October 17, 2017

Kristen Marie Hersey, RN, Women’s Services, passed away on July 30, 2017 at the age of 33.

Kristen was a member of the inpatient Women’s Services Labor & Delivery Team. Kristen dedicated her life to helping others and was always willing to help even when exhausted. Kristen loved her job! She considered being a nurse more of a calling than a job. Kristen cherished being able to help others bring life into the world and had a pure joy for every baby born. Kristen cared for so many people and made friends wherever she went. Kristen loved her children more than anything, and taught them to pray and thank God for all of our gifts and made sure they knew how much they are loved. Kristen was a friend to all, her loving personality, giving spirit, listening ear, and that smile that could light up the unit will be greatly missed by her team and fellow employees.

Kristen is survived by her loving husband, Shawn; children, Isla and Rowan; mother, Lisa; father, James; stepfather, Mark; Mother- and Father-in-law, Tammie and Gary; sisters, Trina Ouztz (husband, Matt) and Alli Combs (husband Drew); Sister-in-law, Kati; nieces and nephews, Emma, Liam, Eli, Lily Anne, William, Grady, Layton, Allison, Austin, Abigail; and many other loving family and friends.

October 10, 2017

More than a dozen employees recognized by the Texas Children’s Caught You Caring program got to watch the Houston Texans defeat the Tennessee Titans on October 1. The Texans-Titans game was sponsored by Texas Children’s Hospital and celebrated the National Football League’s Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to be active 60 minutes a day to help decrease childhood obesity.

In honor of the Kids Day game, Drs. Charles D. Fraser Jr. and Daniel J. Penny, along with their patient Jack Guyre, served as Coin Toss Captains. The tickets to the game were one of the benefits of Texas Children’s Hospital being the official children’s hospital of the Houston Texans football team. The goal of Texas Children’s and the Texans partnership is to inspire children to lead healthier, more active lives.

Caught You Caring is a recognition program offered to patients and families, as well as staff, to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond their role to provide compassion and kindness to another person. This could be in the care of a patient, service to a family, or in support of a coworker.

Launched in 2015 in ambulatory surgery, the now system-wide program has recognized many employees, including the 13 listed below who were honored by the program this year and were chosen to receive the additional benefit of attending the Play 60 Texans game.

Experience Consultant with Family and Patient Services Maggie Weimer said being able to reward our Caught You Caring recipients in this way is truly amazing.

“Recognizing people for their hard work goes a long way when it comes to creating a positive work environment,” she said. “So many members of our Texas Children’s family go above and beyond each and every day for our patients, families and colleagues, and we appreciate that very much.”

Texas Children’s wants to continue to recognize those who take great pride in the work they do and encourages patients, families and employees to catch someone who is making a difference. Caught You Caring boxes and cards can be found throughout the Texas Children’s system for patients and families to fill out and recognize staff. Employees can fill out a Caught You Caring form on Connect. Cards and online submissions will be distributed to leaders for staff recognition.

Click here to learn more about the Caught You Caring Program.

Click the links below to read more about this year’s Play 60 ticket recipients and how they were caught caring.

Grace Collins
William Davidson
Joyce Enochs
Heather Eppleheimer
Dr. Yong Han
Roderic Johnson
Amanda Riddle
Sandy Rodriguez
Linda Santana
Keith Thomas
Debra Udombat
Donald Wilkins
Kevin Young

From Wednesday, October 11 to Friday, October 13, Texas Children’s will co-host the largest annual nursing conference in the country, along with other local Magnet® hospitals. More than 10,000 nurses and nursing executives representing more than 20 countries will gather at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) National Magnet Conference®.

“This is such an incredible honor for Texas Children’s to co-sponsor this year’s Nursing Magnet Conference® right here in the Greater Houston area,” said Texas Children’s CNO Mary Jo Andre. “For many months, our Magnet team led by Emily Weber and Sarah Marcion has been engaged with the ANCC in planning for the conference, which I know will be an amazing success.”

The entire Magnet team handled various parts of the coordination including registering and preparing our staff volunteers to serve in a variety of roles at the conference. The team also organized a pediatric Magnet® hospital networking dinner, hospital tours including a tour for nurses from Lebanon, and a Daisy Awards luncheon where the co-founders of the Daisy Foundation will be present to greet attendees.

The Magnet Conference® is the official annual conference of the prestigious Magnet Recognition Program®, that not only recognizes the accomplishments of newly designated Magnet organizations, but provides a showcase of best nursing practices for the Magnet community that can be incorporated into their own organization’s nursing program.

When the Magnet Conference® begins this Wednesday, CNO Mary Jo Andre and Executive Vice President Dan DiPrisco will be on stage with other Magnet hospital executives as more than 10,000 attendees are welcomed at the opening session. Additionally, several of Texas Children’s nurses and staff will deliver podium presentations during the three-day Magnet Conference®. Their entries were among hundreds of entries that were submitted to the ANCC for review before being selected.

Below are the podium presentations that will be delivered by Texas Children’s staff:

  • Making Magic! Mixing Staff Nurse Expertise with Leader Support

Tarra Christopher, Maria Happe, Shannon Holland and Janet Winebar

  • Utilization of Simulation-based Design Tests in Facility Design

Maria Happe, Kerry Sembera and Gemma Elegores

  • Partnership Yields Successful Communication Strategy for Nursing

Jody Childs and Rosanne Moore

The conference also will include poster presentations, informative sessions and other activities. Stay tuned to Connect for event highlights and photos from the Magnet Conference® in an upcoming article.

