Baylor Scott And White Health CEO/President Jim Hinton To Remain CEO, But Adds Pete McCanna As System’s President

Baylor Scott and White Health CEO/President Jim Hinton is not your everyday leader. Having taken over his new role in January as head of the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas, he’s been very busy looking to the future growth of the organization. Evidently, he decided that an adjustment was needed moving forward.  And that adjustment was in his role. While he’ll remain CEO, Jim has tapped Northwestern Memorial Healthcare Executive VP/COO Pete McCanna to be president of Baylor Scott and White.

Jim Hinton (File photo)

Peter McCanna*

According to Jim, “This new office will further expand the capabilities of our already talented leadership team, helping us more rapidly evolve. We are committed to extending Baylor Scott and White’s long history of success by transforming into a nationally recognized, high-value integrated delivery network; and to transform, we must drive costs down, while making the right investments in key areas.

“Pete is a highly respected senior executive with a track record of helping to grow organizations, create and implement successful, long-range strategic plans and lead financial turnarounds. He is one of the best and brightest in health care.”

These two are no strangers. They have a track record when Jim was CEO at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico and Pete was CFO.

Pete and his family are in the process of moving from Chicago to Dallas, so he can assume his new role in September. BTW, Pete already knows how to speak Texan. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Texas and is married to a native Texan.

New Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Jim Hinton Met Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Members At St. V-Day Luncheon

Just outside the dining room at the Charles Sammons Cancer Center, there was a long line of people waiting to meet a Very Important Person when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board met on Tuesday, February 14. And, why not? The quarterly meeting, after all, marked one of the first public appearances ever by James (“Jim”) Hinton, who’d been tapped to succeed Joel Allison as the president and CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health.

Jim Hinton, Lindalyn Adams and Margo Goodwin*

And, like savvy showmen saving the big act for last, the foundation scheduled Hinton as the final speaker on the 90-minute luncheon program, whose theme was, “Radiologists: Master Interpreters in Diagnosing and Monitoring Disease.” With board members including Barry Andrews, Lisa Troutt, Ray Washburne, Pryor Blackwell, Ron Steinhart, Jill Smith, Richard Holt, Aileen Pratt, Michal Powell and Steve Leiberman in attendance, Board Chair Margo Goodwin kicked off the meeting by urging the members to “up” their giving, in order to reach 100% by the next quarterly get-together.

Michal Powell, Robin Robinson and Aileen Pratt*

Pryor Blackwell*

Jill Smith*

“We’re at 67% participation now,” she said. “We’ve been at 100 percent for each of the last four years, and I hope we won’t break that spell.” Margo also encouraged gifts to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, which selected Baylor University Medical Center as the site of its newest facility. Hope Lodge Dallas will offer free accommodations for cancer patients who have to travel long distances for their care.

Margo gave way at that point to Foundation President Rowland Robinson, who noted the recent deaths of three strong foundation supporters: former Zale Corp. Vice Chairman Leo Fields, former Baylor liver-transplant recipient Ginny Sellers, and Tommy Valenta, a former top executive with Chaparral Steel Co. and Texas Industries.

Greg dePrisco*

With that, Robin talked a little about the meeting’s focus on radiology—“the last link in the diagnostic chain,” he called it—before introducing featured speaker Gregory dePrisco, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist and director of the MRI Fellowship Program at Baylor University Medical Center. During his fascinating and sometimes-humorous presentation, Greg explained that a radiologist is a “doctor’s doctor,” and that 1.2% of all doctors are radiologists.

He recalled the specialty’s history, from the discovery of X-rays through the widespread use of CT scans and MRIs. He told about his membership on an “anal/rectal task force” and showed and explained a number of MRIs, including an MRI comparison between a 40-year-old woman who presented normally (the subject was actually his wife, Dr. Michelle Nichols, who was in the audience) and another woman with rectal pathology and a prolapsed uterus. 

Greg also recalled how he had personally suffered a stroke; was misdiagnosed at another local medical center, where the paramedics took him; and then recovered after receiving the correct diagnosis. (Greg had “something in my lung” that caused the stroke, he explained.) The radiologist ended his presentation by showing CT images of a colonoscopy, a mammogram, and a cancerous lung, before concluding with this observation: “Radiology is a strong link in the healthcare chain. I did go over my time a little bit, but the [story about my] stroke slowed me down!”

Jim Hinton*

Then it was time for Jim to end the program with some brief closing remarks. He took the reins at Baylor Scott And White Health in January, after serving for years as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, that state’s largest healthcare provider.

