July 6, 2016

7616ChroniclePhilanthropy250Texas Children’s is the honored sponsor for every Tuesday’s “Houston Legends” series. For more than 20 weeks, we will showcase the legendary care Texas Children’s has provided since 1954, and focus on milestone moments in our unique history. Also, a complementary website offers a more detailed look at our past, our story and our breakthroughs.

On the right is the Texas Children’s ad that is featured in this week’s Chronicle. Click the ad to visit our companion website at texaschildrens.org/legendarycare. The website will change weekly to complement the newspaper ad, which will be published in section A of the Chronicle on Tuesdays for the next 16 weeks. We also will spotlight this special feature weekly on Connect, so stay tuned to learn and share our rich history.

Click here to visit the Promise website.

April 5, 2016

When a patient comes to Texas Children’s looking for an answer to their medical woes, lab work plays a big part in the diagnosis and treatment of that patient and their family.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine has highlighted the need for improved diagnosis in healthcare. We at Texas Children’s want to continue to lead in that effort and build on our wide range of consultative services on clinical tests that are vital in guiding the diagnosis and therapy of patients.

That’s why we have partnered with Quest Diagnostics to provide outpatient reference lab services to our patients receiving care at our locations or any Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Center in the greater Houston area. Hospital patients will continue to utilize the Texas Children’s Pathology department for lab services.

“Many providers have been frustrated with the idea of dealing with 60-plus reference labs and trying to figure out how to provide the best possible care and quality to our patients,” Executive Vice President John Nickens said. “We took this as an opportunity to look at the market as one entity, as one Texas Children’s experience.”

As a result of our partnership with Quest Diagnostics, a pediatric trained phlebotomist will be available at most Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Health Centers, and The Centers across the Houston area. The partnership will allow Texas Children’s to take advantage of the company’s technical expertise and pair it with our medical knowledge to improve the quality of testing for our patients.

“As we look ahead in the 21st century, we know we’re going to need to be even more accurate and more refined in terms of diagnosis so we can deliver the very specific treatment each patient needs and deserves,” Pathologist-in-Chief Dr. James Versalovic said. “This partnership will allow us to do that and to foster innovation in a way we weren’t able to do before.”

If you would like more information or have questions about the partnership between Quest Diagnostics and Texas Children’s, please contact Cindy Beckley, project manager, at chbeckl2@texaschildrens.org or Ext. 4-5115.

February 16, 2016

An armadillo with thick, long eyelashes whistles as she notices a problem with the blood flow in a child’s heart. Almost immediately an army of robot-like caregivers race into the hospital room and fix the problem.

No, this is not your typical medical setting. This is an imaginary world made to help children with heart problems better understand their diagnosis and potential treatment options. Created by a team led by Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny, the series of almost 40 animated videos features Ruby, an armadillo; Beau, a bison; and a group of caregivers called Blings.

Ruby and Beau’s role in the videos is to identify the problem with a child’s heart, call in the Blings for help and explain – in very simple terms – what’s happening and how it’s affecting the patient. The Blings fix whatever is wrong while hopping in and out of colorful cars and using a cadre of MacGyver-like tools.

“The aim of our project is to improve the health literacy of the children and parents who come to us with heart disease,” Penny said. “If we can empower them through information, we can likely improve their treatment outcome and overall quality of life.”

To effectively communicate complex issues such as ventricular septal defect and patent ductus arteriosis, Penny is working with Michael Liddy, a friend and Australian animator, to script the 4- to 7-minute videos and create their characters, sound effects and musical score, all of which are done very intentionally and with the young age of the viewer in mind.

An additional bonus to the production of the videos, which is being funded by a grant from ExxonMobil, is the voices of Ruby and Beau are recorded at Texas Children’s Hospital by employees Hasti Taghi and Dr. Stuart Hall.

“We were very lucky to get the voices of Ruby and Beau in house,” Penny said. “They definitely add a special touch.”

To date, six of the videos in the series have been completed and were unveiled at a February 15 red carpet premier at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women (click here to view a video). Doctors, patients and families across the organization and beyond can access the videos via Texas Children’s website at http://www.texaschildrens.org/hearteducation.

