Our Priorities

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word did not stop when opening a hospital in 1869 and we will not stop now. We will continue to improve and expand the care for all children in our community and beyond. During the challenging times or 2020, as COVID exacerbated local health care challenges, CHRISTUS Children’s leaders conducted a comprehensive review of the health care needs of the community. In response to those needs, a strategic plan was developed with six pillars.

We promise to provide the best medical and surgical care for the children of our city and across South Texas. We want families to have the best care without having to travel away from home, to other cities, for health care. 

The Neurosciences Center

with a focus on autism and epilepsy.

The Neurosciences Center will invest significant resources, including specialists, equipment, and facilities, to address the critical needs in autism, epilepsy, and other neurologic conditions affecting San Antonio’s children. To address prolonged waits for autism assessments, a new team of neurologic specialists will be recruited to eliminate the delays in diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. Since 2022, CHRISTUS Children’s offers specialized neurosurgical procedures for children with epilepsy that is uncontrolled with medications. Other important gaps in neurologic care of children will also be addressed. The Neurosciences Center has one overarching goal: to successfully treat neurologic conditions that can preclude a child from reaching their potential. 

The Heart Center

with a focus on pediatric intensive care, congenital heart surgery, dysautonomia, and hypertension.

The Heart Center at CHRISTUS Children’s is committed to exceptional care of children with heart conditions. Through significant investments in equipment, facilities, outreach, and specialists, the Heart Center team provides the most specialized care for children, including minimally-invasive surgical options. This care ranges from surgical management of the smallest of children to adults with childhood heart conditions. With a laser-focus on highest-level care, the best outcomes are assured.

An investment in CHRISTUS Children’s will allow us to expand congenital heart disease surgery and pediatric cardiovascular intensive care services, recruit new specialists in dysautonomia and childhood hypertension, and provide outreach services to diagnose and educate children and their families to prevent heart-related disease in the future.

The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

focusing on advanced cancer treatment, treatments for blood disorders, and cancer survivorship.

The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at CHRISTUS Children’s provides the highest-level care by eight cancer specialists, three members of the blood and bone marrow transplant team, and a host of other specialists, including genetics, pediatric surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery, pathology, and radiology. The cancer center is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, offering access to cancer clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Through innovative partnerships, new therapies, including immunotherapies, are being developed. In addition to cancer, these specialists also care for a host of blood-related diseases, including disorders of hemoglobin (such as sickle cell disease), blood vessel disorders, neurocutaneous disorders, and a condition increasingly recognized in South Texas children: iron deficiency anemia. With the increasing success of treatments, the cancer center’s focus on caring for cancer patients as they become adults has grown, identifying long-term complications of their treatment.

The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center will invest significant resources to initiate new programs, expand other services, and provide outreach across Texas. These include:

  • Increased access to clinical trials and innovative cancer and blood therapies
  • Expansion of cancer survivorship services
  • Recruitment of pediatric hematology/oncology fellows
  • Establishment of new clinics: hemoglobinopathies, vascular anomalies, neurocutaneous diseases, and iron deficiency
  • Establishment of pediatric cancer tumor registry
  • The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has one overarching goal: to provide children and adolescents with cancer and blood disorders the treatments of the future – today, and a lifetime of health.

The Maternal & Fetal Care Center

focusing on preventing and treating maternal and fetal illnesses in South Texas.

A center of excellence since its inception, CHRISTUS Children’s, jointly with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System, has developed the Maternal & Fetal Care Center – a system of care for expectant mothers and their newborns from across our region.

