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Fastsigns opened its doors to business owners, elected officials and community members as the Central Fort Bend Chamber celebrated with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Owner, Sid Jajoo thanked all who came to show their support. “We’re in the community to promote business and encourage growth. Fastsigns offers a complete and comprehensive marketing strategy to help you grow. We are here to meet your business needs big or small”. Cynthia McConathy, City of Rosenberg Mayor welcomed Fastsigns to the Rosenberg Community expressing that, “We want you all to be a big part of this city and wish you much success. We will spread the word of the great services you offer and thank you for choosing this community to serve within”.

Fastsigns offers a variety of services for your business that includes, content development to create targeted messages for your customer base, graphic design assistance, project management to make sure your project is executed properly, survey and permitting to ensure all signage is in compliance, sign installation and more.

For more information, visit their website at:

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit

Themed “Purple Warriors Fighting for a Cure,” the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Greater Fort Bend will be April 1 at Edward Mercer Stadium. Register at or by phoning 1-800-227-2345.

Hundreds of cancer survivors and supporters will spend the afternoon and evening of April 1 on the track to raise money for cancer research and a variety of cancer-related endeavors during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Greater Fort Bend.

Planned for noon Saturday, April 1, to midnight Sunday, April 2, at Edward Mercer Stadium, 16403 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land, the annual fundraiser invites teams and individuals to walk and jog laps to raise money and awareness regarding cancer and to honor cancer survivors and loved ones lost to cancer. More than $63,000 was raised in 2016 and more than $1.4 million since the inception of the Fort Bend relay in 2003.

Emma Odom, left, and Rhonda Johnson show their support for the American Cancer Society during last year’s Relay for Life of Greater Fort Bend.

“Relay For Life draws attention to the progress being made by the American Cancer Society, and the work yet to be done,” said Nick Deacon, volunteer and Relay for Life of Greater Fort Bend Event Lead. “Nearly everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through the battle of someone they love, and this disease has taken too much from too many. Each new team that registers brings us that much closer.”

To further emphasize the plight of cancer, relay teams are encouraged to have at least one participant on the track at all times because cancer never sleeps.

Teams and individuals can register at or by phoning 1-800-227-2345.

“Former and current cancer patients, those who have lost a loved one to cancer, families, businesses, faith-based and civic organizations, and anyone wanting to make a difference in the fight against cancer are invited to take part in this exciting event,” Deacon said.

Relay For Life events are held long in to the night (sometimes overnight) as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park or fairground, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their campsites at the function.

Funds raised during the relay and various pre-events go to support cancer research; Hope Lodge, which provides Houston accommodations for cancer patients receiving treatment; Road to Recovery, which provides needed transportation to patients; Look Good… Feel Better, which teaches women battling cancer beauty techniques to help them improve their appearance and self-image during chemotherapy and radiation treatments; and Reach to Recovery, which matches trained breast cancer survivors with those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and want to talk to someone who has been there.

Nursing Program’s Reclassification will Help Further Plans for Advanced Degrees

In just over a year since its move to the University of Houston System’s flagship university, UH’s nursing school has reached its number-one strategic goal on its ambitious timeline. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board acknowledged the completion of criteria for reclassifying the school, which officially became the UH College of Nursing March 2. A name-change reception will be held tomorrow.

“This change comes at a wonderful time in the history of the University of Houston,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the now College of Nursing. “We’re delighted to be part of this story, helping the UH Health initiative grow and, in particular, becoming part of its mission to serve the community, because that’s what nursing is all about.”

Reclassifying the school to a college opens the door for providing opportunities for endowed scholarships, professorships and chairs, as well as naming opportunities for the college. It also will help better promote graduate programs in nursing education, with plans to move into doctoral education with Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Already offering a number of degree options, UH’s nursing program offers degrees to suit all career levels, from freshly minted nurses to experienced nurses wishing to expand upon their training by securing additional degrees. Of particular importance in today’s health care climate is the college’s Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

In its report on the future of nursing, the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a call to action for 80 percent of nurses to have a BSN degree or higher by year 2020, as well as doubling the number of nurses holding doctoral degrees.

