March 25, 2014

32514OluynkaOlutoye640aDr. Oluyinka Olutoye, Pediatric Surgery, gave the 20th Loren R. Chandler Memorial Lecture in Pediatric Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine on March 25.

His lecture titled, “Fetal Surgery: Getting a Head Start in Life’s Journey,” described the indications for fetal surgery, described the technique, and reviewed cases, including Fetoscopic Tracheal Occlusion (FETO), Sacrococcygeal Teratoma and Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).
Former lecturers include:

  • Dr. Marcelo Martinez Ferro, Fundación Hospitalaria Private Children’s Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Dr. Kathryn Anderson, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  • Dr. Alan Flake, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Dr. Michael Speer, Neonatology faculty (center), congratulates Drs. Athis Arunachalam and Jonathan Davies, third-year fellows, the 18th annual Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds award recipients. The award recognizes third-year fellows in neonatal-perinatal medicine for outstanding teaching, patient care, scientific inquiry and professional integrity.

March 18, 2014


A new, on-site ReadyCam© broadcast studio has opened at Texas Children’s which will allow doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers and patient families to appear live on broadcast news programs. Experts from the hospital will be able to report and comment on breaking health care news and stream webcasts directly from Texas Children’s main campus, while reaching news outlets throughout the country.

“We are really excited to have this studio,” said Christy Brunton, director of public relations at Texas Children’s. “It’s going to allow us to give the public direct access to our experts, allowing them to comment on the stories that our patients need to hear and understand.”

The broadcast studio located in the Clinical Care Center will allow the hospital to easily transmit high quality audio and video to any news outlet. The launch of the studio corresponded to a coordinated satellite news feed and press conference featuring Dr. Jennifer Arnold, neonatologist at Texas Children’s Newborn Center and director of Texas Children’s Simulation Center, who discussed her recent cancer diagnosis, unique care and current prognosis. An interview with Arnold was made available via satellite. A number of local and regional news stations utilized the footage to report on Arnold’s story.

Those interested in learning more about the press conference and announcement from Arnold can read about it in the Houston Chronicle article and KHOU television segment.

This successful first use of the ReadyCam© broadcast studio is only one example of ways the studio can be utilized. Brunton anticipates it will be a valuable resource during a health care crisis or emergency, when media outlets will need access to top experts for commentary. It also will be an easy way to share inspirational patient stories.

“For the past several years it has been a key goal of ours to make it easier for the media to access our experts,” said Brunton. “We have some of the best kept secrets right here at our hospital and this gives us the chance to showcase our physicians and nurses.”

In addition to promoting the good work taking place at Texas Children’s, and to allow our experts to be valuable resources to the media, the ReadyCam© may be used to stream live video to conferences, depending on the technical capabilities of the conference. To take a virtual tour of the new broadcast studio, click here.

Anyone who is available to comment on breaking news, has an incredible patient story, or is interested in learning more about using the studio, should contact the PR department by calling Ext. 4-2099 and paging the media person on call.


We see it all the time on the news. Heartbreaking stories of tragedy when a suspect with a history of mental illness turns an ordinary day into a devastating scene. People are often left wondering what more could have been done to prevent the incident. It’s a widespread issue that’s now being tackled nationally.

Mental Health First Aid is a program that trains community members to spot and assist people who are having mental health issues or facing a mental health crisis. Texas Children’s is offering a free course for anyone interested in taking action!

“We decided to offer the class here because there were an increasing number of encounters with patients or patient families with mental illnesses,” said Brent LoCaste-Wilken, Employee Assistance Program Manager. “It was disrupting patient care or interaction with the staff.”

LoCaste-Wilken said mental health is not just a problem at Texas Children’s but the crises families often face in this setting can accentuate mental health issues. He said the class is not just for clinical staff but it can be useful for everyone.

Course participants will learn to identify mental disorders and rather than be afraid, actually help the person through the crisis and get the appropriate help. Dr. Brett Perkison, medical director of Employee Health and Wellness, said he found the course to be critical in helping recognize signs of mental distress.

“We all encounter friends and colleagues who are in a state of mind where they need help,” said Perkison. “This class helps one recognize those symptoms early. It is also useful to help take the stigma out of mental health and treat it appropriately.”

“It removes the stigma than can prevent people from giving help,” said LoCaste-Wilken.