“It’s good to be in Texas,” Jim told the board members. “Typically in February I’m around a lot of Texans—but in the [ski] lift line at Taos. I wasn’t looking for a job when this one came around. But [Baylor’s] reputation and the opportunity to live in a community like Dallas were too much to pass up.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts are crucial, Jim said finally, because “there’s not enough money in patient-care revenue” to support the Baylor healthcare system’s world-class work.

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

Dr. Dan DeMarco Got Pretty Gutsy At The Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Luncheon

The word “gut” is usually not one that comes up at lunch. But on Tuesday, December 13, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board literally gutted up to learn about gastrointestinal research and developments.

Paula Walker

Ashley Jones

But before it kicked off, the Board members were entertained by musicians and artists like Ashley Jones from Baylor’s Arts in Medicine program at Sammons Cancer Center. Developed by Bonnie Pittman, the program is provided free-of-charge for cancer patients at Baylor as a creative therapy thanks to a donation by Paula Walker. Another part of the program is for musicians to play at bedside. When the program began in 2015, there were 300 requests for musical practitioners. This past year the monthly rate had risen to more than 2,000.

Margo Goodwin, Leonard Riggs and Annette Simmons

Amy Turner

Jerry Fullinwider and Martha Hackbarth

As guests like Nancy Dedman, Kelly Green, Richard Holt, Kathy Crow, Michal Powell, Amy Turner, Julie Turner, Su-Su Meyer, Leonard Riggs, Annette Simmons, Jerry Fullinwider, Martha Hackbarth, Trisha Wilson, Randi Halsell, Jill Smith, Paul Stoffel, Sharon McCullough, ­­­Lana and Barry Andrews and Tavia Hunt settled in their chairs at the Sammons Cancer Center, Foundation Chair Margo Goodwin reported that Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Aileen Pratt and Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale had raised $1.8M for breast cancer research. Taking over the leadership for the 2017 Celebrating Women will be Tucker Enthoven as luncheon chair and Ola Fojasek as underwriting chair. 

Aileen Pratt

Tavia Hunt

With tongue firmly in cheek, Margo explained that due to the day’s subject matter the presentation would be held after the meal was consumed.

No need. For the presentation, Margo and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson had gotten retired Dr. Dan DeMarco to explain the various components of the digestive system. In introducing Dan, Robin admitted that he had done research by reading “Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ” by Giulia Enders. He described it as “a really cheeky, easy-to-read guide about both the secrets and the science of our digestive system. I recommend it. It’s a neat read.”

Dan DeMarco

And, yes, the topic did have a “yuck factor” about it, but with the charm of a leprechaun and the knowledge and skill of a recognized health care provider, Dan took the SRO crowd through the various steps of the gastrointestinal system, or as Robin put it, “from stem to stern.”

 Dan started off by recalling years ago, an Australian doctor — Dr. Barry Marshall — claimed that bacteria, not acid, caused ulcers. Experts poo-pooed the idea, despite the doctor’s even swallowing bacteria to prove his point. Years later, he was proved right and won the 2005 Noble Prize.  

In addition to “Gut,” Dan suggested another book that was easy-to-read-and-digest: “Gulp” by Mary Roach.

Then he rolled out some facts that impressed one and all.

  • 80% of our immune cells reside in the gut
  • The gut sends emotional signal to the brain — suggesting we “feel” with our gut first.
  • Gastro-intestinal conditions can be seen as the “mental illness” of your gut.
  • Food affects your mood, and not just “comfort food.”
  • You have 10 times as many microbes as cells in your body. The health of these communities determines your overall health. Collectively, these communities are called the microbiome.
  • Digestive insufficiencies contribute to a wide range of health issues, including migraine headaches, depression, arthritis, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and more.
  • Lactose intolerance increases with age.
  • Gluten sensitivity is “relatively rare. It has to be confirmed with blood testing and intestinal biopsy. Certainly people do feel different on a gluten-free diet. People swear by it, but it’s probably not just the gluten. It’s due to other factors.”
  • Antibiotics kill bacteria. With the wide-spread use of antibiotics, the few bacteria that the antibiotics don’t kill get stronger, become resistant and become super bugs. Not everything should be treated with antibiotics.
  • Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria that help the digestive system.
  • Microbiome is the entire community of germs. By analyzing the microbiome, it is possible to create an individual’s “fingerprint” regarding their makeup. For instance, if antibiotics are given the first two or three years of life, they influence the microbiome.
  • Microbiome may have more of an effect on our makeup and well-being than genetics.
  • Diseases like Parkinsons, Lupus and others may be the result of the microbiome.
  • Microbiome is affected by whether you were born via C-section or natural delivery and if you were breast fed.
  • The gut affects the immune system, moods, personality and attitude. About 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut. The gut is sometimes referred to as “The Second Brain.”
  • The small intestine is 21 feet long, which results in food taking about six hours to reach the colon.