“This has been one of the driving missions of UH’s nursing program,” Tart said. “Evidence shows having a higher percentage of nurses with a bachelor’s degree caring for people in hospitals results in better patient outcomes, as measured by nurse-quality indicators such as fewer deaths, infections and falls.”

The Second Degree BSN track is an accelerated, pre-licensure program for post-baccalaureate students who already hold bachelor’s or master’s degrees in other fields and want to become registered nurses (RNs). The program is designed to facilitate a career change for more mature and experienced students, combining two years’ worth of work into 12 months. Upon completion, they can sit for their national licensure exam, and Tart notes that their graduates have accomplished three years of 100-percent, first-time pass rates on the national licensure exam. Compared to 84 percent nationwide and 85 percent in Texas, UH’s 100-percent pass rate places the college in the top 5 percent of the nation.

Another bachelor’s degree option offered is the RN to BSN completion program, designed specifically for working registered nurses who have completed their associate’s degree and subsequent RN licensure. The degree program is for RNs who wish to advance their professional qualifications, while continuing to live and work in the area. Tart says this is part of the reason why the program is based at the University of Houston Sugar Land Campus, with Methodist, Memorial Hermann, CHI St. Luke’s, Texas Children’s, Oak Bend and M.D. Anderson having hospitals in communities right where the students live and work.

At the graduate level, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is offered, allowing nurses to build upon their BSN degrees to become leaders in advanced practice roles, such as nurse educators, nurse administrators and family nurse practitioners. The MSN family nurse practitioner graduates have had a 100-percent pass rate on their national certification exams each year since the program started. Tart adds that the master’s level nursing education track is particularly helpful in light of the current nursing shortage, because the profession is in need of more educators. More educators mean having the ability to admit more students to nursing programs. Additionally, nurse administrators are needed in multiple leadership roles for hospitals, clinics and health care facilities.

“It’s remarkable that we’ve been granted college status in such a short timeframe since coming under the umbrella of the University of Houston from UH-Victoria,” Tart said. “UH Provost Paula Short, who championed this reclassification, was integral to us reaching this milestone a year and a half ahead of schedule.”

An unveiling ceremony of the new logo and signage will take place March 9 at the Sugar Land campus. The College of Nursing will become the 14th college at the University of Houston.



Dr. Berthelsen known nationally as a champion of Accountable Care

After nearly four decades as a key member of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic medical and executive team, Spencer Berthelsen, M.D., F.A.C.P., will retire as Managing Director and Internal Medicine physician March 10, 2017.

Dr. Berthelsen graduated from Rice University and received his medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and joined Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in 1980. He would go on to serve in numerous leadership capacities, including a tenure as Chairman of the Board for 15 years.

“We can’t overemphasize the impact that Dr. Berthelsen has made in his nearly 40 years of service to Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and to the healthcare community across Texas and the country,” said Tony Lin, M.D., F.H.M, Chairman of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “His commitment to caring for patients was always his top priority and the driving force behind every process improvement, new service line and capital investment developed and executed under his guidance.”

In 2012, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic was named the Nation’s First Accountable Care Organization by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). Of all of his accomplishments, this accreditation acknowledged the years of development, investment and commitment Dr. Berthelsen devoted to accountable care. He knew this model would achieve the goal of improved patient care and health outcomes, while lowering the total cost of healthcare for employers and patients.

The journey to NCQA ACO accreditation has its roots in the principles established when Kelsey-Seybold was founded in 1949, but accelerated significantly in the 2000s when Dr. Berthelsen helped lead the Texas Medical Association’s fight to bring reasonable reform to the malpractice liability system in Texas and helped secure the passage of Tort reform in 2003. The passage of tort reform had a significant and ongoing positive impact in Kelsey-Seybold’s ability to invest in physicians and infrastructure, including a $20 million investment in an electronic medical records system.

