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Supporting health care, building community


“It’s very important that the organizations we support have a clear mission,” said Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company. “They must work actively in communities to help improve conditions for the areas in which they work. And not only that, they must use these investments wisely and deliver positive results.”

The same can be said of the organizations with which Texas Children’s partners. And so a perfect match was made. Several years ago, ExxonMobil and Texas Children’s joined forces to improve maternal and child health outcomes in Papua New Guinea, where mortality rates for mothers and babies are very high. Texas Children’s physicians are helping teach and train local caregivers and improve clinical, public health and research programs.

Closer to home, in addition to the more than 150,000 work hours given through extensive volunteer involvement programs, ExxonMobil assists local communities through charitable giving, which supports arts organizations, educational initiatives and health care improvements.

Texas Children’s Promise Campaign had a special appeal for ExxonMobil, which made a generous $3 million gift in 2014 to support five key programs at the hospital.

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Services for children with developmental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disabilities are surprisingly limited in the Houston community. Dr. Robert Voigt, a national leader in these areas, is spearheading a dramatic expansion and reconfiguration of Texas Children’s programs that serve a large and rapidly growing population of children and adolescents with developmental disabilities, autism, and behavioral and psychiatric conditions.

Liver Disease Research and Clinical Services

Texas Children’s recently recruited Dr. Ben Shneider as chief of the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Service. His expertise is in pediatric liver disease, and his basic, translational and clinical research in intestinal gene expression and liver diseases has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1993. Texas Children’s goal is to establish the nation’s premier center for the care and treatment of infants and children with these often life-threatening medical conditions.

Critical Care Research

Texas Children’s Hospital cares for thousands of children each year with critical, life-threatening medical and surgical conditions. Research is an essential part of providing the highest quality care. Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of Pediatric Critical Care, is one of the world’s leading experts in the care of these desperately ill children. Her research focuses on determining how children who have received intensive care subsequently function with respect to learning, speech and language, intellectual attainment, and other outcomes.

Pediatric Heart Patient and Family Education

Dr. Daniel Penny, one of the world’s premier pediatric cardiologists and chief of Cardiology at Texas Children’s, is developing narrated and illustrated audiovisual modules to help children affected by congenital heart disease and their families understand prescribed treatments and surgical procedures. These materials will be free of charge for patients and families.


Texas Children’s nurses play a vital role in ensuring the delivery of safe, patient-centered care and the best possible patient outcomes. With enhanced training and skills, they also have the opportunity to play a fundamental role in transforming the United States’ health care system. In fact, all hospitals are required to increase their percentage of baccalaureate-prepared (BSN) nurses to 80 percent by 2020. Mary Jo Andre, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, is committed to ensuring that Texas Children’s nurses who have associate degrees can go on to obtain baccalaureate degrees as well.

“Working with Texas Children’s Hospital, we’ve been able to help improve health care in Houston and overseas as well,” said Mr. Duffin. He encourages others who are considering making a gift to Texas Children’s Hospital to spend some time at the hospital and see firsthand what is happening every day to improve the health and well-being of children in our community and beyond.

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