April 9, 2019

Some walked, some ran and others were helped along by their friends but all came out to participate in the seventh annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

On April 6, people of all abilities participated in the non-competitive 1K and 3K courses. Following the race, participants enjoyed the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone, which was packed with snacks, entertainment and 40-plus attractions.

“My daughter and I came because it’s a good cause and it looked like fun,” one participant said.

Another runner said she and her family come every year to support Texas Children’s, to get some exercise and to have fun.

“It’s a family tradition,” she said.

Houston Marathon Announcer Mark Purnell kept everyone energized in his role as master of ceremonies cheering on the crowd and announcing any and all special guests, including Dr. Joseph Chorley with Texas Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine and music therapists with Texas Children’s Child Life Department. Prior to the race, Chorley led runners and walkers in some warm-up stretches and exercises and the music therapists sang the National Anthem.

“Everyone had a great time at West Campus’ seventh annual Family Fun Run,” said Texas Children’s Assistant Vice President Matt Timmons. “It’s always a festive family event that brings the community together and highlights the importance of adopting active, healthy lifestyles.”

Get a first-hand look at the fun by:

Flipping through a photo gallery of the event below.
Taking a look at our Facebook photo album from Saturday.

Don’t forget about the second annual Family Fun Run event at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. It will be on Saturday, May 4 and will offer a 1-mile course. Post-race activities will follow. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event. Registration will close on Monday, April 22, so sign up today!

April 2, 2019

On March 25, the first patient was seen in the new expansion of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Sleep Center. Going from six beds on the fourth floor, to nine beds with six available for future expansion on the second floor, the center will now be able to improve access for patients waiting to be treated for sleep conditions.

“We get about 40 to 50 referrals for a sleep study per day,” Neurophysiology Manager Wes Moulden said. “We were looking at anywhere between three to seven month wait times. Now that we have expanded the sleep lab we’ll be able to start diagnosing more children with sleep disorders, and doing sleep studies more efficiently.”

Texas Children’s Sleep Center is one of the few accredited centers in the country specializing in children’s sleep disorders. A sleep disorder is a disruption in a child’s normal sleeping pattern. The sleep center evaluates and treats common sleep disorders in children including problems falling asleep or staying asleep, sleepwalking and abnormal movements during sleep.

“An accredited pediatric sleep center is very rare and all three of our sleep labs have that recognition, Moulden said. “Another unique thing about our sleep center from a diagnostic standpoint, is that all of our technologists are registered technologists who have been formally educated and trained in this skill which is not normally the case.”

Our prestigious credentials also draws the attention of patients from all over the country to our sleep centers. In 2013, Maria Wilson moved her family to Houston from Idaho so that her daughter Sophia could be treated at our sleep center for what was eventually diagnosed as narcolepsy.

“I knew it was going to be a better situation,” Wilson said. “It was very nerve racking and I was nervous, but I knew it was a better move for us to be seeing doctors that have more experience with my daughter’s condition.”

Since being diagnosed and treated frequently at our West Campus Sleep Center for the past six years, Maria says that Sophia is doing much better and is also receiving a great deal of help as they prepare to transition out of the pediatric care system.

“We love Texas Children’s Hospital! After we got established as patients, we got to know the doctors and built relationships with them. That really helped her quality of life when it comes to going to school and functioning better overall,” Wilson said. “Now she’s transferring slowly to adult doctors, and I’m kind of sad. But for us, we love Texas Children’s, we love the doctors and nurses here, and the care that she’s received, so it is comforting to know that we have them in our corner.”

Last week the sleep center team members, administration, and executives gathered on the second floor of West Campus for a ribbon cutting that marked the opening of four sleep clinics, and nine sleep lab beds.

“I wanted to thank all physician leaders, operations leadership, and anyone who had a hand in this much needed expansion,” Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Vice-President Ivett Shah said. “Texas Children’s is dedicated to improving access to care and this expansion is another way that West Campus continues to provide high-quality care to the West Houston community and throughout the state of Texas.”

The rooms in the sleep center also have the capacity to perform electroencephalogram studies during the day (EEG), in-room monitoring devices, and a host of other quality equipment to ensure sleep studies are carried out properly, along with a scorer/nurse workroom.

“This space was specifically created with the comfort of the patient in mind,” West Campus Respiratory Care and Clinical Support Services Assistant Director Gbolahan Harris said. “Having these clinics and labs in one space helps to reduce patient and family anxiety while normalizing the experience for a sleep study within the sleep center.”

Rooms on the floor also have the flexibility to be converted back into Acute Care beds if West Campus reaches a point where there is a need.

