May 31, 2017

You have often heard me say that Texas Children’s charge is to provide “the right care, in the right place at the right time.” For the past two decades, that has been the driver behind our strategic growth beyond the Texas Medical Center and into the communities where our patients and their families live.

Making sure they have access to exceptional health care close to home is why we have hospitals in Katy and The Woodlands and nearly 80 Texas Children’s primary care and urgent care practices, specialty care centers, maternal-fetal medicine clinics and other health care locations throughout Greater Houston. And that is why we are bringing Texas Children’s to Austin, Texas.

Today, we are announcing our plans to expand our pediatric and OB/GYN services into Austin, beginning with the opening of a welcome center, followed quickly thereafter with a pediatric urgent care clinic by spring 2018. This will mark the first Texas Children’s location in the Austin area, and starting with a welcome center will allow us to learn more about the area and share our story and plans for growth with the Austin community. We will open three additional pediatric urgent care clinics, 18 primary care pediatric practices, three pediatric specialty care locations and two maternal-fetal medicine practices across the city over the next five years.

As some of you may know, Austin is the 11th largest city in the U.S. and is also the fastest-growing city in America, with a pediatric population of more than 480,000. In short, Austin’s growth is outpacing its pediatric and women’s health care infrastructure. We already take care of many children and women from the Austin and Central Texas area. Providing primary and secondary care there will simply create an opportunity for us to do an even better job of that, so Austin families can have the care they need close to home … just like our families in Greater Houston. Our presence in Austin will also facilitate referrals to Texas Children’s Hospital for high acuity patients in need of comprehensive tertiary care and procedures available only at hospitals with our depth and breadth of specialized services.

Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown is leading the charge on our robust outpatient strategy in Austin. Her leadership and experience ensures that our strategy is well researched, thoughtful and cost effective. Taking our outpatient services to Austin means we will not have to build new facilities, and employing a five-year strategy requires minimal financial investment. We want to collaborate with the established pediatric and OB/GYN providers in the region to help support the growing Austin community.

Also, Texas Children’s Pediatrics will build on its 20-plus years of experience working with community pediatricians and will partner with existing pediatric primary care practices in the region. I’m confident in the proven leadership of Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Urgent Care President Kay Tittle and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stanley Spinner to guide our assertive, incremental approach. As we expand the services offered, we will continue to evaluate and monitor the needs of Austin families, and those of others around the state, to tailor our offerings to best meet those needs.

Texas Children’s entry in the Austin community is a natural extension of our mission to expand care and access to more families in Texas. And this is precisely what providing the right care, in the right place at the right time actually looks like. It’s not a clever phrase or a lofty aspiration – it’s Texas Children’s commitment to serving our patients, wherever they are. And we’re backing up that commitment with a sound strategy and an investment in the Austin community. In Texas, that’s called walking the walk, and we’re excited that our path is Austin-bound.

May 30, 2017

Today, I am wishing a long-time Texas Children’s employee farewell as she embarks on her next amazing chapter. Dace Reinholds, Director of Corporate Governance, is retiring after more than two decades of dedicated service to Texas Children’s.

Dace started at Texas Children’s Hospital in October 1990, some 26 years and seven months ago. When she arrived, we still just had one building – the seven-floor, 350,000 square-foot Abercrombie Building. Since then, Dace has helped us navigate more than 50 corporate organizational structures and restructures. As the Director of Corporate Governance, Dace develops and implements the governance policies, processes and procedures, which are basically the framework by which we operate.

In her role, she works closely with Texas Children’s Board of Trustees, the governing body of the organization. In the past 26 years, Dace has worked with 13 Board chairs, 13 Board presidents and an untold number of Board committee chairs. She has been a huge part of all of our growth and success. And she has been a big part of my success as well. Because of her insight, intuition, and deep understanding of our mission, Dace has always worked to ensure that our governance structure is in step with – and even ahead of – where it needs to be to support our next strategic move. Having thoughtful, proactive governance is critical to the success of a rapidly growing organization like Texas Children’s. And Dace has been integral to every single thing that the Board, leadership team and I have done during the past 26 years.

One of the contributions that I’m particularly appreciative of is the work Dace did with writer Betsey Parrish on Legacy: 50 Years of Loving Care, Texas Children’s Hospital. This book was published to celebrate Texas Children’s history on our 50th anniversary. Dace and Betsey worked on the book for nearly two years. Betsey was the author, but the book simply would not have happened without Dace. She was really the catalyst that pulled all of the ideas and information together, which was so important to documenting and sharing the incredible story of Texas Children’s Hospital. I will be forever grateful for her role in bringing this book to life.

