November 13, 2018

On November 10, Texas Children’s Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny was named the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2018 Helen B. Taussig Memorial Lecturer. The prestigious honor was awarded at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Illinois, following Penny’s presentation “Working Together towards New Levels of Excellence in the Care of Children with Heart Disease.”

“I am truly grateful to receive this distinguished award from the AHA,” said Penny. “As a pediatric cardiologist, I believe it is my responsibility to carry on the incredible legacy of innovators such as Dr. Taussig, and it is a privilege to do so at Texas Children’s. Every day, my goal is to enhance the level of cardiology care we provide to our patients.”

Penny’s receipt of this historic award forges yet another link between Texas Children’s Hospital and the remarkable legacy of Dr. Helen B. Taussig, the pioneering pediatric cardiologist. Taussig was best known for her work with children born with serious heart defects – most notably blue baby syndrome – as well as for her co-development of the Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt, the first surgical procedure for children with pulmonary stenosis.

The list of past Taussig lecture awardees features the names of some of the most renowned innovators in the field of pediatric heart disease, including Dr. Dan G. McNamara – Texas Children’s first director of cardiology. McNamara, who was a student of Taussig’s while at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was responsible for the design and integration of Texas Children’s first cardiac catheterization lab, which significantly advanced the diagnosis of heart ailments in children.

“Dr. Penny exemplifies the best of pediatric cardiology,” said Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline. “Drs. Taussig and McNamara would be proud of the work he and his team are doing to further advance the specialty.”

Penny, originally from Cork Ireland, completed his medical degree at University College Cork, The National University of Ireland. Before coming to Texas Children’s in 2010, he trained and practiced at some of the world’s top pediatric institutions, including the famed Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Today, he serves as co-director of Texas Children’s Heart Center®, ranked the No. 1 pediatric heart center in the nation for the past two years by U.S. News & World Report.

“This well-deserved honor is another shining example of Dr. Penny’s dedication to our patients and their families,” said President and CEO Mark Wallace. “He is a visionary leader in his field, and continues to guide our team as they pave the way in the treatment of children with congenital heart disease.”

Texas Children’s Heart Center provides the highest-quality cardiac care possible, combining cutting-edge technology with a compassionate, family-centered approach. Now located at its new home in Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower, the Heart Center occupies eight floors and features four cardiac catheterization labs including integrated MRI scanner, four cardiovascular operating rooms, three cardiovascular ICU floors with 48 private rooms, two cardiac acute care floors with 42 private patient rooms, and dedicated space for families.

Learn more about the Heart Center.

November 12, 2018

The Houston Business Journal celebrated its 2018 CFO of the Year awards at an event November 8 and profiled all of the finalists – including Texas Children’s Chief Financial Officer Weldon Gage – in the November 9 weekly edition. Click here to read the Houston Business Journal interview with Gage.

October 29, 2018

Some of the brightest minds in neuroscience recently converged on the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s Hospital for its fourth biennial symposium and workshop, in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine.

The special two-day event brought together nearly 300 physicians, scientists, patients, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical industry experts and leaders from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute for Mental Health, to address key issues in the field of neuropsychiatry, an intersectional branch of medicine that deals with mental illnesses caused by organic disorders of the nervous system.

Neuropsychiatric disorders are a leading cause of disability and take a tremendous toll on society. In the United States alone, one out of five adults lives with mental illness. The spectrum of mental illnesses is vast, ranging from the extremely rare to more well-known conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD, addiction and sleep disorders. Symptoms and their severity can vary widely from patient to patient, which makes them difficult to physiologically measure. For these reasons, neuropsychiatric disorders are some of the least understood – and some of the most difficult to treat.

“These disorders are a major health issue all over the world, however, therapeutic interventions remain limited,” said NRI/Baylor investigator and child neurologist Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao. “There is a growing need to understand the organic factors behind mental illness to facilitate a better understanding of the brain, as well as to develop more effective treatment strategies.”

