference. In addition, they encouraged me to go back to school for my master’s degree in nursing administration. I will begin later this year!

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
Patients need to feel that we are listening and genuinely want to help them. Co-workers need to feel that we really treasure them and share a team spirit. I think a super star is someone who is able to bring a smile to BOTH patients and co-workers.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I see the struggles of families trying to manage difficult health issues. Every interaction, whether it is a clinic visit, a visit at the bedside, or a phone call is my chance to let the family know that I am here to support them. So many parents are appreciative about being able to share their burden, even for a little while.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The endocrine and diabetes department has so many great people with big hearts and they are truly passionate about their patients! My department is the absolute best, hands down!

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
My definition of a leader who someone who inspires others to follow his or her example. Everyone at Texas Children’s is a leader because we all can inspire others in so many different ways – to be more kind to co-workers, to be more smart with our resources, to be a better patient advocate, to be mindful of our health, etc. The ways to inspire others is endless!

Texas Children’s neuroradiologist Dr. Michael Paldino received the 2017 Lucien Levy Best Research Article by the American Journal of Neuroradiology (AJNR).

In his article titled, “Brain Network Architecture and Global Intelligence in Children with Focal Epilepsy,” Paldino and his colleagues Drs. Wei Zhang and David Chu are working to translate quantitative imaging techniques for mapping the network of the human brain into clinical tools that will someday improve the care of children with epilepsy. Their work is helping to advance the mission of Texas Children’s as we lead with cutting-edge technology in the global community. Paldino is the first neuroradiologist at Texas Children’s to receive this prestigious award.

This award is named for the late AJNR senior editor who championed its establishment and recognizes the best original research paper accepted in 2016. Paldino’s award-winning paper was published electronically on October 13, 2016, and appeared in the February print issue.

In March, employees across Texas Children’s participated in National Nutrition Month events sponsored by the Food and Nutrition Services department, in partnership with Employee Health and Well-Being. As a result, many participants were inspired to make small changes toward living a more healthy lifestyle.

Hear from a few of these employees and view a photo gallery of the various festivities held throughout the month, themed “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Clinical Dietitian Brittney Day – “I enjoyed participating in the Chef Challenges and even wrote a blog about how to choose a variety of low-fat or fat-free dairy products as part of meals and snacks.” Click here to view the blog.

Account Representative Alysha Grant – “I started my weight loss journey three years ago in March and to date I have lost 92 lbs. It takes a conscious decision and effort to make changes which can improve your life. Celebrate your success along the way and recognize the small steps of progress you make! I always push forward and remember I am better than I was yesterday.”

Registered Nurse Norma Terrazas – “As health care workers, we truly have to take care of ourselves first in order to take better care of others, our patients and our own families. We are the only ones who can put our best foot and fork forward. Whether you decide to dine in or eat out, every bite counts. I believe that is the spirit of National Nutrition Month.”

Did you know?

Texas Children’s offers a Health Coaching and Nutrition Consulting program at no cost to employees. Visit the Well-Being site on Connect to learn more.

Seven surgeons in the Texas Children’s Hospital Department of Surgery received Faculty Awards for Excellence in Patient Care from Baylor College of Medicine. The awardees will be formally recognized at the Baylor Annual Education Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 18.

There are three categories of awards to recognize clinical excellence: Early Career, Star Award for mid-career faculty and Master Clinician for senior faculty members. The Early Career and Star Awards replaced the Rising Star Awards, which were given in previous years.

“I am immensely proud of the clinical expertise and accomplishments of our surgeons at Texas Children’s – including those who received recognition this year and those who will be honored in upcoming years,” said Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., Texas Children’s surgeon-in-chief.

Early Career Awards

Four Texas Children’s surgeons received Early Career Awards: Dr. Carlos Mery from Congenital Heart Surgery; Dr. Laura Monson from Plastic Surgery; Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria from Pediatric Surgery; and Dr. Julina Ongkasuwan from Otolaryngology.

Early Career Award recipients are full-time instructors or assistant professors who spend at least 50 percent of their time engaged in patient care and have been in clinical practice as a Baylor faculty member for between two and five years.

The review committee examines applications for clinical excellence and expertise, a consistently high quality of patient care, professionalism and communication, leadership potential, the ability to work effectively with faculty, staff, students and administrators, and continuous service to the Baylor community.

Star Awards

Star Awards were given to Dr. Jeffrey Heinle from Congenital Heart Surgery, Dr. Chester Koh from Urology and Dr. Allen Milewicz from Pediatric Surgery.

Star Award recipients are full-time assistant professors, associate professors or professors engaged in patient care for at least 50 percent of their time, who have at least six years of clinical service as a Baylor faculty member. Faculty members who have transferred from other institutions and have comparable years of service are eligible for the award after three years as Baylor faculty members.

The Star Award committee bases decisions on similar criteria to the Early Career Awards adding the factors of local, regional or national reputation and clinical innovation.

“The dedication to their patients and families shines through for these Early Career and Star Award recipients,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, associate surgeon-in-chief for clinical affairs at Texas Children’s. “They set wonderful examples for their surgical teams, fellows and residents to follow.”

April 25, 2017

In 2012, we first met the Perkins sextuplets on Connect when they were born 10 weeks premature at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Today, these babies aren’t so little anymore. On April 23, Andrew, Benjamin, Caroline, Allison, Levi and Leah celebrated their fifth birthday.

“Part of me can’t believe we made it this far,” Lauren Perkins said. “I remember when they were little babies dreaming of this time. If I can make it until they are four or five and we’ll be past all these bottles and the potty training and the diapers, then we’ll know we’re good. We definitely survived the little years.”

For Lauren and her husband Dave, every day is a busy day in the Perkins home, especially when you have to keep up with six energetic five year olds who will start Kindergarten in the fall. Leah, who stayed at Texas Children’s neonatal intensive care unit much longer than her siblings, already attends a special school for children with developmental and physical disabilities.

So, what is a typical day like in the Perkins home? Recently, we visited the family to find out and to see how much their babies have grown over the last five years.

Referred to as the Perkins Pack – Texas’ first surviving set of sextuplets – a typical day includes preschool class three days a week, swim, soccer and dance classes. While they love to listen to music, watch TV and play outside, they also enjoy helping their mom cook. The sextuplets also have plenty of chores to do around the house like making their beds and picking up their toys. They are at an age where they all enjoy playing together.

“It’s definitely a lot of teamwork for me and my husband,” Perkins said. “I take care of them during the day, and when Dave gets home from work in the evening, he prepares dinner, gives them baths, and is very involved in their day-to-day lives including being an assistant coach on their little soccer team.”

The Perkins never imagined that they would be blessed with six beautiful babies. After struggling with infertility, the couple decided to try one round of intra-uterine insemination and ovulatory stimulating drugs to conceive what they hoped would be their first child.

“It’s pretty crazy that I carried six babies at once and they’re all here and we’re all good,” Perkins said. “It’s a miracle and a true testament of what God can do.”