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Special Features

Promises in Action

Thanks to the extraordinary support of generous donors in the community, Texas Children’s Hospital is keeping its promises to children and women in need of the finest health care available. These are just a few of the milestones we have met on two of the chief priorities of Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Celebration Marks Outpatient Building Opening

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

On October 4, 2016, we marked the opening of the Outpatient Building of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands with a private welcome celebration that included breakfast, comments from organization leaders, and tours of the six-floor, 209,973-square-foot facility.

The new building houses almost 20 areas of specialized care including cardiology, sports medicine, neurology and hematology/oncology. “Everything about Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands is about improving the health and wellness of children and families in this community,” said Dr. Charles Hankins, chief medical officer.

A state-of-the art sports medicine gym is on the first floor, check-in and check-out stations resembling a child’s clubhouse are at the entrance of each clinic, and spacious exam rooms and provider work stations line many of the building’s halls. In addition, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will be home to a state-of-the-art motion and human performance lab and special gait lab, which will serve the entire Texas Children’s system.

The Spasticity Clinic in the Outpatient Building

Human performance improvement spans the spectrum from correcting a congenital heart defect, to improving a disabled child’s gait, to correcting the throwing motion of an elite high school baseball pitcher to avoid injury. The motion and human performance lab has what it takes to achieve these goals including the technology and expertise to assess vestibular dysfunction, examine human motion, and assess pulmonary and cardiac function.

The new hospital is already making a big impact.

“We hear weekly about the positive effect we’re already having on patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shilt, chief surgical officer at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. “The convenience for many of our sickest patients to receive the best care close to home is creating a tremendous boost to their quality of life. But the most overwhelming thing for me has been the support from the community. People are proud to have this hospital here. The community’s input has been integral in creating this hospital, and the philanthropic support we’ve received has been instrumental in delivering that vision.”

The Woodlands Construction Crew Donates to the Cause

When John Brock with Tellepsen Builders signed up to work on Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, he never imagined his relationship with the hospital would be anything more than business. But a turn of events in his teenage daughter’s life changed that very quickly, making Brock’s experience with Texas Children’s extremely personal.

At the age of 14, his daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis by her Texas Children’s Pediatrics primary care physician. When her condition worsened, her doctor recommended surgery. Today, she is 22 years old and is doing very well, thanks to the care she received at Texas Children’s.

Brock, who is the senior supervisor for the hospital’s facilities, shared his personal story with many of his crew members who in turn shared similar stories of their own. Because of the shared connection, he asked his crew if they would be open to making a donation to Texas Children’s. The crew answered with a resounding yes and started pitching in.

Months later at the opening ceremony of the outpatient facility, Brock, with his entire crew in the background, presented almost $10,000 to Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace.

“I am so humbled and grateful for this donation, made by a tremendous group of people dedicated to the health of children and women,” Wallace said. “It speaks volumes about the impact Texas Children’s makes on our patients, their families and beyond.”

Inpatient Facility Grand Opening Gala and Ribbon Cutting

The inpatient facility at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands opened on April 11, 2017. On its very first day, there were 23 surgeries, 42 visits to the emergency center and two babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Those busy days continued, leading up to the official celebration of the hospital’s grand opening on the evening of Friday, April 28, when nearly 600 guests gathered for a gala event that was filled with emeralds and sapphires and diamonds — oh my!

Chaired by Johnna and Ryan Edone and Tracey and Sean O’Neal, the gala grossed almost $900,000 — including $373,000 raised at the event through an auction, raffle and donations.

The evening was filled with glitter-dusted surprises around every corner of the spectacular tent erected for the occasion. Following a three-course dinner provided by A Fare Extraordinaire, guests enthusiastically bid on once-in-a life-time auction items, the most popular being a Bahamas-bound super yacht! After the bidding frenzy ended, donors were treated to a performance by Grammy-nominated artist, Jewel, who delighted the crowd with songs and stories of her life.

In attendance were Board members Michael C. Linn and his wife Carol, as well as Joe Cleary, along with Texas Children’s leadership including Michelle Riley-Brown, executive vice president and president, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands; Dr. Charles Hankins, chief medical officer; Dr. Jeffrey Shilt, chief surgical officer; and Texas Children’s Hospital in-chiefs Dr. Mark W. Kline, Dr. Dean Andropolous, Dr. James Versalovic, and Dr. George S. Bisset. Also celebrating on Friday evening were, Kathy and George Bishop, Candice and Gerald Glenn, Judy and Glenn Smith, Pam and Gary Whitlock, Carol and Phil Garner, and newlyweds, Kristy and George Lindahl. The gala concluded with late-night snacks and dancing.