The symposium opened with a welcome address from Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the NRI, and this year’s co-organizer, Dr. Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The pair stressed the importance of identifying new research paths in order to develop targeted therapies that could not only help treat neuropsychiatric symptoms, but could also help mitigate or eliminate side effects and toxicities that far too many patients experience.

Over the course of the first day, presentations from leading experts addressed hot topics in neuropsychiatry. These included a discussion on how genetic mutations contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders; the involvement of neuronal networks in neuropsychiatric phenotypes; the impact of immune cells on these disorders; and a look into how adaptive deep brain stimulation could potentially help specific conditions. Each session gave way to a 20-minute moderated panel discussion on the topic at hand. This feature of the symposium is unique in that it leads to immediate discussion and active participation among the many different types of stakeholders present.

Following a day of stellar research presentations, the investigators split into three working groups that focused on Molecular Bases of Disease and Human studies, Circuits and Neuromodulation, and Young Investigators. The groups discussed not only everything they had heard over the course of the day, but also their vision for the next 20 years in neuropsychiatry, including the obstacles that currently exist and what is needed to overcome them.

The next morning, key points that had emerged from these discussions were shared with the audience. The working groups identified increased access to resources and funding as a major need. But unanimously, all of the young investigators noted the critical importance of building interdisciplinary, multi-institutional collaborations, with a focus on team science and data sharing.

“Building bridges between various disciplines aids in the identification of important areas of neuropsychiatry that require further investigation and therapeutic development,” said Chao. “Neuropsychiatry itself is an interdisciplinary field, and unraveling the causes for these conditions will require continued interdisciplinary collaborations to accelerate the pace of discovery.”

The proceedings will be published as a white paper in Science Translational Medicine, a leading weekly online journal and one of the event sponsors.

October 23, 2018

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Lesly Reyes, Guest Services Representative, Guest Services Department. I’ve been part of Texas Children’s Hospital for four years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was completely caught off guard. My manager called me into her office for what I thought was the usual daily/weekly update. Before arriving to her office, she had me pick up some copies in the conference room and said one of the copies was for me to keep. It was actually a note congratulating me for the Super Star Recognition.

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?
I am absolutely humbled by this recognition. This organization has rewarded me with the opportunity of professional and personal growth and support. Texas Children’s has literally helped and watched me grow. I started my journey here as a 15-year-old junior volunteer and now I’m 22 years old working to accomplish my educational and professional goals. The achievement of those goals would not be possible without the endless opportunities this hospital has offered me. This award is just a reminder that the only three hours of sleep I get and continuous hard work are definitely worth it. And the best part is that this is just the beginning.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
Commitment, Dedication, and Service. Someone who’s devoted and passionate about what they do. Someone who is constantly striving not just for their success, but for the success of those surrounding them – patients, families, and co-workers.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I love my job. The act of service itself is rewarding on its own. My motivation for going above and beyond is rooted on moments when a brief encounter can have such a positive impact in someone’s life. I want to continue working hard so that I can proudly wear scrubs and a Texas Children’s Hospital t-shirt and finally say I have accomplished my dream to work with one of the best teams that strives to help and save children’s lives.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about working at Texas Children’s Hospital is the experience and knowledge I gain every day from patients, co-workers, and leaders. You learn something new every day. Honestly, the atmosphere, the smiles, and the children make it hard not to love this place. Also, the fact that we can implement the Texas Children’s core Values into our daily lives is rewarding enough.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
I was glancing over Texas Children’s Blogs and my eye caught a phrase that our leader strongly advocates and it has always reminisced in my mind. “Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time.” – Mark Wallace. It’s an excellent daily reminder that everything we do can get us a step closer to our goals. Leadership is measured not only on your accomplishments, but rather in your influence leading others to their own success.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank everyone for their endless support and encouragement to help reach my educational goals.

