March 18, 2019


As part of Texas Children’s Care Coordination Initiative – and in an effort to ensure better care and communication between providers and their patients – MyChart is now available in Spanish.

“By having our patient portal available in Spanish, we want to ensure that we are providing information to families in a language they understand,” said Dr. Heidi Schwarzwald, executive sponsor of MyChart Spanish and Chief Medical Officer Pediatrics of Texas Children’s Health Plan. “Patients and providers can now use the same great functionality in MyChart to transmit messages and health information faster and more efficiently in whichever language our patient families are most comfortable with.”

Before or after patients log on to MyChart at, they can click on the “En Español” button and the MyChart patient portal switches to Spanish. From there, patient families can obtain their after visit summaries and immunization records electronically, reducing phone calls and delays. They can also request medication refills and other services. All of the main features from MyChart English are now in Spanish except for certain titles or sections, such as medication names.

Within MyChart, patient and families can also send and receive open messages. Care team members have three tools to translate Spanish messages from MyChart. Messages can be translated by Spanish-speaking staff who have been validated by Language Services or through a translation software, Systran. Staff can also send MyChart messages for translation to the Language Services team via Epic Inbasket. Each clinic has established their workflow on who and how incoming messages will be translated and can then respond to the concern or request using the current workflow for English messages.

“While over 60 percent of Texas Children’s patients use MyChart, only 27 percent of Spanish-speaking patients had accessed the MyChart patient portal which meant providers had to use different modalities to contact these families,” Schwarzwald said. “Now with the launch of MyChart Spanish, we hope this new communication tool will encourage more Spanish-speaking families to engage with us via MyChart.”

From Texas Children’s operations teams that provided the guidance for needed features to the technical teams that helped implement the new functionality to the Language Services department that provided translations for content, the MyChart Spanish rollout has been a huge team effort across the board.

Language Services provided all of the content and document translations that populated the server files for the Spanish MyChart implementation. This included everything from minor phrases and alert messages to full multi-page, terms of service and important FAQ translations. All of the patient-facing files and content needed to be translated and included in the Spanish MyChart build on the web servers.

“We provided knowledge and expertise to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the translation software and we’ve been working to create and build the software’s dictionary, which establishes the benchmark for accurate translation,” said Alma Sanchez, manager of Language Services. “Our team will continue to enhance the dictionary and translation memory to enable quick and complete responses to our patients.”

The soft launch of MyChart Spanish will give staff the opportunity to test the system and workflow processes before actively marketing this new service to our Spanish-speaking patients and families.

“We’re excited to roll out MyChart Spanish for our multilingual patients, families and staff that interact with Texas Children’s for their patient experiences,” said Colleen Julien, Epic Patient Engagement manager for Texas Children’s Information Services. “We are appreciative of the Care Coordination initiative and Dr. Schwarzwald’s leadership. This project has been on our road map for many years and the project took off when Care Coordination made it an operational priority to offer MyChart in Spanish.”

Click here to read the MyChart Spanish FAQs. For more information about MyChart, visit

March 12, 2019

Don’t miss out on the fun at the seventh annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Registration for the event ends at 5 p.m. Monday, March 25, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already.

West Campus will host the fun run at its campus on Saturday, April 6 with a 9 a.m. start time. The event will include both a 1K and 3K course. Following the run, families can enjoy various activities until noon at the Family Fun Zone.

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Texas Children’s and the Houston Marathon Foundation also are hosting a Family Fun Run in The Woodlands at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. For more information or to register for that event, click here.

Calling all volunteers
Volunteer registration also is open for our Family Fun Run events! Opportunities are available for bag stuffing, packet pick-up, day before set-up and race day. Requirements include:

  • Volunteers must be registered in advance.
  • If someone volunteers, we ask that they be available for their full shift.
  • They should not bring young children or other family members that are not registered.
  • The minimum age to volunteer is 12.

A T-shirt will be provided to all volunteers to wear during their shift.

Click here for West Campus volunteer opportunities.

Click here for Woodlands volunteer opportunities.

Thank you, good luck and happy running!

February 18, 2019

Texas Children’s Shuttle Services is excited to announce DoubleMap, a new tracking system for shuttles in the Texas Medical Center.

Real-time locations of our Texas Children’s shuttles along their three routes (the Pavilion for Women/Legacy Tower, Feigin Tower and the J.P. McGovern Building) are now available via your smartphone.

All you have to do is download the “DoubleMAP” app (available for both iPhones and Androids) in the App Store or Google Play. Please see the image with this story for instructions on how to download the app.

You can also track our shuttles online at


Please contact:
SHUTTLE HOTLINE: 832-824-2666
Sam Hines:
Michael Jackson:

February 12, 2019

When nothing seems to calm 4-month-old Bella Deborbieris, her family and caretakers in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit know who to call – Texas Children’s Music Therapist Alix Brickley.