In 2001, when Dr. Berthelsen was elected Chairman of the Board of Managers, Kelsey-Seybold had slowly expanded to include 15 locations in the Greater Houston area with 273 providers. During his chairmanship from 2001 – 2016, Kelsey-Seybold’s Accountable Care model matured and flourished. This period of expansion at Kelsey-Seybold included a $250 million investment in new or remodeled clinics that offer an expanded list services and specialties to make care more convenient for patients, a 40 percent growth in the number of providers to meet patient demand and the development of the clinic’s Electronic Medical Records System, which catapulted the clinic’s ability to deliver on performance measures, including health outcomes and value. These investments led to the clinic’s recognition as the Nation’s First Accountable Care Organization by the National Committee for Quality Assurance in 2012; excellence in care for Diabetes, Heart & Stroke and Back pain; as well as being recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home.

“We were practicing accountable care long before the term ever existed and the reason for that is because of Dr. Berthelsen’s thoughtful planning and leadership during his tenure as Chairman,” said Patrick M. Carter, M.D., M.B.​​A., F.A.A.F.P., Chief of Family Medicine and Medical Director for Care Coordination and Quality Improvement at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Up to 30 percent of healthcare spending is wasted on unnecessary or duplicate medical testing and procedures. However, at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, practicing evidence-based care in an environment where doctors are connected reduces the waste in healthcare, improves quality, and lowers total medical cost. This has been Dr. B’s mantra and our recognition as an Accountable Care Organization is his legacy.”

During Spring Break, ‘Plan While You Can’ campaign aims to reduce crashes, save lives 

Janakae Sargent was a good friend. So much so, that as a 20-year-old student at Texas Tech, she often spent Saturday nights as a designated driver, ensuring her friends got home safely. In November 2006, while in between trips as a designated driver, Janakae was hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light. She hung on to life for four days, but ultimately died from her injuries.

“Janakae was authentic,” said her mother, Kandi Wiley. “Her heart was devoted to family and friends. Her smile was contagious, and she had big ideas for her future. We will never know the big impact she could have had. Her family and friends experienced a great loss, but it’s not just our loss, it’s our community’s loss.”

Janakae’s mother is sharing her story through the Texas Department of Transportation’s “Plan While You Can” campaign, which aims to save lives and decrease alcohol-related crashes. As many Texas college students enjoy Spring Break in the coming weeks, the campaign focuses on younger drivers who may engage in celebrations involving alcohol.

“Drinking and driving is a dangerous and often deadly choice that can ruin the future of a young driver and all those impacted by a crash,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Underage drinking also is illegal and can quickly turn a celebration into a tragedy. This Spring Break, enjoy your time off, but be responsible and plan ahead for a sober ride. Don’t make a bad decision that could negatively impact your future and cause heartache for your family and others.”

The “Plan While You Can” campaign includes a statewide tour featuring an interactive dodgeball game where participants dodge “beach balls” as virtual drinks are added to the screen. As more drinks are added, participants experience how drinking can slow their reaction times as on-screen avatars begin responding more slowly to their players’ movements.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol can face up to $17,000 in fines, legal fees, impoundment and other costs. As always, TxDOT strongly encourages everyone to plan for a sober ride before going out. Visit to find alternatives to drinking and driving, such as:

  • Calling a taxi or using a transportation app on your smartphone.
  • Using mass transit.
  • Asking a sober friend or family member for a ride home.
  • Spending the night.

For more information, contact TxDOT Media Relations at or (512) 463-8700.



Presented by Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana; Brigitte and Bashar Kalai with Amerapex Corporation

Nora’s Home will host its 6th annual gala themed “Giving Back to the Future” on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston. The event will benefit Nora’s Home facility and programs that provide care, education, and support for transplant patients and their families. Guests are encouraged to dress in cocktail or “Back to the Future” attire.

Nora’s Home for transplant patients and their families collaborates with many of the Texas Medical Center’s health care providers and hospitals to make Houston the national leader in caring for patients facing the unique challenges of end-stage organ disease and transplantation. The home has provided close to 15,000 stays to over 600 different patients and their families from across the U.S. since opening its doors in 2013. Currently, Nora’s Home is only able to accommodate one out of every five requests for lodging due to the high demand and its exceptional reputation.

