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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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  • February 16, 2018

    According to Interventional Cardiologist Mun K. Hong, MD, FACC, obesity has multiple harmful effects on the heart, including the heart muscle, the blood vessels, and heart rhythm. Having the extra weight is similar to carrying half of that weight in each hand every second of the day.

    For example, if someone is 50 pounds overweight, he/she is carrying 25-pound weight in each hand every second of the day. As you can imagine, this extra weight would cause stress on the heart to result in the heart muscle being thickened, the heart blood vessels developing blockages, and the heart rhythm to be disturbed. In addition, obesity contributes to the development or worsening of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

    On the other hand, weight loss can result in the reversal of these harmful effects. There was a recent study, where obese patients with irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation were divided into two groups, with one group not helped to lose weight and the second group coached and supported to lose weight. The group that lost weight also had resolution of their irregular heart rhythm.    

    It is not easy to lose weight, especially if one has been overweight for a long time. However, it is important to change lifestyles, including adding more physical activities, reducing calorie consumption, especially from animal fats, and maintaining a regular sleep pattern. It is thus especially important to help young children and teenagers to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid becoming obese.

    There is some controversy regarding the use of weight loss prescription medications. It is essential to have close follow-up with physicians. It is not a good idea to use over-the-counter weight loss “medications,” as their safety is not guaranteed.

    Q & A with Cardiologist Sung W. Lee, MD

    How does being overweight or obese affect your heart?  How does a healthy heart function when compared to the heart of a patient who is overweight?

    • Almost all cardiovascular diseases increase in frequency in the setting of obesity, including hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF).
    • Excessive body fat increases blood volume which eventually leads to abnormal enlargement and thickening of the heart.  This can lead to heart failure.
    • Overweight patients also tend to develop sleep apnea which causes inadequate breathing and raise blood pressure in the lung. 
    • Body fat also increases inflammation and releases hormones that can cause scars in the heart.   

    Is there a link between obesity and atrial fibrillation (the most common heart rhythm problem)?

    • Around 40 percent of the US population is obese, based on body mass index, and almost 10% are severely obese.  The estimated prevalence in the United States is approximately 5.2 million and is expected to increase to 12.1 million by the year 2030.  The obesity epidemic is partly responsible for a marked increase the prevalence of atrial fibrillation.

    How have you seen these problems manifest themselves in your patients?

    • Patients with atrial fibrillation most often feel heart beating fast and “flip-flopping."  They feel short of breath and tired.  However, symptoms can be often subtle. 

    If you are overweight and begin to diet and exercise, can this help reverse the damage to your heart?

    • Lifestyle modifications, including weight loss, have a favorable impact on atrial fibrillation, by lowering the incidence and frequency of atrial fibrillation. 
    • Physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness seem to have a positive impact on atrial fibrillation.
    Atrial fibrillation
  • February 16, 2018

    OLNEY, Md. —MedStar Montgomery Medical Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in ultrasound as the result of an extensive review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Ultrasound imaging, also known as sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal body parts to help providers diagnose illness, injury or other medical problems.

    The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards, following a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.

    The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

  • February 13, 2018

    Leonardtown, Maryland (Feb. 12, 2018) – A call for red newborn hats at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital has resulted in a tremendous turnout.

    Through the American Heart Association’s “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign, families who welcome babies at the Women’s Health & Family Birthing Center in February will receive a handmade red hat instead of the traditional pink or blue. More than 400 caps have been generously donated by community members so far.

    The special hats are meant to create awareness of congenital heart defects during American Heart Month, plus emphasize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

    “We are humbled by the generosity of our community,” said Mary B. Cheseldine, volunteer services coordinator for MedStar St. Mary’s. “Hats have been arriving almost daily, and the creativity and talent are so impressive. These donations ensure that every child born at the hospital this month will have a warm red cap to wear, plus receive valuable resources for parents.”

    “Knitters and crocheters are just the most loving group of people,” said Ellen Lewis, owner of Crazy for Ewe in Leonardtown. Lewis’ store served as a drop-off point for red hats through January, when she brought more than 80 to the hospital on Feb. 2. Contributions from Crazy for Ewe were donated to honor Jacob Medrano, who has had three major open heart surgeries and 28 minor procedures to repair a congenital heart defect. Jake, a local pre-K student, celebrated his fourth birthday in January.

    MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and the Women’s Health & Family Birthing Center would like to thank the many crafters who donated their time and skills to this project, especially members of the Fifth District Homemakers Club and Crazy for Ewe of Leonardtown.

    “The kindness shown by members of our community — too many to name — is very appreciated by the hospital and, more importantly, by our patients and families,” added Cheseldine.

    Visit Heart.org/LittleHatsBigHearts to learn more about the campaign. Learn about more ways to give back to the hospital here.

    About MedStar St. Mary’s

    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates, and volunteers.


    MedStar St. Mary's community outreach department of the hospital offers regular tours of our Women's Health and Family Birthing Center and various parent-to-be classes. Call our community outreach department, Health Connections, at 301-475-6019 or visit our online calendar of events for more information. 

    To find a women's health specialist at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital, call 301-475-6088

  • February 12, 2018

     

    Washington, D.C., February 12, 2018 – MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute’s cardiac surgery program has earned the highest quality rating of three stars from the prestigious Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), placing it once again among the top surgical heart programs in the nation.

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, headquartered at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, received the highest, three-star rating in all three ranked categories: coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve replacement (AVR) and combined AVR + CABG. It’s an achievement shared by an elite group of less than five percent of cardiac surgery centers in the U.S. and Canada. Physicians widely regard the STS rating as the gold standard by which to evaluate cardiac surgery programs, and this rating also allows patients to make informed decisions about where to receive heart care.

    “This is a great honor and reflects hard work by the entire team of cardiovascular surgeons, intensivists, anesthesiologists, surgical assistants and mid-level practitioners,” said Paul Corso, MD, senior cardiac surgeon at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “We have always strived to be better tomorrow than today, and have instituted uniform best practices verified by an extensive quality data system.”

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center has earned the top-tier, three-star rating in coronary artery bypass grafting since 2006 when STS developed a sophisticated star rating system that evaluates the quality of cardiac surgical procedures performed at hospitals nationwide. The three-star rating is based on a composite score using a combination of 11 quality measures grouped into four categories: patient survival, the absence of surgical complications, recommended medications, and optimal surgical technique.

    The STS releases quality awards semiannually. The three-star designation for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is for the data period July 2016 to June 2017. For aortic valve replacement (AVR) and the combined AVR + CABG, the data covers a three-year period from July 2014 to June 2017.

    To learn more about the cardiac surgery program at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, click here.


    About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. A network of 10 hospitals and 150 cardiovascular physicians throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington, D.C., region, MedStar Heart also offers a clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program. Together, they have forged a relationship of shared expertise to enhance quality, improve safety and increase access to advanced services. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute was founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital. Opened in July 2016, the hospital ushered in a new era of coordinated, centralized specialty care for patients with even the most complex heart and vascular diagnoses.

  • February 09, 2018
    The partnership enables students to learn more about pursuing a career in medicine.
  • February 09, 2018
    The MedStar Institute for Innovation is pleased to announce the upcoming “Music as Medicine Symposium” on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

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