The small intestine’s length was one of the challenges that had faced the medical community in detecting health problems. It was only accessible via the operating room. The traditional colonoscopy could only go so far, Dan said, but he had been involved in the creation of a new treatment combining the Double Balloon Scope and Spiral Component being “dropped from the top down.” The result was the shortening of the intestine “like rolling up your sleeve.” This procedure made it possible for the small intestine to be examined without trauma and reduced the six-hour traditional examination to a mere 30 minutes. It is currently going through national clinical trials for approval.

Another developments that is being tested at Baylor is the TransPyloric Shuttle for moderately overweight people and fecal transplants for colon diseases.

In conclusion, Dan discussed the gastroenterologist fellows program at Baylor in which, each year, two are selected to be part of the three-year program after finishing their training as internal medicine doctors. Emphasizing the need for gastroenterologists, he added that those participating in the fellowship program tended to stay locally.

To summarize his presentation, he suggested three take-home points:

  1. Think outside of the box
  2. Embrace new technology
  3. Keep learning, keep teaching and “support our fellowship program.”

Upon his retirement, Dan and his wife, Dr. Cara East, created an endowment to support a fellowship and, thanks to the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, more than a million dollars was raised resulting in the DeMarco Fellow each year that is fully funded.

Jim Turner and Joel Allison

Following Dan’s presentation, Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board of Trustees Chair Jim Turner told the foundation board members about the new Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Jim Hinton and extolled the accomplishments of retiring Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Joel Allison. Among them: during Joel’s 23-year tenure, he grew Baylor from a $1-billion asset healthcare system to $10 billion today; the merger with Scott & White; heading up 45,000 employees, 48 hospitals and countless other undertakings resulting in Baylor being one of the top ten not-for-profit healthcare companies in the country and the leading not-for-profit in Texas.

While Joel will officially retire on his birthday (Wednesday, February 1), he will remain as an advisor to Jim Turner. This relationship dates back to their days at Baylor University, when Jim was on the basketball team and Joel played football.

MySweetWishList: “In Grandma’s Garden”

According to “In Grandma’s Garden” author Brenda West Cockerell,

Brenda West Cockerell*

Brenda West Cockerell*

“My wish this holiday season is that everyone will consider giving the gift of hope with ‘In Grandma’s Garden,’ an imaginative story about the joys to be found in a grandmother’s garden. ‘In Grandma’s Garden’ makes a great gift for a child, parent, teacher, grandmother or breast cancer survivor, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.

“Current beneficiaries include Baylor Health Care System Foundation. In conjunction with The Beacon Family Foundation, these gifts will support Celebrating Women for the purpose of breast cancer research, specifically Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy’s revolutionary work. Celebrating Women is Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s annual luncheon to raise funds for Baylor Scott & White Health – North Texas’ fight against breast cancer. More than $26 million has been raised through Celebrating Women over the past 16 years, and we hope to donate as much as possible through the sales of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’

"In Grandma's Garden"*

“In Grandma’s Garden”*

“’In Grandma’s Garden’ was written as a tribute to my dear friend Holly Horton, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009, and it was always a dream of ours to write an imaginative children’s book together that would bring readers laughter, joy and feelings of peace.  Written in simple rhymes and verses, children will delight in the unexpected surprises found the beauty and sanctuary of Grandma’s garden.

“By working with Baylor Health Care System Foundation, I hope to support Celebrating Women by increasing awareness and funding for the breast cancer research of Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, medical oncologist at the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research, and one of the best oncologists in Dallas. Dr. O’Shaughnessy specializes in breast cancer treatment within Texas Oncology, serves as Chair of Breast Cancer Research for the US Oncology Research Network, and is the founder of The School of Breast Oncology.

“To purchase the book, please visit www.grandmasgardenbook.com.

“Please join me in honoring Holly, and all those affected by breast cancer, by purchasing a copy of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’ Your gift to a child gives the gift of hope to a woman and her family praying for a cure!”