Gala Chairs Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana will welcome guests to a futuristic evening with a live performance by iLuminate, a combination of state-of-the-art technology with electrifying entertainers creating the ultimate in the dark performing arts experience. iLuminate was called the “best new act in America” during its run on America’s Got Talent in 2011.

The evening will also include a private casino room, a live auction with curated luxury packages, a DJ spinning hits from the ’80s and a raffle where guests will have a chance to win a stainless steel 1981 DeLorean. To participate in the raffle, guests can purchase a ticket for $50. Funds generated by the raffle will also support Nora’s Home facility and programs.

The 2017 Nora’s Home gala honorees are Lynda Underwood and her late husband, David. As Chairman of the Texas Medical Center Board of Directors for decades, David gave back to future generations through his charitable and collaborative work. The philanthropic couple will be honored for their past contributions that continue to support the Houston community into the future. Nora’s Home is equally pleased to announce that Margaret Alkek Williams will serve as the gala’s honorary chair.

“Nora’s Home gala is a fun filled event attended by over 600 friends of the foundation,” said Kayla Lehmann, Executive Director of Nora’s Home. “Proceeds from the evening will help support the Adopt-A-Family fund which provides financial support for families who cannot afford to pay the minimal nightly fee.”

Nora’s Home invites everyone to support and contribute to the transplant community in the Texas Medical Center by purchasing a sponsorship or tickets to the gala.


  • $50,000 – Past, Present, Future (2 Tables for 10)
  • $25,000 – Speed of Light (Table for 10)
  • $15,000 – Quantum Physics (Table for 10)
  • $10,000 – Time Machine (Table for 10)
  • $5,000 – Gigawatt (Table for 10)
  • $3,000 – Speedometer (Table for 10)
  • $500 – Clock Tower (Individual Ticket)


For information on how to purchase sponsorship benefits and opportunities or for information on the DeLorean raffle, please call Natalie Lencioni Raymer at 832-831-3721, email or visit

WHEN:           Friday, May 5, 2017  7 p.m.


WHERE:         Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston

2222 West Loop South

Houston, TX 77027

About Nora’s Home

Opened in 2013 as the first transplant hospitality home in the Gulf Coast region, Nora’s Home welcomes patients and their families at any stage of the transplant journey. The hospitality home aims to ease burdens many patients face by helping reduce the immense expense and stress incurred while undergoing transplant care by providing affordable lodging in a loving, home-like environment. Located at 8300 El Rio Street in Houston near the Texas Medical Center, the self-supporting facility includes 16 private bedrooms and baths, a fully-equipped kitchen, community room, meditation room, education center, and provides free shuttle services to and from the medical center. For more information, visit, call 832-831-3720 or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.




I need your help.  This wonderful, friendly furbaby showed up at my home.  He was starving and injured.  He is maybe 6 months to a year and has a broken leg.  He is very friendly even with the pain he is in.  I am trying to get the leg fixed but could use any assistance you may be able to provide.  For more information please call me at 832-297-9174.  I am going to get his leg fixed but would like to be able to return him to his home.


Carrie Fix was named Child Advocate of the Year for 2016 at Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Annual Volunteer Celebration held March 2, 2017 at Sweetwater Country Club. The event was attended by more than 175 volunteers, community partners and staff.

Fix Named Child Advocate of the Year
(L to R): Carrie Fix and Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford. Fix was honored as Child Advocate of the Year during the agency’s annual Volunteer Banquet. 
Photo courtesy of Sue Lockwood

“Carrie exemplifies the ultimate in volunteerism to the agency – going “above and beyond”, donating her time, her talent and support across many different areas to make a lasting difference for children,” according to Child Advocates of Fort Bend Chief Executive Officer Ruthanne Mefford. “In every way, Carrie has been a friend of our agency, a dedicated advocate for the children and a humble and selfless servant.”

Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Margie Adolph and Sue Crookson (CASA Volunteers of the Year), Dorothy Huang (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), and James Steenbergen (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year). Suzy Morton was the recipient of the inaugural Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. The Award was re-named in honor of long time employee Mariel Barrera who passed away earlier this year. To see a list of all of the honorees or to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Child Advocates of Fort Bend, go to

About Child Advocates of Fort Bend:

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing a voice, healing the hurt and breaking the cycle of child abuse in Fort Bend County. Through its Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA), Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and more than 200 trained community volunteer advocates – Child Advocates improves the lives of more than 400 children each month.

The agency’s annual gala and auction raises much needed funds to support its programs for abused and neglected children. Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Gala Le Cirque, A Whimsical Fantastical Ball will be held April 29th at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. To attend the Gala, become a sponsor or for more information go to  or contact Lisa Moore at 281-344-5108 or





Photos: Daisy- Winner-Reddy, DSC_2965

DAISY Award Recipient, Ranjeetha Reddy, RN, with the DAISY Award Committee

SUGAR LAND—(March 6, 2017) — Lee Cantos, RN, and Ranjeetha Reddy, RN, were named Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s DAISY Award winners, a national honor that recognizes the contributions of extraordinary nurses.

Cantos was nominated by a number of patients, who praised her kindness and willingness to provide compassionate care. One patient wrote that she was scared during her first night in the hospital, but Cantos went out of her way to make her feel secure.

“I was worried about being left alone because my family was unable to spend the night,” the patient wrote on her nomination form. “Lee quickly calmed my fears. She kneeled down at the side of my bed and explained everything about the unit. She was kind and considerate. She listened and answered all the questions that my daughters and I had. By the time she finished, I knew I was in good hands and my daughters felt better having to leave me alone. Throughout that night she kept her promise. She was there constantly monitoring my heart rate and blood pressure. She took great care of me. My family and I thank her for being a nurse committed to excellent patient care.”

Reddy was also nominated by several of her patients, who commented on her comforting and gentle nature. One patient in particular spoke of her recent diagnosis of acute leukemia, and the struggles she faced in dealing with the reality of both the illness and the treatment.

“Ranjeetha is amazingly comforting as she cares for you,” the patient wrote. “Her care and concern for every detail is extraordinary. She has taken the time to get to know me and how I respond to things. She anticipates my anxiousness and heads it off with encouragement I can trust. I feel so confident when she cares for me, and it allows me to remain positive with my treatments. My doctor is so pleased with my response to the chemotherapy, and I owe that to her. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her.”

In honor of the DAISY Award selection, Cantos and Reddy received a certificate of appreciation, a DAISY Award pin, a beautiful sculpture titled “A Healer’s Touch,” hand-carved by artists of the Shona tribe in Zimbabwe and a reserved parking spot.

The DAISY Foundation was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 from an autoimmune disease. The care the Barnes family received from nurses inspired this unique award as a way of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. Today, more than 1,300 hospitals across the U.S. participate in the program.

“We are proud to be among the hospitals participating in the DAISY Award program,” said Janet Leatherwood, Chief Nursing Officer.  “Nurses like Lee and Ranjeetha are everyday heroes who demonstrate excellence through clinical expertise and compassionate care, and we are excited to be able to recognize them – and our future winners – as outstanding role models for the nursing profession.”

To learn more about Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, please visit, and visit our Facebook page at to congratulate these nurses on their award.



(Fulshear, TX – March 6, 2017) Cancer survivors will be honored at a luncheon hosted by the American Cancer Society Saturday, March 18, at 1 p.m. in Cross Creek Ranch.

The Survivors Lunch will be held at the Cross Creek Ranch community room, 6450 Cross Creek Bend Lane, with food provided by Italian Maid Café. It is open to any cancer survivor and one guest. The lunch recognizes that cancer survivors are a driving force behind the annual Relay for Life of Greater Fort Bend fundraiser being held April 1. Lunch is free, but reservations are required.

To reserve seats, email Karen Humphrey at

For more information about the Greater Fort Bend Relay for Life,

For details on Cross Creek Ranch, visit