January 13, 2015

Watch the newest “I Am Texas Children’s” video featuring employee Joseph Quin in Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus – Culinary Services.

“I’ve worked at West Campus since the day it opened,” said Quin. “It’s a great place to work because the people are caring and we have the opportunity to help sick kids.”

Check out Quin’s video, and find out how you and your coworkers can be featured in the “I Am Texas Children’s” section on Connect.


Three inspirational women who are members of the Texas Children’s family have been inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GHWCC) Hall of Fame.

Dr. Lucy Puryear and Texas Children’s Board of Trustees members Jan Duncan and Cindy Taylor were among the 13 outstanding women recognized at last month’s Hall of Fame Gala. The ceremony honored female leaders who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women through leadership, education, advocacy and mentoring in the Greater Houston community.

Texas Children’s was the only organization that had more than one inductee into the Hall of Fame, which speaks volumes about our organization’s incredible leadership.

“We are thrilled that several of our own female leaders were awarded this prestigious honor,” said Cris Daskevich, senior vice president at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “These dynamic women are making a profound impact in their respective fields and helping Texas Children’s advance care for children and women in our region and around the world.”

The awards ceremony featured a heartfelt video tribute applauding each of our female leaders for their efforts in promoting Texas Children’s passion for the mission.

Jan Duncan
Jan Duncan serves on the Board of Trustees and has been a long-time supporter of Texas Children’s. She and her late husband, Dan, helped establish the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s, which has led to remarkable advances in the diagnosis and treatment of rare, childhood neurologic diseases. Their commitment of $50 million to the NRI is the largest single gift in Texas Children’s history.

As an advocate for children’s health, Duncan serves as an honorary chair of Texas Children’s Heal Sick Children campaign. She also supports Texas Children’s Cancer Center, the Baylor International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative and has ensured the success of our Vision 2010 initiatives.

Dr. Lucy Puryear
Dr. Lucy Puryear has been a passionate advocate for women’s mental health and her ongoing efforts have not gone unnoticed in her profession. Recently, she received the GHWCC’s coveted Kathryn S. Stream Award for Excellence in Women’s Health.

Puryear is the medical director of The Women’s Place: Center for Reproductive Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and co-director of The Menopause Clinic, an initiative to improve the health of women as they age. One of her current projects is to initiate maternal depression screening for women throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period to help enhance their quality of life through early diagnosis and treatment.

Puryear is a nationally recognized expert on women’s mental health and has delivered numerous presentations to health professionals and lay persons through invited lectures, print and television appearances. She is the author of the book, “Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting: Emotions, Mental Health, and Happiness, Before, During and After Pregnancy.”

Cindy Taylor
Outside of her professional achievements in the oil and gas industry, Cindy Taylor has served on Texas Children’s Board of Trustees since 2012. In these short years, she has helped our organization create a roadmap for the future.

As chair of the Board’s Operations, Planning and Development Committee, she oversaw the very important CareFirst planning process to evaluate the hospital’s critical needs and help us set the right course for Texas Children’s for decades to come. At the heart of this process is our organization-wide focus on quality, safety, patient experience and proactive growth.

Congratulations to Texas Children’s remarkable female leaders on a job well done!

January 6, 2015


Amy Smith, a board certified music therapist at Texas Children’s, received the prestigious 2014 Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Grant from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

The grant will support Smith’s study, “The Effects of Live Contingent Singing on Preterm Neonates with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia,” which will examine the impact of a live music therapy intervention on the physiologic and behavioral responses of preterm infants with a chronic lung condition.

The study is slated to begin in early 2015 and run through mid-2016. The research team includes physicians, nurse practitioners and researchers from Texas Children’s Hospital. The results from the study will provide important information on the potential impact of music therapy on the overall well-being of infants with chronic and long term hospitalization needs.

The AMTA Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Award is the largest and most prestigious grant awarded to one individual each year from a highly competitive field of applications.

“I am honored to receive this research grant award,” said Smith. “This generous funding will help us advance music therapy research and identify innovative music therapy treatments for Texas Children’s patients.”

Since the hospital launched the program in 2013, Smith has provided music therapy to patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

The Music Therapy program is part of the Creative Arts Therapy program in the Child Life Department which provides developmental, educational and therapeutic interventions for children undergoing medical treatment.

“Music therapy is about providing families with the tools to interact and bond with their babies,” said Smith. “When a parent has a very small and very sick baby, they may be unable to hold or touch their newborn and music therapy can encourage bonding through songs and lullabies.”

Click here to watch a video about Texas Children’s Music Therapy program. For more information about music therapy, click here to visit our website.

