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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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  • January 26, 2018

    Leonardtown, Maryland (Jan. 25, 2018) – Nine members of Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM), an educational leadership program for executives, visited MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital on Jan. 18 as the program’s monthly focus turned to local healthcare.

    Participants from the Class of 2018 arrived for a presentation with Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating and chief medical officer at MedStar St. Mary’s, followed by a tour of the Leonardtown campus. Stops included Interventional Radiology, the Emergency Department, the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, and “Reflections,” the new history room.

    Amy Magyar, CRN, VA-BC, demonstrated the vast capabilities of the Interventional Radiology department, including a discussion of kyphoplasty: a minimally invasive procedure used to treat spinal compression fractures. Through a small hole, kyphoplasty injects special cement into the vertebrae, which can alleviate back pain.

    In the Emergency Department, Daniel Geary, MD, department chief, and Dawn Yeitrakis, MS, RN, CEN, department director, demonstrated Telestroke — a virtual connection to stroke experts at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The electronic communication allows local emergency clinicians to consult with specialists in real time through a secure video link. Stroke patients may be stabilized and treated faster in Leonardtown with this specialty care, leading to better patient outcomes.

    At the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, Richard Greengold, MD, medical director, and Lisa Nelson, RN, MHA, CWCN, clinical program director, spoke about hyperbaric oxygen therapy — one of many advanced treatments offered in Leonardtown. Patients breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber to stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities. The department recently received the Center of Excellence Award from Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services.

    The Jan. 18 tour ended in “Reflections,” the first-floor history room, where participants learned more about the hospital’s role in the community since its founding in 1912.

     

  • January 24, 2018

    Upper Marlboro Police Chief Calvin Washington Shares his Experience with Colon Cancer to Highlight the Importance of Regular Checkups, Particularly Colonoscopies

    As a municipal police chief in Prince George’s County and a dad of three, Calvin Washington was so busy with his job and family, he wanted to ignore the nagging stomach pain he was experiencing. As with many unpleasant things you’re trying to ignore, it worsened, becoming so severe, Washington knew he would have to get it checked out.

    First, Washington went to his primary care doctor, MedStar physician Arnulfo Bonavente, MD, who referred him to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s gastroenterologist Walid Chalhoub, MD, for a colonoscopy. His scan showed a mass that proved to be a cancerous tumor the size of an orange.

    “Here’s a young, healthy, fit guy, a cop, with kids,” said Dr. Chalhoub, a MedStar Georgetown University Hospital physician who sees and treats patients at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This proves you need to get yourself screened and if you have symptoms, don’t take them lightly, because they won’t go away. In this case, I had to send him to a colorectal surgeon to take out that part of his colon and now, he’s alive and he’s cancer-free.”

    During Washington’s successful surgery, all cancer was removed and repaired expertly, so with time, he would heal back to normal, without needing a colostomy bag. “That day, I was nervous and Dr. Chalhoub knew I was nervous,” said Washington. “His bedside manner, the way he can calm you down, the way he said, ‘It’s going to be okay, trust me,’ was comforting.”

    After surgery, Washington began six months of chemotherapy treatments with MedStar oncologist Sunnie Kim, MD, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “The MedStar physician group; all of you guys are just great,” said Washington. “I’d recommend this group to anybody.”

    Washington is now back to normal, after months recovering and overcoming fatigue. He reports he is fully mobile with a normal appetite and desire to enjoy hunting, fishing, and kayaking, like he did before his medical ordeal.

    “I would encourage people to listen to your doctor, not only listen to your body,” said Washington. “A lot of people fear a colonoscopy because people know what that means, but for those people who fear this, fear the other thing: a physician telling you that you could possibly die. I could have, but I didn’t, so don’t be afraid.”

    Before a colonoscopy, patients are administered medication to relax. The instrument used during the procedure is a thin flexible tube that allows the physician to see any abnormalities that can be removed. A colonoscopy typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

    “Colonoscopies save lives,” says Dr. Chalhoub. “People can lose their life because of ego. Take the time to become informed and educate yourself on colon cancer.”

    Please visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Gastro for more information about gastroenterology services and treatments.

    To view Dr. Chalhoub’s Facebook Live seminar on stomach pain, recorded in the fall of 2017, visit our page here ► Facebook.com/MedStarSouthernMD.

  • January 23, 2018

    A research team at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital were awarded first place at the 13th World Stem Cell Summit for their research on stem cells enhancing bone grafts. Presented at the Summit Zijun Zhang, MD, PhD, the director of the Orthobiologic Laboratory in the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, the research team was also led by  Lew Schon, MD, chief of Foot and Ankle Services at Union Memorial. The research found that intravenous introduction of stem cells in into mice that had received bone grafts led to nearly two times as much formation of callus, the healing tissue that forms around the ends of the broken bone. Read more.

  • January 22, 2018

    MedStar Health announces the expansion and renovation of the MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab’s (SiTEL) Baltimore Clinical Simulation Center. At nearly 12,000 square feet, the Baltimore Clinical Simulation Center is the largest of MedStar Health’s four training centers, all designed to enhance patient safety through the continuous development of our associates’ skills. Learning environments mirror high-profile areas of hospitals, providing a realistic training venue where associates can safely practice critical skills and gain experience before treating patients. The expanded simulation center is also equipped for a new program for Environmental Services associates, which teaches them to resolve common hazards in the healthcare environment and trains them on a new method of disinfecting patient rooms. Read more.

