March 9, 2018 | (2) Comments

One thing I really appreciate about having a blog is that it gives me another place to hear from you. Believe it or not, I read every comment. Sometimes I reach out to employees to address questions and concerns. Other times I reach out to my leaders and ask them to address a concern. But whether you hear from me directly or not, I’m always reading, always listening and thinking about what you’ve shared. So hearing your voice on the blog is invaluable to me.

My last blog post about parking and patient access generated many comments from employees about our shuttle services and employee parking. I took your comments to heart, and I immediately reached out to the leadership that oversees these areas. They were just as concerned about the issues that surfaced and provided some immediate feedback, which I’m sharing below.

In addition, some of your questions and thoughts have immediately set the wheels in motion for us to look into additional solutions. We will follow up with those plans in the weeks to come. But for now, here are some things I’d like you to know:

After-hours parking

  • Garage 16: After-hours employees who work in West Tower, Abercrombie, Feigin or Wallace Tower have access to Wallace Tower/Garage 16 on weekends. You may enter Garage 16 between 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Employees will need to exit Garage 16 by 8 a.m. Monday to ensure capacity for our patients and visitors on Monday morning. Garage 16 is not available for after-hours parking on holidays that fall on weekdays.
  • Texas Medical Center garages: After-hours employees have access to Texas Medical Center garages between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and holidays. You also have access on weekends between 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Monday.


  • Additional circulator shuttle: Thursday morning, we reached out to the Texas Medical Center and immediately received approval to add another circulator shuttle during our non-peak hours (approximately 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.). This additional shuttle was added today. We will continue to look at other options for shuttle stops.
  • Shuttle hotline: You can provide feedback about the shuttles at any time by using the shuttle hotline. Simply call 832-824-2666. Our leaders pay attention to the hotline messages, they constantly monitor ridership, delays and route adjustments, and they make every attempt to respond to and/or resolve issues that are brought to our attention.


We are making improvements regarding signage and wayfinding inside our buildings, and we are also working on exterior wayfinding. You will begin to see additional signage in the coming weeks.

Parking costs

Texas Children’s is one of the last organizations in the Texas Medical Center that still offers paid parking for its employees.


I hope you find this information useful, and again, I always appreciate hearing from you. I care about how the decisions we make impact our staff and employees, and hearing from you provides me with insight and other points of view.

By the same token, I do indeed want us to continue keeping our patients and their families in mind. Always consider what simple thing you might do to help ensure our patients have the access and exceptional experience they deserve every time they are with us.

March 6, 2018 | (91) Comments

So let’s say you take your family out for dinner. You’ve picked a great new restaurant, and the food is delicious, the ambiance is perfect, but the wait staff is a bit rude. Well, no matter how great the food is, what are the chances that you’re going to go back? Probably pretty unlikely – right?

Well, our patients and families choose to seek care at Texas Children’s because they know without a doubt that we provide the best quality of care! We have the best and brightest people in the world taking care of their loved ones. However, once they walk through the doors, patients and families evaluate us based on the quality of the service they receive. A big part of that quality of service begins before they even walk through our doors. For many of our patient families, that experience begins with something that should be relatively simple – convenient parking.

When we design and construct our buildings, we include ample parking for our patient families as well. But lately many of our patient families have been unable to find parking in the garages at our Medical Center Campus. That happens in some part because Texas Children’s employees are occupying spaces that have been designated for patient families or are using the valet services intended for our patient families.

Just two weeks ago, Security turned away 51 employees trying to park in Garage 21. That would have been 51 patient families that would have been frustrated or inconvenienced. This ongoing concern has created an overwhelming burden on our patient families who come to Texas Children’s for their care. A couple of comments from a recent Press Ganey survey:

“Parking is terrible. I almost missed an appointment due to waiting 16 minutes just to get into the parking garage and another 15 to 20 minutes to park, as the garage was full.”

 “Parking our vehicle was a nightmare. We spent over an hour trying to get a parking spot.”

