April 15, 2019

Drs. Muralidhar Premkumar (from left) and Melissa Carbajal, Neonatology faculty, congratulate third-year fellow Dr. Charles Roitsch (center), as the 24th annual Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds award recipient. The award recognizes third-year fellows in neonatal-perinatal medicine for outstanding teaching, patient care, scientific inquiry and professional integrity. Dr. Patrick McNamara, a staff neonatologist and director of the Division of Neonatology at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, was this year’s invited speaker at the recent grand rounds. Dr. McNamara also is the current chair of the PanAmerican Hemodynamic Collaborative and Paediatric Academic Society Neonatal Hemodynamics Advisory.

The Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds was established in 1996 by the Section of Neonatology, in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in memory of its late Section Chief, Dr. Arnold J. Rudolph, who died in 1995. Dr. Rudolph was a well-respected clinician and educator, recognized internationally as a leader of neonatology.

April 2, 2019

More than a dozen Texas Children’s clinicians, who are also in academic roles at Baylor College of Medicine, were recently honored with the college’s Women of Excellence Award.

The award is one of the highest educational honors made by the college, highlighting individuals who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to issues that affect women at Baylor College of Medicine, or in their larger community.

The award also recognizes meritorious academic accomplishments, commitment to the mission and vision of Baylor, as well as direct teaching and evaluation, educational leadership, development of enduring educational materials and educational research.

“Congratulations on your outstanding accomplishment and we wish you many years of continued success,” said Dr. Toi Blakely, Associate Provost of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity & Student Services, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics and Family and Community. ”Baylor College of Medicine is truly fortunate to have such outstanding role models dedicated to addressing issues affecting women at Baylor and the larger community through our mission and core values. Thank you for all you do.”

The following Texas Children’s clinicians received the Women of Excellence Award at a March 28 ceremony featuring remarks by Dr. Hannah Valentine, the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the National Institutes of Health. For a complete list of award winners, click here.

  • Dr. Nishath Ali, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Susan Blaney, Cancer and Hematology Centers
  • Dr. Catherine Eppes, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Elaine Fielder, Emergency Medicine
  • Dr. Karin Fox, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Erica Giwa, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Charleta Guillory, Neonatology
  • Dr. Jill Ann Jarrell, Palliative Care
  • Dr. Karen Johnson, Neonatology
  • Dr. Lakshmi Katakam, Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Dr. Katherine Leaming-Van Zandt, Emergency Medicine
  • Dr. Krithika Lingappan, Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Dr. Jenelle Little, Neonatology
  • Dr. Shreya Sheth, Cardiology
  • Dr. Sara Kristen Sexson Tejtel, Department of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Sandhya Sara Thomas, Nephrology
March 26, 2019

Myra Davis, senior vice president of Information Services at Texas Children’s Hospital, received the 2019 Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Year ORBIE Awards from the Houston CIO Leadership Association.

The CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards is the premier technology executive recognition program in the United States that is based upon a nominee’s leadership and management effectiveness, technology innovation, size and scope of responsibilities and engagement in industry and community endeavors.

“I am very grateful to receive this honor,” Davis said. “Information Technology, particularly in health care, has the opportunity to enhance, in many ways, how we deliver care to our patients and families. I love what my team and I are able to do and the boundless opportunities IT presents at Texas Children’s.”

Since joining Texas Children’s 15 years ago, Davis has helped Texas Children’s consistently stand out amongst our peers, and it is her visionary leadership and passion for the hospital’s mission that keep Texas Children’s on the leading edge of technology, and perpetually surfing the innovation curve.

While her leadership philosophy centers on cultivating strong partnerships that drive the successful delivery of improved quality, safety and patient outcomes at Texas Children’s, Davis enthusiastically credits her team of more than 400 employees for helping to lead the organization through some major technological transformations, including spearheading the recent integration of Texas Children’s Health Plan systems into the hospital’s electronic medical record.

Davis and her team have been instrumental in other systemwide initiatives including implementing new MyChart enhancements that have significantly improved patient experience and access to care; building the technology infrastructure to support daily operations at our new Texas Children’s Lester and Sue Legacy Tower; upgrading the patient transport system used to document incoming and outgoing transfers; and implementing a stringent cyber security protocol throughout Texas Children’s that employs a layered defense to prevent unauthorized access to organizational assets and patient information.

“Our IS department is truly the village that makes everything happen on a daily basis,” Davis said. “I am grateful to work with such a dedicated and talented team, and look forward to what we can accomplish together to better serve our patients and their families, and our employees and staff at Texas Children’s.”

