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  • January 14, 2022

    By Allison Larson, MD

    Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or spend the season curled up by the fireplace, the low humidity, bitter winds, and dry indoor heat that accompany cold weather can deplete your skin’s natural moisture. Dry skin is not only painful, uncomfortable, and irritating; it also can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, which results in itchy, red, bumpy skin patches. 

    Follow these six tips to prevent and treat skin damage caused by winter dryness.

    1. Do: Wear sunscreen all year long.

    UV rays can easily penetrate cloudy skies to dry out exposed skin. And when the sun is shining, snow and ice reflect its rays, increasing UV exposure. 

    Getting a sunburn can cause severe dryness, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer. Snow or shine, apply sunscreen before participating in any outdoor activity during the winter—especially if you take a tropical vacation to escape the cold; your skin is less accustomed to sunlight and more likely to burn quickly.

    The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

    That being said, if you are considering laser skin treatments to reduce wrinkles, hair, blemishes, or acne scars, winter is a better time to receive these procedures. Sun exposure shortly after a treatment increases the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), and people are less likely to spend time outside during the winter.

    Related reading: 7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Skin in the Sun

    2. Do: Skip products with drying ingredients.

    Soaps or facial products you use in warm weather with no issues may irritate your skin during colder seasons. This is because they contain ingredients that can cause dryness, but the effects aren’t noticeable until they’re worsened by the dry winter climate.

    You may need to take a break from:

    • Anti-acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
    • Antibacterial and detergent-based soap
    • Anything containing fragrance, from soap to hand sanitizer

    Hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, which contains a high level of skin-drying alcohol, cannot be avoided; we need to maintain good hand hygiene to stop the spread of germs. If your job or lifestyle requires frequent hand washing or sanitizing, routinely apply hand cream throughout the day as well.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen a lot of people develop hand dermatitis—a condition with itchy, burning skin that can swell and blister—due to constant hand washing. Sometimes the fix is as simple as changing the soap they're using. Sensitive-skin soap is the best product for dry skin; it typically foams up less but still cleans the skin efficiently.

    3. Do: Pay closer attention to thick skin.

    Areas of thin skin, such as the face and backs of your hands, are usually exposed to the wind and sun the most. It’s easy to tell when they start drying out. But the thick skin on your palms and bottoms of your feet is also prone to dryness—and tends to receive less attention.

    When thick skin gets dry, fissures form. You’ll see the surface turn white and scaly; then deep, linear cracks will appear. It isn’t as pliable as thin skin. When you’re constantly on your feet or using your hands to work, cook, and everything in between, dry thick skin cracks instead of flexing with your movements. 

    To soften cracked skin, gently massage a heavy-duty moisturizer—such as Vaseline—into the affected area once or twice a day. You can also talk with your doctor about using a skin-safe adhesive to close the fissures and help them heal faster.

    Related reading:  Follow these 5 Tips for Healthy Skin

    4. Don’t believe the myth that drinking more water will fix dry skin.

    Contrary to popular belief, the amount of water or fluids you drink does not play a major role in skin hydration—unless you’re severely dehydrated. In the winter, especially, dry skin is caused by external elements; it should be treated from the outside as well. 

    The best way to keep skin hydrated and healthy is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment—not lotion—to damp skin after a shower or bath.
    Some people need additional moisturizers for their hands, legs, or other areas prone to dryness.

    While some lotions are made better than others, most are a combination of water and powder that evaporates quickly. Creams and ointments work better because they contain ingredients that can help rebuild your skin barrier. 

    Look for products with ceramide, a fatty acid that helps rebuild the fat and protein barrier that holds your skin cells together. The AAD also recommends moisturizing ingredients such as:

    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Jojoba oil
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter

    For severely dry skin, you can try a “wet wrap” technique:

    1. Rinse a pair of tight-fitting pajamas in warm water and wring them out so they’re damp, not wet.
    2. Apply cream or ointment to your skin.
    3. Put on the damp pajamas, followed by a pair of dry pajamas, and wear the ensemble for several hours.

    Dampness makes your skin more permeable and better able to absorb hydrating products. If the wet wrap or over-the-counter products aren’t working for you, talk with a dermatologist about prescription skin hydration options. 

    Drinking more water isn’t the answer to dry winter skin. The best solution is to apply fragrance-free cream or ointment directly to damp skin. Get more cold weather #SkinCareTips from a dermatologist in this blog:
    Click to Tweet


    5. Don’t confuse skin conditions with dryness.

    Skin conditions are often mistaken for dry skin because peeling or flaking are common symptoms. Redness of the skin or itching in addition to dryness and flaking indicates a skin condition that may need more than an over-the-counter moisturizer.

