January 31, 2019

On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave one of his most famous speeches and spurred the United States toward one of our most decisive endeavors in history.

In his address that day, Kennedy outlined plans to greatly expand our space program. He told the audience we would lead the race for space and put a man on the moon before the end of the decade – a feat that would test the limits of human ingenuity and scientific innovation like nothing before.

Needless to say, his vision became reality – seven years later, we put a man on the moon. Since then, we’ve sent satellites to the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond. Most recently, we landed rovers on the surface of Mars. And it began right here in Houston – an ambitious pursuit of a mission fulfilled by the pioneering spirit of our city’s people.

If you look out from Taussig Auditorium in our beautiful new Texas Children’s Heart Center on the 16th floor of Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower, you can see Rice Stadium just a few blocks to the north –  the place where President Kennedy gave his aspirational speech that day and called the people of Houston to action. It gives me chills to think about it. And it’s impossible for me to think about that incredible moment in history and not draw a parallel to another historic day when the people of Houston saw a bold vision through to reality.

It was February 1, 1954 – the day Texas Children’s Hospital first opened its doors.

1954 Texas Children's Hospital exterior -2-

That was 65 years ago today. It might seem like a long time ago, but when you consider that the nation’s other top hospitals have been around for 130-plus years, it’s pretty astounding to think about what we’ve accomplished … in half the time.

We opened with a single three-story building, housing 106 patient beds. We had 4,558 encounters that first year. Today, our hospitals house 959 patient beds, and we’re the largest and most comprehensive pediatric and women’s health care organization in the nation. Between Houston, Austin and College Station, we’re providing care in more than 90 locations, including Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Urgent Care and OB/Gyn practices, Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinics, Texas Children’s Specialty Care Clinics, and The Centers for Children and Women. And we had more than 4.3 million patient encounters across the Texas Children’s system in 2018.

In only 65 years, we’ve been the first to achieve some of the most astonishing breakthroughs in pediatric health care. As I think of our milestones and achievements, I am filled with immense pride. I feel humbled and honored to share in the legacy of Texas Children’s and to be a part of history with all of you. It’s our one amazing team that makes these miracles happen every day.

So celebrate and make a big, bold wish for Texas Children’s today … we’ve proven we can achieve anything we imagine.

Happy 65th birthday Texas Children’s!

Click here to watch a video highlighting our accomplishments over the past six plus decades.

January 22, 2019

On Monday, communities throughout the nation paused to remember the tireless efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to celebrate his rich legacy. In honor of Dr. King, I’d like us to remember his selfless actions and powerful words. In the video linked below, I’m sharing a brief excerpt of his soul-stirring “I have a dream” speech and just a few of his quotes that continue to guide me to this very day.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. video

Through peaceful actions and with infinite courage, Dr. King led a movement that forever changed the world. And even today, his memory and his words are like a balm that both soothes and inspires.

I hope you enjoyed Martin Luther King Day and that you paused, if only for a moment, to remember his dream.

January 13, 2019

A few years ago, I heard a powerful message from Dr. Ed Young, the pastor of Second Baptist Church. He was delivering a sermon that revolved around the toxicity of gossip. He said something that stuck with me, and I even shared it with you here on my blog.

Basically, it was four questions to ask ourselves when we engage in conversations that are tempting and intriguing, but not necessarily in anyone’s best interest. Dr. Young challenged us to ask Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

Recently I ran across a variation of this. An acronym that reminds us to T.H.I.N.K. before we speak. Ask is it true, helpful, INSPIRING, necessary or kind? I really like the insertion of the word inspiring. It takes the saying one step further and challenges us to use words in a productive way. To focus on building something, making it better or moving it forward, and to exercise our power to be a positive influence on others. Asking that one question – is it inspiring? – would divert so much of what people say these days.

I’ve found myself thinking about this often. Turn the television to any news program covering politics, and regardless of your position, most of us would agree there’s little being shared that inspires us. More often, viewers are left with a sense of negativity, uncertainty or distrust. Some of what we hear does little more than pique wasted curiosity, and the only thing it inspires is palace intrigue. Is that helpful or necessary?

It’s easy enough to turn off the television, but what about workplace palace intrigue? That tempting, curious interest about who said or did what and an uninformed opinion about why. What does that inspire? The same sense of negativity, uncertainty and distrust. None of us wants to be part of something like that. That’s not our culture. What brings people to Texas Children’s is our shared desire to be better and to do better.

In a large, dynamic organization like ours, there is always movement and change within a workforce of nearly 15,000 staff and employees. Change is natural and inevitable, and it’s actually a really good thing for our organization that often presents us with new opportunities. But if we’re not careful, gossip can distract us from those opportunities.

Be bigger than that. T.H.I.N.K. and stay focused on what really matters to our organization – moving our mission forward. Our patients and families trust us to keep that focus.

I want each of you to click here to print out this acronym – T.H.I.N.K. Keep it some place visible in your work area and at home. Use it as a barometer for your words and a constant reminder of who you are and what we’re doing here. I know we’re surrounded by acronyms, but let’s make T.H.I.N.K. our collective and visible commitment to inspiring good.