Beyond her leadership responsibilities at Texas Children’s, Myra also devotes much of her free time serving the community. She has developed a collaboration between local universities (Rice, UT Austin and University of Houston) and Texas Children’s, where students are able see how technology is used in health care and explore the possibility of wanting to work in healthcare technology post-graduation.

In addition to the CIO of the Year ORBIE Award, Davis has been the recipient of the 2017 Houston Business Journal CIO of the Year in addition to Association for Women in Computing Award for Leadership in Technology that recognizes women who are making a difference in their professions, companies and communities through hard work and innovative leadership.

March 12, 2019

As patient care manager in the Emergency Center (EC) at Texas Children’s Medical Center Campus, Tashia Bush oversees a dedicated team of nurses that treat more than 75,000 children every year.

Given the fast-paced, high-stress nature of an emergency care setting, there is one common goal that Bush and her team focus on daily – cultivating a safer environment for patients and staff in the EC.

“Every day is patient safety day in the EC,” Bush said. “The key to creating an environment of safe patient care is ensuring our staff is equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to take preventive action.”

Bush recently was recognized for her patient safety efforts in the EC when she became the January 2019 recipient of the Shamrock Award, which is awarded every month to a patient safety champion.

Texas Children’s Safety and Quality Leadership Group presents this award to a person or group who has done something extraordinary to enhance patient safety across the organization like taking immediate action to avert a potential safety concern, spearheading improvements to enhance patient safety and other above and beyond actions that make a positive impact on the safety of Texas Children’s patients.

Last year, Bush created the Safety Promotion Team comprised of EC staff, a quality improvement specialist and 10 safety coaches that meet every month to review current trends in the EC, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop action plans to address potential patient safety concerns.

To promote transparency, safety scoop report cards are sent to staff each month to keep them abreast of the number of serious safety events reported in the EC. By comparing data trends on a monthly basis, staff can see what areas they have improved upon and what areas need additional reinforcement. Staff members can then share their ideas for improvement with the Safety Promotion Team for consideration.

“Through our educational efforts, our EC staff has made great strides in patient safety,” Bush said. “We have seen a decrease in the number of falls and central line infections, and we have implemented new processes to improve positive patient identification and reduce the potential for medication errors.”

Similar to the Shamrock Award, Bush also created a new program in her unit called “Catch of the Month,” that recognizes staff for making “great catches” that averted potential safety concerns in the EC.

“There is no question our employees are making Texas Children’s safer,” said Texas Children’s Chief Safety Officer Dr. Joan Shook. “Since we launched the Shamrock program more than a year ago, there has been tremendous enthusiasm and the number of nominees has grown dramatically every month.”

The Shamrock Program is open to both clinical and non-clinical employees since everyone at Texas Children’s – regardless of their job title or position – plays an important role in cultivating a harm-free environment for our patients. Click here for a list of previous Shamrock Award winners.

For Bush, she says programs like this are a great morale booster and keeps patient safety top of mind.

“It is so important that we acknowledge our patient safety champions who play a critical role in the care of our patients,” Bush said. “Every time we let somebody know that they’ve done a great job, they are more apt to do more and become an inspiration for others to go the extra mile to keep our patients safe.”

Do you know someone who is deserving of the Shamrock Award? Click here to access the nomination form.

March 11, 2019

Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy Dr. Helen Heslop was recently recognized with the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Lifetime Achievement Award at the Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.

The ASBMT Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes an individual who has made continuing contributions to the field of blood and marrow transplantation.

Heslop is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. In addition, she is the Dan L. Duncan Chair and the Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Heslop is a key player in translational research focusing on adoptive T-cell immunotherapy to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. She was a Doris Duke distinguished clinical research scientist and is an elected member of the American Association of Physicians. She serves as Principal Investigator on several peer-reviewed research programs, including an NCI-funded program project grant (Enhancing T-Cell Therapy of Cancer) a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) award (Immunotherapy of Lymphoma) and a SPORE in lymphoma from the NCI. She is a past President of the Foundation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy, American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Heslop’s research interests focus on adoptive immunotherapy for malignancy and viral infections. She has extensive experience in mentoring both clinical and laboratory trainees and is the principal investigator on an NHLBI-funded training grant in Cell and Gene Therapy.

Heslop’s clinical interests include immunotherapy of malignancies with antigen specific T-cells and immunotherapy with antigen specific T-cells to prevent and treat viral infections post transplant. She therefore has extensive experience in developing and conducting transplant studies and cell and gene therapy studies and currently, along with Malcolm Brenner and Bambi Grilley, holds over 20 Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs).

