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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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    Dr. Maen Farha is the first and only physician in the state to offer patients electromagnetic wave technology to locate and remove breast lumps that are not detectable by touch.
  • August 08, 2017
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  • July 31, 2017
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  • July 28, 2017

    Drug Monitoring Program May Help Curb Opioid Epidemic

    This is the second in a four-part series on the opioid epidemic in our community.

    When you hear the words State of Emergency your thoughts naturally turn to natural disasters, not drugs. But on March 1, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a State of Emergency in Maryland in response to the heroin, opioid and fentanyl crisis devastating communities throughout the state and the country. 

    “Our community has not gone untouched by this crisis,” said Jeremy Tucker, DO, medical director of the Emergency Department at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “The sad truth is that we encounter the effects of this every day in our Emergency Department. The number of people we have coming to us seeking prescription pain medication and the number of overdoses we see continues to rise. The drugs available on the street are stronger, more addictive and deadlier than ever before.” 

    Heroin and the new kid on the street, fentanyl, are cheaper more readily available alternatives to illegally obtained prescription opioids, and become the drug of choice for many when access to prescription opioids runs out. According to statistics from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in some areas of the state approximately one in 10 people are addicted to heroin. 

    “We are not just talking about prescription opioids,” said Meenakshi G. Brewster, MD, MPH, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Certainly, when this all started, it was probably the most prominent feature, but now a major factor is heroin and fentanyl.”

    According to Dr. Brewster, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and incredibly more potent than other prescription opioids and heroin. “Sadly, people buying and selling drugs on the street may not be aware that fentanyl is cut into the medication or the drug they are selling or buying,” said Dr. Brewster. “Even non-opioids, like Xanax, we are now sometimes finding have opioids like fentanyl cut into them and people are overdosing because it is incredibly powerful, they haven’t built up a tolerance and their bodies are overwhelmed.”

    Helping to Curb Over-prescribing 

    One way Maryland hopes to combat the opioid epidemic is with the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Officials are counting on it to become the first line of defense and help reduce over-prescribing of prescription pain medications as well as doctor shopping for multiple narcotic prescriptions. 

    The PDMP was created to support providers and their patients in the safe and effective use of prescription drugs. Pharmacists and practitioners authorized to prescribe controlled dangerous substances must be registered with the PDMP by July, and by July 2018 prescribers will be required to query and review their patient’s PDMP data prior to prescribing an opioid or benodiazephine, and repeat that query every 90 days thereafter as long as they continue to prescribe opioids.

    “The new drug monitoring program will be a tremendous benefit to help reduce the risk of over-prescribing opioids,” said Dr. Tucker. “The PDMP will allow us to make more informed decisions about whether or not to prescribe narcotics to patients to control their pain. Earlier identification of a patient who might be at risk of abusing opioids gives us the opportunity to help that individual find the treatment they need which ultimately could save their life.”

    Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Opioids for more information on lifesaving resources and information.

  • July 27, 2017

    Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, was featured in a Texas A&M School of Public Health Spring 2017 alumni spotlight. She was recognized for being awarded a 4-year, $1.4 million R01 research grant from the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop a new approach to detect and treat sepsis—which nationally infects about 1 million people annually, killing a quarter of them.

    Miller will lead this work from MedStar, marking a significant milestone for the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) and its National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, as the NIH R01 research grant is among the most prestigious awards. This is the third R01 grant awarded to an MI2 associate.

    Read more.

  • July 27, 2017
    This story recognizes the five health startups that won the MedStar Health & 1776 #Patient2Consumer Challenge, featuring interviews with the two companies that hail from the DC-area: Pacify Health and VEDA Data Solutions.

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