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  • January 18, 2022

    By MedStar Team

    Structural racism is one of the most pressing issues facing healthcare today.  Unfortunately, academic medicine historically exacerbating the exploitation of vulnerable communities to achieve educational and research goals, especially in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. For example, many traditional research practices among marginalized communities highlight and, in most cases, magnify inequities in care. These can include:   

    • Community members are under informed about research methods and strategies. 

    • Researchers prioritize extraction of information from communities rather than community ownership of information.

    • Researchers accrue funding, prestige, and publications (in which academics’ voices predominate over the narrative perspective of community members) without similar accrual to participating communities.  

    • Researchers’ understanding of questions to be answered may lack cultural context because of their incomplete comprehension of community conditions.  

    The relationship between research institutions and many BIPOC communities is estranged and needs mending to dismantle racial disparities and inequitable research practices. As the area’s largest healthcare provider, MedStar Health is committed to do the work needed to address these issues in everything we do in order to advance health equity for everyone we serve.

    “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    (March 25, 1966 speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights)


    Advancing Health Equity in Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Research

    MedStar Health investigators Arrealia Gavins, Celene E. Domitrovich, Christina Morris, Jessica X. Ouyang, and Matthew G. Biel recently published research emphasizing the need to co-learn and to co-develop research with community members themselves to prioritize benefits for both participants and researchers. “Advancing Antiracism in Community-Based Research Practices in Early Childhood and Family Mental Health” was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. This work was done through the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN),  a community-based partnership between two academic medical centers (MedStar Georgetown University Hospital & Children’s National Health System) and several community-based organizations in Washington, DC that strives to provide support to families through caregiver and child mental health services, family peer support, child social and emotional learning, initiatives to address social determinants of physical and mental health for families, and place-based support to families within select communities.  

    In this study, researchers found that to begin to undo the inherent inequities within academic medical research, particularly in studies involving children and caregivers, investigators need to consider how best to build equitable, long-term partnerships with communities through Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) or more specifically, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). CBPR offers an alternative to traditional non-participatory research with a collaborative, strengths-based orientation that equitably involves researchers, community members and other stakeholders in all phases of research while embracing their unique expertise. 

    Recently documented increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide in BIPOC youth, compounded by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on BIPOC communities, has heightened the urgency for progress in community-based research.

    The research team started to utilize CBPR practices to advance antiracism in their clinical research work in child and family health along with working with BIPOC communities. This approach to integrate CBPR practices into the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based interventions seeks to support early childhood mental health in primarily Black communities in Washington, DC. 

    Making an Impact: Insights & Lessons Learned from CBPR

    Through this work of the EICN, the research team found five valuable lessons from applying CBRP principles to research collaborations in community settings. 

    Intervention Practices

    Lessons Learned and Applied

    ECIN launched a group-based mindfulness parenting program to explore how to support the emotional health of parents at a Head Start early education center with the intention to reduce caregiver stress and enhance caregiver-child relationships.


    Lesson 1: Invest the time to build trusting relationships

    Providers set up several discussion groups with community partners and medical center-based researchers to review proposed assessment tools to be used with children and families receiving psychotherapy services.

    Lesson 2: Involve community partners in the development of the intervention theory of change and measurement strategy


    Clinical staff organized peer specialists to provide support to families with young children through 3 evidence-based strategies: enhancing parents’ knowledge about caregiving with young children;optimizingparent use of existing resources; and increasing parents’ access to social supports.


    Lesson 3: Create interventions in partnership with community members

    Clinical staff providedearly childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) in preschool classrooms to enhance educators’capacitiesto support early childhood development and to recognize early signs of mental health concerns

    Lesson 4: Interpret findings in partnership with community members

    ECIN membersparticipatedin formal antiracism training with external experts to incorporate antiracism principles into ECIN’s operations and into the culture of the Network. ECIN formed a Racial Equity Community of Practice (RECOP), that supports 8 intervention teams in developing practices that advance racial equity goals.