Penny and his team will continue to add to the animated series and work on another series of videos that educate patients on certain types of routine procedures done at the average heart center.

“We hope that having a program like this any child who enters a heart center will be able to get a feel for what they are going to experience,” Penny said.

January 5, 2016


Bench and Bedside is a digest of the previous month’s stories about the clinical and academic activities of our physicians and scientists. We welcome your submissions and feedback.

December 1

Texas Children’s Fetal Center celebrates 400 miracles at patient reunion

Hundreds of families from around the country traveled to Houston to attend Texas Children’s Fetal Center family reunion. Since its inaugural event in 2007, the reunion provided an opportunity for physicians and staff to reunite with patient families who received life-saving medical and surgical care at our fetal center.

December 1

Texas Children’s awards pediatric pilot grants to 10 promising researchers

Ten promising researchers received the 2015 Pediatric Pilot Awards Research grants worth up to $50,000. The grants will provide initial start-up funding for research projects that have the ultimate goal of enhancing patient outcomes.

December 8

Dr. Mary Brandt elected to ACS Medical Student Education Committee

Dr. Mary Brandt, pediatric surgeon and director of the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program and the Anorectal Malformation Clinic at Texas Children’s, has been elected to the Medical Student Education Committee of the American College of Surgeons, which addresses the educational needs in surgery for medical students during all four years of medical school.

December 15

Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit earns award from Texas Department of Health Services

Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit, the only pediatric-focused unit of its kind in Texas and the Southwest, was recently awarded the Texas Department of Health Services 2015 Texas Preparedness Leadership Award. The annual award recognizes exceptionally meritorious achievements in local, regional or state Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Healthcare Systems Preparedness Programs.

December 15

Texas Children’s Main Campus Urgent Care opens

1516MCUrgentCare300Texas Children’s recently opened a 4,100-square-foot urgent care clinic on the second floor of the Abercrombie Building, creating a system-wide solution to effectively manage the Emergency Center’s (EC) low acuity patient population. The clinic has a dedicated staff of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and clinical support staff. The new urgent care has already helped lighten the load of the EC, seeing about 30 patients a day, or 25 percent of the EC’s daily patient volume. Wait times for patients with low-acuity illnesses also have decreased significantly.

December 15

Texas Children’s oncologists contribute to leading textbook in field

1516PoplackBook300Dr. David Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, and numerous members of his medical staff helped write the recently published, 7th edition of Principles and Practice in Pediatric Oncology. This leading textbook provides the most comprehensive resource on the biology and genetics of childhood cancers.


December 15

Spotlight on Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

1516achd300About 40,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart disease, the most common birth defect. These children grow up with their conditions and are part of a growing population of adults with congenital heart disease. Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program allows patients to continue their care at their childhood medical home as adults.


December 22

Heart Center experts present at Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society 11th International Meeting

1516PCICS300Intensivists, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurses, and outcomes and quality experts from Texas Children’s Heart Center and Baylor College of Medicine served as presenters and moderators during the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (PCICS) 11th International Meeting held December 9 through 11 in Houston.


December 22

Surgical Research Day 2016 to feature new poster session

Plans are underway for the sixth annual Edmond T. Gonzales, Jr., Surgical Research Day which will be held on May 6, 2016. At this session, poster authors will have an opportunity to present their research to reviewers as scoring takes place.

December 22

L. E. Simmons Chair in Orthopedics awarded to Dr. John Dormans

Chief of Orthopedics Dr. John Dormans was recently awarded the L.E. Simmons Chair in Orthopedics. Provided by the Houston Endowment in recognition of Simmons, who served as chairman of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees from 2003-2004, the purpose of this chair is to support orthopedic research, education, clinic program development and advocacy at Texas Children’s.

December 22, 2015

On New Year’s Day, 13-year old Peyton Richardson and her family will ride on a float at the 127th Rose Parade for Northwestern Mutual, the presenting sponsor for the 2016 Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, CA. The theme of this year’s parade is Find your Adventure.

Peyton, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in January 2015, is an aspiring ballerina who dreams of traveling around the world to visit the greatest ballet companies and to take a class with each of their principal dancers.