Similar to a first aid course, the class will help identify dangers and train you in steps that can be done to help in a situation.

“It goes beyond patient care,” said LoCaste-Wilken. “It could help employees in situations with co-workers or even outside of work with friends, neighbors or anyone in the community.”

Each participant who completes the course and passes the competency is certified as a Mental Health First Aider by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Class information:
Mental Health First Aid – click to register on Connect

1 day course (8 hours)
Friday, April 4 – 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Pavilion Conference Center fourth floor, Room B (F.0475.50)

2 day course (4 hours each day)
Monday, May 5 – 8 a.m. to noon – Pavilion Conference Center fourth floor, Room B (F.0475.50)
Monday, May 12 – 8 a.m. to noon – Pavilion Conference Center fourth floor, Room B (F.0475.50)


Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed changes to food labels, which have remained the same for the past 20 years. In my opinion, this announcement is long overdue. My nutrition colleagues and I have been advocating for these modifications for many years, as we believe they will help the everyday consumer understand exactly what they are putting into their bodies.

If the proposed changes are approved, the new labels will place a larger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and vitamin D and potassium. While I think all of these categories are important, I am hopeful that listing added sugars will help families better determine exactly what they are consuming on a daily basis.

For example, yogurt is a long-time family favorite at the breakfast table. Many popular yogurt brands that add fruit to enhance flavor will benefit from this proposed change. While the fruit may add flavor, the syrup it sits in also adds a good amount sugar. I always recommend buying plain yogurt for your family and adding fresh berries and other fruit to control how much sugar you are actually eating. Almost every item that you see in the grocery store has the potential to contain added sugars. Labels on other common foods that will likely be edited if the proposed changes go into effect include: ketchup, cereals, peanut butter and bread.

You’re not alone if you’ve read about these changes in the news over the past week and aren’t sure what they mean or how to read a label. The current nutrition labels are not very user-friendly. If and when these proposed changes go into effect, I expect them to be much less overwhelming.

This is a positive step in helping consumers take control of their health and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for our nutrition labels.

March is also National Nutrition Month! It’s a great time to celebrate healthy eating, so over the next few weeks you will see some great user-friendly information on the blog for you and your family.

Texas Children’s Hospital has established a new, first-of-its-kind Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. The inaugural class of four physician assistants – Lesley Davies, Jackie Guarino, Caitlin Justus and Cassie Mueller – officially started their fellowship on January 20.

The fellowship is a 12-month didactic and clinical program designed to extensively train physician assistants to become leaders in all areas of pediatric surgery.

The fellows’ two-week orientation period has featured training sessions, discussions about patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, research and child abuse awareness and special meetings with Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO, Charles D. Fraser, surgeon-in-chief, and the surgical faculty, among others.

On February 3, the fellows started their month-long rotations through each of the full spectrum of pediatric surgical subspecialties including: cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, general surgery, urology, otolaryngology, plastic and craniofacial surgery, as well as trauma services. After completing nine rotations, the fellows will have the opportunity to select the one area they want to focus on and will receive two additional months of training in that field.

In addition, the fellows will complete one month of research and participate in multiple community outreach projects, including career fairs at schools, wellness fairs and community service programs, such as Habitat for Humanity.

Leading the program is Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital and medical director of the fellowship program, Ryan Krasnosky, program director, and Brenda J. Davis, fellowship coordinator.

Lesley Warriner Davies, MPAS, PA-C:
Lesley is excited to be team leader of the first class of Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. She received her B.F.A in Ballet Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma in 2006 and danced professionally in Dallas and Austin. She then obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2013. Lesley is from the Houston area and currently lives in Dickinson with her husband where they enjoy cycling and spending time with family and friends. She is a member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Jackie Guarino, MPAS, PA-C:
Jackie is a fourth generation Houstonian and a 2009 Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Allied Health in three years and obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in 2013. During her clinical years at BCM, Jackie rotated through Texas Children’s Hospital in General Surgery and GI/Liver service and is excited to be back as a member of the first class of the Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. Jackie currently resides in Houston and enjoys spending time with her large family and friends and her chocolate and yellow lab dogs, cooking, Crossfit and volunteering.

Caitlin Justus, MPAS, PA-C:
Caitlin graduated from Texas A&M University at College Station in 2011 with a B.S. in Allied Health, graduating cum laude. She received her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2013. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants. Caitlin currently resides in West Houston with her husband and enjoys activities with her church, exercising, reading and serving others. She is a proud member of the first class of the Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program and looks forward to an exciting year ahead.

