July 23, 2019

Krisanne Graves recently visited Vietnam with a group of volunteers and shares how their charitable efforts brought smiles to the faces of many children in need of foster care. Read more

July 16, 2019

Jenny Tcharmtchi shares her recent experience volunteering with her PICU colleagues at the Houston Food Bank and how their positive efforts are helping to create a healthier community for countless children and families in need. Read more

July 15, 2019

In the spirit of living compassionately for our growing workforce, Texas Children’s entered into a partnership with ComPsych in January to launch EAP Plus, an enhanced Employee Assistance Program that offers a wide variety of new services in addition to traditional counseling. In the first three months of the new service, more than 2,000 employees utilized EAP Plus services. This service has been a valuable asset to our employees and is now available to physicians and advanced practitioners in medical staffing working at Texas Children’s locations.

How can EAP Plus help?

Suppose you want to find the perfect amusement park for your vacation. Simply call EAP Plus on Texas Children’s dedicated phone line to connect with resource specialists who will listen to your questions and research answers tailor-made to your needs. Within a few business days, you’ll have a full report of practical information and affordable alternatives that can be delivered to you via e-mail, fax or second-day air.

There is virtually no limit to what the EAP Plus specialists can research and find for you:

  • Temporary child care
  • Summer camps for sports, theater, computing or any other interest
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • College summer learning programs for teens
  • Amusement parks or resorts in your area or across the county
  • Museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums your kids will love
  • Kid-friendly destinations across the U.S. and the globe
  • Concerts or exhibits coming to your area
  • The best hiking trails in your area for little legs
  • National Parks highlights
  • Kayaking and canoeing outfitters
  • The cleanest beaches with the safest waters
  • Considerations when traveling abroad with children
  • Country-specific resources for your overseas voyage
  • Minivan or car rental options
  • Pet care and boarding services
  • Fun and creative projects you can do at home
  • Ideas for outdoor grilling
  • Tips on growing your own vegetable garden
  • Bike sales and repairs, and more

No matter what you need to pull off the perfect summer, you can count on EAP Plus for information, resources and referrals. Confidential assistance is available at no cost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for work-life planning and more. Click here to check out family travel tips from EAP Plus, including advice for traveling on a budget, surviving a road trip with the kids, packing up the pets, adjusting to work after returning from vacation and more.

How can I access my EAP Plus benefits?
Access your EAP Plus benefits in one of two ways:

  1. By calling 833.EAP.PLUS (833-327-7587) to connect with a certified counselor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Representantes que hablan Español están disponibles.
  2. By visiting EAP Plus online at http://www.guidanceresources.com/
    Employees should then click “register” and enter EAPPLUS as the Organization Web ID.

What can an employee expect when they call EAP Plus?
When an employee calls, they will speak with a GuidanceConsultant, a masters- or doctorate-level counselor who will collect some general information and listen to the employee’s concerns. The GuidanceConsultant will then provide a referral to a local counselor who best fits the employee’s unique needs. The employee can then set up an appointment to speak with the counselor over the phone or schedule a face-to-face visit. EAP Plus is strictly confidential.

What counseling services will EAP Plus provide?
EAP Plus provides free short-term counseling with local counselors who can help employees with emotional concerns. If the counselor determines that the issues can be resolved with short-term counseling, the employee will receive counseling through EAP Plus. However, if it is determined that the problem cannot be resolved in short-term counseling, and longer-term treatment is needed, the employee will be referred to a specialist early on, and the employee’s insurance coverage will be activated.

On his blog this week, Mark Wallace shares highlights of his visit at Texas Children’s Specialty Care Austin for the first New Employee Pep Rally in the area. Mr. Wallace officially welcomed nearly 70 new employees, physicians and staff to our one amazing team, who are excited about what we are bringing to Austin! Read more

July 2, 2019

As the nation celebrates Independence Day on July 4, Maria Dahl reflects on her service in the U.S. Army and how her experiences inspired her to pursue a career in nursing. Read more

July 1, 2019

As members of the Texas Children’s family, we strive to provide exceptional service each and every day. And, as part of the Disney Team of Heroes (DToH) initiative, we have partnered with the Disney Institute – Disney’s professional development and external training arm – to develop the DToH Children’s Hospital Service Training. This training is intended to enhance our already strong culture of care and service by turning ordinary interactions into moments of comfort, compassion and inspiration for patients, families and each other.

This week, Disney Institute has begun delivering an on-site version of the training to a representative group of employees and leaders from inpatient, outpatient and support services across our system to refine and inform this exciting new program.

In order to effectively roll out this impactful training across our system in the future, we need your help!

We are looking for 25 dynamic and engaging employees (including leaders) to train our workforce on how to deliver exceptional service through our Texas Children’s values and Disney’s service principles.

