April 30, 2019

On his blog this week, Mark Wallace invites you to share your leadership story with him and how it relates to his leadership maxims. Read more

Regem Biyo shares how grateful she is to begin her nursing career at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and how the organization is helping her grow in her new role. Read more

Last year, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands celebrated its first year serving patients north of Houston and beyond, collecting praise from patients and families seeking expert care closer to home. Read more

Houston Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney announced the 161st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on April 27 live from NRG Stadium during the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon. The triathlon is the largest kids triathlon in the word and is presented by Texas Children’s Hospital.

Flanked by triathletes, Texans cheerleaders and TORO, McKinney excitedly proclaimed to a live and national broadcast audience that the Texans had chosen defensive end Charles Omenihu as the team’s 161st draft pick. The Pro Bowler and TORO then took a celebratory dip in the Texans Kids Triathlon pool!

Click here to watch a video of the pick and here to see photos.

More than 3,000 participants ages 6 to 15 turned out for the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon on April 27 and 28 at NRG Stadium, making it the largest USATriathlon sanctioned kids triathlon in the world for the fourth consecutive year.

Texas Children’s Hospital presents the event as part of the hospital’s partnership with the Texans and local sponsorship of PLAY 60, the NFL’s initiative aimed at encouraging kids to get sixty minutes of play per day.

Click here to see photos from the triathlon.

April 29, 2019

On April 26, superheroes of all sizes assembled on The Auxiliary Bridge to celebrate National Pediatric Transplant Week, observed each year during the last full week of National Donate Life Month in April.

The event, hosted by Texas Children’s Transplant Services, marked the end of a week that focuses on the powerful message of ending the pediatric transplant waiting list. There were plenty of fun activities for children, including karaoke, hula-hooping, coloring and crafts, a photo wall, and a visit from Elsa, one of Texas Children’s three therapy dogs. There were also educational materials available on organ donation and transplantation.

The event also honored real-life superheroes – the donor families whose children have saved and healed lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.

The gift of an organ transplant comes to one family as another family is enduring the most difficult time of their lives. The team in Transplant Services works hand in hand with Texas Children’s Spiritual Care Department during these times to provide donor families with compassionate support, to honor the choice to donate an organ, and to honor the legacy of the patient.

There are several ways we recognize the legacies of these children and their families, including:

  • The observance of moments of honor, small ceremonies during which the gift of the organ donation is acknowledged and celebrated through readings and a blessing or prayer
  • Flag ceremonies, at which a Donate Life Flag is displayed and family, Texas Children’s staff and chaplains, and our LifeGift partners gather to tell stories about the patient, let the family touch the flag, share a group reading, and then the flag is then passed around the unit to be signed with messages of support and recognition from Transplant Services staff
  • National Donor Sabbath, an annual three-day observance where members of local faith communities participate in services and programs to honor donor families and to educate the public about the need for lifesaving transplants

In addition to these heartfelt moments of acknowledgement and remembrance, Texas Children’s Hospital has begun a new tradition to honor our donor families.

As the sun went down on April 22, Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower was illuminated in green and white. The tower was lit each evening for the rest of the week, both in commemoration of National Donate Life Month and Pediatric Transplant Week, and also as a tribute to our donor families. Going forward, the lighting of the tower will serve as yet another way Texas Children’s acknowledges them.

“Nothing we do would be possible without our donor families, and we wanted to find another way to honor them,” said Dr. John Goss, medical director of Transplant Services. “Now when people see Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower lit in green and white, they will know there’s a hero here at Texas Children’s who has just given the gift of life.”

About Transplant Services at Texas Children’s

Transplant Services at Texas Children’s was the nation’s largest pediatric transplant program in 2018, performing a remarkable 107 solid organ transplants including the highest volumes of pediatric liver, lung and kidney transplants.

Transplant Services provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care through all aspects of the transplant process, from initial referral to hospitalization and outpatient management. Our team of experts includes physicians and surgical advanced practice providers, transplant coordinators, pediatric ventricular assist device coordinators, perfusionists, child life specialists, dieticians, social workers, financial counselors, pharmacists, inpatient and outpatient nursing and support staff, Perioperative Services, physical and occupational therapists, Radiology, Pathology, our LifeGift partners, and many others.

