MHRI Goes Red for Heart Health

Every February at MHRI, we celebrate “Heart Healthy” and take the time to “Go Red!” for heart health. Associates were invited to wear red in support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) fight against heart disease in February. Throughout the month, associates gathered together to show their commitment to heart health.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At MedStar Health Research Institute, many of our research efforts are designed to improve quality of life for heart patients. Chances are we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke because about 2200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That’s an average of one death every forty seconds.

As we have for the last eight years, we accepted submissions for a photo challenge! Associates showed off in their red outfits and team spirit. View all the photo submissions from MHRI teams below. Thank you to all who took the time to participate. Winners will be announced in an upcoming edition of Important Things to Know for all MHRI associates.

Thank you to all who showed their support for this important cause!

Take the time to take care of your heart. You can learn more about taking care of your heart health from the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute:


Professional Development Learning Opportunities for 2020

Organized by the Department of Continuing Professional Education, MedStar Health is offering a variety of CE conferences this spring that provide an opportunity to gain knowledge of new treatments and techniques and network with leaders in the field through interactive case studies and presentations. MedStar associates may earn CE credits and discounted registration is available. You can view other CE activities from MedStar here. For questions or additional information, contact [email protected].

Prostate Cancer 2020 - March 28
The Wink, Washington, D.C.
Course Directors: George K. Philips, MD; Ross E. Krasnow, MD, MPH; Keith J. Kowalczyk, MD; Young Kwok, MD

2nd Annual Play with Aces and Always Win:  Pelvic Surgery at Its Best - April 3-4
Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C.
Course Directors: Vadim V. Morozov, MD; James K. Robinson, MD
MedStar Associates save 50% on registration with code: PELVIC50

Diabetic Limb Salvage (DLS 2020) - April 15-18
JW Marriott, Washington, D.C.
Course Directors: Christopher Attinger, MD; John Steinberg, MD

Pharmacogenomics (PGx) - April 4
Bethesda Marriott, Bethesda, Md.
Course Directors: Sandra Swain, MD; James Welsh, MD; Max Smith, PharmD

Abdominal Wall Reconstruction (AWR 2020) - June 4-6
Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
Conference Chair: Parag Bhanot, MD

Spring 2020 – SAVE THE DATE (registration coming soon)
Frontline Cardiology 2020
May 2, 2020, College Park Marriott, College Park, MD

For more information and to stay up to date, please visit

Build Your Healthcare Career: John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship

Do you know someone who exemplifies excellence, leadership, and commitment? Each year, MedStar Health associates have the opportunity to win a John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship is for five MedStar Health associates, each equaling up to $3,500. Recipients of the scholarship may use funds for tuition and/or fees for the current academic semester (in which the applicant is currently enrolled) or for the upcoming academic semester.

Established in 2003, the John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship awards academic scholarships to highly-motivated, MedStar associates who strive to advance their leadership career in health care.  For application consideration, you must:

  • Serve in a management or supervisory position
  • Work for a minimum of two years at any MedStar entity
  • Be actively pursuing a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree (or higher) in a field applicable to healthcare administration/leadership
  • Maintain good-standing with the organization, including no disciplinary actions on file within the past year
  • Strive to advance your leadership career in healthcare
  • Identify as:
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
    • Black or African-American
    • Hispanic or Latino
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

The John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship honors the late John L. Green, executive vice president, Corporate Services. From 1983 to 2002, Green held executive leadership roles at Medlantic Health Care Group and MedStar Health, as well as on the Morgan State University Board of Regents in Baltimore. He served as chairman of the Morgan State University board from 1990 to 1995.

The scholarship is reserved for exceptional individuals who share Green’s traits of excellence, leadership, and commitment to the vision, mission, and values of MedStar Health. This targeted scholarship reflects Green’s commitment to increasing minority representation in leadership positions in health care.

The scholarship is funded entirely by a grant from the MedStar Health Board of Directors to commemorate Green’s contributions and his legacy of excellence.

Recipients of the John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship are awarded up to $3,500 for assistance with tuition and fees for the current or upcoming academic semester. Interested associates must meet the scholarship criteria and submit a completed application by April 18.

For questions about the John L. Green Generation of Leadership Scholarship, call 410-772-6751 or email Helene Leclercq-Buchwald.

Honoring SPIRIT at MHRI

Surafel Zenebe was awarded the SPIRIT of Excellence Award for the third quarter of 2019 during a presentation at MedStar University Town Center. Surafel is the Sponsored Award Manager, Office of Contracts and Grants Management at MedStar Health Research Institute. Nominated by Grant Gonzalez, Director, Financial Operations (Office of Financial Management), the award was presented by Neil Weissman, President, MedStar Health Research Institute.