In addition to larger rooms and more workspace, the idea was to increase the number of providers as well. Prior to opening the expansion Lacie Petitto began as the first full-time nurse-practitioner that will be working in the clinic.

“My background is in sleep medicine so I am so excited for the expansion and my new opportunity to treat children in the sleep center,” Petitto said. “When I was approached by the sleep division for this leadership position I was overjoyed to be a part of this opening. This type of work helps feed my passion for sleep medicine and treating patients with sleep disorders.”

Although they are not board certified to read sleep studies, however clinically, Advance Practice Nurses (APN) can see the patients, assess, diagnose, and treat them as well. This allows clinic volumes to open and more patients are seen and treated in a much more efficient way.

“That’s never been done before at Texas Children’s as far as having a full-time nurse practitioner for sleep,” Moulden said. “The center is multi-faceted we have a variety of providers. Some are neurologists, some are pulmonologists, and we are the primary pediatric partner for the Baylor College of Medicine Sleep Fellowship program where we train physicians as well.”

The ultimate goal of the sleep center moving forward is to continue to provide the same high-level services, but on a larger scale.

“Sleep providers should have dreams, and their dreams should come true as they have today,” Texas Children’s Sleep Center Medical Director Dr. Daniel Glaze said. “We anticipate a lot of work, but it will also be a lot of fun. We look for this to be a model for other sleep institutions, and are committed to providing the best diagnostic and overall care for children with sleep complications.”

Teen and pre-teen inpatient children now have a place to get away and partake in age appropriate activities during their stay at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. On March 28, the Child Life department invited patients, families and staff to an open house for the Activity Room.

Over the years, the hospital has opened multiple child life activity spaces, typically playrooms, located on various floors of all three hospitals. These spaces provide a fun, safe and procedure-free environment for our inpatient population and their families.

The Child Life Department at Texas Children’s Hospital provides spaces for patients to get away from the medical setting and to enjoy and play as other children would at their age. For our teenage population, it is important to have an environment and activities that speak to their interests. At Medical Center Campus, through the support of Teammates for Kids, we have the Child Life Zone located in the West Tower that supports the activities and needs of our older patients.

As the Texas Children’s system continues to expand our locations and inpatient services, the Child Life departments continue to ensure that the pre-teen/teen population have a space where they can gather with other adolescents and know they have a space of their own.

“When you walk into most child life playrooms, you see toys intended for toddlers and young children,” Child Life Specialist Riley Hammond said. “There are toys and activities still in the Activity Room for kids of all ages, however; this space is geared specifically for children eight years and older.”

Located in the inpatient wing in the right corner on the fifth floor, the space that has been revamped into the new Activity Room. Previously, this space was a playroom and was underutilized due to staffing and volunteer availability, said Hammond.

Inside the new Activity Room, there are many developmentally appropriate devices and activities, some generously donated by our dedicated partners. In the far back, next to a large window that beams natural sunlight into the room is an electronic arcade-style basketball goal, generously donated by Wood, an energy services company, located next to West Campus that is a benevolent donor and supporter of Texas Children’s.

Right next to the basketball goal, is an all-in-one locker, known as “The Dalton Cart” that houses multiple electronic devices and video games. The Dalton Cart was generously donated by the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, a foundation started by a professional football player, Andy Dalton, who calls Katy, Texas home. There is also an Xbox for patients to play the very popular, Madden, along with other video games generously donated by Child’s Play, a charity organization that seeks to improve the lives of children in pediatric hospitals through the kindness and generosity of video games.

The teen child life room also provides movies, board games, art materials, science kits and a host of other forms of entertainment. Most importantly, this space allows patients a place to simply get out of their hospital room. In the afternoon, there is a protected activity time for teens over the age of thirteen.

“It really helps kids and teens feel like themselves,” Child Life Activity Coordinator Mary Reddick said. “This is a room where they get to make choices for what they want to do, be in control and socialize. They meet other teens who are here at the hospital in the Activity Room and often realize, ‘hey I am not alone.’”

When Reddick and Hammond originally proposed this new play space, they wanted it to be easily accessible to patients and their families. The room is open Monday through Sunday, eight o’clock in the morning to eight o’clock in the evening, with intermittent child life staff and volunteer supervision.

Each campus now has a space that is dedicated to our teen population, and this is just one of the many ways that Texas Children’s Child Life Department works tirelessly to provide every child with a high-quality experience.