 As part of Texas Children’s Step Up for Patients First initiative, we encourage our employees to live compassionately and put our patients and their families first. A simple way to do this includes giving families priority access to parking to help ensure they get to their children’s clinical appointments on time.

Using the limited parking reserved for our patient families is counter to the experience we are all committed to providing them. It also disregards Texas Children’s Parking Policy, which prohibits employees from parking in Texas Children’s Hospital garages 12, 16 or 21 or using valet services when you are here for work purposes. To ensure employees understand this policy and the desire of Texas Children’s to put patients and families first, Security will continue to conduct random monitoring and take appropriate steps to correct this practice.

Having free, dedicated employee parking garages (garages 14 and 19) at the Meyer Building and a large, frequently circulating fleet of employee shuttles provides all employees with convenient alternatives to the limited parking on the Medical Center Campus, which is the only option for our patient families and visitors. Coming to the world’s largest medical center and navigating a parking garage, especially with the temporary closures due to our current construction, is difficult enough for families. Let’s do all we can to ease the experience.

We can create a better experience for patient families and visitors by parking in the designated employee garages so that finding parking is the least of their concerns. It’s a simple step that will have a lasting impact on a family’s experience with us.

February 21, 2017 | (2) Comments

Many of you have heard the well-known story of President John F. Kennedy and his encounter with a janitor while touring NASA in the 1960s. As President Kennedy walked through the facility, he introduced himself to staff and asked about their respective roles at the space center.

Each quickly obliged, offering an official title or job function. But the one that made the most stirring impression on Kennedy was a janitor with acute focus on the mission. In response to President Kennedy’s question of “So what do you do here?” the janitor replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” In the instance you hear this story, you immediately understand that the janitor nailed it. He had completely embraced the vision – or perhaps the vision had embraced him. Either way, he got it, and he understood the notion of working toward something bigger than one’s self.

I cannot help but think of that story as the Employee Recognition Celebration unfolds each year. Annually, we have one of the grandest celebrations for our long-tenured employees. We have held this wonderful event for 29 years now. It is absolutely my favorite day of the year with you, and I love seeing how it gets bigger each time. Just within the ballroom last week, we had about as many employees as we used to have in the entire organization. Can you believe that?

It is sometimes hard to fathom how we have grown or how many people mark decades of dedication to Texas Children’s each year. Last Tuesday was our largest celebration yet – we honored 31 recognition award recipients and more than 650 employees celebrating 15 to 45 years of tenure. Altogether, those tenured employees represent 12,000+ years of service to the mission of Texas Children’s, our patients and their families.

One element that has become a highlight of the event are the employee videos shown before each milestone group. Through this handful of short videos spotlighting Texas Children’s employees, the audience gets touching glimpses of what makes this such a special place.

Most of us could not help but smile while watching the video of 15-year employee and Facilities Operations Lead Guadalupe Mendoza. She referred to Texas Children’s as a family that must support one another, and regarding her job, she said proudly, “Yes it’s housekeeping, someone has to keep it clean. We’re talking about children and keeping the area clean for them. Why not me? I’m good at it, I know I’m good at it. So that’s what I do every day – my best.” Guadalupe absolutely gets it. Her best helps Texas Children’s be the best.

I was also struck by 40-year employee and Director of Renal and Pheresis Services Helen Currier when she said, “I’m celebrating my 40th year of commitment.” Helen reminds us that we are not simply employed here. We are deeply committed to a shared mission. What an inspiring thing.

Another telling moment came from Biomedical Engineering Director John Weimert who once served in the U.S. Navy, working on missile control radar systems. He noted his appreciation for the environment here and how it has allowed him to take risks and innovate. Subsequently, he leads with that same philosophy and works to create an environment where people on his team can express themselves and grow. He said he refers to his department as a flower bed and that “people in the department are my flowers.”

