Mary Anne Fernandez

Sep 28, 2020 / Spotlight

Get to Know our Staff: Mary Anne Fernandez, Family Resource Center

What is your role at Scottish Rite for Children? 
As the Family Resource Center (FRC) coordinator, I have three different roles. 
  1. I am a medical librarian with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, and specialize in consumer health. I am responsible for the focused book collection in the Family Resource Center, which includes some very unique adult, teen and children’s books on topics like disability awareness, self-esteem, social skills, adapted recreation, limb differences, grief, chronic illness, learning differences and siblings of children with special needs. Some books are used to help teach family members or classmates about how others can be different. I also help staff locate quality, web-based health information for families on different diagnoses we treat. The diagnosis may be a rare syndrome, or the information needs to be in Spanish, so it is rewarding to locate the right resource to meet the needs of the family.
  2. I chair the Patient Education Committee and assist staff in creating, editing and updating education pieces. I also maintain the Patient Education portal on the Intranet and work closely with EPIC staff to allow this information to be distributed to families, through mySRH.
  3. I facilitate the Peer Support program. I assist clinical staff with connecting families whose children may have the same diagnosis and/or a similar procedure. This is such a unique and beneficial program that was started many years ago by one of our nurses.  
What do you enjoy most about Scottish Rite? 
The main reason that I love my job is because I am able to witness the profound impact, we as an organization, have on patients and families. 

Years ago, I had the opportunity to interact with a young girl and her mom. The little girl was missing both of her legs, and both she and mom were very sad. Fast forward one year and I ran into them in the hallway and it was a completely different interaction. The mom and daughter, along with a prosthetist, were in the hallway outside the FRC. I witnessed the little girl walking for the first time with prosthetic legs. The look of pure joy on the little girls face stays with me to this day. 

What was your first job? Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now? How long have you worked here? 
My first job was working with horses and feeding animals at a horse lot where my sister and I kept our quarter horses. 

The path towards medical library work demonstrates the power of mentorship. My mom was a high school English teacher and her best friend was the high school librarian, Betty. I would occasionally tag along with Betty and my mom to dinner or to the theatre. On one occasion, Betty told me I should consider medical librarianship, as she knew I was very interested in the medical field and was also a voracious reader. Because of the impact Betty had on me, I always make the time to talk with any young person who is interested in library work.  

I have been at Scottish Rite for 19 years. My 20-year-old daughter was 18 months old when I started working here, so that gives me perspective. 

What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’re working on right now? 
A new brochure for the Peer Support program. The Communications department has taken some wonderful interaction photos of a peer support mentor family as well as assisted with the layout and presentation of the information. This is a popular program and I am looking forward to being able to help more people with this family-to-family support. 

What are you currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/TV/etc.? 
I prefer documentaries, biographies or even 60 Minutes. My high school aged son and I recently watched several episodes of The Regular Show. He is a senior in high school and said it takes him back to his childhood. 

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
My husband and I would love to celebrate our 25th anniversary by travelling around Alaska on boat and train. My daughter and I would love to celebrate her college graduation with a trip to Japan. 

What are some small things that make your day better?
  • The smell and taste of strong coffee.
  • When, for no particular reason, a baby or toddler smiles at me or laughs.
  • My foam roller.
What is special about the place you grew up?
Katy, Texas is known for high school football, having won the state championship multiple times. The name of the town comes from the MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) Railroad and I think it is ironic that I now work steps away from the Dallas Katy Trail, which follows the original train path. I grew up so close to the MKT train tracks - our house would shake a little when a train passed by.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? 
I follow a plant-based diet and enjoy trying new vegan recipes. I have found several that my meat-eating husband and son love. 

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