Anaheim Ducks Dedicate New Wing at CHOC

I had the huge honor of hosting the Anaheim Ducks – including my pal Wild Wing – here at CHOC for the dedication of the new Anaheim Ducks wing on the hospital’s oncology floor.  The wing includes a playroom/school room, teen room with a flat screen TV and electronic games, staff lounge,  family room and storage space.  It has the coolest graphics on the walls – they make you feel like you are right there on the ice with the players.  The teen room is great for our teen and adolesecent patients, encouraging them to hang out with each other.  As part of the CHOC Children’s Cancer Institute’s Adolescent and Young Adult Program, the hospital wanted to create an environment that would help make teen cancer patients still feel like teens.  Allowing these patients to hang out with each other versus with younger patients or with adults at adult facilities is much better for them psychologically, too.

Here I am pictured with Wild Wing and Dr. Sender, the medical director of the CHOC Children’s Cancer Institute.

OC Leaders Take the Stage for CHOC Children’s

I have been known to showcase some smooth dance skills every now and again – not easy for a bear my size.  There’s nothing like dancing, especially when combined with singing, to cheer one’s soul.  That’s why I am counting the days until CHOC Follies XII: The Princess and the Prius, featuring more than 100 of Orange County’s society, business and civic leaders singing and dancing to raise funds for CHOC Children’s.  This hysterical musical production will hit the Robert B. Moore Theater at Orange Coast College on April 2 at 8 p.m., April 3 at 8 p.m., and April 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.  More information, including ticket prices and sponsorship opportunities, can be found at www.chocfollies.org.

Time for Pancakes!

Get out the syrup – it’s time for National Pancake Day at IHOP restaurants.  On February 24th, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., participating IHOPs will give away free short stacks of their yummy buttermilk pancakes in exchange for donations to Children’s Miracle Network, of which CHOC Children’s is a member.  Last year’s Pancake Day celebration yielded 1.5 million free pancakes and more than $875,000 for children’s charities, like CHOC Children’s.  To see a list of participating Orange County locations, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com.  Come on OC – let’s see how much support we can “stack up” for the kids at CHOC.

Two of CHOC Children’s Nurses Recognized by Association of California Nurse Leaders

I have a confession to make – I love the nurses at CHOC Children’s, and here’s one more reason why:  two of our nursing leaders were recently recognized by the Association of California Nurse Leaders.  Julie Vaupel-Phillips was honored for best practices in recruitment, retention and outreach and Jan Kidwell was recognized for best practice in innovation.  These two nurse leaders are shining examples of the nursing profession and CHOC Children’s is lucky to have them!

CHOC Cherishes Children Gala

I had such a great time at the inaugural CHOC Cherishes Children Gala – a fundraiser for CHOC Children’s.  It was wonderful to see so many supporters (close to 300!)  I was a little star-struck by guest of honor Manny Guevara, known to his fans as Manny on the Streets on 102.7 KIIS-FM.  Manny is such a cool guy and a regular visitor to the hospital.  He accepted the first-ever Children’s Champion Award on behalf of KIIS-FM.  As you probably know, KIIS-FM has been a long-time supporter of the hospital and played a key role in helping bring Radio Lollipop to CHOC.  We are so thankful for their friendship.  We are also so thankful for the support we received by everyone at the gala.  An auction that evening helped to increase net proceeds to $335,000 for the night!  For those of you who missed the event, stay tuned for details on next year’s gala – or you can find ways to support the hospital on our website www.choc.org.

California Recognizes CHOC Children’s

Another BIG honor for CHOC Children’s – we were recently recognized with a Silver Level CAPE Award from the California Council for Excellence.  CHOC Children’s is the only children’s hospital in the state to ever earn this distinction.  What a honor!

The CAPE Award is the highest recognition in the state for performance excellence and honors organizations that demonstrate continuous improvement and superior performance in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement/knowledge management, human resources, process management and business results.

This recognition is a reflection of CHOC’s clinical excellence and of the hospital’s organizational-wide commitment to the highest standards of patient safety and quality of care.  Our patients deserve nothing less, right??

Dr. Goodman is my Hero

By Choco Bear

The other day I witnessed my dear friend Dr. Gary Goodman hard at work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on our Mission Viejo campus (CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital), where he is the Medical Director of the PICU.  His team takes care of the most critically ill and injured kids – an incredible responsibility.  Seeing Dr. Goodman in action, delivering high-quality, family-centered care reminded me of his recent honor of being named a 2008 Hospital Hero by the Hospital Association of Southern California.

In addition to his work inside the hospital, Dr. Goodman lends his expertise, time and voice to education and prevention efforts in Orange County and beyond.  He contributed to the development of CHOC’s drowning prevention video “Three Tragic Seconds – Time to Make a Difference” and was a speaker at the 2008 National Drowning Prevention Symposium.  In the area of traumatic brain injury, Dr. Goodman is the only pediatric representative on a multidisciplinary team that developed a comprehensive traumatic brain injury protocol, which has dramatically reduced morbidity and mortality from traumatic brain injury in children.  On a national level, he is the only pediatric subspecialist participating in the Adam Williams Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, which trains hospitals all over the country to improve treatment for traumatic brain injuries.

Now you can see why he is a 2008 Hospital Hero.  (He’s always been one of mine.)

Autism Event Offers Latest Information for OC Families

Did you know that autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability that affects 1 in 150 births. The condition is caused by a neurological disorder that affects brain function – impacting the normal development of the brain that controls social interaction and communication skills. CHOC and UCI Medical Center are leaders in the diagnosis and management of autism through a collaborative, state-funded program known as “For OC Kids.” The program allows experts from both CHOC and UCI Medical Center to take an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to children with autism, offering patients access to the latest alternatives.  

CHOC and UCI, joined by the Grandparent Autism Network, are combining forces to bring an autism event “Today’s Autism Research”  Tomorrow’s Promising Outcomes” to Orange County on Saturday, January 31st, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Mariner’s Church in Irvine.  The event will feature the latest research information and some of the top autism experts. 

For more information or to register, visit www.choc.org.

Healthy Eating Habits for the New Year

I am the first to admit I indulge in sweet honey every now and again, but I am determined to eat better in the New Year and encourage parents to teach their kids about healthy eating habits.  Here are some simple tips, provided to me by one of our pediatricians, to get you started:

  • A child’s food portion is much smaller than that of an adult.  One kid serving should be about the size of your child’s fist.
  • Keep an eye on portion sizes for pretzels, popcorn and crackers, since the salt in these snacks can stimulate the appetite.
  • Instead of granola or energy bars, give your kids fruit slices, vegetables or string cheese.
  • When your children insist on cookies, chips or candy, give them the 100-calorie packs of their favorite snacks.
  • When it comes to soda, it’s best to “can” the stuff.  Did you know that one 12-ounce soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories, far exceeding your child’s recommended daily limit.  You can’t go wrong with milk or water.

I sure hope these simple tips will help get you and your family off to a healthier 2009!

CHOC Becomes First in the World to Use RIVA

Here’s another exciting first for CHOC and just one more example of the hospital’s commitment to patient safety and excellence:  We recently became the first in the world to prepare patient doses using RIVA (robotic intravenous automation), a self-contained robotic unit for filling IV syringes and bags.  This is one cool robot that helps reduce medication errors and allows our very talented pharmacists to spend even more time in clinical practice — also benefiting our young patients!  Check out the photo of me with RIVA!

The official blog of CHOC Children's