When Dr. Zoann Dreyer, her doctor at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, introduced her to Northwestern Mutual’s video contest, Peyton jumped at the opportunity to share her greatest adventure. Using her mother’s cell phone, she and her mom produced a video at home in their backyard.

After receiving numerous submissions from across the country, Northwestern Mutual selected Peyton’s video. Her greatest adventure and powerful message about not letting leukemia stop her from dreaming big are the inspiration for Northwestern Mutual’s float design aimed at raising awareness about childhood cancer.

“Cancer can take my hair. Cancer can take my school. Cancer can take some friends, but cancer is not going to take ballet,” said Carrie Richardson, as she recalled her daughter’s video message. “It was so powerful that Northwestern Mutual’s contest selection team fell in love with her.”

With the help of the Richardson family, Northwestern Mutual unveiled its float design that Peyton inspired for the 2016 Rose Parade during a special event at Texas Children’s Cancer Center on December 3, which also included a $25,000 check presentation from Northwestern Mutual to the Cancer Center.

“The name of the float is Dancing into Adventure,” Peyton said. “The swans have gold cancer ribbons around their necks because gold is childhood cancer awareness. On the music box with the ballerina, there’s the Australian ballet, the New York City ballet and the Royal Ballet. Those are the landmarks where I want to visit.”

The float will also be decorated with red roses that will be placed in green vials and affixed to the float. The vials contain signatures from Texas Children’s patients and their families. Everyone who signed the vials can “ride” on the float with Peyton.

“It’s really this link together through Peyton and Northwestern Mutual to bring awareness to childhood cancer and the need for research funds, and really to show that children with cancer can live and survive and have wonderful and meaningful lives,” Dreyer said. “There is a huge message in that float.”

Besides helping to design the float, Peyton will wear a beautiful Tiffany blue costume at the Rose Parade assembled by the Houston Ballet’s lead costume designer.

With just days away until her greatest adventure comes alive on national television, Peyton’s excitement is building.

“Once we are on the plane and we land, I think I am going to be like, “Wow, this is really happening. I’m going to be in the Rose Parade,” Peyton said. “I can’t wait.”

Neither can her mom.

“For us to be there, it’s like the end of a very long and hard year for her and our family,” Carrie said. “We’re very excited.”

Watch Peyton and her family ride on the Northwestern Mutual float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. The parade will be broadcast on NBC at 10 a.m.

November 9, 2015


Bench and Bedside is a digest of the previous month’s stories about the clinical and academic activities of our physicians and scientists. We welcome your submissions and feedback.

October 6

Transient hypoglycemia in newborns may affect school-age academic outcomes

A new study led by Texas Children’s neonatologist Dr. Jeffrey Kaiser found that a brief drop in blood sugar at birth, commonly referred to as transient hypoglycemia, may be linked to lower literacy and math achievement test scores in fourth grade. More

October 6

Jae named to  Baylor College of Medicine curriculum committee

Dr. Andrew Jea, Fellowship Program Director, Director of Educational Programs for the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, was recently appointed to the college’s Medical School Curriculum Committee. More

October 6

Four neurologists will receive prestigious honors from the Child Neurology Society

The Neurology division at Texas Children’s was recognized not once, but four times at the 44th Annual Child Neurology Society Meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 9. More

111015ENT300October 6

Division of Otolaryngology experiences tremendous growth under Arjmand

In just a little more than a year, Dr. Ellis Arjmand has turned Texas Children’s Division of Otolaryngology into the largest pediatric ear, nose and throat program in the country. Prior to his coming aboard as chief of Otolaryngology in August 2014, the program had eight otolaryngologists providing services to the entire city of Houston and its surrounding area. Now, Texas Children’s Otolaryngology has 21 physicians stationed throughout Greater Houston. More

October 13

Texas Children’s anesthesiologists contribute to leading textbook in field

Anesthesiologist-in-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos and several members of his medical staff helped write and edit the recently published Anesthesia for Congenital Heart Disease, 3rd Edition. More

October 13

Clinical Care Center surgery patients now receiving post-surgery prescriptions at discharge

A pilot project was launched on October 13 in the Clinical Care Center that will allow the opportunity for surgery patients to have prescriptions filled prior to discharge. More

