THOT member hospitals are among the most innovative in the country. Please see below for a sampling of some of the recognition that our members have received.

Harris Health System

  • Ben Taub Hospital Re-verified as Level 1 Trauma Center. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has re-verified the Level 1 Trauma Center designation for Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. The designation is good for three years. Earlier last year, Harris Health was directed by the ACS, the governing body of trauma centers nationwide, to address a shortage of operating rooms (OR) and surgeon staffing issues. Surveyors returned to the hospital in November to learn the health system has moved forward with a viable 2-3 year plan to address the needed OR expansion and also had increased surgical staffing.
  • Ben Taub Hospital Surgical Unit Garners National Award for Patient Care. Known for its life-saving care, the surgical intermediate care unit at Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital now has the distinction of being one of two intermediate units in Houston, and one of three in Texas, to receive the Beacon Award (Silver Level) for Excellence in patient care by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The Beacon award is a three-year recognition for the hospital. Of approximately 30,000 patient-care units in 5,700 hospitals in the United States, only 329 units are currently recognized and only 45 intermediate care units are designated nationwide. The surgical intermediate care unit is a 34-bed unit that provides care and close monitoring of adult patients for a variety of ailments including general surgery, neurosurgery, thoracic surgery and surgical subspecialties, such as orthopedics and urology.
  • LBJ Hospital Designated as Texas 10 Step Program.       Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital has taken a giant step toward improving the health of newborns and infants by earning the Texas 10 Step Program facility designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas 10 Step facilities are asked to address 85 percent of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, to be designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, evaluate their breastfeeding policies, maternity care practices and educate all healthcare staff routinely with evidence-based courses. Additionally, LBJ Hospital is participating in the Star Achiever Learning Collaborative with 20 other birthing facilities from the central/eastern regions of the state. Engaged hospitals are using quality improvement models to further address the Texas 10 Steps while increasing the support they offer mothers throughout their birthing experience.
  • Special Delivery Kicks Off 50th Anniversary for Harris Health. A special delivery was made Jan. 1, 2016 (New Year’s Day) at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, a date that also kicked off a yearlong celebration for Harris Health System. On that date, the Harris County safety-net healthcare provider turned 50 years old. It began operations Jan. 1, 1966. Newborn Michael Dorsey was born at 12:33 a.m. becoming the first birth in 2016 at Harris Health. To recognize the occasion, four Harris Health employees born in 1966 at Jefferson Davis Hospital, part of the system at the time, presented the family several gifts including a glass engraved commemorative plaque and a car seat. Harris Health became the official business name of Harris County Hospital District in 2012. In 1966, the hospital district began with two facilities—Jefferson Davis and Ben Taub hospitals. Today, Harris Health operates 47 facilities including three hospitals—Lyndon B. Johnson, Ben Taub and Quentin Mease—several community health centers, specialty facilities, same-day clinics, school-based clinics, homeless shelter clinics and mobile health units.
  • Ben Taub Hospital Earns Coveted International Baby-Friendly Designation. Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital has earned the coveted international recognition of Baby-Friendly Hospital, joining a select number of such facilities in Houston and Texas. The designation means the hospital meets or exceeds rigorous guidelines that promote high levels of newborn breastfeeding and mother-baby bonding. Becoming a Baby-Friendly Hospital is a comprehensive process based on meeting multiple evidence-based measures aimed at improving infant and maternal care. The prestigious recognition is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the program. The Baby-Friendly designation is based on scientific evidence that points to breastmilk and breastfeeding lowering risks for certain diseases and improving health outcomes for both mothers and babies. With the correct information and the right supports in place, under normal circumstances, most women who choose to breastfeed at Ben Taub can successfully achieve their goal. To achieve Baby-Friendly, staff from nursing and clinical services collaborated in the process for more than two and half years.
  • New CNO Named for Harris Health’s Ambulatory Care Services.       Donna McKee has been named the new chief nursing officer (CNO) for Harris Health System’s Ambulatory Care Services, the primary and outpatient care arms of the safety-net healthcare system. Today, the system’s network of outpatient care in health centers, school-based clinics, homeless shelters, specialty facilities and hospitals, accounts for nearly 1.9 million patient visits annually. McKee, MHA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, had been interim CNO since July. She has more than 27 years of experience, first beginning her career at Harris Health as a licensed vocational nurse in the obstetric observation unit at Jefferson Davis Hospital. She helped in the transition of opening Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, the new Harris Health facility that opened in 1989 to replace Jeff Davis Hospital.





