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Connect Newsletter (Sept. 13, 2023)


Connect Newsletter                                       
Sept. 13, 2023

Employee Resource Groups: Launch Parties in Prosper and Fort Worth

ERG sticker graphic EDIT

Join us to learn all about the new Employee Resource Groups created just for Cook Children’s employees. As we lead with inclusion, embrace togetherness and celebrate the unique gifs of all of you, we hope you’ll stop by to meet new friends and get to know the champions of our four ERGs: Black/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, LGBTQ+ and Veterans (existing group). This initiative is presented by the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Department.

This is just the beginning, and we have plans to develop more ERGs in the future! See you there! 

Cook Children's Medical Center-Prosper:
12-2 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 19 
Conference Rooms 1621/1622 near Registration 

Cook Children's Medical Center-Fort Worth 
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. AND 7-9 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 21 
Decker Boardroom near Hochberger Auditorium
(Please make your way to the bottom of the stairs and you’ll see the festivities.)

What Are Employee Resource Groups?

ERGs are voluntary employee-led volunteer engagement organizations for people who share many characteristics, and their allies. They support Cook Children's goals of inclusion, diversity, and equity in various essential areas such as recruitment, retention, professional development, and community outreach. You can sign up for one or more groups on ULearn by searching for “Employee Resource Groups.”

We invite you to learn more about ERGs here.

VIDEO: "Ensuring Everyone Feels Included and Heard"

Please take 3 minutes of your valuable time to watch this important video from Cook Children’s President and CEO Rick W. Merrill and Wini King, SVP, Chief of Communications, Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, to learn about our new Employee Resource Groups at Cook Children’s. We have also provided a transcript of the video for your convenience.


Enhancements to Our Bereavement Policy: Your Voices Drive Action

NewsPlease read this special message from Cook Children’s President and CEO Rick W. Merrill, who explains actions being taken as a direct result of feedback from our employees about benefits. Starting on Sept. 24, 2023, we're enhancing our bereavement policy by extending the leave from 24 working hours (as outlined in Policy No. HR120) to up to 40 hours. This change underscores our commitment to supporting you during challenging personal times while respecting your professional responsibilities.

Read Mr. Merrill's message here.


stock-photo-coronavirus-corona-virus-prevention-travel-surgical-masks-and-hand-sanitizer-gel-for-hand-hygiene-1663756195.jpgTips to Keep Everyone Safe During the Upcoming Flu and RSV Season

The flu, RSV, and other upper respiratory infections are common during the fall and winter months. These infections can cause a range of symptoms, from mild cold-like symptoms to more serious complications. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and our patients from these infections. We're sharing some suggestions to help keep you, and our patients, safe and well. 

Please read more here.


Know What to Do If You Are Exposed to COVID or Test Positive

COVD home test stock imagePeople in our community are still getting COVID-19, and it is important for our employees to know what to do if you test positive or are exposed to someone who has COVID. If you've tested positive, isolate immediatelyThis means staying home and avoiding contact with other people as much as possible. We've posted a helpful video from the Centers for Disease Control, along with additional information from the agency:

  • An Isolation and Exposure Calculator.
  • What to do about being exposed. 
  • What to do after being exposed. 
  • Continuing precautions. 
  • Getting tested.

What Is Miscrosoft TeamsGet Ready for Microsoft Teams 

Mark your calendars for Oct. 4, as we gear up to introduce Microsoft Teams to all of us at Cook Children’s. This big step is all about ushering in a more contemporary and collaborative working environment across our system. Read more about this powerful tool.


QPR Training — the 3 Simple Steps Anyone Can Learn to Help Save a Life From Suicide

Men's Mental WellnessIt's National Suicide Awareness Month and we at Cook Children’s are not immune to the devastation, pain, and uncertainty that accompanies our friends, family, and co-workers who experience suicidal thoughts or die by suicide.

