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Scottish Rite Hospital Hosts Inaugural Genomics Conference

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is hosting an inaugural international conference titled, “Genomic Approaches to Understanding and Treating Scoliosis.” The three-day meeting unites two distinct groups who are dedicated to scoliosis genetics research, the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies and Scoliosis (ICVAS) and the International Consortium for Scoliosis Genetics (ICSG). A primary goal of the conference is to promote interdisciplinary research to solve the underlying basis of scoliosis, a complex and poorly understood disorder that is common in children. The conference has attracted basic science researchers and clinicians at the faculty level, as well as fellows, graduate students, and other trainees who are focused on scoliosis and genomics. Funding for the meeting is provided by grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health, the Scoliosis Research Society, Fondation Yves Cotrel, and the Globus, Medtronic, and Nuvasive companies.

The conference includes paper presentations from various attendees and lectures from seven international keynote speakers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. These presenters represent distinct specialties including developmental biology, orthopedic surgery, clinical genetics, and human genetics. The topics will provide the audience with a diverse and insightful program.

Carol Wise, Ph.D., Director of Molecular Genetics and Basic Research at Scottish Rite Hospital, is an organizer of the conference. She views this meeting as an exciting opportunity to encourage collaborations and to bring new ideas to the treatment of the various complex forms of scoliosis. “It is a privilege to host specialists in scoliosis and scoliosis genetics from around the world here at the hospital,” says Wise. “This conference will generate a roadmap for collaborative research that will create future scientific breakthroughs. Importantly, this meeting also provides a forum for mentoring the next generation of researchers in the field.”

Continuing education for professionals and trainees is a cornerstone of the Scottish Rite Hospital mission. It is an honor to host this and other conferences to promote groundbreaking research and better care for our patients.

Our KidSwing Golf Tournament is Celebrating 15 Years!


  • In sports…Mike Weir won the Masters, the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship, The Marlins won the World Series, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.
  • At the movies….The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and Finding Nemo were tops at the movie theater. Chicago won the Oscar for the Best Picture.
  • On Television…CSI, American Idol, Survivor, and Friends were must see TV.
  • On Radio…50 Cent’s “In Da Club” was number one on the Billboard Charts, and Beyonce was “Crazy in Love.”
  • At the bookstore…Everyone was reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Crazy but true…Baseball fan Steve Bartman reached for a ball that Chicago Cubs outfielder Moses Alou was trying to catch, continuing a Cubs World Series drought that would last 14 more years.
  • Music news…The iTunes Music Store as Time Magazine’s invention of the year.
  • In technology….Camera phones became popular.

For more information about KidSwing, a 9-hole, best-ball scramble for players ages 5 to 18 of all levels of golf ability, visit

Get to Know our SRH Staff: David Espinosa, Social Worker

David EspinosaThe social workers at Scottish Rite Hospital focus on the well-being of patients and their families. As families find ways to work with the challenges of their children’s diagnosis and special needs, the social workers help in many ways, such as:

  • Providing emotional support and empathy.
  • Locating a variety of services, including supportive counseling, lodging and transportation assistance, discharge planning and referrals to community resources and programs.
  • Serving as advocates and liaisons and help to reduce stress and eliminate barriers families are experiencing.
  • Available to offer support, comfort and resources so parents can focus on what truly matters, their child.

Our Social Work team consists of 5 social workers at our Main Campus and one social worker at our North Campus in Plano. David Espinosa, the North Campus social worker, has been with the hospital for one year.

Get to know David in our Staff Spotlight below…

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Helping remove barriers to care.

What’s your favorite thing about the hospital?

The popcorn…and my coworkers

Describe a typical day.

On a typical day, I assist with discharge planning and collaborate with the clinical staff. I speak with families about equipment vendors and therapy providers, community resources, or other needs related to care, and assess psychosocial needs. I also assist with Crayon Care enrollments at the North Campus.

What made you want to work here?

The positive atmosphere.

What career path did you take to get here?

I was a school social worker for 8 years prior to coming to Scottish Rite Hospital. In that time, I also became a licensed clinical social worker, provided counseling in a private practice, and did other contract work with various agencies.

What’s your favorite…

  • Place to travel: John USVI
  • Type of food: Thai
  • TV show: LOST

If you could have a super power, what would it be?


What did you want to be when you grew up?

A meteorologist and paramedic

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

I flew a trike over Kauai.

What’s the last book you read?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

What is something people don’t know about you?