    Skin cells are anchored together by a lipid and protein layer (like a brick and mortar wall). With very dry skin, the seal on this wall or barrier is not fully intact and water evaporates out of the skin’s surface. The skin will become itchy and red in addition to scaly or flaky. If you experience these symptoms, visit with a dermatologist.

    6. Don’t wait for symptoms to take care of dry skin.

    Be proactive—the best way to maintain moisture is to apply hydrating creams and ointments directly to your skin on a regular basis. Start by applying them as part of your morning routine. Once you get used to that, add a nighttime application. And carry a container of it when you’re on the go or keep it in an easily accessible location at work.


    You can’t avoid dry air, but you can take precautions to reduce its harsh effects on your skin. If over-the-counter products don’t seem to help, our dermatologists can provide an individualized treatment plan. Hydrated skin is healthy skin!

    Does your skin get drier as the air gets colder?

    Our dermatologists can help.

    Call 202-877-DOCS (3627) or Request an Appointment

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  • June 29, 2018

    By MedStar Health Research Institute

    As part of the MedStar Health commitment to our associates and our goal of supporting continuous learning and professional development, the following classes are now open for registration through Organizational Effectiveness. These courses are open to all MedStar leaders and associates and are held at multiple locations over the next six months.

    To participate in one of the courses, log into and register for a scheduled session at a MedStar location near you. For more information on these Organizational Effectiveness programs, please contact Helene Leclercq-Buchwald at or Fawn Hall at

    All classes begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. (except Talent Manager webinars) at various MedStar Health entities. Locations are noted in the SiTEL Learning Management System.

    Title Description
    The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity™
    (SiTEL Course Li-014190)

    This two-day workshop inspires leaders and associates to apply a process that will dramatically increase their ability to achieve their highest priorities.

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Foundations Edition™
    (SiTEL Course Li-017297)

    This one-day workshop helps leaders and associates, especially frontline and mid-level workers, become empowered with new knowledge, skills, and tools. Participants will learn to be more accountable, confront issues, work as a team and raise the bar on what they can achieve.

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    7 Habits of Highly Effective People 4.0 Signature Edition™
    (SiTEL Course Li-018634)

    Renowned as the world’s premier personal leadership development offering, the new two-day workshop, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Edition 4.0 aligns timeless principles of effectiveness with modern technology and practices. No matter how competent a person is they will not have sustained lasting success unless they are able to effectively lead themselves, influence, engage and collaborate with others, and continuously improve and renew their capabilities. These elements are at the heart of personal, team and organizational effectiveness.

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    Leading Across Generations™
    (SiTEL Course Li-017294)

    This one-day workshop gives leaders a profound understanding of the differences between generations, and the tools and skills to tap into the unique contribution of each generation and bridge generational gaps in the workplace. Leaders will also recognize the importance of putting those differences to work in finding more creative solutions to problems; fostering robust, productive dialog; and engaging team members in giving their highest and best contributions.

    Audience: Leaders only

    Leading at the Speed of Trust™
    (SiTEL Course Li-018632)

    Leading at the Speed of Trust is a one-day workshop that raises trust from an often ignored asset or liability to a strategic advantage in the marketplace. Doing business at the speed of trust dramatically lowers costs, speeds up results, and increased profits and influence. This highly interactive workshop engages leaders at all levels in the real work of identifying and closing the trust gaps that exist in organizations

    Audience: Leaders only

    Presentation Advantage™
    (SiTEL Course Li-017296)

    This one-day workshop helps leaders and associates consistently deliver highly successful presentations.

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    Project Management Essentials for The Unofficial Project Manager™
    (SiTEL Course Li-017295)

    Knowledge workers and leaders have quietly slipped into the role of the unofficial project manager. This one-day workshop will help participant’s consistently complete projects successfully. They will learn to implement a disciplined process to execute projects and to master informal authority to inspire the team

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    Speed of Trust – Foundations Edition™
    (SiTEL Course Li-018633)

    In a work setting of low team trust, people’s unseen agendas or motivations generate suspicion and ultimately hinder getting things done. Guarded communication, speculation and disengagement slow productivity and fuel frustration. But when individuals trust each other—and are trusted by others—communication improves and productivity accelerates as attention is redirected toward team objectives. The Speed of Trust – Foundations team building one-day workshop helps individual contributors identify and address “trust gaps” in their own personal credibility and in their relationships at work. This workshop is designed to help associates increase personal credibility, increase trust with key stakeholders and exhibit behaviors that increase trust.

    Audience: Leaders and Associates

    Peer Today, Boss Tomorrow: Navigating Your Changing Role
    (SiTEL Course Li-007011)

    This class helps new leaders move from peer to boss by applying four strategies to help make the transition. This is a one-day workshop.

