September 30, 2019

When Texas Children’s opened its doors in 1954, an infectious disease was the most common reason for an infant or child to require a stay at the hospital. Intensive study of contagious diseases like measles, mumps and chicken pox in children was just emerging, and it had only been eight years since the influenza vaccine had been approved for widespread use.

When we celebrated Texas Children’s 50th anniversary in 2004, infectious diseases were still the most common reason for our patients and their families to require a hospital stay – but by then, it was because we had developed a global reputation for pioneering research and expertise in the field. Visionaries like Dr. Ralph Feigin, Dr. Martha Dukes Yow, Dr. Sheldon L. Kaplan and others laid a foundation of innovation that made the hospital a beacon of hope for communities once ravaged by influenza, rubella and other infections.

That spirit lives on at Texas Children’s today as we strive to advance pediatric and women’s health care. We seek out opportunities to take the lead in both big and small ways – from conducting cutting-edge research, to simply being at the head of the line for the flu shot each year and encouraging our colleagues to do the same.

As One Amazing Team, we share a responsibility to our patients, their families and each other to prevent the transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases like the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our own infectious disease experts agree that children under 5 years old, and especially those under 2, are particularly at risk to develop potentially serious and even life-threatening complications.

By stepping up to get your flu shot – and getting it early – you’re helping to reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed workdays and those flu-related hospitalizations that were all-too-common at Texas Children’s only decades ago. It’s a proven fact: the flu vaccine is safe, effective and the single most important tool we have to protect these most vulnerable children and all of our patients and families, team members and our entire community against the virus.

Start planning now to attend an Employee Health flu event, receive your vaccination at no cost, affix that 2019/20 flu sticker to your badge and lead tirelessly as you make a positive impact that will touch everyone you encounter.

I’ll be there too, and I hope you’ll save me a spot next to you at the front of the line!

April 30, 2018

When I became President and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital almost 30 years ago, the Department of Surgery was a small, tight-knit group of highly skilled surgeons who operated on children with a variety of health issues.

Today, things look much the same but on a significantly larger scale. Over time, Texas Children’s Department of Surgery has become one of the largest pediatric surgery programs in the nation, spanning nine surgical divisions: Congenital Heart Surgery, Dental, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Otolaryngology, Pediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Urology. These divisions work in conjunction with our partners in Anesthesiology, Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, and Transplant Services.

One of the main reasons for our Department of Surgery’s long-standing success is strong leadership. Beginning with our first Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Luke W. Able, who trained under the father of pediatric surgery Dr. William E. Ladd, to Dr. Charles D. Fraser, whose focus on outstanding outcomes solidified our already stellar reputation, leadership has always been the glue that holds the department together and the force that drives it to greater heights.

I am confident we will continue this legacy and advance it even further under the leadership of the hospital’s newest Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier. Dr. Hollier is an extraordinarily talented plastic surgeon who joined Texas Children’s Hospital 20 years ago after earning his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine and training in general and plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and New York University Medical Center.

During his tenure at Texas Children’s, Dr. Hollier has led the hospital’s Plastic Surgery Division, championed patient experience organization wide, participated in a variety of global efforts and performed countless life-changing plastic and reconstructive surgeries. He is undeniably dedicated to our mission and has a burning passion for making our organization the best it can be in an ever-changing health care climate.

What sets Dr. Hollier apart even more is his focused yet humble leadership style. Rather than a top-down approach, Dr. Hollier believes in empowering sharp, nimble people in the organization to blaze their own paths. He sees his role as surgeon-in-chief not as being in charge, but as taking care of the people in his charge. Yet, he can also make the thoughtful and sometimes difficult decisions needed to help move the department and the organization forward.

I appreciate that he is such a bold and decisive leader with a keen and natural ability to consider the entire Texas Children’s system. Dr. Hollier perceives Texas Children’s as a team of teams, and I like that. His thinking and his approach is vital to the continued growth of our organization and to our long-term efforts to improve patient access and coordinated care.

I am excited to see what great things Dr. Hollier does at Texas Children’s in the years to come. He already has contributed so much. Please join me in congratulating him on his new post.

February 23, 2018

As you might have seen on Connect his week, the Blue Bird Circle is celebrating its 95th birthday. Can you believe that? Ninety-five years, and they have been truly amazing, decade after decade.