Often nominated by the manager, this was by a peer. Tina Stanger, Assistant Vice President, Research Administration said “Teamwork is such a small word for what he does. He can work with anyone, PI's, SCAs, and treat them all with respect.” Surafel was recognized for his commitment and his ability to maintain relationships between the Central Business Office (COB), Office of Financial Management (OFM), Office of Contracts and Grants Management (OCGM) and Scientific Awards Administration (SAA). During the presentation, everyone had wonderful remarks to say about Surafel:

  • “He is extremely helpful with other teams. Helping us understand transactions and what is happening. He balances the work and makes each request feel important.”
  • “Surafel is constantly thinking of ways to improve processes within his respective team and MHRI. He tries to apply processes that create efficiencies within his own department. Similar, he is always looking at the overall MHRI financial health for was to improve it.”
  • “He forms relationships with those he works with, from admin to managers to coordnators to colleagues at different institutions and even patients calling about reimbursements, aiding in his successes. These relationships have allowed Surafel to successfully provide the support required from his job.”

The SPIRIT Award is given to recognize and reward one associate (management or non-management) each quarter, who excels in Service, Patient First, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork.  Based on valuable feedback, the nomination process for the MHRI Spirit Award has been revamped to best serve our managers and associates to ensure that we are recognizing an associate of the quarter.

The new process will leverage the KUDOS that are submitted by all associates. Each quarter, the MHRI Executive Team will review the KUDOS submissions and select an associate or manager who best exemplifies all our SPIRIT values.This method is similar to programs at different entities at MedStar Health. We hope this new process will allow us to recognize associates for their continued commitment to the MedStar SPIRIT values.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

MHRI…Step Right Up!

In December, MHRI associates took some time out of their busy schedules to celebrate the successes of 2019 with their fellow associates. These events are also our opportunity to recognize associates with milestone years of service with MedStar Health.

Through feedback and collaboration with our Associate Engagement Committee, we moved to two parties for this year. Both celebrations brought together leadership and associates to embrace our circus/carnival theme, “Step Right Up!”. This year we recognized excellence as we acknowledged our High Recruitment Studies that have reached their goals.  We also recognized our 2019 SPIRIT Award Recipients: the Ryan White Team, Allison Selman-Lovell and Surafel Zenebe.  Our associate recognition program, KUDOS was highlighted as we congratulated individuals for sending and receiving Kudos from one another.  We played a competitive game of trivia that challenged our knowledge of carnivals, state fairs and the circus. The events also featured our service award presentations and our wonderful raffle and associate gifts!  

Thank you to all of our MHRI performers and ringleaders, who achieve great things through the year on a daily basis and help make a difference in the lives of our patients and the organization they represent.

Many thanks to all the associates who assisted with planning, set-up, and clean up at each location. Your efforts made the events a success! Thank you to all the associates who brought a donation for Dr. Bear’s Closest at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. We’d also like to thank Amy Avergas and Karen Vaughan for organizing donations from the Greater Baltimore Oncology Nurse Society. More than 60 toys were donated to help children and their siblings celebrate this season.

Congratulations to our service award recipients for your years of dedicated service to MedStar. Your work and support allow us to continue our commitment to advancing health in our community.

25 Years of Service
Barbara Rector

20 Years of Service
Grace Nasrallah
Petros Okubagzi
Mary Park
Jianhui Zhu

15 Years of Service
Lin Han
Suman Singh

10 Years of Service
Rachel Campbell
Brandon Clark
Teshome Deksissa
Stephen Fernandez
Xia Liu
Theresa Moriarty
Patricia Tanjutco

5 Years of Service
Abdul Naser Alkhalil
Susan Cranford
Abera Dengezo
Preethy Feit
David Gaviria-Munoz
Daniel Hoffman
Matthew Hoffman
Audrey Jenkins
Ji Jin
Chad League
Florence Mwicigi
Sarah Null
Shreejana Pokharel
Kevin Reeves
Timothy Rodriguez
Jose Rodriguez-Weisson
Christina Stanger
Sharon Taho
Surafel Zenebe
Amir Ali Zohdi­­­­­

You may view and download photos here, along with the slide presentations:

Coming Together: MHRI Fall Town Halls

At the recent MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI) Fall Town Halls, associates gathered at three of our locations to be informed and engaged with what’s taking place across the MedStar Health System. Thank you to all the Research Institute associates that joined us at University Town Center, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and MedStar Washington Hospital Center to connect with other associates and learn about the latest endeavors at the Research Institute.