-By Brenda West Cockerell, “In Grandma’s Garden” author

* Graphic and photo provided by "In Grandma's Garden"

‘Victory Dance’ Marks Over-The-Top Successful Fundraising Campaign For Baylor Health Foundation

If the mood was enthusiastic at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s A Night of Gratitude at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, April 26, there was a very good reason. The foundation, after all, had just announced the successful completion of its first-ever comprehensive funding campaign, Campaign 2015: Baylor Makes Us All Better.

The campaign, which had an original goal of $250 million, had busted past that mark to hit $270 million. And it was bound to be counting even more cash, with the official closing not scheduled until the end of June.

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock*

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock*

As the 300 Night of Gratitude guests like Margo and Bill Goodwin, Ellen and Alan Miller, D’Andra Simmons Lock and Jeremy Lock, Christie Carter, and Debbie Oates, poured into the DCC, one of them exclaimed: “This is our little victory dance.”

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

And the place was decked out to match the celebration. In the reception area was a huge backdrop of multi-squares, some were filled with dazzling small squares, some with the Baylor Health Care System logo and others spelling out “A Night of Gratitude.” That only hinted at what lay within the ballroom that had been transformed with back-lit white curtains covering the walls and lounging areas and tables set up throughout. At one end of the room was a stage with a backdrop and the word “Gratitude” in script.

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

What made the campaign so successful? “I’ve got a great team, and a great board to sell for,” said Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson, as he greeted guests not far from Baylor Scott & White Health President/CEO Joel Allison and Foundations Board Chair Jim Turner.

Glenn Callison*

Glenn Callison*

Pam Busbee*

Pam Busbee*

Richard Eiseman*

Richard Eiseman*

But according to Baylor’s Plano medical center Board Chair Glenn Callison, Robinson was being too modest. “I saw what it was like before Robin joined and since he’s been here, and it’s been absolutely phenomenal,” Glenn said. “He’s the best-kept secret in philanthropy.”

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

As guests including newlyweds Hillary and Shepherd Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail, Jill Smith, Trisha Wilson, Pam Busbee, Randi and Ed Halsell, Richard Eiseman Virginia Chandler Dykes, Lydia and Dan Novakov, Marilyn Augur, Pam and VIn Perella, Richard Eiseman, Shelle and Michael Sills and Carolyn and David Miller enjoyed dinner and music by Hunter Sullivan and his band, more than a few decided to turn the Night of Gratitude into a literal “victory dance.” After all, they knew, more than 30,000 donors had ponied up more than 90,000 gifts for the foundation campaign—including a whopping 40 gifts of $1 million or more. The funds will be invested in patient-focused programs, research, medical education, capital and advanced technology for Baylor Scott & White Health-North Texas.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

JUST IN: Lee Ann And Alan White And PlainsCapital Provide $125,000 For Pond At Canine Companions For Independence

It was just months ago that Texas’ only Canine Companions for Independence officially opened on the Baylor, Scott and White Health campus in Irving. Today was graduation day, with 10 teams of dogs and humans officially starting their lives together. It was also a day when 17 new Labrador and Golden Retriever recruits were being turned over by their puppy-raisers to be trained for their careers as service dogs.

However, a surprise reveal took place among all the wagging tails and smiles. It was the beautiful outdoor water feature at the entrance of the brilliantly designed complex. Thanks to a $125,000 donation by Lee Ann and Alan White and PlainsCapital, the natural-looking pond with fountain was made paws-ible.

Freckles, Dawn Thompson and Diane Howard

Freckles, Dawn Thompson and Diane Howard

Just before the graduation and turnover took place, PlainsCapital’s Diane Howard and puppy-raiser Dawn Thompson checked out the pool. New recruit Freckles resisted the temptation to do what comes natural for a Lab.

Outstanding Non-Profits Have Posted “Help Wanted” Signs

The Dallas non-profits are looking for a few good folks to head up their organizations. In recent weeks the following nonnies have put out the “Help Wanted” signs for leadership of their organizations:

  • Baylor Scott And White Health
  • Dallas Historical Society
  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • Dallas Summer Musicals
  • Family Gateway
  • LaunchAbility
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science

While many are preparing for the summer sojourn, search committees are in overdrive to have new leaders in place, hopefully by the fall fundraising season.

The good thing is that these organization will not make their decisions based on a “OMG, we’ve gotta fill this position ASAP.” Rather they put the priority on finding the right person for the right position even if the clock is ticking.

Can’t wait to report about the new leaders-on-the-block!