The Blue Bird Circle was formed in 1923 by a group of 15 young women from Houston “to promote the well-being of humanity through the betterment of the community.”  That’s an ambitious charge, but it was far from impossible for these aspiring women. Today, the Blue Bird Circle is the oldest and one of the most prominent women’s charitable organizations in the city—an organization that gives back to the community with all its heart and soul.

For those of us at Texas Children’s, the words “Blue Bird Circle” are synonymous with its members’ generosity, volunteerism, commitment, dedication … I could go on and on with that list. Specifically, members of the Blue Bird Circle have been the catalyst for so much of what has happened in pediatric neurology in the past 20 years. A beautiful partnership began when The Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Pediatric Neurology moved from The Methodist Hospital to Texas Children’s in 1998.

When it first moved, the Clinic recorded fewer than 1,000 patient visits a year and had just three doctors. Today, 52 physicians and surgeons see more than 25,000 patients each year, making the clinic the largest of its kind in the world, and our Neuroscience Center is ranked no. 4 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The care we provide, the research we conduct because of the Blue Birds … all this benefits the patients we serve here and children with neurological conditions all over the world. If that’s not the betterment of humanity, I don’t know what is.

In 2014, the Blue Bird Circle donated $2 million to establish the Blue Bird Circle Endowed Chair for Pediatric Neurology and Neurosciences, with Dr. Gary Clark as the first to hold the chair. This is one of only four endowed pediatric chairs in neurology in the country. What an incredible gift.

Over the years, the Blue Birds have given $12 million in other gifts, bringing their total giving to Texas Children’s to an amazing $14 million. And at their recent 95th birthday celebration, they donated another $1.9 million. In addition to their generous funding, Blue Bird members volunteer countless hours at the Clinic and at The Blue Bird Circle Resale Shop, which does an outstanding job of raising awareness in the community about pediatric neurological disorders and all the work Texas Children’s is doing.

I cannot put a price tag on what the Blue Birds are worth to Texas Children’s Hospital, because they are absolutely priceless. Thank you to each and every one of you ladies for your generosity, unfailing support, hard work and especially for the love and joy you bring to patients and families at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Happy 95th birthday Blue Bird Circle … and many more!

August 9, 2017

“Leadership applies to everyone.”

No matter what your title or position is at Texas Children’s, every employee makes an impact in the way we fulfill our mission. Simply put – everyone is a leader, which is the principle of my second Maxim of Leadership.

Texas Children’s employees and staff often go above and beyond to ensure our patients and their families have a positive experience, from the moment they walk through our doors to the moment they leave any of our health care locations. This past year, two of our Emergency Center (EC) nurses showed us that leadership is a quality, not a title. When our patients were constantly enduring long wait times in the EC, Kimberly Almon and Marianne Oldroyd were determined to figure out what the barriers were and what processes could be removed or changed to provide an overall better and safer patient experience.

Historically, there was a multi-step, check-in process for patients and their families before being placed in a room and getting to see a physician. While this process made sense from a staff perspective, Kimberly and Marianne realized that the process added an extra layer of anxiety to an already stressful situation for families. They put themselves in their patients’ shoes and asked, “Do families want to fill out multiple forms? Do they want to keep repeating possibly sensitive information? Do they want to be led around the entire first floor of the building before arriving at their own room?”

Thanks to these two nurses asking questions and then responding with simpler, streamlined processes, we’ve created a more patient-centered experience in the EC. Reducing the time patients and their families spend prior to seeing a physician has improved the overall patient experience at Texas Children’s. In fact, as a result of Kimberly and Marianne’s assertiveness, this process change has contributed to the highest patient experience scores the EC has ever seen.

Due to the success at Texas Children’s medical center campus, the West Campus EC staff has also implemented the new patient flow process, and The Woodlands hospital recently began its implementation of the process. And in addition to being recognized by their peers for these truly impactful efforts, Kimberly and Marianne’s work was recently accepted for a podium presentation at the Nursing Professional Development Conference.

Kimberly and Marianne spearheaded a process change and worked with their colleagues and leaders to improve the overall patient experience in the EC. Their actions remind us that leadership applies to everyone. I’m so grateful that they are part of Texas Children’s One Amazing Team.

I’d like to hear from you … how do you embrace your power to lead and make a difference every day?


Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next four weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will highlight employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.