Three years ago, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus opened an eight-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit thanks to a generous $1 million donation by the Lauren and Lara Camillo family. On October 9, the last chunk of a $50 million capital improvement effort expanded the unit to 22 beds, providing Texas Children’s West Campus and the entire Texas Children’s system with an opportunity to serve more patients and families that need our care.

“This is a huge milestone for West Campus,” said Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown at a ribbon cutting event and celebration. “Our staff has worked tirelessly on this project and the reward of being able to offer more to our patients and families is well worth it.”

Initially, 16 of the beds will be used for intensive care and six will be for acute care. Two of the intensive care beds have negative pressure capability and can be used for isolation. All of the beds provide more privacy for our patients and families, as well as better visibility and workflow for our nurses and other medical staff.

Located on the fourth floor of the hospital and painted in calming pastels, the unit expansion includes two large nursing stations, an advanced practice provider workspace, a simulation room, nutrition room, lactation room, call room and conference space.

The patient rooms are spacious and have a private bathroom and seating/sleep area for family. The rooms are lined with windows that face outside, letting in sunlight and allowing for great views of the hospital grounds and surrounding community. And, sliding doors permit visibility and quickly allow the care team access to the patient to address any emergency.

Equipment in the rooms and on the floor is robust and includes two blood gas machines for respiratory therapy and additional nurse station monitors. In the future, some of the rooms will be able to offer patients who need dialysis the capability of doing so from the comfort of their beds.

“When West Campus first opened, we thought we would be a stopover for patients waiting to be transferred to Main Campus, but that’s not the case, especially now with our expanded capacity,” said PICU Medical Director Dr. Matthew Pesek. “We have the ability to treat just about any patient who comes our way, no matter how complex.”

Karen Sripan, assistant clinical director of the PICU, agreed and said the planning and design of the PICU expansion began in March 2016 and was comprehensive with the goal of having an environment that allows the PICU staff to do more for their patients.

“We were very thoughtful in our design and engaged staff throughout the entire process,” Sripan said. “We also were mindful of ensuring room design consistency with the Woodlands PICU so that the layout of the rooms are familiar to staff and providers working at both campuses.”

More than half of Texas Children’s employees have stepped up to protect themselves and others against the flu by getting a flu shot. As of the end of last week, 7,572, or 59 percent, of Texas Children’s employees, medical staff, volunteers, and Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities had received a flu vaccination.

“We are off to a good start but still need to push forward,” said Jill Fragoso, director of benefits and well-being. “We are striving to achieve greater than a 90 percent vaccination rate by December 1.”

Each fall, Texas Children’s employees are asked to get vaccinated against the flu to not only protect themselves but to protect those around them – their co-workers, family, friends, and their patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts this year’s flu season will begin this month and recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and its potentially serious complications.

Texas Children’s Employee Health is administering free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, medical staff, volunteers, and Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities. Click here for more information on how to get your shot and here for the BCM Occupational Health Program schedule.

Prior to receiving your vaccine, Texas Children’s employees are to complete their Flu Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal. Click here for portal instructions. Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper consent forms when they receive the flu vaccine.

“Thank you in advance for doing the right thing and receiving your flu vaccine,” Fragoso said. “Such a small act will go a long way for you, your family, friends, co-workers, and most importantly, your patients.”

On October 2, Elsa, Texas Children’s first therapy dog, celebrated her one year anniversary at the hospital with patients and friends alike. The four-legged, full-time employee arrived in October 2016 and has brought smiles and comfort to patients, families, visitors and employees ever since.

To commemorate her special day, Elsa donned a “It’s my gotcha day!” t-shirt. She spent time greeting patients and guests, and received many cards from those who love her most. Patients also decorated new bows for Elsa’s collar and enjoyed cookies during the celebration.

Graciously funded by Judy and Bobby Shackouls, the golden retriever spends her days with her handler and Texas Children’s child life specialist, Sarah Herbek. The two collaborate with medical teams and physical and occupational therapists to provide support to patients who may be having trouble coping with hospital stays, a new diagnosis or other experiences.

Texas Children’s looks forward to celebrating many more milestones with Elsa.

Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao received the 2017 Outstanding Junior Member Award from the Child Neurology Society for her discovery of the genetic cause of a neurodevelopmental condition known as the Hypotonia Ataxia and Developmental Disorder Syndrome.

Chao is the clinical instructor in pediatric neurology at Baylor College of Medicine and physician-scientist at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s in the laboratory of Dr. Hugo J. Bellen.

Through large-scale collaborative efforts with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) and Baylor Genetics Laboratory (BGL), Chao’s research studies revealed the pathogenic role of damaging genetic changes in Early B-Cell Factor 3 (EBF3) in neurodevelopment and cognition. Her research continues to focus on elucidating the role of EBF3 dysfunction and transcriptional dysregulation of neural circuits in highly prevalent childhood disorders such as intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.

Dr. Davut Pehlivan, a medical resident in pediatric neurology and physician-scientist at Baylor College of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. James Lupski, is the recipient of the 2017 M. Richard KoenigsBerger Scholarship Award from the Child Neurology Society for his studies related to arthrogryposis patients.

Pehlivan analyzed 108 arthrogryposis families using whole exam sequencing approach as part of Baylor-Hopkins Center for Mendelian Genomics initiative. His studies made important contributions to understanding the disease pathogenesis by showing evidence for oligogenic inheritance in arthrogryposis and yielded several novel genes causing arthrogryposis.

The Child Neurology Society established this scholarship award in 2013 to honor the memory of . The awardee is selected between CNS Junior Members/residents submitting the best abstract in the areas of neonatal neurology, genetic diseases, HIV or metabolic disorders.