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

  • June 04, 2021

    Washington D.C., — MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Georgetown University today announced a $5 million gift from Claire and Tom Joyce to support the construction of the new Medical/Surgical Pavilion at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP) Necessity Fund Endowment at Georgetown University.

    “We are deeply grateful for this generous commitment from the Joyces to support the Medical/Surgical Pavilion at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and the Georgetown Scholars Program at Georgetown University,” said Kenneth A. Samet, president and CEO of MedStar Health. “Claire and Tom have always cared deeply about the community in which they live. Their support and philanthropic leadership will make a significant difference in the lives of our patients and first-generation Georgetown students.”

    The Joyces’ gift supports MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s new Medical/Surgical Pavilion, which is currently the largest healthcare construction project in Washington, D.C., comprising 477,213 square feet that will feature 156 private patient rooms, a rooftop helipad with direct access to 31 state-of-the-art operating rooms, and 32 exam rooms in a modernized emergency department. The Medical/Surgical Pavilion supports MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s continued focus on providing both outstanding patient care and leading-edge advancements in medical technology, and will move the region’s healthcare capabilities an important step forward in support of the future healthcare needs of our region. The Pavilion is scheduled for completion in 2023.

    The new pavilion will encompass three essential elements of a world-class academic medical center: excellent clinical care, a strong foundation in education, and leading- edge research. As a result, the Medical/Surgical Pavilion will foster growth and training in the specialty services for complex diseases that MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is uniquely qualified to deliver, including oncology, gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, and transplant.

    This is also a leadership gift in support of the Georgetown Scholars Program and specifically to the critical campaign to build out the GSP Necessity Fund Endowment. When fully funded, the endowment will provide a robust, permanent source of microgrants for undergraduates with the greatest financial need—enabling them to focus on academic achievement and the college experience.

    Since its inception in 2004, the Georgetown Scholars Program has offered first- generation and low-income students resources and programming to support their success at Georgetown, including mentorship, professional development, and assistance with unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, GSP serves as an on- campus community, connecting students with staff and peers dedicated to their success.

    "Both the Medical/Surgical Pavilion at MedStar and our Georgetown Scholars Program are vital expressions of our University’s most deeply held values: to advance research and care that contributes to the common good, and to support every member of our community in their work of formation,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “We are profoundly grateful to have Claire and Tom’s generous support for these programs, and their commitment to our entire University community."

    Tom Joyce has served on the MedStar Health Board of Directors since 2018 and was CEO of Danaher Corporation before retiring in 2020. Claire has been a member of Georgetown University’s Board of Regents since 2017, and previously served as the founding Director of the GSP Alumni Mentor Program.

    Together, they share the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Georgetown University vision of providing expertly delivered, compassionate care, combined with leading-edge innovation and scholarly achievement.


    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital licensed for 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C., Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, caring for the whole person, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options in a trusting and compassionate environment. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer, and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership.

    About Georgetown University
    Established in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. Located in Washington D.C,, Doha, Qatar, and around the world, Georgetown University is a leading academic and research institution, offering a unique educational experience that prepares the next generation of global citizens to lead and make a difference in the world. For more information about Georgetown University, visit Georgetown.edu or connect with Georgetown on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

  • May 24, 2021

    Survey reveals room for improvement in safe sun knowledge and behaviors

    Columbia, MD — MedStar Health has launched National Safe Sun Week to encourage people to enjoy spending time outdoors, safely. National Safe Sun Week will take place annually the week before Memorial Day, the official kick-off to summer, falling on May 24 - May 30, 2021 this year. 

    As we embrace the start of summer, MedStar Health providers seek to raise awareness of the best practices to follow when it comes to sun exposure and heat-related illnesses, ensuring that everyone remains safe as they enjoy the spoils of the warm weather. MedStar Health providers will share skincare tips to help prevent sunburns and skin cancer, raising awareness on the dangers that sun damage brings to people of all races and ethnicities, along with advice on how to safely exercise outdoors and prevent heat illness. 

