In honor of Heart Month
– A Letter from Dell Children’s President, Chris Born

Dell Children’s President, Christopher M. Born, MBA, CPA, reflects on the building and continued growth of The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”

– Nelson Mandela

This sentiment is realized daily within The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s. Their patients and families are the center of their world. The drive and determination for excellence by every member of the team, coupled with the commitment to the outcomes patients and families value most, has created unparalleled success for the growing team of professionals within our pediatric and congenital heart program.

Overlaid by a global pandemic, the team has accomplished the near impossible. From managing complex premature infants to adults with congenital heart disease, our interdisciplinary team of nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, operating room staff, child life specialists, physicians, social workers, psychologists, dieticians, chaplains, housekeeping services, supply chain experts, and more have gone above and beyond to ensure that our patients feel safe during these very uncertain times. This team has kept patients at the forefront and relentlessly pursued excellence in a time of chaos and uncertainty. The grit and tenacity as well as commitment and resolve that the team has shown for all of our patients has been nothing short of awe inspiring.

When Dr. Fraser arrived in Austin in 2018 he brought with him an unwavering commitment to build a pediatric heart program on a blank canvas in a new way, a better way. We knew that the brand of excellence he brings to his work and his leadership would transform the entire hospital. The recruitment of the incomparable Dr. Carlos Mery and almost 100 more mission-aligned clinicians secured the TCPCHD’s success in outcomes and its commitment to achieving a higher standard of care for patients’ entire lives. With 1 in 100 children born with congenital heart disease, the need in our region was undeniable. Before Dr. Fraser’s arrival in Austin, families had no choice but to seek care in other cities. The imperative existed to build a very different kind of heart program here in Austin to serve the people of this 47 county catchment area and beyond and that is exactly what has happened. Now, all families can remain here, at Dell Children’s for even the most complex heart care.
Excellence rises all tides, as evidenced by the growth of complex care at Dell Children’s in a very short amount of time. In less than (4) years, since the inception of TCPCHD, much has been accomplished, highlighted for me include the following achievements:

  • A dedicated Cardiac Critical Care Unit that is now expanding to meet the growing demand for care
  • A Special Delivery Unit at Dell Children’s was created so the most fragile infants in need of heart surgery no longer need to be transported from other hospitals, they can be born right here
  • Norwood operation success and other high acuity neonatal surgical procedures
  • Transparency in long term outcomes to ensure healthy lives long past surgery
  • A culture of relationship centered care that truly leaves no one behind
  • Improved access for all who seek excellent congenital and pediatric cardiac care
  • A world class heart transplant program
  • Mechanical circulatory support devices
  • ECPR 24/7 emergent ECMO initiation capabilities
  • Comprehensive adult congenital cardiac care
  • IMPACT program including Single Ventricle Home Monitoring Program
  • Cardiac Cath Lab – Piccolo devices and transcatheter valve replacement
  • Use of Sickbay technology
  • Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program
  • Health Transformation and Design Program
  • Robust Research Program pushing innovation continually for patients and families

It is vital that Dell Children’s along with our partners at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and the Value Institute at Dell Medical School continue, in unison, to resource and support The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease for the children in our region and beyond. A now international destination program for those seeking the very best care for their children, the TCPCHD approaches care not with 30 day outcomes in mind for their patients but rather by envisioning an 80 year journey map specifically designed for each patient, their particular diagnosis and a lifetime ahead of them to ensure.

This flagship program, with its determined leaders and truly unique individuals as its strength, serves as a model for all others to push themselves and their ideas forward to continually find improved ways of caring for children and their families. They are revolutionizing congenital heart disease for children and adults and prove daily that together, we can ensure access to world renowned, innovative care while providing the equity our children deserve in healthcare.

With gratitude and pride,

Christopher M. Born, MBA, CPA
President, Dell Children’s Medical Center