2016 Celebrating Women Plans Revealed Including Rita Wilson And Diane And Joel Allison Plus Sponsorship Opportunities

The couture salon of Neiman Marcus Downtown looked like a high-price trunk show collection on the morning of Tuesday, April 5, with loads of the fashionable fundraising types checking out the clothes. Actually, they were there for the announcement of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon.

Outside the flagship store, Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Jen Huntsberry waited. It was such a beautiful day compared to a year ago when it was damp and rainy. But Jen wasn’t just taking in the rays. She was waiting for Baylor Scott And White Health COO John McWhorter. This was his first time to attend the annual reveal.

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

No sooner had John appeared on NM’s second floor than he was being photographed with 2016 Celebrating Women Chair Aileen Pratt, Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

And then he watched as various photo setups took place including all the past luncheon chairs like Nancy Carter, Christie Carter, Barbara Stuart, Susan McSherry, Margo Goodwin, Carol Seay and Pam Perella and Celebrating Women Luncheon Queen Mother Lindalyn Adams.

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

As deviled eggs made the rounds, the gals and fellas found themselves herded into the Glass House to hear that Tom Hanks’ sweetheart, Rita Wilson, would be the featured speaker on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

As for the honorary co-chairs, this year is gonna be a couple that has been part of the Baylor effort to treat and research breast cancer — Diane and Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Joel Allison, who is making his victory lap to his stepping down on February 1, 2017.

Tickets are on sale now, plus all types of sponsorship opportunities. The following sponsorships have already been snapped up: Presenting Sponsor — Tom Thumb, Patron Party — Comerica Bank, VIP Reception — PlainsCapital Bank, Luncheon Invitation — Sidley Austin LLP and Luncheon Program — Allie Beth Allman.

JUST IN: Baylor Scott And White’s Joel Allison To Retire Sorta

Joel Allison (File photo)

Joel Allison (File photo)

Our good buddy Matt Goodman over at D Healthcare Daily just broke the news that former Marine/current Baylor Scott and White Health CEO Joel Allison has announced his retirement.

It’s really not like a sit-on-the-couch type of change. It’s more like moving into a new career.

Starting on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, when Joel officially turns 69, he’ll become senior advisor to the chair of the Board of Baylor Scott and White Health.

In his new position, he “will advise the Board chairman in the areas of advocacy, philanthropy and medical education.”

Joel and his wife of 46 years, Diane Allison, will live in Waco near their alma mater — Baylor University — and Joel will office out of Temple.

Checking with our other good buddy Jen Huntsberry over at Baylor Health Care System Foundation, a nationwide search will take place for Joel’s replacement… as if there were anyone who could replace Joel!

At The Spirit Of Generation’s Patron Party, Recipient Joel Allison Insisted The Honor Belongs To Others

Despite high cheekbones, perfect posture and an incredible track record, Joel Allison isn’t perfect and on Tuesday, November 10, he continued to fall short. The man can simply not accept a compliment.

Joel Allison

Joel Allison

But on this night he begrudgingly was trying his best to accept the congratulations on being named the recipient of The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Award at the event’s patron party in Barbara Hunt Crow’s marvelous residence. It’s the kind of home that one imagines would be the setting of the perfect Thanksgiving come rain, shine or snow. Barbara laughed and said it was truly lived in thanks to her kids.

Barbara Hunt Crow and Nickey and Debbie Oates

Barbara Hunt Crow and Nickey and Debbie Oates

Baylor grad/Baylor Scott & White CEO Joel sloughed off accolades saying he would be accepting the award on Monday, November 23, at the Hilton Anatole, on behalf of the Baylor Scott & White staffers with wife Diane Allison looking on.

He then told the crowd that underwriting Co-Chair/Old Baylor friends Elaine and David Nelson had told him that they really wished he would retire, so they could stop giving money.

Elaine and David Nelson

Elaine and David Nelson

Then Joel said that the organizers should have given the award to TSS President/CEO Molly Bogen, who will be relinquishing her position after 40 years in January.

Diane Allison, Robin Robinson and Molly Bergen

Diane Allison, Robin Robinson and Molly Bergen

Then TSS Chairman of the Board Gregg Ballew told the group including Luncheon Chair Elizabeth Gambrell, Debbie and Nickey Oates, Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Nancy Carter, Carolyn Miller, Sharon and Mike McCullough and Robin Robinson to enjoy the rest of the evening. While Christie Carter headed to her first Tate Lecture Series, Carolyn Rose Hunt (Barbara’s aunt) was in a sunroom. She pointed to a picture of an adorable youngster with curls and just the hint of a smile. The 92-year-old Carolyn smiled and said it was her brother Herbert Hunt (aka Barbara’s father). She then told how it crushed her mother when her father took young Herbert to the barber to cut off his curls.

