March 19, 2019

Patients along with their family members and even neighbors had the opportunity to enjoy Spring Break at an event hosted by The Center for Children and Women that included tons of family fun open to the community. The Center invited families to take part in over-the-top entertainment all while picking up a few health and wellness tips to get kids through the remainder of the school year.

The Center introduced this event about 5 years ago targeting physical fitness strategies and goals for children. This year they decided to bring this family affair back for Nutrition month.

“We have a lot of tips on nutrition, some on healthy snack options, along with resources that perhaps they would not have known about if they had not attended this event,” Marketing Manager at Texas Children’s Health Plan, Veronica Arzayus said. “We also welcome the opportunity for the community to see the Center and all the wonderful services that it offers while enjoying the festivities. This is definitely something that you would want to take your kids to in a safe and comfortable environment.”

This two-weekday event was held last week at The Center’s Greenspoint location on Wednesday and at the Southwest location on Friday. Despite unexpected rain and thunderstorms on the first day, according to The Health Plan, over 500 attendees flooded The Center as activities were brought inside.

Events such as this are important as one of our system-wide operational goals focuses on childhood obesity. The goal is to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in children, and promote a healthier lifestyle overall.

“It is important to shine a positive spotlight on healthy nutrition, activity, exercise, etc., all while engaging with the community in a meaningful way,” Vice President of Texas Children’s Health Plan, Tangula Taylor said. “I think that’s part of us giving back, helping, assisting, partnering with our community, the families that we serve to share healthy lifestyle options and alternatives that can have an impact on their overall quality of life.”

Along with providing educational material on nutrition, thanks to the corporate sponsors of the event, The Houston Food Bank, the Houston Dynamo, corporate partners, The Children’s Museum of Houston and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, and community partner Kids Meals, there were also food and activities for the entire family to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.

Other activities included, mini Zumba lessons, music and fun performances with a live DJ, face painting, an inflatable obstacle course hula hoop/ jump rope competitions, and a healthy snack tasting challenge.

With a total of over 800 participants for both days this year, The Center is excited to see this event continue annually.

“I’d like to see it grow. When you have an event such as this, you want it to be successful in terms of the number of participants, target audience, and then, once it’s successful, you want it to grow,” Taylor said. “We want to connect with more families, tell them about the Health Plan and the Center and ultimately be a partner for them along their health and wellness journey.”

Invigorate your mind, body and spirit at Texas Children’s new Well-Being Studio, which opens Monday, March 25 on the 20th floor of West Tower at the Medical Center campus. Whether you want to find your Zen in a Mindful Morning class or burn some calories in Zumba, the studio provides our employees a dedicated space to turn holistic health goals into action and amplify unity with colleagues through group classes.

The Well-Being Studio is part of the Human Resource team’s continuous efforts to bring new programs and services that support our employees in achieving a healthier, more active lifestyle. The studio offers employees and BCM employees working on-site at Texas Children’s locations a full slate of classes for a variety of work schedules, interests and abilities. Employees are welcome to participate at no cost and at any location. Please click here for the Class Schedule.

Join us for Our Open House!
Tuesday, March 26 | 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
West Tower- Floor 20
During the Open House, you will have the opportunity to tour the studio space, enjoy healthy refreshments, and learn more about the upcoming well-being classes and offerings.

What can I expect at the Well-Being Studio?
Formerly the Heart Center waiting area, the Well-Being Studio comprises nearly 2,000 square feet of open space for classes of up to 40 participants. Restrooms and water fountains are located just nearby, and open shelves are available for storage of personal items. As there are no locker rooms or showers in the studio, the class schedule has been designed for the more high-intensity, high-energy classes to take place after 5 p.m.

I want to take a class at the Well-Being Studio. How do I get started?
First, click here to register as a member and complete the release and waiver of liability forms.
Next, submit your completed forms in person before a class.
Once we have your forms, you will receive a sticker to put on your employee badge.
Finally, check out the Class Schedule and attend the sessions that interest you! The sticker on your badge will let us know your forms have been submitted and you’re cleared to participate.

What should I know about taking a class?
Class space is limited and participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to arrive at the Well-Being Studio on time or even slightly early for your desired session.
To get to the studio, take the express elevators in the West Tower lobby. You’ll need your badge to access the 20th floor.
Remember to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing or exercise attire.

Not located near the Medical Center campus? We have also added well-being classes at Texas Children’s community campuses.

Health Plan: Boot Camp classes on Mondays from 5-6 p.m., and Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Fitness Center in the basement. Note, you must work in the Health Plan building to attend these classes.
Meyer Building: Boot camp classes on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., on the roof of Garage 19. All employees are welcome.
The Woodlands: Boot camp classes on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., on the garage roof. All employees are welcome.
West Campus: Zumba classes on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., in WB.505.21 Ballroom on the 5th floor. All employees are welcome.

Texas Children’s badge holders can also receive reduced monthly membership rates, waived enrollment fees and discounted programs and services from numerous well-being partners. ClassPass, our newest partner, offers one of the world’s most flexible memberships that allows you to work out where you want, when you want and how you want – including on-demand videos and live-streaming classes. Visit the Well-Being page on Connect to learn more.

The Well-Being team would love to hear your questions and comments about the Well-Being Studio and all of our well-being offerings! Send us a message at

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!