    Lesson 5: Embed an antiracism focus in research structures and processes


    The research team found this community-based approach to be helpful in conducting research that will have a long-lasting impact on not only the community, but also on members of the research team. During a time where BIPOC families are experiencing the effect of COVID-related deaths and grief, unemployment, housing instability, and police violence; researchers have an opportunity to be engaged in the community and work to eliminate racial inequities within academic medicine and research. 

    Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.06.018

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  • May 16, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    The Region’s Busiest Level I Trauma Center

    In the heart of the nation’s capital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Level I Trauma Center has responded to thousands of medical crises, including treating patients of the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and victims of the Navy Yard shootings.

    MedSTAR Trauma (Medical Shock/Trauma Acute Resuscitation) is the regional referral center for critical multiple trauma, treating individual victims of traumatic injury and the multiple victims of mass trauma occurrences.

    The Level I designation ensures constant readiness of multidisciplinary teams and resources, along with a transport network that is capable of reaching patients wherever they are.

    LISTEN: What Makes MedStar Washington Hospital Center a Level I Trauma Center as Heard on WTOP Radio.

    MedSTAR Fast Facts:

    • Verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I facility, providing the top level of trauma care
    • Evaluates 2,200 to 3,000 patients with severe and multiple system injuries each year
    • An internationally respected multidisciplinary team of trauma experts, including a trauma surgeon, emergency physician and many others
    • 24/7 access to a the hospital’s diverse team medical and surgical specialists
    • Serves as a referral center for a 150 mile radius of the hospital, receiving crucial trauma patients from D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania
    • Air and ground transportation via MedSTAR Transport bringing patients from referring hospitals and from the site of the injury
    • More than 50,000 patients airlifted by MedSTAR helicopter transport service, staffed round-the-clock with surgeons and medical flight staff specially trained in the complexities of trauma care
    • Boasts six resuscitation areas, an operating room and high tech equipment to assess, diagnose and treat life-threatening illnesses or injuries

    Meet Jack Sava

    Chief of Trauma

  • May 14, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    Pioneering Heart Care with LVADs

    Because healthy hearts that are appropriate for transplantation are rare, the medical community has turned to advanced technology to find different ways to treat patients with heart failure. A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a mechanical circulatory assist device that helps pump blood from the failing heart into the aorta. It often helps reduce the number of repeat hospitalizations for patients with serious heart disease.

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute heart surgeons implant LVADs while the patient waits for a transplant, allowing the patient to strengthen the heart and body through physical therapy. These devices may also be used for short-term purposes, allowing the heart to rest long enough so that it can recuperate and return to normal, independent function.

    The Power of Trust—Transforming Heart Care

    At MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have created an integrated heart failure program that offers treatment for all forms of heart failure, no matter how severe.

    Patients with heart failure are evaluated thoroughly by our physicians, including a dedicated team of cardiologists who are experts in providing advanced support. Treatment plans are individualized to address the specific needs and circumstances that patients face. Our group believes that advanced cardiac support demands complex medical decision-making, delivered in a partnership between the physician and the patient and family.

    We offer:

    • The most sophisticated diagnostic tools and advanced treatment options in heart care—with more in our research pipeline.
    • Locations throughout the region
    • State-of-the-art patient care and a staff dedicated to putting our patients first, and
    • A key alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute—the nation’s #1 heart program

    About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and has been the premier destination for cardiac care in the nation’s capital for more than 50 years.

    To schedule an appointment, please call

     If you have heart failure, can you answer YES to any of these questions?

    If you can answer YES to two or more questions, you may want to talk with your doctor about receiving further medical evaluation.

    If you are a patient, call our referral and appointment line:

    If you are a physician, call our consultation line:


  • May 13, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    Immunizations During Pregnancy

    In addition to editing your diet and taking the proper supplements, an important box to check while pregnant is the right immunizations. Even when young and healthy, pregnant women have an increased risk for developing certain disorders, and therefore need to take these steps to protect the baby’s health.