    “At MedStar Health, we believe that we have a duty to help educate not only our patients, but everyone planning to spend time outdoors during summer,” says Min Deng, MD, dermatologist at MedStar Health. “Our core values have always been centered around treating people well, providing the best care possible to our patients. Our goal with National Safe Sun Week is to help spread awareness around sun safety in the hopes that we see less sun damage and skin cancer patients, less heat illness, and more people living long, healthy lives free of preventable disease.” 

    MedStar Health conducted a survey on behaviors and perceptions around sun safety in conjunction with National Safe Sun Week. The results revealed that we still have a long way to go to educate people on best practices when it comes to enjoying the outdoors safely:

    • Only one in four people know when to reapply sunscreen - every two hours
    • More people report packing snacks for the beach than sunscreen (67.4% vs. 64.6%)
    • Ocean City, Maryland is the favorite beach of people in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area 

    Our goal with National Safe Sun Week is to empower everyone with the knowledge to go outside this summer and enjoy themselves, while staying safe and healthy. 

    As part of our ongoing commitment to our current and future patients, we are sharing sun safety tips to empower everyone with the knowledge they need to enjoy spending time outdoors this summer. For more information, please visit https://nationaltoday.com/national-safe-sun-week/.

    National Safe Sun Week is making news! Visit the links below for great sun safety tips from our experts:

    FOX 5 DC: When is the most important time to reapply sunscreen?
    WTOP: Some tips for protecting your skin from the summer rays and Dangerous heat isn’t just about high temperatures and humidity

  • May 14, 2021

    Lucky Patient Surprised with Gift Basket, Theater Tickets

    Washington D.C. – MedStar Health, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, and DC Health are celebrating the 10,000th COVID-19 vaccine delivered at the Southwest D.C. high-capacity vaccination clinic.

    The milestone was reached Thursday as Stephanie Ferguson of Washington, D.C., received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine from MedStar Health clinician Claire Levinson, CRNP. As a special treat, clinic and theater staff surprised Stephanie with a MedStar Health face mask, an Arena Stage baseball cap, and complimentary tickets to the entire 2021-22 season of shows at Arena Stage. It was a star turn she didn’t see coming.

    “I feel extremely honored that today I was the 10,000th person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Arena Stage. It’s a milestone everyone should be proud of and I’m grateful to have unexpectedly got to play a small role in the achievement,” Ferguson said. “Yesterday was my birthday and not only did I celebrate with my second shot, but I got a pretty awesome gift basket too! This was an experience I’ll always remember and be thankful for. I want to thank the team at MedStar Health and Arena Stage for tirelessly working to help our D.C. community and for making the vaccine process so smooth.”

    “It was an honor to present Stephanie with a season subscription and Arena Stage swag. Our terrific partners at MedStar Health and DC Health had already given her the best gift of all — her vaccination," shares Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie. "I thanked Stephanie for getting vaccinated which was a gift for her family and all of us who call Washington, D.C., home. Here’s to the next 10,000."

    The clinic has been open since April 9, when the theater officially completed its transformation into a COVID-19 vaccination center. MedStar Health is operating the clinic in partnership with Arena Stage and DC Health, administering 10,000 doses of vaccine in just over a month.

    “Delivering 10,000 doses at Arena Stage is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks to the dedication and leadership that has gone into this high-capacity clinic,” said Stephen R. T. Evans, executive vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for MedStar Health. “We are so proud of this partnership with Arena Stage and DC Health that has brought the arts, medicine, and our city together in an inspiring way. Together, we have truly met this pivotal moment in the pandemic and helped protect our Washington, D.C., community from this devastating virus.”

    play button

    "DC Health is pleased to be working with our community partners like MedStar Health and Arena Stage and celebrate this milestone at Arena Stage to vaccinate D.C. residents so that they can safely enjoy all D.C. has to offer," said Patrick Ashley, Health and Medical Branch Director, COVID Operations and Senior Deputy Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration (HEPRA) at DC Health. "Residents, visitors, and workers are reminded that the safest way to enjoy all D.C. has to offer is by getting vaccinated," he added.