    Audience: Leaders only

    Talent Manager Comprehensive Training Webinar

    This two-hour interactive session is a comprehensive class on Talent Manager for leaders and associates. The first 75 minutes is for both groups, and covers log on and off; navigation; writing goals; adding action steps to a goal; writing notes; and writing self-evaluations. This includes time for questions and answers. The remaining 45 minutes is for leaders and covers cascading goals; filling out review forms; using the team overview function to sign forms; and keeping notes on direct reports' performance.

    To register for any Talent Manager session, please click this catalog link: catalog/195924562690209536. From the catalog, click the drop-down arrow next to the class you want and pick your session.

    Definition of Leaders: MedStar Health leaders are defined as supervisors, managers, directors, AVPs, VPs, Senior VPs, presidents, and executive directors, with or without direct reports.

  • June 29, 2018

    By MedStar Health Research Institute

    On June 18, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies announced a final rule to delay for an additional 6 months the general compliance date for changes made recently to revisions to the Common Rule, the regulations adopted by 16 federal department and agencies that govern IRB review requirements. The revisions were originally scheduled to become effective on January 19, 2018. In January 2018, the agencies published an interim final rule that delayed the effective and compliance date for these revisions until July 19, 2018. A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was then released which proposed an additional delay of six months to the compliance date for the revisions to the Common Rule. The NPRM also requested comments on whether to permit institutions to implement three burden reducing provisions from the Common Rule revisions during the proposed six month delay period.

    The Final Rule adopts the proposals described in the April NPRM. The Final Rule delays the compliance date for an additional six month period until January 21, 2019. Institutions will be required to continue to implement the provisions of the pre-2018 version of the Common Rule until January 2019. The exception to that rule is that institutions will be permitted (but not required) to implement three burden-reducing provisions of the new rule. Those provisions are:

    • A revised definition of research, which deems certain categories of activities to not be research;
    • The allowance for no annual continuing review for certain categories of research, and
    • The elimination of the requirement that IRBs review grant applications or other funding proposals related to research.

    The MedStar Research Compliance Program and Office of Research Integrity are working to prepare for implementation of the revisions to the Common Rule and this new Final Rule. As the compliance date approaches, additional information will be distributed and education sessions will be scheduled.

    For any questions, please contact the Research Compliance Program at or the Office of Research Integrity at

  • June 29, 2018

    By MedStar Health Research Institute

    The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) is a non-profit, charitable and educational membership organization committed to providing education, certification, and networking opportunities to all persons involved in clinical research activities.

    For the 27th year, SOCRA will welcome clinical research professionals from across the world at their annual conference. Hosted this year in New Orleans, LA, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans Hotel, this three-day conference will offer current information and tools, best practices, and training to assure that you're up-to-date and compliant in your clinical research practice. The program will feature over 100 academic sessions, a peer-driven poster session, and an exhibit program.

    SOCRA’s Annual Conference Poster Program is an opportunity for individuals to share their research, findings, and achievements with their colleagues. SOCRA offers dedicated times for poster presenters to present and discuss their posters with the diverse group of attendees. Presenting a poster at SOCRA’s Annual Conference is a noteworthy way to share expertise or accomplishment in a specific area while contributing to clinical research. Please consider participating in this great event and becoming an integral part of SOCRA’s Annual Conference.

    September 28-30, 2018
    Hyatt Regency New Orleans
    601 Loyola Avenue
    New Orleans, Louisiana 70113 - USA

    Learn more and register here.

  • June 29, 2018

    By MedStar Health

    Congratulations to all MedStar researchers who had articles published in June 2018. The selected articles and link to PubMed provided below represent the body of work completed by MedStar Health investigators, physicians, and associates and published in peer-reviewed journals last month. The list is compiled from PubMed for any author using “MedStar” in the author affiliation. Congratulations to this month’s authors. We look forward to seeing your future research.                      

    View the full list of publications on here.

     Selected research:

    1. Family planning and contraception use in transgender men.
      Contraception. DOI: 1016/j.contraception.2018.06.006
      Light A, Wang LF, Zeymo A, Gomez-Lobo V
    2. The Impact of Maryland's Global Budget Payment Reform on Emergency Department Admission Rates in a Single Health System.
      Academic Emergency Medicine. DOI: 1111/acem.13507
      Galarraga JE, Frohna WJ, Pines JM
    3. Utility of an additive frailty tests index score for mortality risk assessment following transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
      American Heart Journal. DOI: 1016/j.ahj.2018.01.007
      Steinvil A, Buchanan KD, Kiramijyan S, Bond E, Rogers T, Koifman E, Shults C, Xu L, Torguson R, Okubagzi PG, Pichard AD, Satler LF, Ben-Dor I, Waksman R
    4. Urinary tungsten and incident cardiovascular disease in the Strong Heart Study: An interaction with urinary molybdenum.
      Environmental Research. DOI: 1016/j.envres.2018.06.015
      Nigra AE, Howard BV, Umans JG, Best L, Francesconi KA, Goessler W, Devereux R, Navas-Acien A
    5. Understanding Emergency Medicine Physicians Multitasking Behaviors Around Interruptions.
      Academic Emergency Medicine. DOI: 10.1111/acem.13496
      Fong A, Ratwani RM
  • June 29, 2018