We are thrilled to introduce the DToH Train the Trainer Program! This new program will offer employees the distinguished opportunity to directly equip the workforce with concepts, skills, behaviors and tools to further our goal of providing innovative, patient-centered engagement.

In order to apply to be a DToH Service Trainer, you must be prepared to fulfill the following time commitments:

  • Deliver a minimum of 12 trainings per year and additional dedicated time each month for preparations and logistics
  • Be available to attend the DToH Train the Trainer Program on Oct. 14 – 18, 2019

Ideal applicants should exhibit a passion for the culture, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and a commitment to treat everyone like a valued customer, among other desired behaviors.

Additionally, you must meet eligibility requirements, which are outlined in the online application, and you must complete the following:

  • A 300 – 500 word personal statement on why you want to be a DToH Service Trainer
  • A 90-second video on how you see “Live Compassionately” demonstrated at Texas Children’s

Click here to fill out the online application and submit your video and personal statement, which are due by Friday, July 12.

In order to assist you with your application, we are offering Virtual Information Sessions that will provide a detailed overview of the eligibility requirements, time commitment and selection process. You are not required to attend a session in order to apply.

Dates/times available:

  • Friday, June 28, Noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 2, 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, July 2, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Click here to sign up for a Virtual Information Session. Once you enter HealthStream, select the “TCH DToH Children’s Hospital Service Virtual Information Session” to enroll.

If you are selected to move forward in the process following the review of the applications, you will be called back to participate in live auditions in August.

We look forward to seeing the magic you will create!

June 25, 2019

The first six years of Patrick Prudhomme’s life were touch and go. Born with sickle cell disease, the young boy experienced frequent episodes of pain when his sickled red blood cells blocked the flow of blood and oxygen to his body. He also endured various other complications of the disease, some of which landed him in the intensive care unit and had his family extremely worried about whether he would survive.

“It started with a fever and escalated quickly after that,” said Patrick’s grandmother, Joyce Watson about her grandson’s last major flare up. “I thought we were going to lose him.”

Today, thanks to the treatment Patrick receives at Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center, he is a healthy 14-year-old ninth grader. Patrick has not had any pain or major health complications since he started the medication, hydroxyurea, eight years ago.

“I love Texas Children’s,” Patrick said. “Before I came here, I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.”

Patrick’s story, as well as those of many other sickle cell disease patients, were celebrated on June 19 in honor of World Sickle Cell Day, a time sickle cell patients, families, physicians, researchers and others join forces to raise awareness about sickle cell disease, an inherited red blood cell disorder that affects about 100,000 Americans and many more worldwide.

Held in the Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center on the 14th Floor of Wallace Tower, the celebration provided fun, educational activities for all. Patients enjoyed refreshments, a variety of arts and crafts, and a visit from Elsa, one of Texas Children’s therapy dogs who helps comfort patients during their stay at the hospital.

See photos from the event below.

Family members and friends gathered information from various community organizations such as Supporting Our Sicklers (S.O.S.), Sickle Cell Association of Texas Marc Thomas Foundation, Novartis, H-SCOUT and The Periwinkle Foundation. They also heard from Dr. Amber Yates, co-director of Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center.

“The work that is currently being done to find more treatments and hopefully a cure for sickle cell is extremely exciting,” Yates said. “I would never have imagined there would be this much involvement around sickle cell disease right now, but there is and it’s great.”

Some of those advancements include a FDA medication to help treat the symptoms of the disease in children 5 years old and older, Yates said. Another medication was recently granted accelerated approval pathway by the FDA and should be available for patients in the next one to two years. Other medications that would help patients during flare ups also are being studied.

Yates said gene therapy is another treatment being researched. In this therapy, the patients’ stem cells are coded to make non-sickled hemoglobin. This therapy offers another potential curative therapy for this disease.

Because this therapy could be a cure for the disease, Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Dr. Susan Blaney said Texas Children’s is playing a large role in the research going on surrounding sickle cell disease and that our experts are dedicated to finding more effective treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease.

Texas Children’s has been at the forefront of the fight against sickle cell disease for decades, screening newborns for the disease since the 1950s. Since 2011, these efforts have been expanded globally to Africa, where many more people suffer from the disease and screening and treatment are limited.

Texas Children’s is now treating children with sickle cell disease in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as training local physicians to do the same. Serving more than 1,100 children each year, Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center is one of the largest in Texas, offering the latest treatments including hydroxyurea, transfusions and stem cell transplantation.

“We understand that this disease is life changing and that it affects people of all ethnicities across the world,” Blaney said. “That’s why we are here today recognizing you and renewing our commitment to tackling this disease.”

To learn more about Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center, which serves patients from across the globe, click here. To watch Yates dive into the ins and outs of sickle cell disease on TedEd, click here, and to read a blog by Yates about sickle cell disease and why we celebrate World Sickle Cell day, click here.