“It has been a huge transformation, not just with the physical things here in the room, but really I would say, the open accessibility has been one of our largest successes with this space,” Hammond said. “I’ve received ample feedback from staff with excitement that the space is open and being used by so many. We have many, many big dreams for what else can be in this space and we continue working closely with development to make this an even greater experience for our teens here at West Campus.”

March 19, 2019

Invigorate your mind, body and spirit at Texas Children’s new Well-Being Studio, which opens Monday, March 25 on the 20th floor of West Tower at the Medical Center campus. Whether you want to find your Zen in a Mindful Morning class or burn some calories in Zumba, the studio provides our employees a dedicated space to turn holistic health goals into action and amplify unity with colleagues through group classes.

The Well-Being Studio is part of the Human Resource team’s continuous efforts to bring new programs and services that support our employees in achieving a healthier, more active lifestyle. The studio offers employees and BCM employees working on-site at Texas Children’s locations a full slate of classes for a variety of work schedules, interests and abilities. Employees are welcome to participate at no cost and at any location. Please click here for the Class Schedule.

Join us for Our Open House!
Tuesday, March 26 | 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
West Tower- Floor 20
During the Open House, you will have the opportunity to tour the studio space, enjoy healthy refreshments, and learn more about the upcoming well-being classes and offerings.

What can I expect at the Well-Being Studio?
Formerly the Heart Center waiting area, the Well-Being Studio comprises nearly 2,000 square feet of open space for classes of up to 40 participants. Restrooms and water fountains are located just nearby, and open shelves are available for storage of personal items. As there are no locker rooms or showers in the studio, the class schedule has been designed for the more high-intensity, high-energy classes to take place after 5 p.m.

I want to take a class at the Well-Being Studio. How do I get started?
First, click here to register as a member and complete the release and waiver of liability forms.
Next, submit your completed forms in person before a class.
Once we have your forms, you will receive a sticker to put on your employee badge.
Finally, check out the Class Schedule and attend the sessions that interest you! The sticker on your badge will let us know your forms have been submitted and you’re cleared to participate.

What should I know about taking a class?
Class space is limited and participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to arrive at the Well-Being Studio on time or even slightly early for your desired session.
To get to the studio, take the express elevators in the West Tower lobby. You’ll need your badge to access the 20th floor.
Remember to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing or exercise attire.

Not located near the Medical Center campus? We have also added well-being classes at Texas Children’s community campuses.

Health Plan: Boot Camp classes on Mondays from 5-6 p.m., and Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Fitness Center in the basement. Note, you must work in the Health Plan building to attend these classes.
Meyer Building: Boot camp classes on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., on the roof of Garage 19. All employees are welcome.
The Woodlands: Boot camp classes on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., on the garage roof. All employees are welcome.
West Campus: Zumba classes on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., in WB.505.21 Ballroom on the 5th floor. All employees are welcome.

Texas Children’s badge holders can also receive reduced monthly membership rates, waived enrollment fees and discounted programs and services from numerous well-being partners. ClassPass, our newest partner, offers one of the world’s most flexible memberships that allows you to work out where you want, when you want and how you want – including on-demand videos and live-streaming classes. Visit the Well-Being page on Connect to learn more.

The Well-Being team would love to hear your questions and comments about the Well-Being Studio and all of our well-being offerings! Send us a message at wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

March 12, 2019

Don’t miss out on the fun at the seventh annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Registration for the event ends at 5 p.m. Monday, March 25, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already.

West Campus will host the fun run at its campus on Saturday, April 6 with a 9 a.m. start time. The event will include both a 1K and 3K course. Following the run, families can enjoy various activities until noon at the Family Fun Zone.

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Texas Children’s and the Houston Marathon Foundation also are hosting a Family Fun Run in The Woodlands at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. For more information or to register for that event, click here.

Calling all volunteers
Volunteer registration also is open for our Family Fun Run events! Opportunities are available for bag stuffing, packet pick-up, day before set-up and race day. Requirements include:

  • Volunteers must be registered in advance.
  • If someone volunteers, we ask that they be available for their full shift.
  • They should not bring young children or other family members that are not registered.
  • The minimum age to volunteer is 12.

A T-shirt will be provided to all volunteers to wear during their shift.

Click here for West Campus volunteer opportunities.

Click here for Woodlands volunteer opportunities.

Thank you, good luck and happy running!

March 5, 2019

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus is celebrating more than just its 5th anniversary this week. The unit will mark the milestone without having any hospital-acquired infections, a significant achievement for the unit’s staff and a huge win for the patients treated there.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment to have gone this long without any hospital acquired infections,” medical director of the PICU at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Matthew Pesek said. “Limiting hospital acquired infections is a major hospital initiative, and it’s something we take tremendous pride in achieving.”

