January 29, 2019

Texas Children’s is taking convenient pediatric subspecialty care to another level as we rebrand our Health Centers. All eight are now branded as Specialty Care Clinics and are located throughout the Greater Houston area. Our Specialty Care locations provide many of the same pediatric subspecialty services available at our three hospital locations, just closer to patients and their families.

“A few years ago we began rebranding our Health Centers and as Specialty Care Clinics because that more accurately describes the services we provide our families in the community,” said Julie Barrett, director of Outpatient and Clinical Support. “This rebranding is better aligned with Texas Children’s marketing messaging. We really are providing the right care, at the right time, in the right location, and this change more accurately conveys our strategic direction.”

The signage, Epic programming and patient materials now include the Specialty Care name and logo. Texas Children’s has expertise in more than 40 pediatric subspecialties. The name “specialty care” reflects and is more in line with our service offering of specialized care. Many of the same doctors who treat patients at our Medical Center Campus care for patients at specialty care locations. The rebranding of the centers was implemented through a project partnership between IS, Facilities and Marketing.

The seven Houston-area Specialty Care Clinics now include: Texas Children’s Specialty Care Bellaire, Upper Kirby, Eagle Springs, Kingwood, Clear Lake, Cy-Fair, and Sugar Land. And in October 2018, the first Specialty Care Clinic opened in Austin to provide our high quality specialized clinical and diagnostic care to children in the fastest-growing city in Texas. Although each location offers different services, they include a wide range of diagnostic services to accommodate the specific needs identified in the respective communities.

“As we continue to grow in the community and provide exceptional patient care, transitioning from Health Center to Specialty Care clarifies our purpose of creating a healthier future for children,” director of Outpatient and Clinical Support West Campus, Kara Abrameit said. “It renews our commitment to providing world class specialty care close to home for our patients.”

Special provider note:
For providers who would like to put in orders, the order class has changed from Health Center (HC) to Specialty Care (SC).

Click here for more information about Texas Children’s Specialty Care.

The countdown clock is ticking. In less than 24 hours, Texas Children’s Nursing will host its sixth virtual town hall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. this Wednesday, January 30, at the Pavilion for Women Conference Center.

Nursing has partnered with the Corporate Communications team to organize this event to engage our team of more than 3,000 dedicated nurses that make up Texas Children’s largest employee population.

Hosted by Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre’, the town hall will include an overview of the nursing strategic plan, facility updates, as well as time for Q&A.

“By leveraging new technology at our town halls, we are able to engage with more of our nursing team members – near and far,” Andre’ said. “As our team continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to leverage technology and continue to identify innovative ways to enhance communication.”

For nurses who cannot attend the live event, there will be several gathering locations to view the live stream:

  • Wallace Tower – D.1200.31
  • West Campus – WC.150.20
  • Health Centers – Sugar Land, Cy-Fair, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Clear Lake, Bellaire
  • The Centers for Women and Children – Greenspoint, Southwest
  • The Woodlands Hospital – Conference Room A

Click here for instructions on how to access the livestream.

Forming your own huddles? Please submit sign-in sheet to jcchilds@texaschildrens.org.

January 28, 2019

The waiting room and infusion area of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers turned into a full-fledged Houston Astros fan fest last week when players Tony Kemp and Robinson Chirinos as well as Orbit, the team’s mascot, came through to brighten the days of many of our patients and their families.

The visit was part of the Houston Astros Caravan, a yearly event that occurs prior to the onset of spring training to pump up fans for the upcoming season. Presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, this year’s caravan kicked off January 22 and ended January 24 with stops in cities across Texas.

“The caravan is our last push to get people excited about the upcoming season,” said Rachel Bubier, an Astros community relations representative. “We are delighted that Texas Children’s is one of our stops.”

For more than an hour on the 14th floor of Wallace Tower, Chirinos and Kemp hugged, high-fived, visited with and took selfies with patients and families awaiting treatment or appointments in the Cancer Center. The players also decorated ball caps and pennants with the children and families.

The supplies for the art projects were provided by the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which has a partnership with the Astros to provide regular visits to Houston area children’s hospitals. The group’s aim is to provide patients and families with exciting, positive group activities, so they can have fun and celebrate life, even in the hospital.