February 25, 2019

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Valerie Rippey, RN, BSN; Inpatient staff nurse, Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. I have been a part of this unit for four years but part of Texas Children’s for 10 years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was told to attend a staff meeting during the day that was imperative to changes on our unit. When I arrived I sat in the meeting as my assistant director and manager were going over the Texas Children’s Hospital Core Values and expectations on our unit (not out of the ordinary). There was a power point presentation that went along with the meeting and then our manager asked us about anyone we would select that role models the Texas Children’s values and what it means. Before I knew it I looked up as she was saying that we have someone on our unit who exemplifies these values and staff has taken note of it and they are a “super star” on and off the unit. She changed slides and when I looked, it took me a second to realize the picture was of me!

What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do? How has the organization helped you achieve your personal and professional goals?
Receiving the super star award was by far the biggest surprise in my professional career. I had no idea I was receiving this award nor did I expect it. It was a great feeling knowing that those around me have noticed my extra efforts to help create a stronger team dynamic in perioperative services. My unit has undergone many changes in the last couple of years and I decided recently to become more involved and be a part of the change. My leadership has been very supportive in allowing me to be able to branch out into different roles such as charge nurse, preceptor, and retention chair for perioperative services. They have provided the flexibility in my schedule to attend hospital-wide meetings, classes and always remain an accessible and valuable resource for me. Through these roles I have been able to build relationships with my peers as well as the entire multidisciplinary team.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
There are so many super stars at Texas Children’s. I feel that no matter where you go or which campus you step in, everyone goes out of their way to make you feel welcomed. A Texas Children’s super star is someone who goes out of their way to go above and beyond to take care of our patients, families and each other on a daily basis.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
Each and every day I am constantly motivated by children and their families. Over the last 10 years at Texas Children’s I have been fortunate to meet some of the most resilient little humans I have ever seen in my life. The fact that I can make a difference in a child and family’s life that will last a lifetime is what keeps me pushing to be better. I believe in the mission and core values of Texas Children’s and strive to embrace them daily.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about Texas Children’s is the magic. The magic that happens within the walls and outside as well. If you take a step back and just watch… you’ll see it. It’s every time providers and patients hug as if they are family. It’s in every little step that is taken and created to provide each and every child the very best care. It is the genuine love, support, care and compassion that is shown through all who wear a badge with the infamous red logo. It is the pride that comes shines out of me when someone asks where I work and I reply “Texas Children’s Hospital.” This is the place where truly amazing people make magical things happen every day. We ARE Texas Children’s Hospital.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
The thing about Texas Children’s is that leadership comes in all shapes and forms. It does not matter what your job description is or what letters come after your name. Leadership is a characteristic that Texas Children’s recognizes throughout the entire organization. To me leadership has nothing to do with the position or title you are holding but everything to do with your influence on others. Leadership is building relationships and giving respect before the expectation of gaining it. I feel a true leader not only adds value and success to their team but strives to build other leaders.

Anything else you want to share?
The only reason I am able to do the things I have set out to do on my unit is because I have an amazing team around me that supports, encourages, and comes together like no other department I have worked in. The staff in perioperative services at West Campus are the true super stars day in and out. I am just the lucky one who brought the attention to it. They are my family away from home and I couldn’t be more grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing team.

February 11, 2019

On February 4, The Woodlands Recognition and Rewards Committee proudly presented the winners for the second quarter Woodlands Shining Star award to the very deserving winners, Karen Cortez-Calbang and Dr. Brent Schackett.

The employee-recognition award was launched after the opening of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands in April 2017 and honors those who go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to our patients, families and staff in The Woodlands.

Cortez-Calbang is a registered nurse that has been part of Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) since The Woodlands campus opened.

“Her spirit is indefinable,” staff nurse and co-worker, Nhi Hoang said. “Karen is a natural born leader.”

Through her devotion of always putting her patients and team members first, Cortez-Calbang has earned great admiration and respect from patients, families, and her team. According to Hoang, regardless of the situation she is always calm and collected which is a great comfort to her patients.

“She inspires everyone she meets,” Hoang said. “She makes me and others want to be better nurses every day as we see her kindheartedness as a charge nurse.”

Schackett is an anesthesiologist who was nominated for constantly putting the patient first and providing high quality care. His focus on the patient and doing what is right helps to ensure the patient and family have a good experience every single time.

“He is warm, authentic, and selfless,” certified registered nurse anesthetists and co-worker, Meghan Duggan said. “He collaborates with every team member to make the day enjoyable.”

A huge congratulations and thank you to Cortez-Calbang and Schackett for being the Shining Star and going above and beyond for our patients, families, and co-workers.