    The vaccine clinic at Arena Stage is now accepting walk-in appointments for Washington, D.C., residents ages 12 and up. It is open Thursdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

  • May 13, 2021

    Living Donors Save Lives and Give Others a Second Chance at Life

    Washington D.C., — While COVID-19 continues to dominant the United States healthcare system, nearly 100,000 Americans are still on a waitlist for a kidney transplant and each day 12 patients die waiting for a kidney. National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Health Policy Director Miriam Godwin knows these statistics all too well and made the altruistic decision to take action and help others by becoming a living donor during National Donate Life Month in April. Like all incredibly selfless living donors, Godwin made a conscious choice to help others, but please don’t call her a hero.

    “It’s difficult to live with the knowledge that some of the most vulnerable people in our society such as the elderly, communities of color, and those with limited financial means are waiting for kidney transplants, especially when kidney patients have been at such exceptionally high risk from COVID-19,” said Miriam Godwin, NKF Health Policy Director and a kidney transplant living donor. “It’s my job to make kidney transplants more accessible, but the tools to create system-level change are limited and take time. No one should be denied the opportunity for kidney health because of the circumstances of their birth. I became a living donor because I knew I could help one person right now, so I did. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.”

    Health inequities in the U.S. are well-documented for Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander people, who are all at increased risk for developing kidney disease. Black or African American people comprise 13% of the U.S. population yet represent 35% of those on dialysis for kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure. Additional risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history.

    “We consistently say the ability to save a life through living organ donation is within all of us, yet we’re uncertain if people hear our message. To have Miriam – someone who has supported the transplant community throughout her career with her work at NKF – choose to make this life saving gift is truly inspiring,” said Matthew Cooper, MD, Director, Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute and a member of NKF Board of Directors. “As the region’s leading transplant program, we are honored that Miriam purposely chose MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute on her journey to provide this gift of life.

    Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. About 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function, 230,000 live with a transplant. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years. Living donations were responsible for a total of 5,726 transplants in 2020. Living organ donation not only saves lives, but it saves money too. Each year, Medicare spends approximately $89,000 per dialysis patient and less than half, $35,000, for a transplant.

    “Kidney disease is a public health crisis estimated to affect 37 million adults in the United States, yet 90% don’t even know they have it,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “Miriam doesn’t want to be considered special and just wants living donation to be more commonplace, but what she did is incredibly special. The demand for kidney transplantation is so great that we are asking all adults in the U. S. to be more like Miriam and consider becoming a living donor.”

    Miriam’s generous gift facilitated two transplants through a program called Paired Kidney Exchange. If a kidney patient and potential living donor don’t have compatible blood types, the donor may consider donating through this program and here’s how it works. If the recipient from one pair is compatible with the donor from the other pair, and vice versa– the transplant center may arrange for a "swap"–for two simultaneous transplants to take place. This allows two transplant candidates to receive organs and two donors to give organs although the original recipient/donor pairs were unable to do so with each other. This has been extended to allow chains of donors with multiple linked donor and recipient pairs, often facilitated by a good Samaritan donor, as Miriam did. These donations can take place within a single center or across the U.S., allowing these generous gifts to help many more patients in need.

    Please consider becoming a living donor. To learn more about living organ donation, and kidney disease, go to MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute or www.kidney.org/livingdonation.


    Kidney Disease Facts
    In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital licensed for 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C., Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis, caring for the whole person, MedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options in a trusting and compassionate environment. MedStar Georgetown’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer, and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership. The MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute  is a top 10 highest volume transplant center in the nation for all organs (excluding thoracic); the regions’ only 5-tier liver transplant program for 1-year organ survival; is among the top 10 highest volume centers for kidney transplants and the second largest paired kidney exchange program (through the National Kidney Registry) in the country; is among the top 3 programs by volume for pancreas and pediatric liver transplants; and, is among the top 2 intestinal transplant programs by volume in the country.

    About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources
    THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation. www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

    About the National Kidney Foundation
    The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.

  • Outdoor portrait of Dr. Stephen Peterson, MedStar physician and environmental activist
    May 10, 2021

    Trees will reforest parts of the world that need it most to improve ecosystems worldwide

    Columbia, MD – MedStar Health has received a philanthropic donation from a longtime physician and an additional anonymous donor which will lead to the planting of one tree for each of its more than 30,000 associates. The contribution is uniquely designed to both permanently honor the selfless care associates provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and promote environmental sustainability, which is an issue important to MedStar Health.

