MedStar Health News | MedStar Health

Featured News

  • 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.

Share this

All News

  • January 17, 2019

    Washington, D.C., — A growing body of evidence indicates the need for additional evaluation of and improvements to electronic health record systems (EHRs), which have been adopted by the majority of U.S. health providers in the past decade to advance health and comply with federal policy. The latest study, presented via a research letter published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reinforces that there is a real possibility for EHR platforms to cause patient harm — making it increasingly important for stakeholders to collaborate to improve this critical health information technology.

    In a first-of-its-kind examination of EHR surveillance data collected by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare research team examined more than 350 reports of EHR issues perceived to violate the federal certification program, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These reported issues may be related to the design, functionality, or security of the product, as well as required disclosures about the product.

    These findings begin to estimate the reach of EHR product issues on patient safety, with 39.5% of surveilled product identifications having an issue with a potential for patient harm. The researchers further estimate that 786 hospitals and 37,365 individual providers may have used the products with these potential patient safety issues based on required product use reporting.

    “Technology and innovation are needed to advance the care delivered to patients; however, while innovations in medications and medical devices are guided by strict surveillance programs in the U.S., no such rigor exists to evaluate the safety of the electronic health record systems that U.S. providers constantly rely upon,” said Raj Ratwani, PhD, director of MedStar Health Human Factors Center. “Our latest research reinforces not only the potential for patient harm across the U.S., but also the limitations in surveillance and challenges in reporting and widely addressing incidents. We encourage all stakeholders to work together on new, transparent, and proactive processes for monitoring, reporting, and addressing safety issues.”

    In addition to the novel review of EHR surveillance data, the MedStar Health Human Factors Center also recently completed an additional evaluation of data pertaining to the usability satisfaction of leading EHR systems. Published in JAMA Network Open on Dec. 13, 2019, an analysis of the System Usability Scale (SUS) data for 27 of 70 widely-used EHR vendor platforms found that there was no statistical improvement in EHR satisfaction SUS scores between 2014 and 2015 certified products. In fact, despite past research finding that poor EHR usability relates to both clinician burnout and patient harm, SUS scores decreased for 44% of vendors from 2014 to 2015.

    Dr. Ratwani and MedStar Health have worked extensively with the AMA, Pew Charitable Trusts, and other collaborators to advance EHR safety and usability over the past several years. Visit for more information and details on ways key stakeholders — including EHR vendors, policymakers, healthcare providers, and patients — can address these issues.   

    About the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare
    The National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare occupies a unique position in the United States as the largest human factors program embedded within a healthcare system. It brings together human factors scientists, systems safety engineers, health services researchers, and clinicians to conduct safety science and applied research in medicine to improve safety, quality, efficiency, and reliability. The center is part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation and is affiliated also with the MedStar Health Research Institute. MedStar Health, the parent organization, is the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region, with 10 hospitals and an extensive ambulatory services network, and is the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University.

  • January 17, 2019

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded a $2.5 million grant to MedStar Health to design and develop a patient safety learning laboratory that will focus on cardiovascular disease in women. The four-year project will be led by Christine A. Goeschel, ScD, RN, and John Yosaitis, MD, and will be comprised of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary team from across MedStar Health. Read more.

  • January 17, 2019


    Gretchen Youssef, MS, RD, CDE, President, Health Care & Education became a member of the American Diabetes Association Principal Officers and National Board of Directors for 2019. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation's leading voluntary health organization on a mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. Read more. 

  • January 14, 2019

    Washington, D.C., – When the leaves start to change color, there’s a good chance that you’ll find Nathalie Lawyer scoring goals on the ice hockey rink. The 28-year-old from Alexandria, VA never turned back after trading figure skating for pads and pucks back in 6th grade. Through work, school, and even marathon training, nothing could keep her off the ice – except for her ACL.

    “I was playing hockey, and someone fell on me,” Lawyer said. “To be fair, I kind of pushed them onto me.”

    play button

    She never heard the classic “pop” in her leg but knew something was wrong after physical therapy sessions couldn’t bring her back to normal. Later, a second injury at home made things much worse.

    “I wasn’t doing anything crazy, but I was trying to reach something on the top shelf of my closet,” she said. “I’m relatively short so I was standing on a chair. I didn’t fall. I didn’t twist. As I was shifting weight to my non-injured leg and stepping off the floor, I did hear that ‘pop.’ It swelled up almost instantly.”

    Lawyer’s primary care doctors now agreed that her ACL was torn, and it was time to consider surgery.