Parkland Health & Hospital System

  • The Leapfrog Group has named Parkland Memorial Hospital to its annual list of Top Hospitals. This coveted and respected recognition showcases Parkland’s commitment to Leapfrog’s vision of providing the safest, highest quality healthcare for consumers and purchasers alike. Parkland was one of only 98 Top Hospitals recognized in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey.
  • Debbie Branson, Former Board Chair of Parkland Health & Hospital System will receive the 87th Linz Award in April for her leadership of the hospital’s transformation. The Linz Award is given annually to a Dallas County resident in honor of civic service or humanitarian efforts. Created in 1924, the award is considered Dallas’ oldest and most prestigious civic honor.
  • New Parkland Hospital named Outstanding Medical Real Estate Project in D CEO’s 2015 Excellence in Healthcare awards. This year’s Excellence in Healthcare program honors 15 finalists and winners in 10 categories, selected by the editors from more than 100 nominations.
  • New Parkland Memorial Hospital receives ‘Best Hospital’ HREI Insights Award™. The new Parkland Memorial Hospital was named the winner of the 2015 “Best Hospital” HREI Insights Award™ by Healthcare Real Estate Insights magazine. Now in their third year, the HREI Insights Awards were established to recognize excellence in healthcare real estate and are the only awards dedicated solely to the healthcare real estate sector. The judges felt the persistence of the development team and the many obstacles that were successfully overcome make Parkland a particularly worthy example of excellence in healthcare real estate development and a clear winner in the Best Hospital category.
  • Parkland’s Corporate Communications media relations team received the Award of Honor for media relations for non-profit and/or government organizations at the 2015 Pegasus Awards, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America Dallas Chapter. From July 2015 to August 2015, the “Meet the New Parkland” media campaign followed a tightly-executed schedule of press releases, pitches, grand opening events, media tours, exclusives and coverage of the opening of the new Parkland Memorial Hospital. The campaign resulted in more than 500 articles in print, broadcast and online, 60 million impressions and valuation of more than $5 million of free publicity for Parkland.
  • General Counsel Paul Leslie received the 2015 Magna Stella Award from the General Counsel Forum in the Government/Non-Profit category. The awards recognize in-house excellence in leadership and management.


Seton Healthcare Family

  • The Seton Fund has received a $100,000 donation from Wells Fargo to help fund construction of Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. The check presentation was part of a “topping out” celebration for Seton’s new teaching hospital that will open in spring 2017. The donation will be matched through a challenge grant provided by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
  • Based on fast response times and other important compliance requirements, Seton Medical Center Hays has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Quality Award. The award usually reserved for large, urban hospitals was achieved through telemedicine diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dr. Kristi Henderson, a nationally recognized leader in virtual care, joins Seton Healthcare Family as the vice president of Virtual Care and Innovation. Henderson will develop ways to use technology to improve the health of Central Texans and increase access to high-quality, affordable medical care.
  • The Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities recently recognized Dell Children’s research scientist, Sarah Duzinski, at its annual J.C. Montgomery Child Safety Awards, for her research on abusive head trauma in infants.
  • A ringless needle holder, invented and designed for more efficient suturing during surgeries, is the first medical device of its kind developed and licensed by Seton Healthcare Family. It soon will be made available to surgeons across the U.S.

University Health System

  • Becker’s Hospital Review cited University Health System as one of five U.S. hospitals and health systems with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions based on recent reports from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Moody’s Investors Services and Fitch Ratings.  The article reported that “San Antonio-based University Health System has an AAA rating and stable outlook with Fitch. The health system has a sound financial profile and operates in an area with a stable economy.”
  • For the 5th year in a row, University Health System’s Robert B. Green Campus was a winner in the Mayor’s Light Up Downtown holiday light contest.  For the 2015 holiday season, the Robert B. Green received the CPS Green Energy award for the “greenest” holiday display.
  • University Health System’s Detention Health Services received word that it has once again received accreditation by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.  This the 23rd year for the health system’s detention health program to have continued accreditation from NCCHC. NCCHC standards provide the framework for effectively managing the delivery of high quality medical and mental health care in correctional systems.
  • University Children’s Health has been approved for membership in the Children’s Hospital Association.  Dedicated to the advancement of children’s health, CHA is a prestigious national organization comprised of institutions that care for acute and complex pediatric patients.
  • University Health System’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Center is the first site in the nation to offer patients the opportunity to be part of a clinical study evaluating a promising new immunotherapy for children and young adults who do not respond to traditional therapy. The study drug, Atezolizumab, uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. The new trial will look at how pediatric tumors react to the new medication.
  • University Health System’s Sky Tower Project has been nominated for an Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) 2016 Air Quality Stewardship Award.  Each year, AACOG recognizes businesses, schools, governmental agencies, and other organizations that are making outstanding, voluntary efforts to help reduce air pollution in the region, whether through energy-saving or sustainable business practices, employee commute assistance, fleet management, educational programs, landscaping, or industrial process modification. The award winners will be announced in March.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Catching and treating a deadly cancer using a blood test. Researchers at MD Anderson have found that pancreatic cancer tumors essentially spill their molecular secrets when they shed their complete DNA and RNA — wrapped inside protective lipid particles — into the bloodstream. This makes the tumors ripe for analysis with a liquid biopsy, according to a recent online report in the Annals of Oncology. The scientists conducted whole genome, whole exome and gene expression analysis of tumors in three patients using DNA and RNA found inside exosomes circulating in their blood or other liquid biospecimens. The proof of principle study opens the door to validation studies in multiple tumor types of a liquid biopsy that could be used to determine prognosis, guide targeted therapy and monitor treatment.
  • Cancer centers address HPV’s public health threat. In response to low national vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV), MD Anderson Cancer Center has joined with the 68 other National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers in issuing a statement calling for increased HPV vaccination for the prevention of cancer. These institutions collectively recognize insufficient vaccination as a public health threat and call upon the nation’s health care providers, parents and young adults to take advantage of this rare opportunity to prevent many types of cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infections are responsible for approximately 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the U.S. Several vaccines are available that can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers.