Our depth of skill and service enables us to offer world-class care for patients, from newborns to young adults, in need of heart, kidney, liver and lung transplants. That expertise has allowed us to successfully treat some cases that other national and international programs might consider untreatable.

Learn more about Transplant Services at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Dozens of families recently attended the first ever HEAR Houston Resource Fair, presented by Texas Children’s Audiology Program.

HEAR (Hearing Education, Awareness and Resources) Houston – held in collaboration with the Division of Otolaryngology and the Speech, Language and Learning Clinic – was designed to bring families of children living with hearing loss together, and to educate them about some of the numerous resources, programs and services available in the greater Houston area.

“Sometime such tremendous focus is placed on providing the right diagnosis and identifying the right treatment path for a child that is deaf or hard of hearing that care givers might discount the fact that the parents need help too,” said Dr. Wendy Steuerwald, director of Audiology at Texas Children’s. “We wanted to comprehensively highlight resources that both our patients and parents have benefited from, bring them here to Texas Children’s, and give people an opportunity to connect with one another and get the information they need.”

HEAR Houston featured more than a dozen vendors and exhibitors, selected with input from Texas Children’s audiologists and patient families. These vendors offered expertise and guidance on a broad spectrum of interrelated services and resources, including:

  • The latest in hearing aids, cochlear implants and caption telephones
  • Community outreach programs
  • Parent support groups
  • Educational audiology and services in schools
  • Speech-Language therapy
  • Deaf education
  • The transition from pediatric to adult audiology

The event also featured programs at Texas Children’s, including upWORDS – designed to help parents learn how to improve their child’s early language – and the Speech, Language and Learning Clinic, which provides evaluation, management and consultation for infants, children, adolescents and adults who have problems with communication, learning, feeding and swallowing.

The offering of resources was so comprehensive, even the vendors were impressed.

“Texas Children’s staff and physicians provided a wonderful venue for learning what resources are available for children who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Sara Smith from Guide By Your Side™ – a family support program offered by Texas Hands & Voices™ that pairs families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing with trained parent guides who have walked in their shoes and can share their experiences, as well as direct families to information and resources. “It was truly wonderful to see ‘the village’ coming together – with so many support agencies, technology companies and educational programs present – to ensure each unique child has the opportunity to reach their potential.”

The response has been extremely positive. Plans are already being made to make HEAR Houston an annual event. But one of the most exciting developments is a plan to create a parent support group.

“To feel successful raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, parents seek the advice of other parents in similar situations – they want to interact with and learn from them,” Steuerwald said. “Our goal with this event was really to build a community. A support group will allow parents to socialize their children with other children with similar conditions, and it will continue to foster parent-to-parent education and discussion.”

To provide patients access to our care, we must have the clinic rooms available to see them. A new pilot program was recently launched to test the concept of space sharing between our specialty clinics in Wallace Tower.

The initiative is helping us identify underused or vacant spaces. Subsequently, we can determine if another clinic can temporarily see patients in those spaces, which expands our capacity for appointments.

The three-month pilot began on floors 8 and 9 in Wallace Tower in September 2018. Texas Children’s Space Utilization Initiative and Transition Experience (SUITE) Team found that provider absences – whether due to PTO, conferences or inpatient service rounds – equated to 10 to 20 percent of exam rooms being open at any given time. Of the 103 four-hour clinic sessions requested, 43 sessions were accommodated.

“Partnering with the Financial Services team, we estimate an overwhelming opportunity to accommodate an additional 17,000 to 35,000 clinic visits in Wallace Tower alone, with potential to generate over $4.9M in additional margin for Texas Children’s,” said Brian Cordasco, lead for the SUITE team.

On January 14, the SUITE team launched a second pilot on floors 11, 16, and 17 in Wallace Tower that will span a period of three months to identify any opportunities for space sharing across these clinics.

The long-term goal is to apply the lessons learned from these pilots and implement a larger solution, which will include an IS portal to quickly identify space availability across the entire hospital system.

About Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative

Launched in August 2017, Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative is an on-going, collaborative effort to improve patient access across the organization. Since then, Texas Children’s has made significant progress to ensure patients easily and conveniently get in the door so we can provide the care they need, when they need it.

Click here for a list of other tools and features we’ve implemented across the system to improve access, care coordination and patient experience at Texas Children’s.