Dr. Neil Wesissman opened the town hall with a safety moment. In the last few months, there have been two reported shootings on site of two of our MedStar locations, MedStar Harbor Hospital (Baltimore, MD) and University Town Center (Hyattsville, MD). Dr. Weissman discussed the importance of being prepared for workplace violence or an active shooter situation. He encouraged associates to watch the “Run, Hide, Fight” video created by MedStar associates which demonstrates what to do in the event of an active shooter situation in the healthcare setting. The RUN, HIDE, FIGHT video and other tools and resources are available on StarPort at

Jim Boscoe, our new Director of the Office of Research Integrity provided updates to associates regarding the IRB and IACUC committees. The Georgetown-MedStar eIRB system, Huron, implemented a recent update to the application system to include minor modifications and a more stable environment for users to experience. The Office of Research Integrity has an open position in their department and are exploring opportunities to make improvements with operations. The IACUC committee recently implemented a new electronic application system, Streamlyne, to manage and review animal research studies. The system went live on October 17th.

The operating goals and initiatives for FY20 were discussed. Associates should have been provided with the MHRI “Plan-on-a-Page” which highlights the goals for the Research Institute for FY20 and provides a clear line-of-sight for associates to support their engagement with the organization. A fun game of Jeopardy was played which covered the FY20 Plan-on-a-page and celebrated the winning team at each town hall. If you did not receive a copy of the Plan-on-a-Page, please contact [email protected]. Congratulations to all our winning Jeopardy teams! Thank you all for playing!


The Power to Heal campaign begins November 1 and runs through November 30. Associates are invited to join the gratitude movement by participating and making a Gift of Gratitude in honor of a colleague, friend or caregiver. Since 2016, 21 new investigators have been supported by MedStar associates. This year’s Power to Heal Campaign at MedStar Health Research Institute will benefit the New Investigator Fund. To learn about the projects that were funded by the 2018 campaign, view the press release here.

Research would not be possible without our associates and without the patients who participate. Thank you for being a part of our vision to advance health through research.

Choose Your Benefits for 2019

Annual Enrollment is underway and myHR is your one-stop for all the information you need to choose the right benefits plan for 2019. Before enrolling, take time to visit myHR to compare plans and explore all of the options available to you. Take time to review your enrollment packet and determine the right options for you and your family.

The 2020 Annual Enrollment period (Oct. 29-Nov. 18) is your opportunity to review and make changes to your benefits plan for the upcoming year. You must enroll online through myHR from StarPort (see HR Information section) or to make changes to your benefits coverage and enroll in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). If you wish to keep your current benefits for 2020 (medical, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability, additional coverage, legal resources, and other voluntary benefits), you do not need to enroll online. Your 2019 benefits elections and dependents will roll over to 2020, except for FSA.

Discover More MedStar Total Rewards

Your benefits options encompass much more than your healthcare coverage. With voluntary benefits, you can purchase more coverage to ensure you and your family are protected—no matter what life throws your way.

Voluntary benefits provide additional value to your MedStar Total Rewards package, giving you more choices to tailor your benefits plan to best fit your needs.

The voluntary benefits for 2020 Annual Enrollment include:

  • Universal Life Insurance: Provides permanent death benefits, including a long-term care rider
  • Critical Illness Insurance: Offers affordable, flexible coverage for a variety of serious illnesses
  • Accident Insurance: Assists you financially in the event of an injury
  • Legal Resources: Comprehensive coverage for a wide range of legal services for an affordable monthly rate, with no copays and yearly usage limitations
  • Pet Insurance: Medical coverage for dogs and cats of all ages and breeds, provided by PetFirst; MedStar associates receive a 10% discount on all plans

Voluntary benefits coverage is available at discounted group rates, meaning you pay a lower monthly rate. Learn more and enroll online at myHR from StarPort (see HR Information section) or from any computer or mobile device.

Invest in Your Health with MedStar MyHealth

MedStar Associate Survey results continue to demonstrate associates value their benefits, specifically identifying healthcare coverage and wellness programs as important. MedStar prioritizes offering associates quality benefit programs, including MedStar MyHealth.

To support your health and wellness, you may take advantage of MyHealth programs, including:                           

  • MyHealth Questionnaire: Complete your 2020 MyHealth questionnaire by Nov. 30, 2019 and save approximately $360 next year on your MedStar Select or CareFirst medical premium. The questionnaire assesses your health information, such as blood pressure, weight and cholesterol, as well as lifestyle habits, to determine your overall health status and lifestyle risks. No one from MedStar will see your personalized results and they do not affect your health coverage.
  • MyHealth Care Advising: If you have a chronic health condition, a health advisor can help coordinate care and develop a plan to achieve your health goals.
  • MyHealth Maternity: Throughout your pregnancy, a personal health advisor is available to work with you.