“MD Anderson has made a commitment to ending HPV-related cancers with the recently unveiled HPV-related Cancers Moon Shot,” says Lois Ramondetta, M.D., professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and co-leader of the moon shot. “One of our goals is to inspire policy and education to increase HPV adolescent vaccination rates to 80 percent to prevent several cancers.”

  • ‘Father of Tamoxifen’ receives Sir James Black Award.       V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., a breast cancer research pioneer known for his development of the therapeutic drug tamoxifen, was been named a recipient of the Sir James Black Award from the British Pharmacological Society. The award recognizes scientists for discoveries of important principles for drug treatment. Jordan is a professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The award is named for Sir James W. Black, a Nobel-prize winning scientist known for his discovery of the beta-blocker propranolol and the H2 blocker cimetidine, which contributed significantly in the treatment of angina and stomach ulcers.
  • Two MD Anderson faculty members named AAAS Fellows. Distinguished contributions to understanding p53 tumor suppression in stem cells and breakthrough advances in treating breast cancer have earned two scientists at MD Anderson Cancer Center membership in a notable association of scholars. Michelle C. Barton, Ph.D., dean, of The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (GSBS) and professor of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, and Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., professor and of Breast Medical Oncology, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS Fellows are elected by members of the 141-year-old organization. With the induction of Barton and Hortobagyi, MD Anderson’s faculty includes 33 AAAS Fellows.
  • Study links high sugar intake to increased breast cancer risk. High amounts of dietary sugar increased the risk that mice would develop breast cancer, and that it would spread to their lungs, MD Anderson researchers found in a recent study published in the journal Cancer Research. Peiying Yang, Ph.D., the study’s co-author, said previous studies identified a link between dietary sugar and breast cancer, possibly as a result of inflammation. However, the studies didn’t demonstrate the biological reasons behind the sugar-breast cancer connection, said Yang, assistant professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative medicine at MD Anderson.

The researchers found that sugar intake affected an enzyme-signaling pathway, which in turn boosted levels of a type of fatty acid. They believe these processes could promote breast cancer tumor growth, but further research will be needed to see if what occurred in mice will transfer to people.  This study is particularly important, the researchers note, given that more than 100 pounds of sugar are consumed annually in the U.S. That translates to 30 teaspoons of sugar a day per person.

  • Alliance formed to cure glioblastoma with personalized medicine. A new-generation clinical trial for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) — the deadliest form of brain cancer — will begin enrolling patients by mid-year 2016. The trial is designed to identify effective treatments faster for this aggressive form of brain cancer which kills half of all patients diagnosed within one year. Five years after diagnosis, the survival rate is less than 2 percent. The international trial is adaptive, meaning researchers will modify the trial as it proceeds based on how each patient responds to the many single drugs and drug combinations that will be tested. GBM AGILE (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment), as the trial is named,  “will employ advanced statistical tools to ensure than better treatments can be assigned to more patients and  ineffective treatments can be eliminated from the trial,” said Donald Berry, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at MD Anderson and the trial’s co-principal investigator.

University of Texas Medical Branch

  • David Marshall, chief nursing and patient care services officer for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston health system recently received an Excellence in Nursing Award from Modern Healthcare magazine. Marshall was recognized for his achievements as a senior-level nursing executive, and was one of only three award recipients from more than 150 nominations nationally the magazine received. The awards were given to recognize the diverse and critical roles that nursing clinicians, managers and executives play in delivering high quality, compassionate care.
  • The Sealy & Smith Foundation has awarded $3.87 million in funding to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to establish a comprehensive eye and ear center.  The grant will allow UTMB to consolidate services at the current eye center at 700 University Blvd. in Galveston. “We are grateful and so thankful to The Sealy & Smith Foundation for this gift, which allows UTMB to consolidate top-tier health care services and improve access for our patients and their families,” said Dr. David L. Callender, president of UTMB. “This generous contribution will enable us to expand collaboration in these two specialties, and it demonstrates the Foundation’s commitment to UTMB and to the health of Galveston.”
  • The Sealy & Smith Foundation recently contributed $1 million to The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to establish an endowed chair in honor of Dr. Courtney M. Townsend Jr.  Townsend, who earned his medical degree and completed his internship and residency in surgery at UTMB, recently was named the president-elect of the American College of Surgeons at its recent 2015 clinical conference in Chicago. He served as UTMB’s Chair of Surgery from 1995 to 2014.