“The caravan is a great opportunity for patients and families to break away while waiting for their treatment or for an appointment with their physician,” said Jennifer Wisler, director of children’s services with the Sunshine Kids Foundation. “We are thankful for the team’s dedication to such a worthwhile cause.”

Maria Lujan said the visit from the Astros and Sunshine Kids was a pleasant surprise, especially for her 7-year-old son Sam Lujan, who has been coming to the Cancer Center since May.

“When they have events like this it’s so nice,” Lujan said. “It distracts him from what he’s going though while he’s here.”

Dr. Susan Blaney, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, attended the event and said respites such as these are greatly appreciated.

“Our patients, families and staff work hard each and every day to combat cancer,” Blaney said. “Adding some fun to that hard work is always a bonus, and we are thankful that the Astros and Sunshine Kids provided that opportunity.”

The 2017 World Series champs Houston Astros will start their new season March 28 on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The first home game will be April 5 against their American League West rival Oakland A’s.


Director of Texas Children’s Trauma and Grief Center Dr. Julie Kaplow was recently named Chief of Psychology.

Kaplow, who also serves as head of psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, is an expert in childhood trauma and bereavement. As director of the Trauma and Grief Center, a SAMHSA-funded Treatment and Service Adaptation Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Kaplow oversees evidence-based assessment, treatment and research with youth and families exposed to traumas and/or losses, and develops and disseminates trauma- and bereavement-informed “best practices” to community providers nationwide.

A strong proponent of a scientist-practitioner approach, Kaplow’s primary research interests focus on the biological, behavioral and psychological consequences of childhood trauma and bereavement, with an emphasis on therapeutically modifiable factors that can be used to inform psychosocial interventions. Kaplow’s ongoing studies examine the effectiveness of treatments for various populations of youth including those with a history of trauma, youth exposed to traumatic bereavement, and youth anticipating the death of a loved one.

Shortly after joining Texas Children’s, Kaplow helped launch the Harvey Resiliency and Recovery Program, dedicated to serving the needs of the many children and families adversely affected by the storm and its aftermath. She was also integral in the creation of the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center, along with the Gulf Coast Center and others in the Santa Fe community, to provide mental health services to those impacted by the shooting. These efforts have been made possible by the generous support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, New York Life Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rebuild Texas Fund, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Children’s Health Fund, and the JPB Foundation. Additional funding for the Santa Fe Strong Resiliency Center was provided by the Victims of Crime Act.

Kaplow is also actively engaged in community-based participatory research. She leads a practice-research network of sites across the country (including community clinics, grief support organizations, schools and academic medical centers) that use “common denominator” theory, assessment tools and interventions to address the unique needs and strengths of bereaved youth and families.

Kaplow earned her Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from Duke University in 2002. She completed her internship at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship in childhood trauma at Boston Medical Center. She is board-certified by the American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology.

To learn more visit texaschildrens.org/departments/psychology.

Nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented, yet cardiovascular disease continues to be the No. 1 health threat facing women. When it comes to preventing the disease and taking care of your heart health, knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI) numbers is the best place to start.

Join the Employee Medical Clinic this Friday, February 1, for “Go Red for Women Day,” featuring free heart education and blood pressure screenings for all Texas Children’s employees. Clinic staff will be on hand from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m., at the entrance of the Fresh Bistro in the Pavilion for Women at the Medical Center campus to conduct the screenings and provide employees with the critical personal health numbers that can help assess their risk for heart disease and stroke. Amplify unity by wearing red to show your support!

Launched by the American Heart Association, Go Red for Women is a comprehensive platform designed to encourage women to take charge of their own heart health and increase awareness of cardiovascular disease, which causes 1 in 3 deaths among women each year.

Wear Red for a Complimentary Heart-Healthy Sweet
Texas Children’s is also partnering with Morrison Chefs on Friday, February 1, to offer heart-healthy meal options in celebration of Go Red for Women. With the purchase of a heart-healthy meal, Texas Children’s badge holders wearing red will receive a complimentary heart-healthy sweet during lunchtime at the Pavilion for Women Fresh Bistro, Dot’s Cafeteria at West Campus and the coffee shop and café at The Woodlands. Sweets will be available while supplies last.