Simple, real conversations that create space for an individual to express suicidal thoughts can be the difference between life and death. Cook Children's is offering an evidence-based suicide prevention training that teaches staff how to engage, interpret, and respond to peers experiencing suicidal ideations. It's called Question, Persuade, Refer Training, or QPR for short. QPR training is being introduced first to employees at Cook Children's Medical Center-Fort Worth this fall and will expand to additional locations starting next year. 

Learn more here.

Sign up for the training through ULearn here.


¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!

hispanic heritage monthWe'll be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in coming weeks with articles, resources, historical facts and videos. Each year, the U.S. observes National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of people who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Learn about Cultural Norms on the Raising Joy Podcast 

This week's episode of Raising Joy features a discussion about Mental Health and Cultural Norms with Jessica Gomez, Psy.D., the executive director of Momentous Institute, a nonprofit that offers mental health services and operates an elementary school. As a first-generation Mexican American, she knows firsthand the challenges of growing up in a culture that doesn't prioritize mental health. 

Dr. Gomez shares her personal story and discusses how her experiences have shaped her work. She also talks about the importance of culturally sensitive approaches to mental health care and how we can break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness. 


Experience the Magic of the Comfort Menu When You Get Your Flu Shot

OccHealth Flu Vaccine Flyer PhotoWe know. Nobody enjoys getting shots. But we know that the “poke to protect” is imperative to keep ourselves, our families and our patients safer from illnesses such as COVID and flu. That’s why Cook Children’s has a Comfort Menu that caregivers use for pain management with our patients. It includes tools such as cold spray, Buzzy (a device that uses cold and vibration to block pain) and the ShotBlocker distraction device. 

So this flu season, we’re inviting employees to experience the Comfort Menu for themselves when they get their flu shot. That way they will be able to share with patients and families how helpful these items can be in reducing pain and fear around vaccines. 

Comfort Menu items will be available for you to try at several of the onsite employee flu vaccine fairs and leaders can pick up a can of cold spray to use for department-specific events. Find more information, and a downloadable flier on the Connect Newsroom.

Flu Vaccines Available for Inpatients

Phillip Scott, M.D. Pediatric Hospitalist, compiled data from the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network that shows the urgency of immunizing our patients against influenza this season. Influenza immunizations are now available for inpatients.

“Please prioritize talking to your patients and families about influenza immunization.  Your recommendation makes all the difference," wrote Dr. Scott.


Chuck E. Cheese “Funraiser" on Sept. 14 & 15

Chuck E. Chees funraiserWe're teaming up with Chuck E. Cheese this week for a fundraiser benefiting Cook Children's. 

How it works: 

On Sept.14 and 15, 20% of all sales from Chuck E. Cheese locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area will be donated to Cook Children's. You must mention Cook Children's when ordering. This applies to both delivery and carryout orders. Click here for a flyer that includes 10 free play points, a food coupon, and more.  

Thank you for your support!


Play Games, Win Prizes, and Learn How to Save Lives on World Sepsis Day


Join us for a celebration of World Sepsis Day on Sept. 13 to learn how to protect patients from life-threatening infections. 

Sepsis is the body's overwhelming response to an infection. We are making huge strides in our sepsis reduction goals. Learn about Cook Children’s outstanding sepsis work and complete a word search puzzle and crossword puzzle – both with a sepsis twist. Email your completed word search puzzle to zeroharm@cookchildrens.org by Sept. 20 to be entered into a drawing for a prize.


Emergency KitTake Action for National Preparedness Month: Be Safe, Be Ready

It is important to build an Emergency Supply Kit that is ready to go at all times. The last thing you want to worry about is having to pack during a disaster. Pack your supplies in a duffle bag, suitcase, or storage container and keep it in a place that is easy to access. Make sure that all household members are aware of where your Emergency Kit is stored. 

In addition, pack an emergency kit in preparation for emergencies that may occur at work. It should include an extra phone charger, a list of emergency phone numbers, toiletries, etc. Click on the link for a list on what should be included in your kit.