    Through a partnership with the Washington D.C.,-based ForestPlanet, the trees will be strategically planted in countries like Madagascar and Tanzania, where deforested ecosystems are in need of revitalization. According to ForestPlanet, most of the planted trees will be of the Mangrove species, a type of tree that pulls more carbon from the air than any other.

    Mangrove seedlings

    One of the donors, Stephen Peterson, MD, is a psychiatrist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and also an environmental activist. He developed the idea after watching his colleagues respond to the pandemic.

    “Through this donation, we’re thanking the associates who were so brave coming into work over the past year. Every member of the team has been courageous. Everyone honored the MedStar Health name in that way,” Peterson said. “We healed people in our hospitals and clinics. Now we’re healing the Earth. I’ve always been environmentally conscious, but it never really hit me how important it was until our grandchild came along four years go. If we don’t start taking action now, will future generations have a wonderful sustainable Earth?”

    The plan received support from MedStar Health’s award-winning Environmental Health and Safety team and Corporate Environmental Leadership Committee, which work to implement environmental strategies across the health system all year long. Those projects include reducing and recycling solid waste, cutting down on regulated and chemical waste, lowering energy and water consumption, sourcing food and projects sustainably, and establishing green purchasing policies.

    “When we’re planting trees, we’re literally helping the air that all of us breathe,” says Monica Barnett, director of Environmental Health and Safety at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “That helps our patients, our prospective patients, and our community. It all just fits together with what we’re trying to do. We are the stewards of Earth. The more that we appreciate the gift of stewardship, the more we’ll help the Earth and each other.”

    “ForestPlanet is very grateful for this donation. We applaud Dr. Peterson and his 30,000 colleagues for their work over the past year,” say Hank Dearden III, Executive Director of ForestPlanet. “Trees are sentinels of healing. Healthy trees and soils result in healthy communities and ecosystems. These trees will also provide acres of habitat for local species, which will ultimately reduce the risk of future pandemics.”

    Eventually, Peterson hopes that his seed of an idea will blossom into a worldwide trend, as other organizations consider gifting trees to honor the contributions of their own employees and associates in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I have a lot of strong feelings about their wonderful strength,” he said. “It was scary in the beginning, but nevertheless they came in and took care of people. They were very brave.”

    A prior reforestation project in Tanzania

    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 MedStarHealth.org.

    About ForestPlanet
    ForestPlanet is an organization that supports large scale, low cost-per-tree reforestation efforts all over the world. We help plant trees where they bring the most benefit to the region’s soil, habitat, the global environment, and local communities. Please direct further inquiries to partnerships@forestplanet.org, or call 1-202-792-8060.

  • May 07, 2021

    Vaccination Teams to be at Pimlico and Laurel Park Monday

    Baltimore, MD  Vaccination teams from MedStar Health, the official medical provider of Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, will be at Pimlico and Laurel Park race tracks Monday, May 10th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to administer first found COVID-19 vaccinations to members of the backstretch community.

    Backstretch refers to trainers, exercise riders, jockeys, grooms, farriers, veterinarians, muckers, jockey agents and other positions in the horse racing industry.

    The vaccines are provided by the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force which collaborates with healthcare providers around the state to avail COVID-19 vaccines to the underserved, vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. 

    “The combined effort by Maryland Racing, the Maryland Department of Health, the Vaccine Equity Task Force and MedStar Health have ensured much needed services for a hard-working community that is often overlooked. With Preakness coming up it’s a wonderful reminder that horse racing is a big part of Maryland, our history and community.  The horsemen are the backbone of the industry and should have access to the same healthcare that everyone else receives. There is a huge need for the vaccine protection,” said Kelly Ryan, DO, and a physician leader on the MedStar Health Horsemen’s Health team.  

    “MedStar Health is proud to extend our mobile vaccination efforts and partner with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horseman Association and Maryland Jockey Club,” said Ryan Moran, DrPH, MHSA, assistant vice-president, Care Transformation for the Baltimore region of MedStar Health.

    The opportunity to bring vaccines on-site to the employees here speaks to this collaborative commitment to remove every single barrier for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

    The vaccination team at Laurel Park Monday will be in the MedStar Health Mobile Primary Care Center.

MedStar Health makes the news