October 15, 2018

The Clinical Research Center/Research Resources Office presented the Clinical Research Award for Third Quarter 2018 to Ananth Iyer, Project Manager, Quality Assurance/Quality Control, Department of Pediatrics – Research Resources Office.

This award was established by the Clinical Research Center in collaboration with the Research Resources Office to recognize and honor individual contributions to protecting the best interest of the research subjects and compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

“I joined the Research Resources Office (RRO) in 2014 as a Senior Research Coordinator and am currently in a Quality Assurance (QA) role,” said Iyer. “I take pride in providing support for good quality and compliance in the clinical trials that we undertake. I’m highly motivated by the care and options that clinical research studies provide to patients and never forget that their safety and protection is our top priority. I enjoy the teamwork with which clinical care and research come together in the RRO and I deeply appreciate the RRO for providing me (a lifelong student) with this opportunity.”

October 10, 2018

Wally Crow, August 2018 Employee

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Wally Crow, senior video producer in the Marketing and Public Relations Department. I have been at Texas Children’s Hospital for six years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
It was a complete surprise! My co-workers organized a pretend meeting to get me to the conference room. I thought we were having a Legacy Tower meeting to discuss our communication plans. But as I walked into the room, the entire marketing team erupted in cheers and congratulated me on the Super Star recognition. I was blown away! I thank my colleagues for making this day extra special for 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?
It means a lot to me to be recognized for my hard work. Coming in to this line of work was a little different than my last career where I spent more than 20 years in television news. Every day, I combine my experience and my passion for storytelling at Texas Children’s, so to be recognized for this, is special.

Texas Children’s not only has given me the freedom to use my talent and passion to achieve my professional goals, but it has helped me to reach my personal goals as well. In 2015, I challenged myself to drink 64 ounces of water per day as part of Texas Children’s 21-day Water Challenge. Now, it’s the only thing I drink these days. Also, I have taken advantage of Texas Children’s partnership with Lifetime Fitness, where I exercise six days a week. I find working out both relaxing and a great way to de-stress.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
I think a super star is someone who comes to work with passion and a positive attitude every day, and is a great team player – always willing to inspire and encourage others to always do their best.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I love what I do every day. I look at every day as a new challenge, and people who know me, know how much I love a challenge. There are so many wonderful stories to share about Texas Children’s especially those stories about our patients and families, and the positive impact we’re making in their lives. Being able to share these inspiring stories is what motivates me to go above and beyond every day at work.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best thing about working at Texas Children’s are the people. Great attitudes and smiles. I also enjoy helping our patients and their families get to where they need to be across our hospital campuses.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
I consider all of our employees’ super stars. No matter what our title is at the hospital, we’re here to serve our patients and their families. My definition of leadership is simple – A leader is someone who strives for the best every day. It’s about teamwork and helping others out to get the job done.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to say thank you to my entire team that I get to work with every day, and a special thank you to Rosie Moore for nominating me for this award. As I always say, “Keep the Passion.”

October 4, 2018

According to a recent Physicians’ Choice survey conducted by Medscape, Texas Children’s Hospital was recognized as one of the nation’s top three hospitals for the treatment of pediatric conditions.

Between May 17 and August 13, Medscape surveyed more than 11,000 U.S. physicians to get their opinions on which hospitals they would send family members to for specialty care. Texas Children’s ranked in the top three for pediatric care along with Boston Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Medscape identified 10 clinical conditions or procedures and asked, “Suppose you or someone in your family were diagnosed with a complex or difficult case of (condition). Assuming no barriers to treatment at the hospital you prefer, what hospital would you choose for treatment?”

Based on this survey, doctors felt the most important part of choosing a hospital was expertise followed by a hospital’s reputation among other physicians. Additional factors in choosing a hospital included: having leading technology available, low error and infection rates, and treatment and studies published in respected medical journals.

“We are honored that our hospital was recognized by physicians as one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace. “This is a testament to the exceptional quality of work we do across our system every day, and indicative of our hospital’s reputation in pediatric care.”