    An Orthopedic Wizard

    Luckily, finding a great orthopedic surgeon didn’t require a lot of leg work. Lawyer visited and requested an appointment with Wiemi Douoguih, MD, at MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre. Two days later, she was sitting in his office.

    “I happened upon Dr. Douoguih on the Internet,” Lawyer said. “I saw he had an opening, so I grabbed it without knowing much about him.”

    It came as a huge surprise to later learn that Douoguih not only treats amateur athletes, but he is also the Head Team Physician for the Washington Wizards professional basketball team. MedStar Health serves as the Official Medical Provider of the Wizards.

    “I felt really lucky and appreciative. I just rolled into his office not knowing how big of a deal he is,” Lawyer said. “I think it says a lot about MedStar Health. The physicians aren’t just filling up their time with high profile patients. It’s for normal people too.”

    Not Beyond Repair

    play button

    Dr. Douoguih determined that arthroscopic surgery could help Lawyer’s knee, and she received the idea well.

    “I had just started grad school and I didn’t want to deal with the whole winter season and crutches on the Metro,” Lawyer said.

    On top of that, her sister’s wedding was only two months away.

    “That was the biggest concern of mine,” she said.

    Lawyer wanted a procedure that would fix the ACL, speed up her return to hockey, and help ditch the crutches ASAP. She came to the right doctor. Douoguih recommended an ACL repair with internal brace augmentation, an innovative new procedure that he has helped pioneer in recent years.

    “It’s stitching up the torn ligament, reattaching it and reinforcing it with a Kevlar-laced suture that acts like a seatbelt while the ligament heals,” Douoguih said. “For years we thought that reconstructing a ligament, or using a piece of tendon from somewhere else, worked better than repairing. The problem is that we may have been throwing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. This whole concept turns on its head the idea that you can’t repair a ligament.”

    Douoguih says that repairing the ligament, versus a traditional reconstruction, preserves the original neural fibers and minimizes the amount of time it takes athletes to re-establish the connection between their knee and their brain.

    “It could take them anywhere from 18 to 24 months to recalibrate their map and define a new pattern of movement to go out and play sports. Some people can never do it. Anything we can do to preserve the normal anatomy is potentially beneficial,” Douoguih said.

    Of Douoguih’s first 28 patients to undergo this repair, he says 86 percent have seen success after two years.

    Back on Her Feet

    At the time, Lawyer scheduled the ACL repair with Dr. Douoguih around the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. The relatively quick, outpatient procedure took place at the MedStar Ambulatory Surgery Center at Lafayette Centre in downtown Washington, D.C.,

    “It was great,” Lawyer said. “I was surprised at how quickly I was able to do things again.”

    After regaining full flexibility in her knee, that included finally putting down the crutches just weeks later as her sister tied the knot.

    “I was able to walk down the aisle and dance at her wedding!” she said.

    Later that summer, she traveled overseas and was able to enjoy long sight-seeing walks to different landmarks with minimal discomfort. Eventually, she started thinking about hockey again, and felt well enough to join some 3-on-3 pick-up games that fall. Now, three years later, she says her knee feels great as she gears up for another season on the ice.

    “My originally injured knee actually feels better than my other knee,” Lawyer said. “It’s fantastic. I don’t feel like I have any limitations.”

    A remarkable turnaround that took months instead of years, thanks to cutting-edge sports medicine available through MedStar Health.


    About MedStar Health

    At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person, and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at

  • January 14, 2019

    Hyattsville, MD—MedStar Health Research Institute has awarded five early-career investigators designated grant funding through the New Investigator ‐ Associate Giving Grant Fund. This fund is supported through designated funds contributed by the associates of MedStar Health during the associate giving philanthropy campaign.

    “MedStar Health is committed to growing as an academic health system,” said Neil Weissman, MD, chief scientific officer for MedStar Health and president of MedStar Health Research Institute. “Early-career funding can have a lasting impact on both researchers and the patients we care for by changing the way we treat them. Our ability to support this work is through the commitment of our associates to help us reach our vision of advancing health for our community.”

    Associate gifts designated for research during the 2018 MedStar Health Associate Giving Campaign, the Power to Heal, were used to support the work of new investigators through the New Investigator—Associate Giving Grant Fund. These grants are awarded to new MedStar Health investigators who have joined MedStar Health in the previous five years, with the goal of supporting research focused on advancing health for patients in the communities we serve. This initial funding can have the potential to lead to external grant funding for their research.

    The following five physician-investigators have been awarded funding for their research.