Pesek said nurses, physicians and the leadership team all played a part in the unit’s success. The PICU care team does weekly quality rounds, along with continuous monitoring and documenting to ensure compliance with best practices and quality bundles; care tactics that significantly improve patient outcomes.

“Infection prevention is at the forefront of everything the team does,” Pesek said. “They work to ensure central lines are kept clean, and nurses work collaboratively with physicians to determine if a line is absolutely necessary.”

The PICU nurses also are trained to place ultrasound-guided IVs in patients who are difficult to access. This new technique provides nurses with easier access and reduces the number of days a patient has a central line and the patient’s exposure to possible infection.

“I am so proud of our team and what we have achieved together,” assistant clinical director of the PICU at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Karen Sripan said. “It feels really great to know that, since we’ve been open, not only has our team provided great care, but our patients and the community have responded positively. Our Press Ganey scores were 100 percent for our hospital rating this past month, which is validation that we are doing an outstanding job.”

Since opening five years ago, West Campus’ PICU has grown to meet the evolving needs of patients in the community and beyond. Partially funded by a generous $1 million donation from the Lauren and Lara Camillo Family Trusts, the unit opened its doors in 2014 on the second floor of the hospital with eight beds. Three years later, the unit was moved to the fourth floor of the hospital and more than doubled in size, expanding to 22 beds.

“The acuity of our practice has just changed dramatically over the course of five years,” Pesek said. “We are taking care of patients who nobody dreamed would even be within our scope. The ability to manage critically ill patients in the community, to the highest quality, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.”

March 4, 2019

March is National Nutrition Month®! Employee Health & Well-Being has partnered with Food and Nutrition Services and Morrison Food Services to sponsor a variety of National Nutritional Month events from March 6-27 with a focus on plant-based food:

Wednesday, March 6 | 11 a.m. to noon
Live Cooking Demonstration with Celebrity Chef Bal Arneson
Pavilion for Women, Fresh Bistro, Center Action Station
Television host, award-winning author, Compass Celebrity Chef and well-known culinary personality Bal Arneson will be sharing her trademark spice-infused cooking tips, including simple and healthy Indian recipes. Cookbooks will be available for sale in the Fresh Bistro, and Chef Arneson will also host a book signing from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, March 12 | 11:30 a.m. to noon
Lecture: Power of Plant-Based Foods
Presented by Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD
Texas Children’s auditorium, Skype option available
Have you ever tried meatless Monday? Whether you are a vegetarian or curious about how to incorporate more plants into your diet, come learn the power of plant-based eating and how to make more plants part of your everyday routine. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 13
Registered Dietitians Day
Let’s amplify unity and thank our Texas Children’s registered dietitians for all their hard work!

Thursday, March 14 | 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The Skinny Latte Challenge
Pavilion for Women, Coffee Corner
Not all coffee beverages are created equal. Come get the skinny on how to create and order a lower calorie latte. Enjoy free samples and challenge your taste buds to determine the difference between high- and low-calorie lattes.

Thursday, March 14 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
National Nutrition Month® Bridge Event
Medical Center campus, The Auxiliary Bridge
Texas Children’s registered dietitians will be available for questions at this fun and exciting event featuring a variety of activities on nutrition and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, March 19 | 11:30 a.m. to noon
Lecture: Get Your Gut in Gear
Presented by Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD
Texas Children’s auditorium, Skype option available
The health of your gut plays an important role in your overall health and well-being. Learn why it is important to keep your gut healthy and happy. Get your gut in gear with several important nutrients that you can incorporate into your normal diet. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 20 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cigna Health Education Table
Pavilion for Women, in front of Fresh Bistro
Join the Cigna Health Coach Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD from the Employee Health and Well-Being team to learn about available Cigna programs and resources, fun giveaways and nutrition education.

Community locations

Every Wednesday through March 27 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
National Nutrition Month® Table Events
The Woodlands lobby
Ask our registered dietitians your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

March 1 – March 27
5-A-Day Fruit and Vegetable Challenge at West Campus
A month challenge to encourage employees at West Campus to eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis with a raffle drawing at the National Nutrition Month Table on March 28. More information coming soon.

Thursday, March 28 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Eat a Rainbow Table Event
West Campus Corridor
Our West Campus dietitians will share tips on how to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your daily routine. Ask your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

Resources to Support Your Nutrition

The Employee Health and Well-Being team provides a variety of no-cost and low-cost nutrition resources for our employees, including:

For more information, please visit the Well-Being page on Connect or email wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.