I’m full of sarcasm.

We’re Thrilled About Our New Relationship With The Mavs Basketball Academy

Wes McElreeb and Ben Parks_15Our mission at Scottish Rite Hospital is to help children get back to being children. In many areas, including sports medicine, we are looking for ways to prevent injuries so we don’t have to treat them. Our new partnership will help us to continue to reach more and more young athletes and parents with messages about health and injury prevention. We’re passionate about those things and the Mavs Basketball Academy (MBA) is too.

Our goals are perfectly aligned, we both want to help kids enjoy sports and develop lifelong habits that keep them active and healthy well into adulthood. The Mavs Basketball Academy has asked us to step in and provide the latest evidence on topics that truly make a difference in the lives of young athletes.

If you follow us, you’ll hear from the sports medicine providers and care teams at Scottish Rite Hospital in print and other media on injury prevention topics including overuse injuries, balance, following rules, nutrition and hydration. Together, these tips will help young athletes develop strong bones and muscles, good coordination and a lifestyle that helps them stay on the court, rink and field and off the bench.

Follow this important initiative in several ways:

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 2.28.21 PMConnect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

And sign up to receive “The Huddle” our periodic newsletter full of tips and updates on our team and practice.

Check back often for more information on our “Health” program page on the MBA website.

L. Ray Lawson, M.D., International Spine Fellowship: Educating Medical Professionals from Around the World

At Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, we are dedicated to education. The hospital offers several fellowship programs to provide a well-rounded experience for medical professionals interested in pediatric orthopedics. As an institution, it is a privilege for our doctors to have the opportunity to train individuals from all over the world.

One of the renowned programs at Scottish Rite Hospital is the L. Ray Lawson, M.D., International Spine Fellowship. This fellowship is in honor of L. Ray Lawson, M.D., for his many years of commitment and dedication to the treatment of pediatric spine disorders. This program is available to postgraduate surgeons who have completed an orthopedic residency. It provides the recipient the opportunity to rotate and observe our orthopedic surgeons and work on a spine-related research project.

Recently, a recipient of the L. Ray Lawson, M.D., International Spine Fellowship has completed his time at Scottish Rite Hospital. Ali Parsa, M.D., traveled to Dallas, Texas from Mashhad, Iran to spend six months learning from the best in pediatric orthopedics. He worked closely with Chief of Staff, Dan Sucato, M.D. and Stephen Sparagana, M.D, and the spine research team on a neuromonitoring study for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). “This program allows the fellow to receive comprehensive training in spinal disorders”, says Assistant Chief of Staff Karl Rathjen, M.D. “It is an honor to have medical professionals traveling from around the world to train at Scottish Rite Hospital – the exchange of ideas enriches all of us and extends the reach of the cutting edge knowledge developed here in Dallas.”

Although Scottish Rite Hospital was a short stop for Dr. Parsa in his medical career, he will be able to take what he has learned back to Iran to continue his research and develop innovative techniques to treating spine disorders. It is an honor to educate physicians like Dr. Parsa, and all of the past and future recipients of this fellowship, to bring better care to children all over the world.

Our Tips for Non-Weight Bearing Activities

Wheelchair blogEnvisioning a major lifestyle change can be a challenge. Transitioning from being a busy and active young person to being a wheelchair can be tough to visualize. Being in a wheelchair does not mean being inactive, it only means redefining activities. What does your child like to play and how can you change this activity to continue their interest and activity level? This post contains many ideas to help your child to remain active. You and your child can come up with your own activities and games as well.

Important: All activities must be discussed with your doctor before participating. The non- weight bearing status must be maintained at all times.

Adapting Activities

Adapting activities can be easy if you think outside the box. This means making the activity fit your child’s needs by changing different aspects of the activity, including the rules and structure. The same activities can still be fun and challenging for you and your child. Below are some ideas for adapting activities.


  • Allow more bounces in a game (i.e. basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.).
  • Allow for multiple hits in a sport (i.e. baseball, volleyball, tennis, etc.).
  • Allow different scoring system for points.
  • Vary the passing styles.
  • Reduce or extend time to perform the action for the sport.


  • Use lighter bats or racquets.
  • Use shorter handles on racquets or similar equipment.
  • Change the size or type of ball used for an activity. For example, for tennis, use a lowpressure ball; for baseball, use a softball; and for volleyball, use a beach ball or a balloon.


  • Decrease the size of the court or playing area.
  • Lower basketball nets or hoops.
  • Change the standard boundaries of a game.

