May 15, 2018

Texas Children’s recently participated in a large-scale exercise focusing on the transport of an Ebola-positive pediatric patient from a facility in The Woodlands to Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-designated pediatric Ebola treatment center for the southwest region, Texas Children’s was chosen to be a part of the exercise organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to test the nationwide ability to move patients with highly infectious diseases safely and securely to regional treatment centers.

“Providing safe, high-level care for patients with highly infectious special pathogens, such as the Ebola virus, requires an incredible amount of training and preparation,” said Dr. Amy Arrington, medical director of Texas Children’s Special Isolation Unit. “We do this exceeding well at Texas Children’s Hospital, with a state-of-the-art Special Isolation Unit and incredible team of volunteer health care workers who train regularly to care for these patients. But it is also critical to practice coordinating the transport of these patients as a medical community, between health care facilities.”

More than 50 organizations throughout the nation participated in the exercise, including the Department of State, Department of Transportation, the Regional Ebola Treatment Centers, local and state health and emergency management agencies, hospitals, airport authorities, and non-government organizations.

The exercise focused on moving seven people acting as patients with Ebola symptoms in different regions of the country. At each health care facility, clinical workers simulated the collection and shipment of samples for diagnostic tests to state laboratories, which in turn practiced running the necessary laboratory tests to diagnose the patients with Ebola.

As part of the exercise, each patient received a positive diagnosis. Using appropriate isolation techniques and personal protective equipment, health care workers then took steps to have six of the patients transported by air to designated Regional Ebola Treatment Centers. These patients were placed into mobile biocontainment units for these flights. The pediatric patient was placed into protective equipment and transported by ground ambulance.

“Saving lives during crises requires preparation and training,” said Dr. Robert Kadlec, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “A tremendous amount of coordination, synchronization, and skill is needed to move patients with highly infectious diseases safely. We have to protect the patients and the health care workers caring for those patients. This type of exercise helps ensure that everyone involved is ready for that level of complexity.”

May 1, 2018

This year’s Patient Experience Week celebration lived up to its theme, “A Magical Experience,” as patients and their families participated in fun and engaging activities at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

Patient Experience Week was held from April 23 to 27. New this year, the Patient Experience Team launched the Compassion Challenge. Each day during Patient Experience Week, employees and staff across the organization completed a challenge that focused on the concepts of compassion, communication and connectedness. Completed Compassion Challenge forms are due Tuesday, May 1, to to be eligible for the prize drawing of Houston Dynamo tickets.

The week began with an inspiring speech from Houston business owner and community leader Jim McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack. In front of a packed auditorium in the Abercrombie Building, McIngvale shared his insight about the importance of serving others and how he builds his business on these core values.

“Helping people is what I was put on this earth to do. It is what we all were made to do,” said McIngvale. “No one helps children like Texas Children’s Hospital. It is beyond amazing how you do it.”

The week also included a speech from Kelly Fuhlman from the Disney Institute who shared the magic behind the customer experience created at Disney parks and resort locations throughout the world.

Hundreds of people attended patient and family experience events across Texas Children’s three campuses. The events provided many fun children’s movie themed activities along with sweet treats and photo booths.

“These kids go through so much every day, and when we have an opportunity to make them laugh and smile, it’s exciting,” said Nazish Ahmad, West Campus Ambulatory Clinic manager. “Especially as leaders, we don’t normally have that face-to-face interaction all the time, so to be in such a fun environment and make the kiddos smile just makes the day.”

Caught You Caring (CYC) Awards ceremonies were also held at the Medical Center Campus, West Campus and The Woodlands Campus to recognize our 2018 recipients who have gone above and beyond to show compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.

The CYC program’s idea was brought to life after a physician read a heartfelt letter written by the mother of one of our patients. She described the care and compassion her whole family received during her son’s admission. Since then, CYC was conceptualized, piloted in our surgery areas in 2015, and has been launched system-wide with more than 6,000 CYC cards received. CYC boxes are located throughout all campuses so that anyone can recognize a staff member or a colleague.