Elements of the Center include:

  • Outreach services by maternal and fetal medicine specialists for early identification of high-risk pregnancies and comprehensive planning for delivery 
  • Specialized transportation services by land and air for mothers and babies
  • Highest-level neonatal intensive care, including heart-lung and kidney support
  • Highest-level maternal intensive care for mothers before, during, and after delivery
  • Rigorous, continuous, simulation training for all members of the Maternal & Fetal Care Center to provide the highest outcomes of care
  • Outreach programs across Texas to ensure mothers and newborns in outlying areas receive the same high-level of care

To keep promises and achieve these goals, the Maternal & Fetal Care Center will:

  • Establish a Centralized Referral Center for high-risk pregnancies, ensuring that mothers and children are cared for at the center best prepared for their care
  • Expand the Maternal & Fetal Care Center, to provide care for significantly more high-risk pregnancies
  • Construct a women’s tower at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills to include an expansion of the ICU, a new 30-bed post-partum unit, a new obstetrics emergency department, a new Level III neonatal intensive care unit, and ten new labor and delivery rooms.
  • Expand simulation outreach training to more South Texas Hospitals
  • Expand monitoring of maternal/fetal outcomes to continuously improve care
  • Expand mental health care support for pregnant mothers before and after delivery

The Center for Surgical Innovation

envisioning a day when no child must leave San Antonio for advanced surgical care.

The Center for Surgical Innovation at CHRISTUS Children’s is dedicated to providing the most advanced care for children and adolescents with next-generation technology, offered by surgical subspecialists from a range of specialties. A key element of the surgical center is Minimally-Invasive Surgery, or MIS. MIS, performed by specially-trained surgeons, replaces long incisions in the abdomen or chest with tiny telescopes and instruments inserted through small incisions. These procedures require advanced instruments, imaging capabilities, and specialized operating rooms. MIS surgical procedures can be provided for common conditions such as appendicitis, as well as procedures for lung, stomach, or esophageal conditions.

The Center for Surgical Innovation at CHRISTUS Children’s has one goal: to provide advanced surgical care for all children so that they may stay at home for their treatment. To do this, the Center for Surgical Innovation will:

  • Invest in minimally-invasive pediatric surgical instrumentation
  • Renovate operating rooms with MIS high-definition imaging and other needed equipment
  • Recruit new surgical specialists to provide advanced care
  • Bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery for obesity)
  • Ophthalmologic (eye) surgery
  • Other surgical specialties
  • Expand neonatal and pediatric intensive care staff and facilities for children undergoing surgery

Mission and Ministry

includes support for child abuse care, dental services, the Children’s mobile unit, and nursing resilience.

The Children’s Mobile Unit travels through a multi-county region to provide prevention, screening, diagnostic, and treatment visits for children. The unit refers children for specialty care, provides education to children and parents on disease prevention, assists with health care applications, provides vaccinations, and helps find resources for prescriptions. Since 2012, the unit has served more than 16,000 children.

The Center for Miracles has served San Antonio and South Texas as the only center with board-certified pediatric child abuse physicians and other specialists since 2006. In 2021, the Center for Miracles saw or reviewed 2,518 cases for children. A June 2020 San Antonio survey ranked child abuse as the highest concern of the community – higher than crime, homeless, unemployment, and even COVID-19. With a loss of State of Texas funding, the finances of the center are even more difficult to sustain.

The Dental Clinic has provided dental care access for any child, regardless of financial capacity or medical condition since 1962. Services include dental exams, x-rays, cleanings, extractions, fillings, orthodontics, and crowns. One third of visits are for children with special medical needs who often cannot be seen in outpatient dental clinics. Historically, 89 percent of families using the clinic live at or below the national poverty standard.

The Pediatric Nursing Resilience Fund addresses a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital nurses: severe stress and burnout. With increasing number of nurses reaching retirement age and retiring, increase in hospital admissions, and insufficient nursing school openings, along with the stresses from COVID-19 admissions of children, the need to care for and support nurses and other providers in hospitals is essential. This fund provides spiritual support from a trained chaplain-counselor, educational and other growth opportunities, as well as other methods of stress reduction.

In addition to these initiatives, other essential services for the community are or will be included in the Mission and Ministry Fund as they are identified.