Activity Ideas


  • Begin with a smaller basketball and lower hoop. This can help to develop coordination of shooting hoops from a wheelchair.
  • Slowly increase up to a standard size basketball and raise the hoop a little daily or weekly.
  • Play a game of H-O-R-S-E with your child if he or she enjoys being competitive.
  • Make sure your child maintains non-weight bearing status.


  • Tennis can be played from a seated position.
  • Most high schools and parks have tennis courts that are open to the public.
  • Using smaller, lighter racquets with shorter handles and low-pressure tennis balls are ways to modify the game for your child.
  • Remember to be patient with your child when playing tennis in a wheelchair. 5. Make sure your child maintains non-weight bearing status.


  • Start by using a balloon or beach ball with a string tied up horizontally as a ‘net’.
  • Once your child is comfortable with hitting the lighter objects, then he or she can begin using a beach ball or volleyball
  • Make sure your child maintains non-weight bearing status.

Wheelchair Mobility

  • Have your child learn to wheel themselves in the wheelchair.
  • This can be an aerobic workout. Wheeling themselves everywhere they go helps develop strength and provides cardio exercise.
  • You can create games or races to see how far your child can go without getting tired.Consider racing them on a smooth sidewalk or go on family walks in the evening.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the therapeutic recreation department or your doctor for further assistance.

From One Dancer to Another

Dancer blog postBeing a former dancer, Amanda Fletcher, R.N., C.P.N.P., R.N.F.A., Scottish Rite Hospital nurse practitioner on our pediatric sports medicine team, has some great lessons for young dancers. Read her recommendations and tips for being a healthy dancer below:

  • Balanced nutrition, including protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats , such as avocados, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil, and walnuts, are key for energy and optimum performance.
  • Proper warm-up and effective stretching are very important. Do not bounce and do not force positions. For instance, do not force your turnout or use the momentum of your body to force the splits as this can cause stress on your joints and muscles, which can lead to injuries.
  • Proper body alignment and form are important, even when you’re feeling tired.
  • Cross training or a fitness program outside of dance can help develop core and hip stability, as well as strength and flexibility in major muscle groups like the hamstrings.
  • Parents and the dancer should focus on positive conversation and healthy approaches to training schedule, rest, body image and nutrition.
  • Dancing through pain can lead to more complex problems. It’s important to see a specialist for an evaluation if it does not resolve with rest or if the pain persists.
  • Positive social support is important for the disciplined, high level athlete.

Though Fletcher isn’t dancing now, as a certified nurse practitioner, she brings a valuable set of skills and experience to help our team care for the whole child. Offering a comprehensive approach to care, nurse practitioners emphasize the well-being of the whole person with patient-centered care and prevention. Fletcher says, “I see many dancers that have injuries that could have been prevented. I can relate to them and talk about long days in the studio and how applying these lessons can reduce their risk of new and repeat injuries.”

For information about injury prevention and pediatric sports medicine, please visit our website at

Mavs Launch New Health and Wellness Resource for Aspiring Young Athletes

TScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.07.40 PMhe Dallas Mavericks are back for the summer of 2017 with Mavs Basketball Academy, which includes Hoop Camp presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors, Elite Camp, Overnight Camp, Dance Camp and a new Health Program presented by Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Mavs Basketball Academy (MBA) is dedicated to bringing the excitement of the NBA to the DFW community and is the #1 source for professional basketball and dance training for all skill levels.


The new Health arm of MBA will provide resources and training clinics utilizing the sports medicine experts from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, North Texas’ authority on sports health and injury prevention.  The goal is to educate young athletes and dancers, their parents and coaches on current recommendations for safe participation, proper training, recognizing and responding to injuries and sports injury prevention during MBA activities throughout the year.

“As pediatric sports medicine specialists, we are passionately committed to preventing injuries that keep young athletes out of sports. We share a vision with the Mavs Academy that children will be healthy and active well into their adult lives,” said Henry B. Ellis, M.D. pediatric sports medicine surgeon at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. “This partnership will impact the future of many young and growing athletes.”


Registration is open now for both Mavs Basketball Academy Hoop Camps and Elite Camps, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.  MBA Summer Camps provide kids ages 8-18 the fundamentals of the game, the opportunity to meet new teammates, learn sportsmanship and have plenty of fun, coached by the best coaching staff in the NBA. Throughout the summer, campers will receive visits from Mavs players and coaches, and each participant will receive a goodie bag including a pair of Mavs Game Tickets to a 2017-2018 preseason game.

