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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md.Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof.

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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  • September 04, 2019
    Congratulations to Raj Ratwani, PhD, director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and associate professor of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, for receiving the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Earl Alluisi Award for Early Career Achievement.
  • August 28, 2019
    MedStar National Rehabilitation Network Presents 16th Annual Fundraiser at Sport & Health, Tysons Corner
  • August 26, 2019

    LEONARDTOWN, MD—Can acupuncture work as an alternative to opioids for pain management? Join visiting Chinese Medicine doctors Kai Cheng, MD, and Daniel Jiao, DAOM, L.Ac to explore this topic through an informative talk and demonstration.

    “Acupuncture for Pain Management” will be held Friday, Sept. 13, from 3-4:30 p.m. in Health Connections at the Outpatient Pavilion, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Learn more about the benefits of acupuncture for pain relief through this free seminar, which is open to the public, hospital associates and clinicians.

    Dr. Cheng, a professor at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, is the grandson of Cheng Xinnong, Great Master of Chinese Medicine. He is a graduate of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine’s School of Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Tuina, holding a Bachelor of Medicine and Doctorate of Medicine. Dr. Cheng practices "Heaven-Earth-Human" acupuncture, demonstrated to impact emotional, metabolic, degenerative, neurological, digestive, and reproductive system diseases.

    Dr. Jiao obtained his doctorate in acupuncture and oriental medicine and his master’s in traditional Chinese medicine from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. In private practice since 1984, Dr. Jiao has served on the Board of Directors for the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, serving as its chairman for three years and commissioner for 11 years. He was also a consultant for the California State Acupuncture Board and member of the site-visit team for the State Accreditation Committee.

    Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Calendar to learn more, or call 240-434-7929 to register.

  • August 22, 2019
    "It gave me hope"
  • August 21, 2019

    “I felt like the clock was ticking against me.”

    Gary Simmons, of Glen Burnie, MD, was doing everything he could to maintain his healthy lifestyle while battling kidney failure caused by diabetes. He ate right, worked out three times a week, rode his bike over 30 miles every weekend, and just started a new job with the special education staff at Lindale Middle School in Linthicum, MD. Despite his best efforts, Simmons could tell that his condition was worsening late last year.

    “It was an immediate fear of death that set in with me,” he says. “Not knowing that I had options to sustain my life. I have two young kids, and while my quality of life was deteriorating, their quality of life was deteriorating. I wasn’t able to do a lot of things that I needed to.”

    Simmons sought help from transplant specialists at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, who immediately ordered dialysis treatment and listed him for a kidney transplant.

    A Desperate Plea Answered

    Danelle Chapman and Gary Simmons
    Danelle Chapman and Gary Simmons

    Simmons’ physicians explained that the only way to cut down his time on the waiting list was to find someone willing to give him one of his or her kidneys; a living donor.

    “They talked about self-advocacy,” Simmons says. “I sent my story out to just about everyone that was in my e-mail contacts.”

    That list included friends, family, and many of the people he had only recently contacted initially about his current position at Lindale Middle School. Simmons received a reply from his boss, Danelle Chapman, who hired him only a few months prior.

    “She responded the next day saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to look into this to see if I can donate to you.’”

    Simmons was shocked.

    “I didn’t think it made any sense. She just gave me a job,” he says. “She really didn’t know me besides from school. I said, ‘Nobody’s really that kind.’ But it turns out she is.”

    Choosing the Gift of Life

    Chapman chairs the school’s special education department and, until Simmons’ e-mail, did not know the severity of her colleague’s illness. She says the decision to become his living donor was not a difficult one.

    “First, I realized he was in his forties and raising two kids. I already knew about his work ethic and his community service. He’s just an all-around great guy,” Chapman says. “I felt like he had a lot to give, and it was important to extend the quality of his life so that he could be there for his kids and provide for them.”

    She kept her word, undergoing tests and examinations at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute (MGTI) to determine if she could donate to Gary.

    “It’s a phenomenal program,” Chapman says. “Everyone was very kind throughout in explaining the procedure. They were extremely supportive.”

    Plotting a New Course

    Unfortunately, the results of the tests showed that Chapman and Simmons were not a blood match, meaning that her kidney could not be donated directly. Fortunately, there are other options.“Paired kidney exchange (PKE) is just one of the tools we use to complete living donor transplants even if the donor and recipient are not biologically compatible,” says Jennifer Verbesey, MD, director of the Living Donor Transplant Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “Through the exchange, we can connect our pairs with others in the same position across the country and ultimately find matches. The goal is to build donation chains so that two, three, four or more people can end up getting a new kidney instead of just one person.”

    After agreeing to take part in the paired kidney exchange, Chapman could finally deliver the big news.

    “I think the look on his face was very surprised,” Chapman recalls through laughter.

    “I didn’t know whether to scream, to cry, or to shout. I’ll be honest, I was in such shock that I was motionless,” says Simmons. “It was amazing. God gave me a job and put me in a place where people were really looking after me.”

    One Kidney Saving Two Lives

    Simmons after his successful surgery
    Simmons after his successful surgery

    Coordinators at MGTI were able to fit both patients into the paired kidney exchange network. A blood match recipient was found for Chapman’s kidney and, in return, Simmons would receive a compatible kidney back from another donor in the exchange.

    “It’s pretty amazing when I think about the impact because it definitely effects so many more people than just Gary,” Chapman says.

    “She started off with the intention of helping me but, at the end of the day, she ended up saving two lives,” said Simmons.

    Both successful surgeries took place during the same week in late July. Gary had his new kidney transplanted by Dr. Verbesey just two days before his birthday on July 25th. It’s a gift he will never forget.

    “Danelle gave me a job, she gave me a birthday gift, and she gave me a kidney!” he says.

    Overwhelming Support

    In an additional show of support and kindness, another teacher from Lindale Middle School, Terra Greene, is serving as Simmons’ caretaker throughout his recovery from transplant surgery. Gary plans on returning to work in October or November. Chapman says she’ll be ready for the start of the new school year in late-August, and she is excited to eventually tell students all about her summer vacation.

    MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute performs more living donor kidney transplants than any other healthcare institution in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It is also recognized as a national leader in kidney exchange and the management of recipients and donors who are incompatible. Only a handful of transplant centers in the United States offer this option to their patients. For more information, visit: MedStarGeorgetown.org/LivingDonor

  • August 16, 2019

    Washington, D.C., – The 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award®, an honor recognizing exceptional nursing practice, leadership, and outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units.

    The award, which stands for “Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg,” is the first of its kind honoring med-surg nursing units in the United States and internationally. It is co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB). The award is given to outstanding acute care/med-surg units or adult/pediatric units classified as med-surg.

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    Andrea Melendez, MSN, RN, National Secretary of AMSN, presented the 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology team with the AMSN PRISM Award plaque during a ceremony Wednesday, August 14, on the unit. 

    “I am so proud of the 5E team. This is such a phenomenal accomplishment,” said Tonya R. Washington, MSN, RN, senior vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “We are so delighted that their excellent team work, patient care and outcomes are recognized with this prestigious award.”

    Hoping to inspire nurses to strive for the highest levels of patient safety and quality, AMSN and MSNCB launched the award in October 2012. The award also reflects the compassion, commitment, and connection that characterize med-surg nurses.

    There are more than 600,000 medical-surgical nurses practicing in the United States today, making them the single largest group of specialty nurses working in hospital settings, according to AMSN. Med-surg nurses oversee a broad spectrum of patient care responsibilities, another reason the acronym “PRISM” was chosen for the award.

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    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

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