April 22, 2019

The Purple Songs Can Fly documentary, “Journey to Hope,” was recognized with the Platinum Remi Award at the 2019 WorldFest-Houston.

“My father must have orchestrated this from heaven along with all the other angels watching over Mia, Layla, Dominic, Emily, Stephen and Christian,” said Anita Kruse, founder and executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly. “Thank you. Your love is eternal and shows us that hope is always here. This one’s for you.”

Purple Songs Can Fly, the first recording studio created on a pediatric cancer floor, was founded in 2006 at Texas Children’s Hospital. Thirteen years and thousands of songs later, six childhood cancer patients, Mia, Layla, Dominic, Emily, Stephen and Christian, come together as survivors to share “Journey to Hope,” an original musical featuring their own songs. Written and recorded in the Purple Songs Can Fly studio during their individual cancer journeys, these songs were created as a way to express the myriad of emotions and feelings a pediatric cancer diagnosis may bring.

“We were thrilled to be included in this year’s line up at WorldFest-Houston, alongside many other wonderful, independent films,” Kruse said. “It was a great stage for our story to be told, truly shining a light on pediatric cancer.”

Now in its 52nd year, WorldFest, the Houston International Film Festival, showcased more than 60 new independent feature films and more than 100 award-winning shorts from around the globe. The WorldFest mission is to recognize and honor outstanding creative achievement in film and video, while educating and introducing excellence in cinematic arts for the promotion of cultural tourism in Houston. Founded in 1961 as an international film society, it evolved into a competitive international film festival in 1968, and became the third such festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York.

“We’re so proud of Anita and the incredible patients who created such a beautiful film,” said Carol Herron, coordinator of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “Purple Songs Can Fly has provided hundreds of patients and siblings the gift of sharing their journey through song, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to share this special piece with our community.”

To view the trailer, visit “Journey to Hope.” For more information about Purple Songs Can Fly, visit www.purplesongcanfly.org and for more information about 2019 WorldFest-Houston, visit www.worldfest.org.

Bert Gumeringer, vice president of Facilities Operations and Support Services at Texas Children’s, received the 2019 Executive of the Year Award from the Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management (TAHFM).

This prestigious award recognizes an active TAHFM member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and achievements in the field. Gumeringer received the award at the annual TAHFM Interlink Conference in April, where he was recognized for his leadership as past president and for his many contributions to the growth of the organization, which is now the largest community of health care facilities management professionals in Texas.

“I am so grateful to receive this incredible honor,” Gumeringer said. “I’ve done a lot for the TAHFM organization over the years, and I’ve always done it out of my spirit of volunteerism and education. I’m honored to receive this award, and I look forward to working with our members to continue to build on the great work that we started.”

At Texas Children’s Hospital, Gumeringer’s leadership has been instrumental in helping the organization cultivate and sustain an environment that is safe, clean and customer-focused that fully supports the hospital’s mission.

As vice president of Facilities Operations and Support Services, Gumeringer oversees a team of more than 1,000 who handle the daily operations and maintenance of all of Texas Children’s owned and leased buildings, which equates to 12.2 million square feet of space spanning over 125 locations across Greater Houston and Austin.

Gumeringer credits his team for helping to lead the organization through several transformations including the successful implementation of Mission Control, which has helped reduce transportation times, improve the patient acceptance process and optimize system communications. By successfully bringing the hospital’s operations into a unified state-of-the-art command center, Texas Children’s received the coveted 2017 Excellence in Healthcare Facility Management Award from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

Gumeringer and his team have also been involved in other system wide initiatives including implementing new traffic flow processes for valet parking so families can get to their appointments on time; revamping shipping and receiving processes to ensure timely delivery of supplies; and leveraging vendor relationships to maximize the full value of every contract, while reducing operational costs and growing our hospital’s savings year-over-year.

Gumeringer says one thing he is most proud of is working with Texas Children’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline and the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) to develop training programs for facilities and IT professionals at the Centers of Excellence (COE’s) in Africa and Romania. BIPAI has developed a network of clinics that treat patients with pediatric AIDS and other diseases. Collaborating with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), Gumeringer and his team were able to provide training in facility maintenance, financial management, project management and emergency management on site in Africa. Through this program five trainees have now been certified by IFMA as Facility Management Professionals overseeing facilities and IT operations at their respective COE’s.

Beyond his leadership responsibilities at Texas Children’s, Gumeringer also devotes much of his time serving the community. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Rise School of Houston, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to ensuring students with and without disabilities have access to a first-class education.

“Texas Children’s has had a long partnership with the Rise School that helps children discover their potential for achieving great things in life,” Gumeringer said. “My son, who has developmental disabilities, has had a profound influence on what I think and believe as a leader. Some of my best leadership lessons I have learned from him.”

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).