Hoop Camps are a week-long, Elite Camps are 3 days a week and both begin June 5th and run through the beginning of August.

Mavs Basketball Academy is also bringing back Overnight Camp for a 2nd season, slated for June 11-15, at the University of Texas at Arlington.  This 4-night camp includes meals at the UTA cafeteria, boarding in university dorm rooms and the opportunity to meet a Dallas Mavericks player and front office staff.

The Mavs Dance program, also in its second year, is led by the ever-popular Dallas Mavericks Dancers.  The Mavs Dance Program is the top choice for dance instruction in the metroplex. Children of all skill levels will learn the fundamentals and exercises that helped form the best dance team in the NBA.

Camp will place special emphasis on self-confidence, technique, fitness, and most of all, fun.  Campers will receive a Mavs game ticket to a 2017-2018 pre-season game, Mavs Dancer poster and a camp t-shirt.  They will also have the opportunity to dance during halftime at a Mavs pre-season game.

The Mavs Dance program will be held 3 days a week, are located in Dallas, Plano, Grapevine and Allen, and run from June 14th through July 28th.

For more detailed information including summer schedule, locations and to register for camps, visit or call 214.747.MAVS.

Mavs Basketball Academy is sponsored by: Scottish Rite Hospital, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Nike and Lexus.

Adapted Cycles as Therapy

The Therapeutic Recreation staff at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children wants to see each child be as engaged and independent as possible. This is important in school and work but equally vital in recreation and play. Adapted cycles are one way to help a child achieve one dream they might have: riding a bike.

There are many types of adapted cycles for use by children with various medical conditions. These cycles give the flexibility needed for kids to ride a cycle who otherwise might not have that opportunity. The Therapeutic Recreation specialists at Scottish Rite Hospital can aid children in finding the right cycle for them. Additionally, several organizations exist dedicated to helping families pay for the cycle, once a family has decided what they need.

“We like to connect kids with adapted cycles because it not only promotes independence but also allows the child to achieve functional goals, like additional leg, arm or core strength,” says Allena Aussicker, Scottish Rite Hospital Therapeutic Recreation specialist, “It also allows them to just have fun and do something that many of their peers are doing.”

Kids are oftentimes thrilled when they have the opportunity to ride a cycle for the first time. Like many of us felt when we first learned to ride a bike, these kids also get to feel the special type of freedom and enjoyment that a cycle provides.

If you would like more information about adapted cycles, please contact the Therapeutic Recreation staff at Scottish Rite Hospital at 214-559-8348 or

Let’s Talk Concussions

Scottish Rite Hospital experts are often on the road to share their research findings and experiences in caring for children. One example is our pediatric sports medicine physician Shane M. Miller, M.D. He has a passion for concussion education and it is evident in the frequent invitation he receives to speak on the topic. Here are a few examples:

    • Pediatricians studying for board certification, Philadelphia, PA
    • UT Southwestern Medical School Family Medicine Grand Rounds, Dallas, TX
    • Plano parent and coaches @ Prestonwood Sports Organization Soccer Coaches Meeting
    • Community event at Sci-Tech Discovery Center, Frisco, TX
    • School Nurses at the Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
    • Frisco Soccer Association Coaches Meeting, Frisco, TX
    • McKinney ISD school nurses, McKinney, TX
    • National and international sports medicine specialists at Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX
    • Local pediatricians at Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas quarterly meeting, Dallas, TX
    • Pediatricians and healthcare providers at Pediatric Orthopedic Education Series, Dallas, TX
    • Dallas community through interview and publication in Dallas Child Magazine
    • Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers at DFW Sports Symposium, Southlake, TX

UntitledThis week Dr. Miller is at the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis at the Youth Sports Safety Summit.

The multi-disciplinary Youth Sports Safety Alliance hosts this annual event bringing together advocates for young athletes from across the country. Made up of athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, physicians, and school and youth sports organization administrators share lessons learned and collaborate to identify ways to make youth sports safer. Dr. Miller will be talking about the importance of immediate removal from play after a suspected sports-related concussion. He will highlight results from a recent study of his patients showing that 4/10 go back to play or continue playing on the day of their injury. He emphasizes the phrase “when in doubt, sit them out.”

If you have a group that would like to learn more about sports-related concussions or another pediatric sports medicine topic, please email

For information about injury prevention and pediatric sports medicine, please visit our website at