Within minutes of Brickley’s arrival to the side of Bella’s crib, a sense of peace and joy washes over the infant, whose big blue eyes stay focused on the music therapist while she strums her half-size guitar and softly sings the theme song to the Disney movie Frozen.

“Alix and her music work every time,” said Bella’s aunt, Kerry Kernwein. “It’s a relief knowing she’s here.”

Brickley is a member of Texas Children’s Child Life Department’s newly formed Creative and Therapeutic Arts Program. The program is comprised of four music therapists, one art therapist and a media producer, all of whom work collaboratively to alleviate stress and anxiety, while promoting positive coping skills, for patients and families during their time at Texas Children’s.

“With more than 50 child life professionals, Texas Children’s has one of the best child life departments in the country,” said Maggie Lampe, assistant director of Clinical Support Services. “This new program will enrich and support the services we already offer to support children and families as they adjust to the hospital experience.”

Each therapist is assigned a caseload throughout our Texas Medical Center Campus, working with many of their patients daily. Art Therapist Ashley Wood spent a lot of time with 12-year-old Tyrese Neal throughout his lengthy stay at Texas Children’s Heart Center. She and the heart transplant patient created masks that represented how he was feeling at the time. They also used colorful thread to make worry dolls.

“The movement used to create the dolls is very therapeutic,” Wood said. “It’s something patients can do to cope with all of the emotions they are dealing with during their stay and after they return home.”

The role of Child Life Media Producer Ashby Gleditsch on the new team is to work with the therapists to produce interactive programming for Texas Children’s Hospital’s closed circuit television station Z-TV, which can be viewed on channel 19 of any cable-connected television in the hospital.

Some of that programming – music concerts – is prerecorded and other shows – Bailey Bingo – are live. Gleditsch also works with the therapists on the team to create videos for specific patients. All of her projects, she said, are aimed at enhancing a patient’s self-concept and leaving them with a good impression of Texas Children’s.

“Giving our patients an outlet to creatively express their emotions is really powerful,” Gleditsch said.

The other members of the Creative and Therapeutic Arts Program are Marial Biard, Abi Carlton and Michael Way, all of whom are music therapists. Day in and day out they garner smiles, giggles and outright laughter from patients and family members with the magic they make via their guitars, drums, voices and other instruments, some of which are half size so they can bring them into tight spaces such as the NICU and so they can play softly as to not disturb patients who might be sleeping.

Carlton said she spends a lot of time with patients who are sedated and often intubated, and that she adjusts the music she makes to match their vital signs, and then slowly changes it to guide her patients to a more comfortable state with decreased agitation and perception of pain.

“Music may be the only positive form of stimulation these patients are able to perceive at times, and it can have powerful outcomes,” Carlton said. “Music therapy can also create positive memories and provide a sense of calm in the room that families and even staff can benefit from. It’s a real privilege to work alongside the care team with these critical care patients and see how music therapy can be such an effective modality.”

Way, a Renal Services music therapist and a member of the new Creative and Therapeutic Arts Program, works with nephrology patients across the hospital. Through music, he’s able to help patients through the many burdens of kidney disease.

“Kidney disease affects many different aspects of a patient’s life,” Way said. The burden can be staggering. I try to help patients express some of their struggles and frustrations through music.”

Biard said she loves being a music therapist at Texas Children’s because she gets to be the highlight of her patients’ and families’ days.

“We are part of their stay and they associate us with happiness,” she said. “We achieve this through music by creating everlasting memories in the recording studio, relieving their pain with song, making their bodies stronger with instrument play, and helping them express emotions in a positive way.”

Learn more about Texas Children’s Child Life Department at

February 4, 2019

It’s time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement! Texas Children’s and the Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run are hosting the West Campus Family Fun Run and The Woodlands Family Fun Run in April and May. Registration is open for both runs and spots are filling up fast. So, sign up today to guarantee a spot for you and your family.

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus

West Campus will host the seventh annual West Campus Family Fun Run at its campus on Saturday, April 6 with a 9 a.m. start time. The event will include both a 1K and 3K course. Following the run, families can enjoy various activities until noon at the Family Fun Zone.

Registration for the West Campus Family Fun Run will close at 5 p.m. Monday, March 25. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will host its third annual Family Fun Run event on Saturday, May 4. The event will offer a 1-mile course and will begin at 9 a.m. Post-race activities will follow until 11 a.m.

Registration for The Woodlands Family Fun Run will close at 5 p.m. Monday, April 22. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Additional information

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome at both Texas Children’s Family Fun Run events. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Good luck and happy running!

January 29, 2019

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.

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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.