October 12, 2020 | (25) Comments

We’ve officially made it to the last quarter of the year. The weather has cooled down slightly—we’re happy when we get anything below 90 degrees here in Texas—and we’re beginning to see pumpkins, football and the feeling of the holidays coming up around the corner. And this year, we are also nearing a very important and monumental time: Election Day.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3—but early voting in Texas begins today, October 13. I encourage each of you to vote, and vote early if you can.

Voting, both at the local level and for the next leader of our country, is one of the most vital and impactful things you can do for yourself, your family and for future generations. I can’t express enough just how much your vote truly counts. I know it’s easy to convince yourself that your one vote doesn’t really matter, but I promise you it does. There are numerous elections in U.S. history that have come down to a narrow window of electoral votes.

Due to COVID-19 and the increased number of absentee and mail-in ballots, we may not know the winners of our local and national elections when we go to bed on November 3—it may even take a few weeks for the final results to be announced. And because of this, it is more important than ever that we await these results peacefully, and respectfully. We are an institution guided upon equality and inclusivity, and I urge you to practice these principles in the coming weeks both inside and outside of our Texas Children’s doors.

Texas Children’s is filled with some of the most remarkable people I know—passionate and kind people who work every day to care for those around them. I have watched you all treat each other with dignity and respect as we’ve navigated through some of the most challenging times these past few months—you have been true leaders in our community. As we enter this election season, I encourage and ask each of you to please continue leading by example and treating all those around you with kindness.

I’m looking forward to casting my vote and participating in one of the fundamental components of our democracy, and I hope you will join me. No matter who you vote for, I encourage you to take pride in your vote and in our nation, peacefully and respectfully.

September 23, 2020 | (22) Comments

Over the course of my career, leadership has been a passion of mine, and I have thus dedicated quite a lot of time writing, speaking and thinking about leadership. But here’s the thing—to be a good leader, you have to continue to be open to learning more. There is always something new to be learned, and every new experience can teach you something—including a global pandemic.

I recently read a news article that deeply resonated with me and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. As Josh Womack notes in the piece, COVID-19 is most definitely inspiring new and all types of leadership. I have always said that everyone at Texas Children’s is a leader, but these days, it is more critical than ever, even if it looks quite different than ever before.

Depending on your skill set and your role at Texas Children’s, what you bring to the table and contribute to our One Amazing Team ranges across the full spectrum. From our physicians to our facilities team, social workers to nurses, from those working from home and those who are working tirelessly at labor pool to ensure the safety of each individual who enters the hospital—I see you.

I see you quickly adapting to whatever changes come our way. I see your ability to lead and inspire those around you, and I see that even in the midst of a pandemic, you have truly exemplified what it means to be leader.

You may not be able to see how sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference here at the hospital and in your own homes, but I guarantee you every little thing matters.

Through the last seven months, I’ve witnessed a spirit of leadership like never before from almost every Texas Children’s employee. It makes me unbelievably proud to see the commitment and dedication taking place at every level. No matter what you’re contributing to Texas Children’s, all of you play a vital part of the exceptional care we provide to children, women and their families each and every day.

Many times the strongest leaders are the ones working quietly in the background doing whatever they can to serve those around them. Sometimes it’s maintaining a positive attitude and spirit that will brighten someone’s day, and other times it’s simply understanding when someone needs a helping hand. So no matter what your role here may be, remember that because of you and your commitment to leadership, Texas Children’s is standing strong today.

I want to thank all of you for exemplifying leadership in your own unique way. No one knows what tomorrow will bring to our doors, but I know that Texas Children’s has the best and most resilient leaders, and there is no other team I’d rather work with.

 

July 31, 2020 | (42) Comments

This weekend marks an exciting milestone for Texas Children’s—tomorrow, August 1, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Texas Children’s Pediatrics! What a special and momentous occasion for our organization!

I knew we were onto something incredible when we first came up with the idea of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, but as I reflect on the past few decades, I am more confident than ever that establishing this network of primary care pediatric practices is one of Texas Children’s greatest accomplishments. In the early and mid-1990’s, health care was changing, and as a young pediatric hospital, we knew we needed to change too in order to keep up with our growing community. Here we are—25 years later—and I’m still amazed at how far we’ve come.

Today, Texas Children’s Pediatrics is the largest pediatric primary care network in the nation with more than 250 board-certified pediatricians and 60 practice locations—four of those locations added in the first half of 2020 alone.