But I must say, the most memorable of moments that afternoon came by way of 45-year employee Karol Musher, a senior speech language pathologist. Karol recalled when we were one building, had no computers and enjoyed parking right outside our office doors. What has kept her here and passionate since those early decades are our patients and their families and the opportunity to help improve the quality of their lives. And even after 45 years in, she said, “Everyone I know has retired and is doing things they think are fun. Well, I think this is fun. I can’t imagine doing anything that would make me feel more productive, more helpful or as valuable to other people as I hope my tenure here has been.”

I think for a few moments, we all just hung a bit on Karol’s words. Karol gets it, and in that moment as we applauded, giving her a long, well-deserved standing ovation, I am certain we all got it. We understood in that moment that we are part of something amazing here, and that we must always approach our work with an appreciation for the mission that is larger than the task at hand.

Guadalupe, Helen, John and Karol and all of us are contributing to the care of our patients. We are all making discoveries and finding cures, creating hope and providing healing. We are, collectively, the heart of Texas Children’s. Every person and every job is critical. Every task must be done with excellence, no matter how seemingly small. Every day, we must remind ourselves that we are all working toward something so much greater than our individual selves. We are not putting the first man on the moon. But our mission is ensuring any of our patients could be the next one there.

Click here for a few photos from this year’s Employee Recognition Celebration.

April 28, 2016 | (21) Comments

As we begin our days, whether at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. in the medical center, at the West Campus or across the community, we arrive with the potential to impact the lives of thousands of children and women in our care.

Because we engage with so many families each day, we can sometimes take for granted how our daily interactions impact our patients’ and families’ lives. How we work and how we engage with our families today may affect a memory that lasts a lifetime.

Employees like Donald Wilkins take that notion to heart. Donald works with families in Ambulatory Surgery to keep them updated about their children’s status during surgery. For anxious parents awaiting a child’s status and needing a bit of reassurance, Donald is one of the most important people they’ll interact with at Texas Children’s. Even more important is Donald’s role in making sure the patient feels comfortable and confident about the procedure they’re about to undergo. On a recent “Caught You Caring” card, one patient wrote:

“Throughout my stay, one person has shined like a bright star in my eyes. I met him in the surgery waiting room – his name is Donald. He is an amazing person and has a one-of-a-kind personality. He made me very comfortable and made me feel safe pre-surgery. He checked on me often and made sure I felt ok. He came to visit me today and made me very happy. People like him make me want to go into the medical field and help children with chronic illnesses like me feel better. Thank you for all you do Donald. God bless you.”

This week, as we celebrate Patient Experience Week with hospitals nationwide, it’s important to remember that each of us has the potential to make a similar impact every day. And it’s important. Research even shows that when a family has a great experience, they listen more intently to their medical instructions and follow doctors’ orders more thoroughly. They’re readmitted to the hospital less often and have fewer return visits with the doctor when they feel comfortable enough to ask the right questions the first time around. It makes sense: how we make our families feel is an essential part of caregiving.

That’s why ensuring positive patient experiences isn’t something that’s just nice to do – it’s our priority at Texas Children’s, and really, it’s our promise to our families. Our patients know they can count on us for the best medical care. We want them to expect and receive an exceptional experience at Texas Children’s as well.

To this end, we are making concerted efforts to elevate the patient experience throughout our system. For instance, our leaders and their teams are conducting “intentional rounding” at the hospitals. In the Emergency Center, we changed our notification system to help families understand our process and the reason behind wait times. And in our clinics and practices, we armed employees with tips and ideas for creating positive memories with patients every day.

These are just some of the ways we are demonstrating our dedication to exceptional patient experiences for every patient and every family who comes to any part of Texas Children’s. We will continue to ask our patients about their experiences and listen for ways to improve.

So as you arrive tomorrow morning or evening, at one of our hospitals, clinics, practices or any Texas Children’s location, think about the potential in you to create an even better experience for everyone you encounter that day. Even if your role doesn’t involve direct patient care, you have the ability to encourage or support colleagues. That promotes team work and strengthens our sense of culture, and that absolutely impacts patient experience down the line.

It all matters to every single family we touch. So arrive each day, ready and excited for the wonderful opportunity you might have at any moment to make a difference.