A panel of judges scored each nomination to select the top employees and this year’s winners received a CYC award, a T-shirt, and the highlight of the ceremony – tickets to an upcoming Houston Texans event.

Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus:
Hilda Andrade, Lead Tech for Environmental Services
Yaneth Arrue, Unit Support Assistant in Abercrombie
Shatovia Cerf, Patient Care Assistant on 14 West Tower
Krista Miller, Staff Nurse in Labor and Delivery
Sandy Rodriguez, Front Office Specialist in Partners in OB/GYN at the Pavilion for Women
Erick Talamantes, Surgery Patient Liaison in West Tower

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus:
Rosy Alvarado, Ambulatory Services Representative in the Urology clinic
Melissa Starner, Staff Nurse for West Campus 5th floor inpatient

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands:
Lisa Carr, Staff Nurse in the Woodlands Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Melanie Johnson, Ambulatory Services Representative in the Neurophysiology department

Overall, the Patient Experience events were a success at reminding employees, patients and families that care at Texas Children’s goes beyond the bedside. It has to do with how we treat our patients and their families from the moment they call to schedule an appointment with us to the point they leave our care.

April 10, 2018

Texas Children’s employees and Houston-area residents came out in full force to participate in the sixth annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

On April 7, more than thousands of 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.

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. Daren Molina with Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Sports Medicine and members of the Texas Children’s Ukulele Choir. Prior to the race, Molina led runners and walkers in some warm-up stretches and exercises and members of the Ukulele Choir sang the National Anthem.

“Everyone had a great time at West Campus’ sixth annual Family Fun Run,” said Matt Timmons, director of business operations and support services at West Campus. “All morning, families had fun with each other and got some exercise.”

Sara Montenegro, assistant vice president at West Campus, said participants also learned about and connected with local vendors and resources.

“We really see this Family Fun Run as a way to bring our community together,” Montenegro said. “We want to be a valued partner and resource for this community and our annual Family Fun Run is just a fun way to bring our community together and highlight the importance of adopting active, healthy lifestyles.”

Get a first-hand look at the fun by:
Viewing 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 5 and will offer a 1-mile course. Post-race activities will follow. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

March 20, 2018

Don’t miss out on the fun at the sixth 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 26, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already.

West Campus will host the fun run at its campus on Saturday, April 7 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.

Good luck and happy running!

February 6, 2018

The Mark A. Wallace New Employee Pep Rally was held at West Campus last week complete with giant foam fingers, pompoms, dance music, and of course, our President and CEO, Mark Wallace. The gathering gave nearly 100 new and recent hires a cheerful and uniquely spirited welcome to the Texas Children’s family.

The pep rally, modeled after the redesigned Texas Children’s Hi orientation that sends new employees back to school to learn about the organization and its special culture, is an opportunity for new employees to become better acquainted with the organization as a whole and meet executives and other leaders within a friendly and festive atmosphere.

The high-energy pep rally format replaces the more traditional new employee reception that Wallace has hosted for decades. All new employees invited to attend were part of the Texas Children’s Hi Class of 2017 with their mascot the “Armadillo.”

“You don’t work for me; I work for each and every one of you,” said Wallace, who personally introduced himself to every new employee attending the pep rally, trading jokes and posing for photos and selfies – complete with duck-faces.

Recalling the days when Texas Children’s consisted of just one, seven-story building with fewer than 300 registered nurses, Wallace discussed the growth the organization has experienced since he arrived in 1989 and the plans to expand even further by moving into Austin and opening the Legacy Tower in the Texas Medical Center. Having so many great employees dedicated to the Texas Children’s mission plays a key role in driving that progress, he said.

“This is not just a job. You can build a career here,” Wallace said. “Thank you for choosing us and allowing us to choose you for this partnership. You’re going to enjoy working at Texas Children’s Hospital.”

Jordan Nedbalek, an orthopedic technician at Specialty Care Bellaire, attended the West Campus pep rally with colleagues and radiology specialists Anjail Abdullah and Amanda Schell. All three said they especially enjoyed the themed decorations and the lighthearted, warm mood set by Wallace and the other leaders and staff volunteers at the event.

