October 23, 2018

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Lesly Reyes, Guest Services Representative, Guest Services Department. I’ve been part of Texas Children’s Hospital for four years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was completely caught off guard. My manager called me into her office for what I thought was the usual daily/weekly update. Before arriving to her office, she had me pick up some copies in the conference room and said one of the copies was for me to keep. It was actually a note congratulating me for the Super Star Recognition.

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 am absolutely humbled by this recognition. This organization has rewarded me with the opportunity of professional and personal growth and support. Texas Children’s has literally helped and watched me grow. I started my journey here as a 15-year-old junior volunteer and now I’m 22 years old working to accomplish my educational and professional goals. The achievement of those goals would not be possible without the endless opportunities this hospital has offered me. This award is just a reminder that the only three hours of sleep I get and continuous hard work are definitely worth it. And the best part is that this is just the beginning.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
Commitment, Dedication, and Service. Someone who’s devoted and passionate about what they do. Someone who is constantly striving not just for their success, but for the success of those surrounding them – patients, families, and co-workers.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I love my job. The act of service itself is rewarding on its own. My motivation for going above and beyond is rooted on moments when a brief encounter can have such a positive impact in someone’s life. I want to continue working hard so that I can proudly wear scrubs and a Texas Children’s Hospital t-shirt and finally say I have accomplished my dream to work with one of the best teams that strives to help and save children’s lives.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about working at Texas Children’s Hospital is the experience and knowledge I gain every day from patients, co-workers, and leaders. You learn something new every day. Honestly, the atmosphere, the smiles, and the children make it hard not to love this place. Also, the fact that we can implement the Texas Children’s core Values into our daily lives is rewarding enough.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
I was glancing over Texas Children’s Blogs and my eye caught a phrase that our leader strongly advocates and it has always reminisced in my mind. “Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time.” – Mark Wallace. It’s an excellent daily reminder that everything we do can get us a step closer to our goals. Leadership is measured not only on your accomplishments, but rather in your influence leading others to their own success.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank everyone for their endless support and encouragement to help reach my educational goals.

The Periwinkle Foundation and Texas Children’s Hospital have teamed up with H-E-B to offer limited-edition reusable shopping bags featuring original Making A Mark artwork created by children touched by cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Just in time for the holidays, the bags will be sold in various H-E-B locations in the Houston and McAllen area as an effort to help raise awareness about childhood cancer.

“We are proud to partner with H-E-B to create these unique grocery bags that spotlight two very special pieces of original artwork created by these young artists,” said Erin Locke, Community Programs Director at The Periwinkle Foundation. “Raising awareness about childhood cancer is so important, and we are very grateful that H-E-B has joined us in this initiative to help spread the word.”

The one-of-a-kind shopping bags highlight artwork from past Making A Mark artists, Bethany and Blanca. Lost in the Sunflowers by Bethany, 12, showcases a young boy in a cowboy hat admiring a vibrant sunflower in a sea of rich foliage while Untitled by Blanca, 15, depicts the different outlooks on life by showcasing the positive and negative through bright and dark colors.

“This project is meaningful to H-E-B Partners (employees) who have volunteered with The Periwinkle Foundation’s Arts in Medicine program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers,” said Lacey Dalcour-Salas, H-E-B Public Affairs. “We have showcased patient artwork through the Making A Mark exhibition at two of our store locations and look forward to sharing their inspiration with our customers while increasing awareness of childhood cancer with the creation of this reusable bag.”

Since 2001, The Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s has brought unique opportunities for self-expression, empowerment and development of coping skills to patients and their families while enhancing the healing environment and treatment experience in a variety of settings including outpatient and inpatient care areas. Periwinkle’s Arts and Creative Writing Program culminates each year in Making A Mark®, a travelling exhibition of more than 350 pieces of art and creative writing by children and teens touched by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

These limited-edition bags will be available for sale at more than 30 H-E-B locations across Houston while supplies last.

October 16, 2018

Sweeping views of the Houston skyline from high atop the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower were the backdrop for a special ceremony to formally dedicate the 23rd floor as the Direct Energy Patient Floor. The floor will serve as the new home of the Heart Center’s Cardiac Patient Care Unit.

Texas Children’s and Direct Energy executives, as well as physicians, staff and volunteers celebrated the milestone alongside U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, and State Representative Sarah Davis. A bright orange ribbon cutting ceremony followed remarks from Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace, Manu Asthana, president of Direct Energy Home, and Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny.

“This facility, with all its new technologies, is something that we’ve all accomplished together,” Penny said. “But the point of all this technology is to shorten these children’s hospital stays, to reduce the number of operations they need, and to give them back their childhood. Direct Energy has been with us from the start and has helped us see it through. And we owe them a heartfelt thank you.”

Following the ribbon cutting, the festivities continued as Direct Energy volunteers visited patient rooms with the Direct Energy Fun Cart, which is full of toys and activities for patients and their families to enjoy during their hospital stay.

In 2015, Direct Energy committed $5 million to Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital to support the expansion of the Heart Center. It is the largest corporate gift ever made to a Texas Children’s campaign priority. With Direct Energy’s generous support, Texas Children’s is able to provide highly specialized care to even more children who come to the hospital for help – and particularly to those who are the most critically ill and have the most complex cardiac conditions.

To learn more about the Heart Center visit texaschildrens.org/heart.

On October 12, hundreds of guests attended the 11th annual Celebration of Champions fashion show and luncheon at River Oaks Country Club to honor event participants and to raise money for Texas Children’s Cancer Center.

During the event, pediatric cancer patients and survivors from Texas Children’s Cancer Center were escorted down the runway by local philanthropists or “Community Champions.” One patient, Max Boatwright, walked with our very own therapy dog, Elsa, who was guided by Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Sarah Herbek.