Canine Companions For Independence Baylor Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus Dedication Was A Howling Success

After hit and miss weather of Thursday, November 5, the Canine Companion of Independence (CCI) dedication organizers were breathing a deep sigh of relief. Not only had the tornadic and hail storm hit other parts, the sun was shining, the temperatures were perfect and more than expected showed up to see the dedication of the national program’s first Texas facility.

It was also the first of its kind to partner up with a hospital and in this case it was Baylor Scott & White. Over the years the Irving CCI Baylor Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus will not only be the graduate school for the canines, but it will also be the temporary home for the human recipients to train as they partner up with their BFFs.

Canine Companions For Independence classmates

Canine Companions For Independence classmates

The services dogs could have cared less about all the hoop-la. They were on duty, while the two-legged critters were amazed and gratified how nine mesquite-covered acres in Irving had been turned into a breathtaking center to yearly prepare 60 dogs to assist children and adults with disabilities.

Outdoor kennels

Outdoor kennels

Indoor kennels

Indoor kennels

On one side of the layout was the Diane and Hal Brierley Kennels with 24 spotless air-conditioned and heated indoor kennels, individual outdoor spaces and a center courtyard with shower facilities. Just a few feet away was the Jan Rees-Jones Canine Center with grooming spa, laundry, veterinary clinic and food-storage and -prep areas.

Food prep area

Food prep area

IMG_2933

Across the paths were cabins specially designed for humans to stay in preparing for the partnerships. Just outside the cabins are outdoor seating and a fire pit. In between the home for the humans and the hounds was the Team Lodge and Training Center.

The grounds included watering areas and loads of room for the pooches to run and just be dogs.

As philanthropists Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Margo Goodwin, Mark Grace, Lindalyn AdamsPamela Street, Kristi Hoyl, Todd Howard, CCI National Board Chair John Miller in from New York,  CCI National Board Trustee Bob Street in from Colorado and vets Steve Blackman with his CCI-trained Gotti and  Jason Morgan with his CCI-trained Rue toured the facilities, one person was heard to say, “Not only would my dog love to live here, I’d love to move in, too.”

 Jan Rees-Jones

Jan Rees-Jones

When the official dedication took place in the Training Center with Baylor Health System Foundation Robin Robinson, CCI CEO Paul Mundell, Baylor Irving President Cindy Schamp, Baylor Scott And White Board of Trustee Steve Boyd and CCI Irving Program Manager Sara Koch on stage, Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had spearheaded the project, stole the show. It was nothing new. He usually is a true-blue scene stealer. Ed told how his beloved pooch Bo had been the typical dog until they decided to enroll in the Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy program.

Steve Boyd, Paul Mundell, Cindy Schamp, Ed Kinkeade and Robin Robinson

Steve Boyd, Paul Mundell, Cindy Schamp, Ed Kinkeade and Robin Robinson

It was through the program that Ed came to realize and appreciate the value of using dogs to help patients improve their lives. He mounted an effort to land the highly renowned Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for North Texas. By landing such a facility, it meant that Texans in need of such companions would not have relocate to CCI facilities in other states that have resulted in 4,797 teams of humans and dogs since its founding in July 1975.

Started in California, the CCI program is a lengthy one, where puppies (Labrador retrievers, gold retrievers and crosses of the two breeds) live with “puppy raisers” for 14-16 months before undergoing a six- to nine-month training course with professional trainers at the center. They learn everything from basic obedience, working with wheelchairs to learning over 40 commands to help their human companions. They are especially trained to serve as service dogs, facility dogs, skilled companions and hearing dogs and are provided to those in need free of charge.

After three years of negotiating, the deal was cut and the facility was located in Ed’s hometown of Irving.

Jan Rees-Jones and Ed Kinkeade

Jan Rees-Jones and Ed Kinkeade

Ed recalled how in going through a training program in preparation for the AAT test, the trainer told Ed, “Bo is doing great.” On the other hand, the trainer suggested that Ed needed some work. He then said that despite his own many accomplishments both on and off the bench, he had a twinge of humility when a patient asked, “Are you the guy with Bo?”

At one point breaking from his affable charm, Ed teared up and recalled his late partner. It was apparent that Bo’s talents in inspiring others had included Ed, after whom the Texas campus was named.