MedStar is committed to helping you achieve your health and wellness goals. Get started today at No one from MedStar will see your personalized results and they do not affect your health coverage.

If have questions about your benefits or how to enroll, contact the HR Solution Center at 855.674.6947.

Open Enrollment Begins This Month

Open Enrollment for 2020 benefits starts this month. This is your opportunity to choose benefits for you and your family. From October 28 through November 18, you will have the option to review your current benefit selections and determine which coverage best meets your needs for 2020. You may enroll in medical, dental and vision plans; flexible spending accounts; supplemental life insurance; supplemental accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance; dependent life coverage; legal resources; and voluntary benefits during Open Enrollment.

Enrollment Process
Associates must enroll online at myHR, where they have access to an updated enrollment site with a new look and feel, as well as features to help them choose the right level of coverage and covered dependents. If associates want to keep their current benefits for 2019, they do not need to enroll online. All 2019 benefit selections and enrolled dependents will roll over to 2020, except for Flexible Spending Account elections. Associates must enroll each year to participate in these accounts.

An important step in the Annual Enrollment process is learning about the many benefit options available to you. One way to accomplish this is by attending an upcoming in-person Benefits Fair or virtual Benefits Information Session.

During these scheduled events, associates may:

  • Interact with MedStar's benefit providers to ask specific questions and obtain more detailed plan information.
  • Hear what's new for 2020
  • Ask questions to our benefits experts

Looking for more information about the total rewards package offered to you and your dependents? Take some time to attend a benefits fair and learn more. The full schedule of fairs is available here.

Flu Vaccinations Protect Patients, Save Lives

At MedStar Health, patient safety is our highest priority. The most effective way to reduce the risk of contracting influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated. Even if you received a vaccination last season, immunity decreases over time, and therefore you must be vaccinated on an annual basis.

Vaccination of associates reduces the risk of transmitting the flu virus to patients, since healthcare workers are frequently linked as the source of flu in healthcare settings. You could have no flu symptoms and still be a carrier, and unknowingly spread it to patients, fellow co-workers, visitors, and your family.

All MedStar associates, affiliated physicians, volunteers, students, contracted staff, and vendors are required to receive the influenza vaccination by December 4. If you are unable to receive vaccination due to medical contraindications and/or religious exemptions, you must submit an Influenza Vaccination Exemption Form by the October 31 deadline. To obtain an Influenza Vaccination Exemption Form, or more information about influenza vaccinations visit

MedStar is committed to making the influenza vaccine as accessible to you as possible. Obtain your free flu vaccination from:

  • All Occupational Health offices across the system
  • Unit rounds in high-volume patient care areas
  • Peer immunizers
  • Clinics scheduled at various sites
  • MedStar Health Urgent Care locations

Note: A valid MedStar ID must be presented in order to receive a free flu vaccination.
PromptCare offices will submit documentation to Occupational Health.

 For more information about obtaining a flu vaccination, visit an Occupational Health office or go to

MedStar Health and Georgetown University Partnership Brings New Educational Opportunities for Associates

MedStar Health strives to provide associates with the tools and learning opportunities to succeed in the ever-changing healthcare industry. To accomplish this, associates are encouraged to take advantage of MedStar’s Educational Assistance program and unique partnerships with local universities and colleges, including Georgetown University. 

The Georgetown University’s Executive Masters and Certificate programs address the growing need for sustainable improvements in patient safety and quality education. Through these valuable opportunities, students learn from national experts who have shaped the patient safety and quality landscape, and collaborate with other learners within the healthcare industry.

Executive Masters Program in Clinical Quality, Safety and Leadership

  • Immerse yourself in advanced theory and concepts of healthcare quality, patient safety science, and organizational leadership
  • 16-month online program, with a four-day onsite networking opportunity held at Georgetown University in D.C.
  • Full-time or part-time enrollment available

Executive Certificate in Patient Safety and Quality

  • Practice fundamental concepts of systems-thinking, improvement science, and data collection, organization, and analyses
  • Six-month online certificate

Executive Certificate in Healthcare Safety and Leadership

  • Gain insight on how to become a leader in an ever-changing healthcare system
  • Six-month online certificate 

Learn more about the programs and apply online

Note: Participation in Georgetown University’s Executive Masters and Certificate programs may be eligible for Educational Assistance. Refer to your entity’s policy for more information.