“At every point you’re always made to feel welcome,” Nedbalek said.

Many new hires at the pep rally agreed and said their Texas Children’s careers are already off to a good start. Few expected to ever meet Wallace or leaders like Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown, given the size of the organization, and they appreciated their chance to make a more personal connection.

“When I met Mr. Wallace it was like I’d known him for years,” said Ina Gill, an ambulatory service representative who handles scheduling for the Sleep Center at West Campus. “The pep rally experience is fun. We know all this is for us, which makes a difference. I’m loving it at Texas Children’s and learning a lot. It already feels like family and I’m here to stay.”

January 9, 2018

When Autum Garcia was just 13 years old, she went to her pediatrician for a back-to-school checkup and left with something way more serious than a Band-Aid from a routine immunization – a recommendation from her doctor to visit the emergency room due to extremely high blood pressure.

Shortly after being seen by staff at Texas Children’s Emergency Center in the Medical Center, Garcia was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the major artery that carries blood to the body, causing high blood pressure and minimal blood flow to the legs.

“It was a shock to say the least,” Garcia said. “I had no idea anything was wrong.”

Soon after her diagnosis, Garcia underwent a procedure with former Texas Children’s cardiologist Dr. Frank Ing to receive a stent implantation, which ended up solving the teenager’s blood pressure issues and increased blood flow throughout her body. The only follow-up care Garcia needed was routine echocardiograms, a procedure that paved the teenager’s way to a future career at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

“I really wanted to work at Texas Children’s,” Garcia said. “This place saved my life; it was the least I could do to say thank you.”

With the encouragement of Ing and Texas Children’s Cardiologist Dr. Wilson Lam, Garcia entered the Diagnostic Cardiovascular sonography program at Alvin Community College and within two years earned an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science. She also passed her registry exam and is now a Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer.

As part of the sonography program, Garcia did a rotation at Texas Children’s with the very people who had administered her echocardiograms. She also was involved in two case studies following her procedure. Shortly thereafter, Garcia got a job as an echo technologist at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Now, and for the past year, Garcia has been administering echocardiograms to people like herself, offering those who are nervous, scared, or apprehensive about the procedure, or their condition in general, comfort and reassurance by telling them and their families her story.

“As soon as I mention that I’ve been through the same thing and made it out just fine, they are immediately relieved,” Garcia said. “It really helps them to have someone to talk to who has been through the same thing.”

Dr. Wilson Lam said he remembers Garcia well and is happy to know that he was able to have such a positive impact on her and her career path.

“It’s great that she is able to give back in such a personal way,” he said. “I have no doubt that patients will benefit from her care.”

December 12, 2017

For the fourth year, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has been named one of the 10 top children’s hospitals in the nation by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization. The award recognizes achievements in patient safety and quality and is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive and exclusive honors an American hospital can receive.

“We are honored to again be recognized as a top performing children’s hospital by The Leapfrog Group,” said Michelle Riley-Brown president of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and executive vice president of Texas Children’s Hospital. “Our entire team of physicians, nurses and employees strive to provide a safe environment where we can deliver the highest quality care possible for our patients and their families. We applaud our team for their tireless work and the incredible care they provide for the children in our community every day.”

In the survey, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus received a Top Children’s Hospital distinction and was recognized nationally alongside 45 Top General Hospitals, 18 Top Rural Hospitals, 36 Top Teaching Hospitals and only nine other Top Children’s Hospitals.

“We are proud to recognize Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus as a 2017 Leapfrog Top Hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and Chief Executive Officer of Leapfrog. “This demonstrates extraordinary dedication to patients and the local community. The entire staff and board deserve praise for putting quality first and achieving results.”

The Leapfrog Group is an organization that provides the only national, public comparison of hospitals across safety, quality and efficiency dimensions. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, maternity care, and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors.

To see the full list of institutions honored as 2017 Top Hospitals, visit