Cassandra Mueller, MPAS, PA-C:
Cassie is originally from Andover, Minnesota, and received her B.A. in physiology from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Cassie graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program of Fort Sam Houston in 2013 (the U.S. Military’s Physician Assistant Program). She continues to serve in the Minnesota National Guard as a physician assistant and enjoys running marathons. She is excited about the opportunity to be in the first Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program and looks forward to becoming a Texan.


For a first time pregnant woman (not calling myself a mom yet) pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Yet, there are things about pregnancy that no one cared to share. They are the mishaps that I shared (unfortunately) with my patient and saint-like husband. Thankfully, it has made our marriage stronger than ever to go through it all together. Here is an inside look at the unexpected journey of the first trimester. The things friends don’t tell you and books don’t explain (or maybe they do and I haven’t read the right ones yet).

I’ve cried through a sad movie or two pre-pregnancy. However nothing warned me about the emotional changes that happen during pregnancy. Let me give you two fun examples.

Example #1: I love cream cheese, even more now that Baby Calderwood loves cream cheese. I could eat it on anything, in a box, with a fox, you name it! Cream cheese (in my household) may be the solution to finding world peace. I was dancing happily, waiting for my toaster to pop out these two golden brown, crispy and crunchy bagel slices – when I danced over to the refrigerator. I opened the door and took my first look… No cream cheese? Don’t panic. The world is still spinning. Let’s thoroughly investigate every shelf and drawer. No cream cheese! It was in this exact moment that the world, as I knew it, came crashing down. My poor husband must have thought a tragic event was taking place, well it was – we didn’t have any cream cheese for my golden, crispy, crunchy bagel. I cannot begin to describe the massive alligator tears that streamed down my face. The inconsolable sobbing and mourning of my dear cream cheese. I was crying so hard – I could barely breathe. My husband stood in the door way of our kitchen, with this stupid smirk on his face and said “Babe – just put some butter on the bagel, we can get some cream cheese in the morning.” That’s when the tears instantly turned to rage. Who did he think he was? The master of bagel making? Without stopping the vocal force in my throat, I let out a “LEAVE ME ALONE.” The screaming sob could be compared to a toddler. I should have thrown myself on the floor for a more dramatic appeal. Hindsight is 20/20. To sum up the story – pregnancy and hormone changes can rear their little heads at any given moment. You must be prepared. In my case, we keep cream cheese stocked like our kitchen is an Einstein Bagel joint.

Example #2: (this one’s for the husbands). Pregnancy can make a woman crazy lovey-dovey. There have been moments when I look at my husband and I could squeeze him so hard, just because I love him so much. He’s my perfection. One evening, while watching TV, we sat side by side on our couch, in our ‘reserved seating.’ He was reading on his iPad, I was flipping back and forth from the Olympics and a Law & Order Marathon. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye, and found myself oogly eyed staring at him. I reached out my hand and sheepishly said “Do you want to hold my hand?” and I gave him my best smile…. His reply… “Not really.” The emotions instantaneously boiled behind my eyeballs and alligator tears shot out like firing missiles. Hysterically, I sobbed and said “All I want to do was hold your hand because I love you and I think you are so special to me and I can’t believe you don’t want to hold my hand and I’m tired and going to bed” – All like that, all in one glorious run on sentence. He stared at me in disbelief and started to nervously giggle. He said, “Oh hun – don’t cry I just didn’t want to hold your hand, I’m reading. Why are you crying?” All I could say between hyperventilating sobs was “BECAUSE I LOVE YOU,” and then, within minutes I was asleep. I am convinced that my husband thinks I am an impersonator who escaped a mental institution. Moral of the story: If your highly emotional pregnant wife wants to hold your hand on the couch. Do it.

So moral of my two fun fact stories? The first trimester brings on a whole new level of sensitivity, tears and sleepiness. Tears that haven’t been produced by my tear ducts since I was 4 years old and I couldn’t get a toy in the checkout line. And naps consistent with a 1 week old or a narcoleptic.

I’m excited to experience this pregnancy and share it with all of you on Bump Watch. I know many of you have had the “Pavilion experience” and I am eager to experience it for myself. Let me know if you have any suggestions for when I get there! For now, let’s see what the second trimester brings!