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Our Workforce Chaplains: Rev. Aquanetta Hicks, Dr. Sarah Tuba Alpat, Rev. Dr. Cletus Aakol
Our Workforce Chaplains: Rev. Aquanetta Hicks, Dr. Sarah Tuba Alpat, Rev. Dr. Cletus Aakol
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Texas Children’s Hospital

Nurturing Our Team Members’ Well-Being Starts with Mental Health

“Texas Children’s is committed to the well-being of our workforce. We don’t just say that, we live that,” says Assistant Director of Wellness Allison Bell, whose team of counselors, coordinators and chaplains are committed to nurturing our team members’ mental, spiritual and physical well-being every day at Texas Children’s.

Putting mental health first

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40% of American adults have struggled with their mental health.

“Our people are our most valuable asset,” says Assistant Clinical Director of Acute Care Marco Costilla. “We have to put their mental health first so they can be successful.”

In response, the Texas Children’s Workforce Well-Being team has significantly expanded to support our workforce.

Onsite and virtual Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselors come from different backgrounds like social work or military counseling and, above all, understand the challenges of a hospital environment. Whether it be on call or physically making the rounds, the team is determined to meet the very specific needs of Texas Children’s team members.

“It’s reassuring that as a leader I can provide my team with resources for support,” says Holly Gregerson, Assistant Clinical Director of Nursing at Texas Children’s The Woodlands. “It gives me peace of mind that I am protecting my people and taking care of them.”

“Texas Children’s is committed to the well-being of our workforce. We don’t just say that, we live that.”

Providing support where it’s needed most

Spiritual health is a well-established area of support from the Workforce Well-Being Team. Three Workforce Chaplains, Rev. Aquanetta Hicks, Dr. Sarah Tuba Alpat and Rev. Dr. Cletus Aakol, joined the team late last year and have already made a huge impact.

While rounding during the holiday season, Workforce Chaplain Tuba Alpat saw an opportunity to provide additional support for employees experiencing grief. In just one week, all available spots in a Chaplain-led Grief Support group were filled with team members experiencing a variety of situations. They were unified in their need for a safe space to process and speak without judgement.

“Listening to people who were going through the exact same thing was comforting,” explains support group participant and Ambulatory Staff Nurse Laura Johnson. “It helped me realize, though we are all super different – we are all the same when it comes to certain things in our lives.”

Physically recharging our team

Along with mental and spiritual support, the Workforce Well-Being team offers activities and events to keep our team members physically engaged and active.

“When we create healthy habits such as taking a short walk or spending time gardening, we can also feel the positive benefits in every other area of our well-being,” says Workforce Well-Being Supervisor, Lesley Abascal.

The team has implemented everything from weekly exercise classes and calming campus walks to personalized health coaching. Texas Children’s team members also benefit from a full-service on-site, employees-only health clinic.

Mental health support extends beyond Mental Health Awareness month in May – Texas Children’s remains committed to nurturing our team members’ well-being year-round.

If you are looking for a team that will support your mental health and well-being as you grow professionally and personally, search our open positions and join our #OneAmazingTeam.