Healthy Heart Program
Your Employee Medical Clinic offers a Healthy Heart Program year-round at no cost to our 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.

For more information about the Healthy Heart Program or to make an appointment, please call 832-824-2424.

Cigna Health Coaching and Heart Health Programs
Cigna provides complimentary health coaching to help employees achieve their health and well-being goals, as well as manage and prevent chronic conditions like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, heart failure and many more. These programs will help you understand your condition and provide education and resources to support you in your health journey, while also developing individualized goals to help you make meaningful, healthy lifestyle changes.

To learn more about these Cigna programs, contact Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, Cigna’s on-site health coach at Texas Children’s, at 832-824-3068 or sxtobolo@texaschildrens.org.

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
My name is Deborah Bozek, Renal/Pheresis Nurse in the Renal/Pheresis Department. I have worked here almost two years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
We were gathered around the nurses’ station for a huddle. Everyone was there including the managers, director and assistant director. When someone said I had gotten a super star award, I was in a kind of shock. It was surreal.

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?
It is very humbling to be recognized because I feel like everyone in my department is a super star and comes to work and gives 110 percent every day. I work with an amazing group of professionals. Achieving my goals is a work in progress. Even though I have been a nurse for 25 years, I still have so many things I want to learn. There are many learning opportunities in my unit.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
A commitment to excellence in patient care and going that extra mile to help your coworkers.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
Every child deserves the best chance we can give them.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
My amazing coworkers, their dedication, their knowledge, their generous spirits.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
A leader is someone who can recognize the strengths of other people, then have the ability to channel that particular strength into furthering the mission of Texas Children’s.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to say thank you to my manager Julie Palmer for nominating me for this award. I want to thank my husband for being so supportive of me throughout my career.

Drs. Jimmy Espinoza and Alex Vidaeff were recently honored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) for preparing new guidelines for the management and prevention of complications of pregnancy including preeclampsia and gestational hypertension as well as chronic hypertension during pregnancy.

These pregnancy complications are among the leading causes of maternal death in the United States and abroad. The new guidelines on how to manage and prevent these complications were published in Obstetrics and Gynecology the official journal of the ACOG.

“Your contributions to the medical literature on hypertensive disorders in pregnancy were paramount in helping the Practice Bulletin Committee – Obstetrics develop and implement these two critical documents,” said Dr. Mark Turrentine, chair of the ACOG Bulletin Committee – Obstetrics. “While ACOG does not state its guidelines should be considered the standard of care, I suspect these documents will be utilized to guide clinician’s management of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy not only in the United States, but worldwide.”

Turrentine also said the appropriate treatment of hypertensive diseases in pregnancy may be the most important focus of our attempts to improve maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States, and that the new guidelines will focus clinicians on providing the right and the best care based on the latest and soundest available evidence.

Espinoza’s clinical interests include the pregnancy complications listed above; in addition, his clinical and research interest include prenatal diagnosis of congenital defects with emphasis of congenital heart defects as well as fetal interventions including laser photocoagulation of placental anastomoses in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, fetoscopic tracheal occlusion in cases of severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia and open/fetoscopic repair of spina bifida among other interventions. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and serves as co-director of the Fetal Center and in the Division of Fetal Intervention and Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine. Espinoza earned his medical degree at San Fernando Faculty of Medicine, University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI. Espinoza earned his Master in Science in Reproductive Health at the University of Cardiff, Wales, where he graduate with distinction, followed by a Diploma in Fetal Medicine under the auspices of the Fetal Medicine Foundation in London, UK.

Vidaeff has extensive experience in the management of multiple pregnancies, preterm labor, and preeclampsia. He specializes in the management of medical complications in pregnancy. Vidaeff is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. He completed his residency at Temple University in Philadelphia. He completed his fellowship training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Vidaeff also holds a Masters in Public Health from The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. He is the chairman of the steering committee of the World Organization Gestosis, international organization for the study of pathophysiology of pregnancy.