August 27, 2019

On August 15, 1969, half a million people gathered on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, for what would become one of the biggest events in music history – Woodstock.

The idea behind the first Woodstock musical festival was to raise enough money to build a recording studio in Woodstock, New York. But the three days that unfolded between August 15 and 18 far exceeded anyone’s expectations and became a cultural touchstone in American history.

My wife Shannon and I recently watched the Netflix documentary Woodstock: Three days that defined a generation, and we were awed by how so many people from all over the country and world were able to gather in one place, listen to some of the greatest musicians in history, and celebrate peace, love and tolerance during such a turbulent time in America’s history.

The peaceful nature of such a large crowd during a time of national unrest made me think of another historic moment – the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 56 years ago today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his riveting “I Have a Dream” speech that day to more than 250,000 people. The speech called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States using some of the most eloquent and inclusive language I have ever heard.

OTM_MLK_Servant Leadership

While the tone of this iconic speech is stern and resolute, there is the overall feeling that the ideal of equality for all must be reached together, not apart. Not by pushing people away, not by calling each other names, and not by taking out our personal frustrations on people who are just trying to go about living their daily lives.

Dominated by the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960s also saw the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. Yet, even though rife with conflict and uncertainty, there still seemed to be more of an undertone of peace, love and tolerance in the messages spoken during that time versus so much of what we hear today.

I know the world we live in now is very different from the one in which I grew up, but I am an optimist, and I believe that peace, love and tolerance will prevail. I see these characteristics intertwined in the fabric of our culture at Texas Children’s, and it gives me hope. The diverse and inclusive culture we’ve created here, and the tireless work we do side by side to care for all children and women from every walk of life continue to inspire me.

In honor of the anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I am re-sharing a video I first posted on his birthday earlier this year.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. video

The video contains a brief excerpt of his speech and a few of his quotes that continue to guide me every day. I hope they instill in you the same feeling of hope and unity they give me.

August 5, 2019

A few weeks ago, you probably saw the U.S. News and World Report 2019-2020 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking and honor roll. We were all simply thrilled that Texas Children’s Hospital continues to be ranked among the best in the nation.

We were ranked even higher this year, tying for third place among all children’s hospitals nationally. And for the first time, Texas Children’s is ranked in the top 10 in each of the pediatric sub-specialties the survey assesses. Six of our sub-specialties were ranked in the top 3 – two are ranked #1, two are ranked #2, and another two are ranked #3.

Now I’ll admit, these rankings are just fantastic! I’m always proud of the attention they bring to our focus on exceptional care. But without a doubt, our patients are the winners here, because the survey measures things that, ultimately, are really significant for our patients and their families.

The survey factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, available clinical resources, and compliance with best practices. So when our rankings improve overall or in any category, it demonstrates that we’re not just striving to be better, we actually are better. And better care and exceptional outcomes are huge wins for our patients.

For example, last year our CLABSI rates were some of our lowest ever. We continued to make big strides in the reduction of hospital-acquired pressure injuries. An ongoing system-wide push from nursing helped recruit and retain more outstanding caregivers, ensuring we have the proper nurse-patient ratio at all times. Our Department of Radiology worked rapidly and tirelessly to earn a new ultrasound accreditation. And our IS department worked side by side with operations and clinicians to implement a new information-sharing system that allowed us to exchange patient health information more seamlessly with other institutions. All of these house-wide improvements were noted in the surveyors’ assessment as factors in our ranking this year.

I shared our sub-specialty rankings with you last month, but I want you to know what they really mean, beyond the numbers. Starting today on Connect and for the next several weeks, we’re spotlighting each of our 10 sub-specialty areas ranked in the recent U.S. News survey to share details about the improvements, programs, and advancements that garnered these impressive results.

There’s some incredible work happening across all 10 of these sub-specialties and throughout our organization, and the real excitement is how our gains in the rankings translate to better outcomes for our patients. When we have a strong showing on any survey that examines the care we provide, it’s another reminder that our focus is exactly where it should be.