This network has helped us take better care of the children we serve and create long-term relationships with our patient families, while retaining many of the gifted physicians trained at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. Most recently, the remarkable leadership of Texas Children’s Pediatrics has helped us in our venture north of Houston to the state capital of Texas. What began as a journey into various neighborhoods of Houston has led to an expedition into communities across the state of Texas. Over the years, we’ve seen how profoundly this network has impacted the children in Houston, so there was no question what we should do when it came to expanding our care into Austin.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing, Texas Children’s Pediatrics has been quick and efficient in ensuring we provide the same quality of care, whether it be in person or through virtual visits. Each practice has worked effectively to overcome obstacles and keep physicians, employees, patients and families safe and comfortable.

As you all know, Texas Children’s was founded with the mission to care for all children, and through the Community Cares Program, we found an additional way to embrace this value. At the Community Cares Program practices, the teams assist families with added health care services such as meeting with social workers, nutrition education, assistance with insurance program applications, and more. Needless to say, Texas Children’s Pediatric practices are so much more than a doctor’s office.

As we celebrate 25 years of astounding success for Texas Children’s Pediatrics, I want to thank two of the best leaders that I have had the honor of working with—Kay Tittle, President of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, and Dr. Stanley Spinner, Vice President of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. Kay and Stan truly are two superheroes in the world of pediatrics. They have been nothing short of phenomenal, working together every day to help children and their families receive the care they need, when and where they need it. On top of caring for our patients, they have both been instrumental in our growth and are without a doubt, the reason why we’re here celebrating 25 years today.

Please join me in congratulating all of the physicians, staff and employees at Texas Children’s Pediatrics for 25 years of excellence. I hope each team member knows what a difference you make for these families—many of which would not have access to care if it wasn’t for you.

I am deeply grateful for everyone’s dedication and commitment through the years, and I am beyond proud of what we have accomplished together.

However, there’s one thing I know for sure—we are not done yet. Here’s to the next 25 years of caring for generations of families in our great state of Texas! Congratulations, Texas Children’s Pediatrics!

June 19, 2020 | (16) Comments

It was on June 19, 1865 that enslaved African-Americans in Texas gained their freedom. Freedom—what a powerful word—freedom.

Juneteenth is typically a day of celebration with loved ones, get togethers and parades. But this year looks a little different. Between the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created in our daily lives, to the state of grief and unrest that we are experiencing in our strive for justice, I encourage you all to take a moment to pause today and reflect on the freedoms we are blessed to experience—and the freedoms that we need to continue to fight for.

While the Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013, the constant struggle for equality and justice has been something that so many in our community have had to confront every day. This struggle has rightfully demanded front-page news coverage in recent weeks and months, but the need for it is not new. As Will Smith said during an interview in 2016, “Racism isn’t getting worse; it’s getting filmed.”

As I’ve said before, it is difficult to admit that racism is still prevalent in our society, but no matter how hard it is to admit, we must acknowledge this if any change is to be done during our lifetime—and it must be done. The Black Lives Matter movement is here to stay.

Racism and discrimination of any kind must end—in our workplace and in our society. This is a cultural issue and we must take action to affect change. We must be honest with ourselves and with each other to acknowledge where we are and the work we have to do. And then, we must do the work.

When I began as President and CEO at Texas Children’s in 1989, we did not have one African American on our Board of Trustees. Today, our Board is a diverse delegation of gender, race and religion—but we must continue to make progress year after year.

Texas Children’s has an important role to play and we are committed to doing our part. Not just today, not just this month, but for the long term. We have launched initiatives to address issues of racism and diversity, but I want to re-emphasize that this is not a program or a project, this isn’t a matter of creating a department to put gold stars on our letterhead and then move on to the next topic. This work needs to be addressed by each of us every day. It is our collective responsibility to be the change we want to see. We are not perfect but our culture is based on equality, inclusivity, love and compassion, and if we believe in this work, we will continue to improve.

These are difficult things to talk about, but we must talk about them anyways. It is the only way we can move forward. So in honor of Juneteenth, I encourage each of you to pause, reflect on what freedom means to you and the great progress we have made, and recognize how much more work we have to do. I asked you a couple of weeks ago what you have done today to help. Today I ask you, what will you do tomorrow?