    • Ankit B. Shah, MD, MPH, FACC (MedStar Sports & Performance Cardiology Program)
      “Atrial size, function and fitness level among endurance runners with known paroxysmal atrial fibrillation”
    • Leila Shobab, MD, FRCPC (MedStar Washington Hospital Center)
      “Sex-Specific Immune Landscape of Differentiated Thyroid Cancer”
    • Pashna M. Munshi, MD (MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center)
      “We're in This Together: Health-Related Quality of Life, Self Preparedness, and Caregiver Burden in Patient/Primary Caregiver Dyads in the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Setting”
    • Shashwati Geed, PT PhD (MedStar National Rehabilitation Medicine)
      “Identifying a signal for critical period plasticity: Function of PV+ interneurons post stroke”
    • Yasar Torres-Yaghi, MD (MedStar Georgetown University Hospital)
      “MicroRNA in Neurodegenerative Diseases: Parkinson Disease, Lewy Body Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease”

    Thank you to all associates who contributed to the 2018 Power to Heal Campaign. In 2018, over 3,200 associates, physicians, and board members across the MedStar Health system chose to participate in philanthropy.  Please consider making a gift online to support MedStar Health Research Institute and our new investigators. Select “MedStar Health Research Institute” from the drop-down menu to direct your gift to this fund.


    About MedStar Health Research Institute
    The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. Visit us at

    About MedStar Health
    MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation, and research. MedStar’s 31,000 associates, 6,500 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care, and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit

  • January 14, 2019

    BALTIMORE, MD – One week after being surprised with free tickets during chemotherapy treatment, a group of Ravens fans battling breast cancer found themselves enjoying the ultimate Purple Friday – the 5th annual Sip N’ Paint Night at M&T Bank Stadium. The MedStar Health patients arrived outfitted in purple jerseys, hats and shirts but would leave with much, much more.

    Behind the Scenes

    play button

    Before Sip N’ Paint, the women enjoyed refreshments and a special “behind the scenes” tour of an area few Ravens fans ever get to see: the team’s locker room. Escorted by wide receiver Chris Moore, the guests were presented with Ravens apparel, MedStar Health gear, autographed footballs and plenty of photo opportunities. Moore also personally handed out tickets to Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, where the women would be recognized for their brave battles against the deadly disease.

    Cynthia Hicks-Leeper of Baltimore loved seeing where the players hang out before the game and get in their “little huddles,” but the best part was knowing that she’s not alone in her cancer journey.

    “To be around people who really know what it feels like, that’s really cool,” Hicks-Leeper said. “You’re all dealing with the same thing and you’re fighting that same fight together.”

    Taking a Time Out

    play button

    After the locker room meet-and-greet, the women jumped right into sipping and painting; joining the fun, refreshment-filled session hosted by Trevino Paint. They were joined by Ravens cornerback Cyrus Jones, whose family has also been touched by breast cancer.

    “Unfortunately, I lost my grandmother to breast cancer in 2010, so when I got asked to do this event it was something that I jumped at right away,” Jones said. “She would have loved something like this.”

    As patient Collen Discher worked on her pink and purple Ravens-themed artwork, she talked about being thankful for the opportunity to focus on a good time instead of thinking about what she’s been through. Just ten days earlier, Discher underwent a double mastectomy in hopes of treating her second battle with breast cancer in 15 years.

    “I didn’t even think about it and I’m still healing. I still have wounds that I need to take care of,” she said. “This makes you feel like, yes I beat cancer, but I’m going to beat cancer twice. This is my first Sip N’ Paint and they also gave me a ticket to the game, so I’m feeling really, really special.”

    Treating Patients Well

    To help make the event extra special, MedStar Health care teams coordinated with the Ravens to make sure that the patients invited to M&T Bank Stadium were surprised in style. The Friday beforehand, the women thought they were going to routine chemotherapy appointments. Instead, they were greeted by Ravens cheerleaders and mascot Poe at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. That’s when they were handed a ticket to the VIP experience, kicking off a week to remember.

    “That was really fun!” said Hicks-Leeper, who is never short on smiles despite her 17-year breast cancer battle. She’s been treated by Breast Center director Kristen Fernandez, MD, for 15 of them.

    “I wouldn’t be anywhere else but MedStar Health, because MedStar Health is awesome. It’s always been that way for me,” she said. “People have come into my hospital room and sat on my bed and talked to me. They didn’t treat me like a patient, they treated me like family.”


    MedStar Health serves as the Official Medical Provider of the Baltimore Ravens.

MedStar Health makes the news