Patricia GavidiaWho Won the Sweet Treat Raffles? Find Out Here

Congratulations to all Beat the Heat Sweet Treat raffle winners. Thank you to everyone who participated in getting creative and decorating your own ice cream cone or wearing “sprinkle” polka dots on the day of your sweet treat event. It is the enthusiasm of our staff that creates magical moments across Cook Children’s. The following winners will receive a digital $5 Starbucks gift card sent to their Cook Children’s email from Amy.Smith@cookchildrens.org

View photos here.

Create Your Own Cone raffle winners:
Carol Winchester, Respiratory Therapist, Prosper Medical Center 
Tajgae Ferguson, Program Specialist I, Autism Services 
Brandon Krausse, Director IT Service Management, Information Services Administration 
Celeste Viramontes, Program Specialist I, Autism Services 
Daniela Andrade Miranda, Rehab Tech, Rehab-South Ft. Worth 

Wear Your Sprinkles raffle winners:

Sherica Shanklin, Patient Service Coordinator I, Home Health Administration 
Blanca Wiseman, Social Worker, Pediatric Urology 
Debbie Brimer, Senior Physician Recruiter, Physical Network Administration 
Patricia Gavidia, Supervisor of Revenue Cycle, CBO/PT Financial Services 
Rachel Salazar, Patient Service Coordinator Manager, Home Health Administration 


new ecardMake Someone's Day: New eCards are Available 

Celebrate or give thanks to your colleagues by sending an eCard. Cook Children's eCards are a great way to show your gratitude and appreciation to fellow employees. You can send a personalized message directly to their email inbox. They are available on CookNet. New eCards have been added to the “Congratulations/Great Job” and “Thank You/You’re the Best” categories. It just takes a minute to make someone’s day by sending them an eCard! 

Here are some examples of occasions to send an eCard: 

A manager can send an e-card to congratulate an employee on a job well done. 
Send an e-card to celebrate a colleague's birthday. 
Send an e-card to welcome a new employee. 

No matter how they are used, e-cards are a thoughtful and meaningful way to connect with employees. Click here to send an eCard


Webinar: Learn the Basics of Investing 

What’s your ideal approach to investment? Do you understand “asset allocation” and “diversification” of your portfolio? As a benefit to Cook Children’s employees, the financial experts from Fidelity will present a webinar on Sept. 19 to help you understand these concepts and get started.

 Click here to register for the Tuesday, Sept. 19 webinar: Take the First Step to Investing (45 minutes). Select “virtual event” and then select either the 9 a.m. or 3 p.m. session. 

You’ll earn 100 Virgin Pulse Points for attending the webinar. Points will automatically be awarded after the webinar. Please allow 7-10 business days for points. Points may be cashed in for gift cards through our wellness program. 


Retirement Announcement for Tammy Kemp, Health Plan South Hills

Tammy Kemp V2Tamera “Tammy” Kemp, Utilization Management/Episodic Case Manager-RN Reviewer, is retiring from the system on Sept. 21 after 33 years of service to Cook Children’s. Everyone is invited to join us from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sept. 27, in the Hochberger Pre-Function at Cook Children’s Medical Center-Fort Worth, as we wish Tammy well in her new adventure. We encourage you to take a moment to send Tammy a farewell note or a congratulatory eCard by Sept. 20. 

Here’s what Deborah Tallant, Utilization Management RN Supervisor, had to say about Tammy: 

“Tammy joined Cook Children’s as a 24-year-old Licensed Practical Nurse. She even worked on a Cook Children’s medical unit that discharged its first neonate home with a tracheostomy and vent. Tammy’s sweet nature and serving heart has blessed many areas at our organization, including the medical floor, special care unit (Transitional Care Unit/Rehabilitation), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, infectious disease clinic, endocrinology clinic, gastroenterology lab, inpatient case management, and Cook Children’s Health Plan Utilization Management. During her retirement, Tammy plans to enjoy spending time with her family. Tammy was recently promoted to “MiMi” and is planning her next adventures as a new grandmother. We are extremely happy for her and her family. Her dedication to her career and always keeping the Cook Children’s Promise to the children of the health care system has made such a huge impact on us all.”