    By MedStar Health

    As MedStar Health Research Institute continues to grow, and the needs of our associates change, we are continuing to expand how we support our associates through the human resources team. As part of building a unified system, in 2017 MedStar Health joined all human resources associates as one team for the system. This unification allows the Research Institute access to system-wide tools and resources to best benefit our associates. As we grow, we are continuing our progress towards transitioning HR from a traditional transactional function to a strategic business partner, focused on business advisory support while enhancing the efficiency of HR-related activities.                                               

    As part of these system-wide tools, the myHR portal was introduced earlier this year as a one-stop resource for associates and leaders. As myHR continues to grow, we are pleased to announce a new resource for our associates beginning on July 2: the HR Solution Center.

    Accessible by phone or online, the HR Solution Center will provide associates with efficient solutions to their request and questions on the following topics:

    • Pay and Compensation
      Verifications outside The Work #, PTO balances/donations, W-2 duplicates, D.C. wage notifications and MHRI timesheet notifications, direct deposit, tax updates and address changes
    • Benefits
      Password reset, enrollment assistance, benefit plan information location, associate discounts
    • myHR Portal
      Assistance with access and navigation/information location
    • Talent Manager
      System navigation, password reset, monitors and sends reminders for initial performance review completion and annual review completion

    You can contact the HR Solution Center at 1-855-MSH-MyHR or

    In addition to the HR Solution Center, the Research Institute continues to be supported by our team of HR professionals: Haley Call, HR Generalist; Latiesha Omonijo, HR Business Partner; Susanne Selzer, Talent Acquisition; and Melissa (Mel) Goodrich, Corporate Director of Human Resources. If you have any questions, please contact the MHRI HR team.

  • June 28, 2018

    By MedStar Health

    Eating out can be a daunting task if you have type 2 diabetes. Portions at restaurants typically are way too big for one person and often contain much more salt, sugar, and calories than anyone should eat in one sitting. This is especially true for someone with diabetes, as overconsuming these nutrients can lead to dangerous blood sugar levels.

    Almost 30 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, accounting for about 9 percent of the population. And considering 61 percent of Americans say they eat out at least once per week, it’s important to make healthy choices at restaurants. I’ve put together six tips to help people with type 2 diabetes make healthier choices the next time they eat out.

    Pro tips for eating food safe for people with type 2 diabetes, via @MedStarHealth
    Click to Tweet

    1. Read the Menu

    More and more, restaurant menus include nutritional information that you should look for if you have type 2 diabetes, such as the amount of carbohydrates, sugar, and protein in the dish. Menus are often available online as well and easily accessible with your smartphone. Plan ahead by checking out the menu before you get to the restaurant. Read menus carefully to help decide what options are best for you, and adjust your diet for the rest of the day to accommodate if you choose to eat a rich dish. Pay attention to beverages. Juices, sweet tea, regular soft drinks, and drink mixers quickly add calories to your meal.

    2. Stick to a reasonable portion size

    If the menu doesn’t mention the size of your entree, ask your server. If you order and the meal is larger than you expected, set part of it aside to resist temptation. I recommend asking for a to-go container when you order so you can box up half the meal as soon as it arrives. Out of sight, out of mind!

    3. Keep a one plate rule at buffets

    Survey the entire buffet and plan your meal before you put any food on your plate. If you choose whatever looks good, rich foods can add up fast. Ask yourself if each food item is really worth the calories before adding it to your plate. Stick to this mantra: one plate, one trip—including desserts.

    4. Eat like you eat at home

    It’s fun to be adventurous in terms of your food selection, within reason. For example, you shouldn’t ignore nutritional information just for the sake of trying something new. An effective way to do this is to choose foods that you cook at home. While the recipe likely is richer at the restaurant, you’ll have basic knowledge about the ingredients and preparation to make a healthier choice.

    5. Avoid high-fat foods

    If you have diabetes, it is wise to limit fat intake to decrease your chance of developing heart disease. Foods that are fried or made with butter, oils, or sauces typically are high in fat. Baked, broiled, braised, and grilled foods usually are a healthier choice.

    6. Don’t over-eat condiments

    Condiments add calories. Ask for gravies, salad dressings, sauces, butter, and dips on the side, so you can control the amount you get in each bite.

    When you follow these tips, going out to eat becomes a lot less challenging. You can focus more on hanging out with family and friends and less on your blood sugar.

    Are you suffering from diabetic foot or need to see a wound healing specialist? Click below to learn about the services provided at the Center for Wound Healing, Hyperbaric Medicine, and Limb Salvage at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Learn More