Our Pediatric Heart Support Team

A Designated Center of Excellence, like University Children’s Health Heart Center, is not created by our pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons and pediatric cardiologists alone. It takes a whole team of specialized professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for your child and family. Our complex care coordinator, nurses, anesthesiologists, dieticians, social workers and more, all work together to provide care that is unmatched by any other children’s hospital in south, west and central Texas.

Complex Care Coordinator

Our complex care coordinators help ensure smooth transitions during your child’s hospitalization through discharge and beyond.

Clinical Dieticians

Clinical dietitians are registered nutrition professionals who will work with your child to address specific diet concerns and manage specific nutritional needs.

Social Work Case Management

Social workers are experts in helping families adjust to the emotional impact of an illness and hospitalization.

Anesthesiologists

Our anesthesiologists use a wide range of anesthesia techniques during surgery, from light sedation to general anesthesia, to meet the needs of each patient

Our Nurses

Brenda H. Cabaza, BSN, RN, is a registered nurse with dual degrees in nursing and sociology/social work. She has worked with the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at UT Health San Antonio for more than 20 years, and currently works exclusively with the Congenital Heart Program.

Heather Schniepp, RN, MSN, CPNP-AC/PC, is a certified acute care and primary care pediatric nurse practitioner for UT Health San Antonio. She earned her Bachelor of Ccience in Nutritional Science and Dietetics from University of Vermont, her Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master of Science in nursing/pediatric nurse practitioner from Northeastern University. Currently, she is a candidate for a doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Pittsburgh.

Our ChildLife Specialist

Brittany Barnhill is the child life specialist for the University Children’s Health Heart Center. Her main focus is on the psychological needs of the patient and family. Brittany provides supports the child’s physical and mental wellness in preparation for procedures and surgery, and provides coping strategies to deal with pain. She meets with parents and siblings to help them keep up moral support. Medical play is also an approach for desensitization, normalization and distraction to help make the hospital stay less stressful. While following a child’s illness journey to its completion, ChildLife will typically meet with the patients in the pre-op clinic, inpatient, and post-op clinic.

Brittany completed her bachelor’s degree in family and child development, with a focus on the hospitalized child, at Texas State University where she is currently working on her master’s in child development. She has been with the congenital heart team since 2013.