“The Sealy & Smith Foundation is so pleased to establish this distinguished chair in honor of an exemplary UTMB alumnus, teacher, scientist and surgeon,” said John Kelso, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “Dr. Townsend already has such a strong legacy of service, as seen in the patients who have benefitted from his skill and his research and in the students and residents who have benefitted from his mentorship. This endowment will ensure continued excellence in his name for generations to come.”

Dr. David L. Callender, president of UTMB, said, “This new distinguished chair is a most fitting tribute to Dr. Townsend, who brings the UTMB mission to life with his long service to health sciences education, discovery and compassionate care. We are grateful to The Sealy & Smith Foundation for this generous gift to the future of health care.”

  • UTMB dedicated the new Jennie Sealy Hospital on February 26, 2016.

UT Health Northeast

  • The School of Community and Rural Health at UT Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health Northeast) – The UT Board of Regents approved this school on February 11, 2016. This will allow UT Health Northeast to develop a Master of Public Health Program with a particular focus on the unique challenges that face the rural and underserved populations in Texas. UT Health Northeast will be the only institution in Texas to offer a generalized MPH program that specializes in rural community health and the unique needs of rural Texans and other vulnerable populations with similar challenges.
  • SACSCOC Accreditation – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) granted UT Health Northeast accreditation on December 8, 2015.  SACSCOC is the organization that accredits colleges and universities much like The Joint Commission accredits hospitals. It took 10 years and the efforts of a multitude of people at UT Health Northeast to reach this crowning achievement. We are delighted that we are the first campus in the 120-year history of SACSCOC not required to make any changes following both our candidacy and accreditation site visits.
  • Two New Residency Programs – The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) conducted site visits at UT Health Northeast on January 27, 2016, and January 28, 2016, in preparation for two new proposed residency programs in psychiatry and a family medicine rural track (which will be located in Sulphur Springs in cooperation with Hopkins County Memori­al Hospital).       The Family Medicine – Rural Track residency would be a three-year program in cooperation with Hopkins County Memorial Hospital in Sulphur Springs. The Psychiatry residency would be a four-year program. Both programs could have resi­dents on campus in July of next year. We anticipate a favorable review from ACGME for both of these residency programs.
  • Panel Discussion on Mental Health Care Issues – On Thursday, February 17, 2016, Dr. Kirk Calhoun participated in a panel discussion on mental health care issues at the 2016 GME-Macy Foundation Summit in Houston. Dr. Calhoun’s presentation focused on “Mental Health and a Rural Academic Medical Center.”

Background on this summit:  The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center joined with the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in convening medical leaders, health professions educators and residents/fellows to showcase innovations and share promising models related to the structure, content, and financing of graduate medical education programs in the Southwest region.  This meeting is part of the Macy Regional Conferences on Innovation in GME, a six-region conference series to illuminate innovations in physician training across the country. The Summit at MD Anderson is on “Developing an Innovative Blueprint to Address Training and Retention of Rural Practitioners, Mental Health Issues, and Interprofessional Education.”


UT Southwestern Medical Center

  • Within the first year of opening the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital at UT Southwestern Medical Center, the new facility was identified as a Top Performer by The Joint Commission.  The accreditation recognizes hospitals that achieve a 96 percent or above on numerous safety and quality accountability measures.
  • A team of UT Southwestern scientists at the newly established Wellstone Center, one of six Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers in the country, recently published a study in Science where they used a gene-editing technique that permanently corrects the Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) mutation that causes the disease in young mice.  The team is now working to apply this gene-editing technique to cells from DMD patients and in larger preclinical animal models.  The Wellstone Center is affiliated with the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair has launched one of the nation’s first concussion registries for student athletes and others aimed at improving treatment for this common sports injury.  CON-TEX, the registry, will capture comprehensive, longitudinal data on individuals age five and over who have suffered from sports-related concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury.  Dr. Munro Cullum, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern, is Principal Investigator for CON-TEX and notes “We will study the natural history of concussions, obtain information about how and where they take place, and then conduct rigorous clinical research designed to improve the treatment of this common injury”.  CON-TEX is a collaboration across specialties and institutions, and aims to enroll 300 to 500 participants in the first year.