    Recommended immunizations include:

    • Flu shot (particularly if pregnant between October and May)
    • Tdap booster. This prevents Pertussis, or “whooping cough,” which can be fatal if transferred to an infant. The D.C. Metro region has a particularly high rate of this disease, so it is essential in our area.

    These immunizations are safe and will not harm the child. For more ways to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy, visit the link below.

    To schedule an appointment please call


    As heard on WTOP Radio:

    Tamika C. Auguste, MD, FACOG

    Tamika C. Auguste, MD, FACOG

    For an appointment with a MedStar specialist, call 202-877-3627.


  • May 12, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, nurses celebrate Nurses Week by finding their "Center"
  • May 12, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    Brain Surgery Without a Trace

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a regional leader in skull base surgeries, now offers endoscopic endonasal surgery performed by an interdisciplinary team of experts. Using advanced technology and a growing tool box of specially designed instrumentation, endoscopic endonasal surgical procedures can now be performed on patients with a variety of conditions that once required open brain surgery.

    The endonasal approach is a major medical advance—with multiple benefits for patients:

    • Smaller incisions and often no visible incisions at all
    • Fewer complications with no damage to surrounding tissue
    • Faster recovery with discharge from the hospital within 48 to 72 hours
    • Resumption of activities in days instead of weeks


    A Trio of Acclaimed Specialists, One Innovative Surgery

    A team of surgeons combine their expertise and work in tandem to perform pioneering procedures—and produce the best possible outcomes for patients. Timothy DeKlotz, MD, and Stanley Chia, MD, FACS, are the otolaryngology (ENT) experts who surgically navigate the nasal passages, allowing Edward Aulisi, MD, FACS, to perform the neurosurgical portion of the procedures. Using computer-assisted technology, the tumor is removed—the injury is repaired—through the nose.

    To schedule an appointment, please call


    As heard on WTOP Radio:

    Edward Aulisi, MD, FACS

    Edward Aulisi, MD, FACS
    Chairman of Neurosurgery

    To schedule an appointment, please call 202-877-3627.


  • May 11, 2016

    By MedStar Health

    Voice Disorders and Preservation

    One in six Americans has a communication disability. For many, it’s a voice disorder due to overuse and strain of the vocal cords.

    We often associate voice disorders with professional singers or actors. But the truth is, injuries are just as common for teachers or tour guides – really anyone who uses their voice for a living.

    Speech therapy from a speech-language pathologist is a critical part of any treatment and may be the only treatment you will need. Therapy typically includes learning proper vocal techniques, eliminating behaviors that harm the voice, and stress reduction solutions.

    Common voice preservation suggestions we recommend:

    • Use proper breath support and voice projection techniques
    • Keep yourself adequately hydrated
    • Avoid talking in noisy situations over background noise, including music, office equipment or noisy classrooms
    • Move close to the listener and face them so you can be heard without yelling
    • Use non-vocal ways to attract attention (e.g clap, ring a bell, blow a whistle)
    • Wait until the listener/students/audience is attentive and quiet before speaking
    • Don’t force speech when you have hoarseness
    • Don’t address large audiences without proper amplification
    • Don’t speak extensively during strenuous physical exercise

    The Hearing and Speech Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center provides a full range of audiology and speech services. We utilize state-of-the-art technology in the evaluation and management of our patients. The Center has been providing speech, language, and hearing services to the Washington, D.C., metro community for more than 50 years.

    Our team includes eight audiologists and eight speech-language pathologists, who have more than 75 years of combined experience. They each possess an advanced degree in audiology or speech-language pathology from an accredited university, are highly trained, and hold national certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

    To schedule an appointment, call


    As heard on WTOP Radio:

    Donna Saur, MA, CCC-SLP

    Donna Saur, MA, CCC-SLP