Flipping the tent overnight, the evening celebration venue was transformed for the official ribbon cutting ceremony the next day. Early Saturday morning, nearly 400 guests gathered to celebrate the new community hospital with remarks by Riley-Brown, Hankins and Shilt. They all painted a picture of what an impact Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands had made in just the three short weeks since it opened. An inspirational video featuring the new hospital’s milestones followed. To conclude the official opening, confetti flew as the new hospital’s leaders officially cut the commemorative ribbon.

Next up was a gathering of more than 1,500 members of Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands staff, volunteers and community members, who lined up for the inaugural Family Fun Run. Following pre-race stretching with Dr. Kristen Ernest, sports medicine physician, as well as the national anthem from the College Park High School Herald Trumpets, the runners were off with a sound of the horn. Along the one-mile course, runners were greeted by hoopla stations from the Oak Ridge High School Sparkle Cheer Team, the College Park High School Drum Line and Let them Drum. Upon crossing the finish line and receiving their medals, runners enjoyed the post-race Family Fun Zone, presented by H-E-B, which included bounce houses, face painting, arts and crafts, and much more.

Pediatric Tower Topping Out

Texas Medical Center Campus

On February 9, 2017, Texas Children’s and W.S. Bellows Construction celebrated the topping out of Texas Children’s new Pediatric Tower, recently named the Legacy Tower, in the Texas Medical Center at a ceremony led by Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace, Texas Children’s Board of Trustees Chair Ann Lents, and W.S. Bellows Construction President Laura Bellows.

Under a large tent across the street from the tower’s 400-foot-tall structure, nearly 700 guests cheered as a seven-foot-tall loblolly pine tree was hoisted to the top of the hospital’s new building, commemorating the successful completion of the building’s external structure.

During the topping out ceremony, Wallace recognized the phenomenal leadership of Texas Children’s Board of Trustees; project partners, FKP Architects and W.S. Bellows Construction; Texas Children’s executive leadership team; the Legacy Tower leadership team; Chase Fondren, whose daughter Ella had a successful liver transplant at Texas Children’s, and the generous donors who have contributed to the Promise Campaign.

Slated to be completed in 2018, the 25-floor Legacy Tower will house additional acute care cardiology beds and critical care beds dedicated specifically for surgery patients and for neurology patients, along with state-of-the-art operating rooms, including one with an intra-operative MRI.

Texas Children’s Heart Center will be completely relocated to the new Legacy Tower and will include a dedicated pediatric heart failure intensive care unit — the first of its kind anywhere.

The unit, which opened in 2015, is the result of innovative thinking from Dr. Paul Checchia, medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and services at Texas Children’s, and his devoted team.

“We were looking for inventive ways to expand the number of beds available for cardiac patients,” Dr. Checchia said. “We realized that we had six to ten patients at any given time who were in some stage of critical heart failure, whether from infection or congenital abnormality, or who were pre-transplant. And we also had patients who needed more specialized care post-transplant. So we realized that this cohort needed a unit purposefully designed for their unique needs that would deliver specific specialized physician care, nursing, physical therapy and nutrition care, along with the right kind of equipment resources.”

The results have been remarkable, with improvements in every marker of quality of care, including patient and staff satisfaction. Dr. Checchia also cited the recent proliferation of pediatric ventricular assist devices for children as a reason for the unit’s success.

“Over the past five years, there’s been a true sea change in the miniaturization of technology and what we can do for pediatric patients,” Dr. Checchia said. “Children who would not have survived seven or eight years ago now have these ventricular assist devices and are in the heart failure unit receiving cutting-edge care and getting better.”

Dr. Checchia and Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of Critical Care Medicine at Texas Children’s, oversee the unit. Drs. Antonio Cabrera and Jack Price, serve as associate medical directors. Already, the unit has earned a national reputation, with experts coming from other institutions across the country to see the unit in action.

Texas Children’s current expansion, supported by the Promise Campaign, is a reinvestment in the programs needed by the hospital’s most critically ill patients.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the building,” Ann Lents said. “It’s all about the patients and being sure that today, in five years and in 20 years, we can help the children who need the care and treatment that only Texas Children’s Hospital can give them.”