June 26, 2015

What a great time I had visiting with the West Campus staff and employees at the One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team event recently. We had two sessions on Monday, and I enjoyed the wonderful energy all the West Campus folks brought with them that morning.

Check out this short video of some of the fun we had that day.

I visit our West Campus as often as I can because it is always a treat. I love being on the beautiful campus and thinking about what a great part of the Texas Children’s story the West Campus is.

The West Campus leadership team shows team spirit.
The West Campus leadership team shows team spirit.

We opened our doors for outpatient care there in December of 2010, and inpatient care opened in spring 2011. Almost immediately, the West Campus became one of the fastest-growing entities of the Texas Children’s system. Now, to keep up with the increasing demand for the exceptional services at the West Campus, we’re in the midst of a $50 million capital improvement project focused on expanding inpatient and ambulatory capacity and hospital infrastructure.

Of course, the success at the West Campus is due in no small part to the people who work there. Within a relatively short time, the campus embraced and nurtured the Texas Children’s culture of excellence. So it’s always such a good feeling to be there. And I can really say that about all of our Texas Children’s locations, because I know that same amazing Texas Children’s culture and team spirit run deeply throughout every part of Texas Children’s, at every single location. That’s why I’m so excited to get out to each of our facilities starting next month.

Beginning July 6, I’m taking One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team on the road. I’m starting with our facilities in North Houston, and I’m making my way around to all of our Texas Children’s Pediatrics practices, Texas Children’s Health Centers, The Center for Children and Women locations and Texas Children’s Urgent Care sites.

I’ll continue the tour throughout the summer and fall until I’ve visited every location. I’m bringing copies of the Magic Book of Maxims – an illustrated children’s book sharing my leadership maxims – and a few other treats as well. And I’m coming in one of our bright, brand new Texas Children’s shuttles.

I’ll be taking pictures and video and posting updates here on the blog, so check back to see where I’ve been and where I’m headed next – it might be your location! No matter where I stop, I know it’s going to be a great time, and I can’t wait to see all of you.

June 10, 2015

I know, without a doubt, we have the best team in the world right here at Texas Children’s – a fact I was reminded of again and again at all four of the One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team events we just hosted at the Main Campus.

Thousands of you came out to celebrate with me, and the room was simply electric. We packed the space, and we filled it with Texas Children’s pride. We also danced a little bit, did some catching up, ate lots of that great maple glazed bacon and those chocolate toffee cookies. And I lost count of all of the selfies we snapped. More than anything, we just had fun. In fact, you can see just how much fun we had in this short video from the first event.

At each of the events, we had anywhere from 800 to more than 1,300 people attend. That’s about how many people we had total in our organization when I joined Texas Children’s almost 26 years ago.

Wow, have we grown! And we’re not just bigger. We’re better, mightier and our vision is bolder. That’s why we are celebrating. We are an incredible team – our employees, physicians, volunteers and board members – and together, we’ve created something so unique here that it is hard to put into words. Some of you described it best on the brainstorming board from the events. You wrote things like “I love my work and my team. They bring joy to my life,” and “We rock every day!” I couldn’t agree more.

The best part, though, has been talking to you. I can’t tell you how great it is to see so many old friends who’ve been here at Texas Children’s for years. I also met a ton of new employees – one was just two hours into her first day on the job. What a treat for me to get to meet her just as she’s beginning to experience what an awesome place this is.

I chatted with Nancy Berges, a pulmonary nurse who worked here from 1992 to 2012. She left when her family moved to Cleveland, Texas, about 60 miles away from Texas Children’s, and she took a job closer to home. But she came back, she said, because Texas Children’s is home. She makes the drive every day and said it’s more than worth it just to be back with her team.

I talked a while with Alexandra Vassiliadis, an administrative assistant in the Central Business Office of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. She’s originally from Greece, and she moved here last year with her husband and baby. Her love and appreciation for her job humbled me. She’d only been in the U.S. four months when she joined Texas Children’s. She said she’d always dreamed of working in a hospital like this and that Texas Children’s has changed her life.

Texas Children’s has changed my life too – you have changed my life. You have been a factor in almost every decision I’ve made in the past 25 years. You are my family, and you are very special to me. And these events are like a family reunion. So even though I very much want our One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team events to be a treat for you, I am feeling most grateful to be able to enjoy the good times and special bonds I share with so many of you.

Together, we’ve done so much to impact hundreds of thousands of families. I know that day to day we are primarily focused on the care and tasks at hand, but every now and then, I want you to take a moment and really appreciate what we’re achieving here. That’s what One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team is all about.

I can’t wait to see more of you as we continue the events and the tour over the summer. For now, thank you for coming to celebrate with me. Thank you for passionately driving toward the mission every single day. Thank you for this incredible culture we’ve nurtured and grown together. And thank you most of all for being the most amazing team in the world.

We do rock, every single day.

One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team tour

One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team will hit the road in July, making stops at Texas Children’s Pediatrics practices, Texas Children’s Health Centers, The Center for Children and Women locations and Texas Children’s Urgent Care sites. The tour will continue throughout the fall and winter, until all locations have been visited. Specific details will be communicated to the appropriate leaders of the locations as tour stops are scheduled.

Click here for more information about upcoming One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team events.

June 4, 2015

This is a very special time of year for students and their families. It’s the month that graduates – from curious kindergartners to bright doctoral and medical students – walk across the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas.

I recently had the honor of participating in the commencement ceremony at Baylor College of Medicine, as I have on more than 20 other occasions. Watching the medical and doctoral students receive their diplomas, I am always excited to think about how they will advance medicine to unknown heights in just a few short years, some even at Texas Children’s.

This year’s ceremony was especially moving for me since I was bestowed a very special recognition, an honorary degree – the Doctor of Humanities in Medicine.

As I received my honorary doctorate and shook the hand of Dr. Paul Klotman, Baylor’s President and CEO, I reflected on how my relationship with Baylor began. In 1977 when I joined Houston Methodist, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was Baylor’s president and was regarded as the number one cardiovascular surgeon in the world. I remember how aspirational he was about making Baylor a great medical school.

I learned a great deal from Dr. DeBakey about the importance of teaching hospitals. I began to understand that what contributes to the success of great academic centers of excellence – teaching hospitals like Johns Hopkins, Mass General or Boston Children’s, for example – is their affiliation with a medical school which attracts the best minds and the brightest individuals. Our partnership with Baylor allows us to also benefit from the brightest minds who bring their passion and commitment to Texas Children’s.

I carried that knowledge and Dr. Debakey’s wisdom with me to Texas Children’s, which has had an affiliation with Baylor since its inception more than 60 years ago. Today, we have a complementary mix of Baylor faculty and outstanding private pediatricians, surgeons and Ob/Gyn physicians who choose to practice at Texas Children’s and are dedicated to fulfilling our mission. This culture of commitment to excellence, as part of our academic partnership, is essential to our goal of preeminence as one of the best pediatric and women’s health centers in the nation.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the tremendous work and dedication of everyone associated with Texas Children’s – the Board, executive and physician leaders, our extraordinary employees and everyone else who is somehow involved in our commitment to patient care, education and research. It is your dedication that allowed me to celebrate that very special moment.