October 13

Super Star Physician: Dr. Sunjeev Patel

Dr. Sunjeev Patel of Texas Children’s Pediatrics Lakewood is the latest Texas Children’s Super Star physician. “Being part of Texas Children’s Pediatrics has allowed me to not only see patients in the office, but it also has given me the opportunity to be involved with understanding and improving quality of care,” Patel said. Read more of Patel’s interview and find out how you can nominate a Super Star. More

111015SIUfinishingtouches300October 13

Finishing touches being put on Special Isolation Unit in preparation of opening

Pastel paint, shiny floors and spacious rooms equipped with the latest scientific and technological approaches to biocontainment are just a few of the features of the soon-to-be-finished Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. The 8-bed unit designed for children with highly contagious infectious diseases is set to open later in October. More

October 20

Vasudevan receives grant for liver cancer research

The Macy Easom Cancer Research Foundation has awarded pediatric surgeon Dr. Sanjeev Vasudevan a $75,000 grant for research into a form of pediatric liver cancer called hepatoblastoma, which is a disease that usually affects children under the age of five. More

111015TransitionMedicine300October 20

Texas Children’s Transition Medicine team holds victory celebration dinner

Nearly 90 percent of children born with chronic or disabling conditions are surviving into adulthood, prompting the need for health care providers to develop appropriate and timely transitions of care. Texas Children’s is ensuring patients here experience a smooth transition to adult care. More

111015LeeWoodruffGrandRounds300October 20

Lee Woodruff inspires packed auditorium at Department of Pediatrics grand rounds

When ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff was injured by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq, his wife, Lee, became his caretaker. Recently, she visited Texas Children’s to share her inspiring patient-family story with the Department of Pediatrics at Grand Rounds. More

October 27

NRI study: Deep brain stimulation restores learning, memory in Rett syndrome mice

In a recent study led by Drs. Huda Zoghbi and Jianrong Tang, and published in the journal Nature, researchers from the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine, demonstrated that deep brain stimulation of a specific area of the brain reverts learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, a leading cause of intellectual disability in girls. More

October 27

NRI researcher receives the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award

Dr. Mingshan Xue, a Carolina DeLuca scholar and researcher at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s, has been awarded the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award. More

October 27

2016 Catalyst Leadership Award receipients named at luncheon

Five outstanding Texas Children’s employees who exemplify leadership while upholding Texas Children’s mission and core values were honored October 23 at a luncheon naming the 2016 Catalyst Leadership Award recipients and the Catalyst Leader of the Year. The award was created six years ago by members of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees in honor of Mark Wallace’s 20th anniversary as president and CEO. More

September 15, 2015

Every summer, Texas Children’s staff and their patients make the 90-mile trek to Camp for All, a 100-acre, barrier-free recreational facility that enables children with special needs to experience the thrill of camping just like normal kids their age.

“It’s a place where they feel safe and comfortable because everyone is just like them,” said Texas Children’s Neurology Chief Dr. Gary Clark, who is the lead physician at Camp Spike N Wave. “In partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, we provide the medical infrastructure so children can have a safe camping experience, while doing everything that anybody would do in any other camp.”

Wheelchair bound or not, children engage in a fun-filled week of adrenaline-pumping activities like zip lining, rock wall climbing, swimming, horseback riding, archery, rope courses, basketball, and canoeing in a lake. They build friendships and unleash their independent spirit, while focusing less on their illness or physical disabilities.

Texas Children’s oncologist Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer is the medical director for Camp Periwinkle. She and her staff collaborate with the Periwinkle Foundation to bring more than 185 patients from Texas Children’s Cancer Center to camp each summer.

“Often times, our patients are marked by their cancer,” Dreyer said. “Being in the normal environment can be really tough for them. Here at camp, the playing field is equal for everyone.”

Camps like Camp Periwinkle and Camp Spike N Wave would not be possible without the diligent efforts of Texas Children’s own, Dr. Robert Zeller, chief of the Blue Bird Clinic, who collaborated with other physicians to create Camp for All in 1993.

“I had a patient with epilepsy who couldn’t go to camp because camps wouldn’t accept children with this condition,” Zeller said. “This prompted me to develop a camp for children with medical and physical challenges where they can discover life without barriers. It’s my way of giving back to my patients.”