10:39 AM

New Year's Message for 2022


Rick W. Merrill, President and CEO of Cook Children's

Hello Cook Children’s! And Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you had an enjoyable and peaceful holiday season and found an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones.

Unfortunately, we begin the New Year with a message that has become all too familiar to you: Our COVID numbers are on the rise.

Who would have thought back in the early spring of 2020 that we would still be talking about COVID-19 today? But here we are.

I want to take this opportunity to tell you all that I get it. I know this has been a long, exhausting almost 23 months.

As we approach nearly two years in our fight against this pandemic, you are probably feeling stressed, burned out or just plain tired of it all. I hear you and I understand.

But despite this, you continue to be there for the patients and families we serve. You walk into your place of work and give it your all. You continue to provide the very best care you will find anywhere in the country.  You also find time to be there for each other. Please continue to look out for your teammates and take care of yourselves.

I encourage you to find those moments in the day to connect with one another. To hear from one another. Learn what someone is going through or just take a few minutes out of an extremely busy day to catch up with a coworker and find out how their family is doing. All of these suggestions seem like small gestures but they can mount up to something that means the world to someone.

Speaking on behalf of the entire leadership team, I offer you our most sincere thanks and appreciation for all you have done.

Now to tell us a little bit about where things stand from a Command Center perspective, let’s hear from our Chief Operating Officer, Stan Davis.

Stan Davis, Chief Operating Officer

 Thank you Rick. 

We have been sharing a lot of ever-changing, fast-moving information as this latest variant travels across the globe and seems to have found a home right here in North Texas.

Our numbers have gone through the roof and as I’m speaking, I know many of you are fighting COVID yourself or watching a loved one take on the virus.

For part of three years, we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 virus. We have watched you work tirelessly with little time off. We have watched as you have worked to overcome your own illness and cried for loved ones lost. 

COVID went from something vague to something very real in only a few short months and it just won’t leave us alone.

I know many of you listening to me right now are so tired. You don’t want to hear one more word about COVID. But please know this, now is not the time to let our guard down.

The truth is the virus is still relatively new and as our scientists and doctors gather new information, we change, evolve and pivot with the times. We never take these changes lightly.

We consult with state and national organizations to learn the latest data and most importantly, we talk to the smartest people I know:  our very own Infectious Diseases and Infection Control teams. Dr. Whitworth and Dr. Mazade have been with us throughout the pandemic, providing us with the latest information to keep us all safe.

So I know we have sent you many emails but it is one of the key ways we keep you informed. Please read your emails and make sure your teammates see the latest information.

The only way we can truly beat this thing is by working together. I want to call out a few specific points you probably read in a recent communication:

  • This variant is spreading very quickly and easily. We need everyone to go back to the basics. This means wearing a mask at all times, washing your hands often and keeping your distance from others
  • Let’s also avoid in person meetings whenever possible. Continue to Zoom and Skype.
  • If you have questions about what to do if you are exposed or have symptoms, please visit cookchildrensconnect.com or talk to your manager to learn what steps to take. 
  • For now, let's pause any work gatherings like birthday parties, baby showers and other celebrations. Host a virtual gathering instead.

As our numbers and the information changes, we will share the latest with you.  

I just hope you know how much we appreciate you and how honored we are to work alongside you during this very challenging time.

 We know that we can make it through this because of you.

I join Rick in saying thank you to every single one of you.

 Now I will turn things back over to Rick.

Mr. Merrill:

As we have mentioned, we understand these our challenging times. Please check in on one another and remember the resources that are  available to you. Please see the link below if you need someone to talk to or need help.

We just wanted to check in with you all and say thank you for keeping Our Promise to our community and to each other.

Please know, we believe in you and we will continue to take care of you.

As we build on the Cook Children’s Experience and do our best to see the world through your eyes, we will tackle 2022 in the best way we know how... together  - with our eyes always on Our Promise.  

Thank you

We Are Here To Help


Life presents us with challenges at work and at home on a daily basis. You do not have to face these challenges alone. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits are available to all employees and their families at NO COST to you. 

To access your EAP services and support visit uprisehealth.com/members. The Access Code: COOK or call 800-395-1616. 

Services for Employees & Families include:

  • Confidential Counseling: Face-to-face, video or telephonic counseling sessions for relationship and family issues, stress, anxiety, and other common challenges. 
  • 24-hour Crisis Help: Toll-free access for you or a family member experiencing a crisis.
  • Online Peer Support Groups: Online support groups for addiction recovery, anxiety, depression, frontline workers, grief and loss, parenting, and more. 
  • Tess, AI Chat-bot: 24/7 chatbot for emotional support and check-ins to boost wellness. 

More resources are available to you, click this link to learn more. You must be on the Cook Children's Network to read.

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