“This event really demonstrates the progress we’ve made in the treatment of childhood cancer, and it celebrates our patients, who are our champions,” said Dr. Susan Blaney, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “We’re also so grateful for the community of Houston, which so strongly supports our mission, and we’re celebrating those champions today as well.”

The event was chaired by Sidney Faust, Judi McGee, Elsie Eckert and Scott Basinger, who have overseen the luncheon each year since its inception. Thanks to underwriting by Faust Distributing Company and Mach Industrial Group, Inc., each patient was able to keep his or her hand-picked outfit – much to the delight of the models.

All funds raised during the luncheon will benefit Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Long-Term Survivor Program, one of the nation’s only long-term childhood cancer survivor programs that sees survivors through adulthood. Today, more than 30,000 long-term pediatric cancer survivors nationwide are enrolled in Texas Children’s Passport for Care, an online resource developed at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine that provides individualized health care information to guide care for effects from childhood cancer treatment.

Golfers wore their baddest pants, played their best golf and raised more than $500,000 for Texas Children’s Newborn Center at the Clubs of Kingwood last week. The Bad Pants Open, an annual golf tournament now in its 21st year, has raised more than $6.5 million in the past two decades to support continued innovation and excellence in the research, treatment and care of critically ill and premature infants as well as helping to fund support services for families with babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Presented by RBC Wealth Management/Capital Markets and chaired by Rob Cooksey, vice president of Texas Aromatics, golfers enjoyed breakfast provided by Chick-Fil-A, a long drive exhibition by Dan Boever and lunch on the course provided by Beck’s Prime. Players also enjoyed complimentary pre-golf stretching provided by Reach Stretch Studios and live on-site broadcasting by ESPN 97.5 Houston, the tournament’s media partner.

The event featured a post-play awards ceremony and dinner catered by Swift Events, where players were awarded plates painted by Texas Children’s patients for both the best golf scores and baddest pants. Monique Landor, a NICU nurse at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, was presented with the NICU Nurse of the Year award, a special recognition awarded at each tournament.

More than 2,500 critically-ill and premature infants receive essential care in Texas Children’s NICU each year, many of whom are born at nearby Houston-area hospitals. Texas Children’s is the nation’s largest NICU and one of only two Level IV NICUs in the greater Houston area. The next Bad Pants Open golf tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, 2019. More information is available at www.badpantsopen.com.

Heidi Allen rolled up the sleeve of her Kangaroo Crew uniform and looked stoically ahead as a nurse with Employee Health & Wellness gave her an annual flu vaccine.

Allen, a respiratory therapist with the Pediatric Intensive Transport Team, said during one of Employee Health and Wellness’ recent flu vaccine events that she gets the flu shot every year to protect herself as well as her patients and their families.

“Many are immunocompromised and don’t have the ability to fight off infections like we do,” Allen said. “I just think it’s a very responsible thing to do.”

Allen is one of 8,395 Texas Children’s employees who have gotten their flu shot, bringing our vaccinated employee population to 60 percent. The remaining 40 percent of Texas Children’s employees are highly encouraged to get their free flu vaccine from Employee Health and Wellness at one of the remaining scheduled flu vaccine events or by contacting Employee Health and Wellness to schedule a time to come by the Employee Health Clinic to receive a shot.

Employees who receive their flu vaccine by November 2, 2018, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Nutri Ninja Pro Blenders. Employee Health will email winners at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7.

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 coworkers, family, friends, and their patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts this year’s flu season will begin in October. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and its potentially serious complications. To learn more about the upcoming flu season, click here.

See photos of your colleagues getting their flu shots below.

Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital. Employee Health will administer free flu vaccines to Texas Children’s employees, Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities, Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees and volunteers of Texas Children’s Hospital.

Upon vaccination at Texas Children’s, staff will receive a 2018-2019 flu season sticker to place on their badges.

In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See In order to protect our patients from exposure to influenza, employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions should wear a surgical mask when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the influenza season. See Required Influenza Vaccination Policy and Procedure for more details.

Texas Children’s employees are to complete their Flu Vaccine Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal prior to attending a flu vaccination event.*

This process greatly reduced the wait times for flu vaccination last year, as well as eliminated the need to scan or fax the Flu Vaccine Consent Forms to Employee Health. Click here to view a quick video tutorial on how to access the flu vaccine consent form online. For instructions on how to log in to the portal click here or click here to view step-by step instructions.

NEW PROCESS: Employees who receive their flu vaccine outside of Texas Children’s can easily submit their attestation and proof of vaccination via this online form. Employee Health will no longer accept proof of vaccination via fax or email.

If you have any questions, please contact Employee Health Services at 832-824-2150, option 2.

* Baylor College of Medicine employees working in Texas Children’s facilities will continue to complete paper consent forms when they receive the flu vaccine.

October 15, 2018

The Clinical Research Center/Research Resources Office presented the Clinical Research Award for Third Quarter 2018 to Ananth Iyer, Project Manager, Quality Assurance/Quality Control, Department of Pediatrics – Research Resources Office.

This award was established by the Clinical Research Center in collaboration with the Research Resources Office to recognize and honor individual contributions to protecting the best interest of the research subjects and compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

“I joined the Research Resources Office (RRO) in 2014 as a Senior Research Coordinator and am currently in a Quality Assurance (QA) role,” said Iyer. “I take pride in providing support for good quality and compliance in the clinical trials that we undertake. I’m highly motivated by the care and options that clinical research studies provide to patients and never forget that their safety and protection is our top priority. I enjoy the teamwork with which clinical care and research come together in the RRO and I deeply appreciate the RRO for providing me (a lifelong student) with this opportunity.”