I know that I speak for many when I say we are going to miss Dace, but no one will miss her more than I will. Thank you, Dace, for a job very well done. We are all wishing you a happy, blessed and adventurous retirement.

Board of Trustees Resolution presented to Dace Reinholds on May 8, 2017:

WHEREAS, since joining Texas Children’s Hospital in October 1990, Dace Reinholds has given generously of her time, providing invaluable counsel and unparalleled support to the organization’s mission and continued success;

WHEREAS, Dace, having served as Director of Corporate Governance and Corporate Secretary for Texas Children’s; Assistant Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Assistant Secretary of each corporate Board of Directors, has imparted the value of quality governance and fiscal responsibility and impacted the success of the Board and overall performance of the organization;

WHEREAS, she spearheaded development of the corporate structure, from the Texas Children’s Hospital Integrated Delivery System to the current Texas Children’s corporate structure approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011;

WHEREAS, Dace has been an impactful, larger-than-life and resilient force behind Texas Children’s historic openings and expansions, including those of:

The West Tower;

The Mark A. Wallace Tower;

The Feigin Center;

The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute;

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus;

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women;

And Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands;

WHEREAS, she has coordinated nearly 2,000 meetings of the Board of Trustees, Board Committee and Corporate Board, has written more than 100 Board of Trustees’ resolutions of appreciation and fulfilled innumerable other behind-the-scenes, yet critical needs;

WHEREAS, Dace is the trusted confidant, friend, counsel and right hand of Mark Wallace, a devoted and indispensable liaison to the Board, a generous advocate and ambassador for the hospital in the community, and an insightful, invaluable source of institutional knowledge to countless others throughout Texas Children’s;

IT IS NOW, THEREFORE, RESOLVED, that in recognition and honor of her 26 years of service and dedication to Texas Children’s, the members of the Board of Trustees of Texas Children’s express their deepest gratitude and sincere appreciation to Dace Reinholds for her tireless and continued commitment to the organization and the families we serve.

UNANIMOUSLY adopted this 4th day of May, 2017.

May 12, 2017

As many of you can see, Tower E is progressing very well. This new inpatient pediatric tower is the realization of the CareFirst initiative we launched a few years ago to provide a solution that will ensure our ability to care for children who will need our specialized services in the future. The tower will house care and services for some of our most critically ill patients, and allow us to provide them with the best experience possible as we help them heal.

Legacy_Ver_TwoWe are looking forward to opening the doors of the tower next year. But today, I am thrilled to share an exciting milestone. We have reached the point in the construction process where we need to determine the official name of the new building. After careful consideration, I am pleased to announce that we have arrived at the name Legacy Tower.

This name represents our founding and everyone who led the charge and the fundraising to create a hospital in Houston dedicated to the care of children. In the 1940s, a small group of Houston physicians, philanthropists and community leaders saw a need for a pediatric hospital and went to work to bring it to fruition. Proceeds from The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in 1947 helped establish the Texas Children’s Hospital Foundation, and in 1950, Leopold L. Meyer secured a $1 million gift from Lillie and Jim Abercrombie to build Texas Children’s Hospital. There was only one condition – that it be “open to every sick or hurt child with no restrictions on religion, color, or whether or not they can pay.” Texas Children’s Hospital began with that promise, and a rich legacy began to take shape.

Legacy Tower also will be a tribute to the many years of dedicated service our Board of Trustees and Board leaders have provided to the hospital. We have been blessed with the visionary, aspirational leadership of dedicated Board members since the hospital’s founding. And to this day, we continue to reap the rewards of a Board just as intently focused on the mission of this hospital as our founders were and who are as passionate about exceptional patient care as our physicians, nurses and employees. Texas Children’s has no doubt flourished because of the legacy of their incredible leadership.

And finally, Legacy Tower represents all of the advancements in pediatric medicine that have occurred here at Texas Children’s. From the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the liver and pericardium in 1965 to the most recent successful separation of the beautiful Mata conjoined twins, Adeline and Knatalye, and every step in between, Texas Children’s physicians and surgeons have pioneered breakthrough treatments. They revolutionized care for children and women around the world, continuing the rich legacy that began simply as dreams and ambitions decades ago.

We are very excited about Legacy Tower and all the patients and families who will receive care in this wonderful new space. Most importantly, we are grateful because opening Legacy Tower will mean never having to say no to a child who needs the complex, highly advanced care that only Texas Children’s can provide. This new tower, anchored proudly in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, will be a place of hope and healing for children from all over the world. And for us, it will be a reminder of all those who came first, dreamed big and worked so very hard so that we might be here today, tomorrow and 100 years from now, achieving the unthinkable. This is Texas Children’s legacy.