December 2, 2014


Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has been recognized as a top children’s hospital by the Leapfrog Group for the second consecutive year.

The Leapfrog Group is an organization that provides the only national, public comparison of hospitals across safety, quality and efficiency dimensions.

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus is among an elite group of only nine children’s hospitals selected out of more than 1,400 rural, urban and children’s hospitals surveyed, and the only children’s hospital in Houston to be recognized with this prestigious distinction.

“We are honored to again be recognized as a top performing children’s hospital,” said Michelle Riley-Brown, president of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. “Our physicians, nurses and employees continuously strive to provide high quality care for our patients and families while keeping their safety our top priority.”

This year’s list of recognized hospitals includes 60 Top Rural Hospitals, 25 Top Urban Hospitals and nine Top Children’s Hospitals. To be selected as a Top Hospital, organizations must meet or exceed Leapfrog criteria in three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use and management structures in place to prevent errors.

The Leapfrog Group was founded to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. The annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. The Top Hospitals will be honored at Leapfrog’s Annual Meeting on December 2 in Arlington, Virginia, which gathers key decision-makers from Leapfrog’s network of purchaser members, industry partners, health care stakeholders and national collaborators.

For more information, or to see a complete list of The Leapfrog Group’s 2014 Top Hospitals, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/news.

November 11, 2014


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) awarded a $1.8 million contract to Dr. William Whitehead, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital, to study ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement in pediatric patients with hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain.

Whitehead and his research team will work with the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network and the Hydrocephalus Association to conduct the study. The four-year randomized controlled trial will determine which shunt entry site results in the lowest rate of shunt failure.

The study is one of 46 proposals PCORI approved for funding to advance the field of comparative clinical effectiveness research providing patients, healthcare providers and other clinical decision-makers with information that will help them make better-informed choices.

“We believe that our study proposal will answer an important question and has the potential to significantly improve the care of pediatric patients with shunted hydrocephalus,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead’s study and other projects approved for funding by PCORI were selected from 490 applications through a highly competitive review process.


Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. Larry Hollier has been appointed to two new and exciting positions in the Department of Surgery – surgical director of patient experience and surgical director of the operating rooms.

Patient experience and operating room efficiency are critical areas of focus in our aspiration to deliver the highest level of service and care to our patients. Hollier has been instrumental in catalyzing improvements in these areas and in collaborating with colleagues from surgery, anesthesia, and operating room leadership. These new roles formalize our structural commitment to these efforts.

As surgical director of patient experience, Hollier will continue the exceptional work being done to improve patient and family experience. To date, he has played a key leadership role in implementing same-day appointments and direct scheduling for the Department of Surgery. These initiatives have helped improve our Texas Children’s Pediatrics referral processes and time to the third available appointment. Hollier also has led the following pilot projects to improve the experience of a patient’s arrival on the day of surgery:

  • New wayfinding system to help families find the different surgical areas;
  • Streamlined pre-surgery instructions to ensure consistent messaging for families; and
  • Addition of greeters to help families upon their arrival at the hospital.

As surgical director of the operating rooms, Hollier will partner with Dr. Steve Stayer and Judy Swanson in leading our operating theaters. This team will continue to work to improve efficiency in scheduling and the implementation of best practices, including developing focused specialty teams of nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical staff.

111214ChesterKoh175-2The Auxiliary to Texas Children’s Hospital recently awarded Dr. Chester Koh and Dr. Robert Williamson with $75,000 research awards.

Koh, a pediatric urologist at Texas Children’s and the director of the organization’s Robotic Surgery Program, earned the Denton A. Cooley Fellowship in Surgical Innovation Award, which is given to a physician whose surgical research focuses on innovative ways to help children and to save lives. Williamson, an otolaryngologist with Texas Children’s and a professor with Baylor College of Medicine, received the Outcomes Fellowship Award, which supports patient care, education and research.

Koh is an internationally recognized expert in minimally invasive surgery, and has been instrumental in developing minimally invasive techniques with both laparoscopic surgery and da Vinci® robotic surgery to treat children. The hospital’s program serves as a pediatric robotic surgery research and training center that collaborates with other institutions in the Texas Medical Center.

Williamson studies functional outcomes of cochlear implants and the effects of language spoken by the implant team and by the family of the child who receives the implant. Little data is available on outcomes in implant recipients where the native language spoken in the home is different from that spoken by members of the cochlear implant team.

Williamson’s study will retrospectively analyze and compare cochlear implant recipients from non-native English-speaking households to recipients from English-speaking households, and analyze outcomes from patients with similar clinical characteristics.