  • January 21, 2018
    Zach Hettinger, MD, MS
    Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS

    Hyattsville, MD (August 21, 2018)—Researchers from MedStar Health will investigate the implementation and efficacy of shareable clinical decision support resources as part of healthcare team communications through a one-year contract award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Jointly led by Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS, and Zach Hettinger, MD, MS, from the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, the collaborative team will seek to understand the role and usage of clinical decision support resources that are available from the AHRQ Clinical Decision Support Connect platform. The platform is a repository that shares structured data and resources, providing tools for promoting a collaborative model of clinical decision support. 

    With the implementation of electronic health records, the way that healthcare teams communicate is changing. Clinical decision support resources seek to ensure that the entire healthcare team, from doctors to nurses to pharmacists, is receiving the correct information at the appropriate time to help inform their clinical decisions to enhance patient outcomes. By leveraging a shared clinical support system, healthcare systems can increase efficiency in communication across care teams, leading to more positive patient outcomes.

    “Providing clinicians with decision support, through the electronic health record, at the point of care, is critically important – but the process is complex. A key barrier is the need for most organizations to independently develop, deploy, and manage clinical decision support content. Shareable resources have the potential to standardize and optimize care, reduce costs, and moderate redundant work across healthcare systems.” says Dr. Miller.

    The research team will leverage human factors engineering methodologies, including stakeholder interviews, an ethnographic approach for task analysis, along with process mapping, usability testing, and business case development as part of the contract. The resulting analysis will be used as the strategic evidence necessary to build a business case that considers key aspects of an organization’s clinical and business strategies.

    Dr. Miller is a clinically-oriented, human factors researcher, and focuses on medical decision making and behavior, informatics, and the assessment of medical interventions and practices. Dr. Hettinger is the medical director and director of cognitive informatics at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health and a practicing emergency medicine physician at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. Other key team members include Jessica Howe, MA, senior human factors specialist and system safety specialist, Joseph Blumenthal, clinical informatics researcher and developer, and Derek DeLia, PhD, director of health economics and health systems research at the MedStar Health Research Institute.

    Collaborating on this research will be Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), as a primary analysis location, and two secondary healthcare systems, Medical University of South Carolina and Hahnemann University Hospital. “By implementing the resources at multiple sites, we will have the ability to make systematic comparisons and produce a rigorous evaluation that demonstrates within-site and between-site analyses to test the efficiencies of shareable clinical decision support resources in multiple healthcare settings,” says Dr. Miller.

    This federal contract was awarded through AHRQ’s ACTION III (Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks) funding mechanism. This is one of four contracts that have been awarded to MedStar Health as part of this federal contract vehicle, including one that was awarded earlier this year.


    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. For more information, visit www.MedStarResearch.org

    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 30,000 associates, 6,000 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 MedStarHealth.org.

  • January 20, 2018


    Washington, D.C., (November 20, 2018)
    —Researchers from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health Research Institute will begin an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) trial on full- thickness burn wounds using Kerecis Omega3 Burn.

    The Kerecis fish-skin product is currently FDA cleared to treat second-degree burn wounds, which extend into some of the underlying skin layer. The purpose of the feasibility trial is to obtain FDA approval for a full clinical trial, which can lead to indications as a treatment for third-degree burn wounds, as well as for the fish-skin product to be used as a temporary cover for such wounds. Third- degree burns extend to all layers of the skin.

    Kerecis Omega3 Burn is intact fish skin, rich in naturally occurring Omega3 fatty acids. When grafted onto damaged human tissue, it recruits the body’s own cells and is rapidly converted into living tissue, which results in fast, high-quality wound healing.

    About the Feasibility Trial

    The MedStar Health/Kerecis feasibility trial will enroll a small number of patients. If results are favorable, a second larger trial will be undertaken to collect data for a regulatory submission for third- degree burns approval under the FDA’s Pre-Market Approval (PMA) regulatory mechanism.

    The study is part of a Kerecis program being sponsored by the U.S. Military Burn Research Program and the Office of Naval Research. The program consists of both preclinical and clinical phases. The preclinical phase, which was conducted in Iceland and at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR), San Antonio, has demonstrated better healing outcomes compared to other burn products on the market.

    The MedStar Health/Kerecis trial is scheduled to start in November 2018 and run through 2019.


    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. For more information, visit MedStarResearch.org.

    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 30,000 associates, 6,000 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 MedStarHealth.org.

    About Kerecis

    Kerecis is the creator, manufacturer and patent holder of fish-skin-based therapeutic products that speed up the healing of human wounds and repair tissue damage. The Kerecis wound-healing product is patented in the United States and multiple other countries. The products are available in the United States, Iceland, Germany, and several other European and Asian countries. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, Kerecis is adapting the product for use in battlefield conditions, where skin substitutes have traditionally not been used.

    The Kerecis technology was invented by the company’s founder and CEO, Fertram Sigurjonsson. The fish skin comes from wild cod, sustainably caught in pristine Icelandic waters. Production takes place in the Kerecis manufacturing facility in Iceland, which uses electric power generated from geothermal and hydroelectric energy. For more information, visit www.kerecis.com. Distributor inquiries are welcome.

    Kerecis is a trademark of Kerecis. All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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