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  • Lucy De La Cruz
    January 20, 2022

    The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center

    WASHINGTONLucy Maria De La Cruz, MD, has joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as chief of its Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center. Dr. De La Cruz is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who specializes in advanced breast surgery procedures, including wireless lumpectomies, hidden scar technique, oncoplastic breast conservation, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. She has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her pivotal papers on nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncologic outcomes have been cited worldwide. She will also direct the hospital’s breast surgery fellowship program.

    Lucy De La Cruz

    “I am honored and excited to lead the breast surgery program and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital,” said De La Cruz. “It has been my life-long dream to bring my passion for medicine, helping others and building a state-of-the-art breast surgery program to advance breast health. I look forward to working with our multidisciplinary team of breast health experts to compassionately care for, educate and empower my patients in their health journey.”

    Dr. De La Cruz is an academic breast surgeon who conducts outcomes-focused research, and among her special interests are the impact of genomic mapping to guide breast cancer treatment and male breast cancer treatment. Her work is guided by a long-standing commitment to promoting equity and efficacy in breast cancer care delivery, using the principles of value-based health care.
      
    “The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are thrilled to have Dr. De La Cruz lead the breast surgery program. Her commitment to patients, their journey, and their outcomes are unmatched; and her expertise in novel surgical techniques brings new and beneficial options to patients,” said David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, Physician Executive Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Professor and Chair Department of Plastic Surgery, and Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
     
    Dr. De La Cruz’s story

    Dr. De La Cruz, 39, started her journey towards becoming the youngest Latina woman to lead a breast cancer surgery program at a major academic medical center at young age. As the daughter of international physician researchers, she spent a lot of time in labs where her parents worked, sparking her passion for medicine and “making a difference in people’s lives.” She grew up in Cuba, Mozambique, Spain, and Miami.
     
    In college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic at the Universidad Central Del Este School of Medicine, where students were involved in patient care very early in their education and training. There, she completed her medical degree, founded an American Medical Student Association chapter and raised scholarship funds to help those who couldn’t afford tuition.

    After graduation, she was told becoming a surgeon would be nearly impossible as a foreign medical graduate and a female. Despite this, De La Cruz obtained research fellowships from the University of Miami and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She continued her journey by obtaining a one-year residency internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she earned the Intern of the Year award and an AOA medical honor society membership for her dedication to medical student teaching. During her residency, she worked on an award-winning oncologic outcomes research project for nipple-sparing mastectomy that continues to be cited worldwide.
     
    That same year, Dr. De La Cruz started her breast surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she worked in private practice for a year before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a faculty member in the associate program director of the breast cancer surgery fellowship program.
     
    After relocating to Washington, D.C., to be close to her family, she founded the breast cancer fellowship program curriculum at the Inova Health System. Now at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center, she continues to teach residents and fellows, pursue research, and care for patients – the fulfillment of her lifelong dream. 

    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    About the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center


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  • 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.

  • Take the Pledge: Get the Vaccine to Save Lives - #ourshot2savelives
    April 20, 2021

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health is collaborating with a coalition of 60 of America's top hospitals and health care institutions on a nationwide campaign to encourage adults to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The campaign "Get the Vaccine to Save Lives," is designed to reassure the public that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary to achieve herd immunity and a return to normal activities.

    “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine and continuing to practice public health measures like wearing masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing are key to slowing and stopping this pandemic,” said Terry Fairbanks, MD, FACEP, vice president, Quality & Safety for MedStar Health. “We understand that although the vast majority of Americans desire a vaccine, there are some who have concerns. We respect this and we care, so we want patients to have all the facts so they can make a confident personal decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”

    The campaign hopes to reach adults who have concerns about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, including underserved racial and minority ethnic groups and people living in rural communities. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published March 30, 17% of the public say they will take a wait-and-see approach before getting it themselves, and another 20% say they will never get a vaccine or will only get it if required to do so for work, school, or other activities. This leaves a significant portion of the population at risk of going unvaccinated. 

    The nationwide campaign includes print and digital advertising, media outreach, social media, an awareness video, and an informational website.

    With vaccine distribution underway, the campaign aims to help Americans feel safe and confident about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. To achieve herd immunity and help end the pandemic, leading health officials say at least 75% of the population needs to be vaccinated. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of illness from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who have been vaccinated.

    More than 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 48% of the population age 18 and over has received at least one vaccine dose in the U.S. through April 14, 2021 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine data tracker. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.

    For more information about the campaign, visit ourshot2savelives.org

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  • April 09, 2021

    Healthcare Unites with the Arts to Benefit Public Health and Save Lives

    Columbia, MD — COVID-19 vaccines get the starring role as MedStar Health unites with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater and DC Health to vaccinate eligible D.C. residents with the latest high capacity site.  The vaccination center located at Arena Stage in Southwest D.C. opened today and will operate Thursdays through Sundays from 8am- 5pm for the next three months.

    Those eligible must make appointments through the D.C. portal, not through MedStar Health.

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    MedStar Health President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Samet visited the site on opening day to thank the teams who have been working ensure the vaccination process runs smoothly.  “MedStar Health is proud to partner with the District of Columbia and Arena Stage to bring easy access to life saving vaccines to District residents. Over the last year, MedStar Health has cared for the COVID and non-COVID care needs of our communities. With the opening of this vaccine distribution location at Arena Stage, we continue to expand the many locations where we bring hope for a future without COVID.”

    “We’re proud to be part of the positive momentum that’s building to vaccinate as many District residents as possible against COVID-19,” said Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for MedStar Health. “A healthcare organization uniting with the arts to benefit the community is such a perfect partnership.  The sooner we get past this pandemic the sooner people can enjoy theater again at places like Arena Stage.  Right now they have the space; we have the clinical expertise and DC Health has the doses of vaccines so we can get shots in arms.”

    “Arena Stage is so happy to be asked to play this role for our community,” said Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie. “We can promise everyone a warm and gracious greeting as these essential vaccines are administered by the talented folks at MedStar Health. All of this is made possible by the inspiring and tireless team at the District’s Department of Health.”

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    Providers from across the entire MedStar Health system will be giving as many as a thousand shots a day at the vaccination center.

    Vaccine doses will come from allotments provided to DC Health.  "DC Health is pleased to be working with our community partners like MedStar Health to open vaccination sites that serve a high-capacity of  eligible individuals who book appointments through vaccinate.dc.gov and the District's COVID-19 call center 1-855-363-0333," said Patrick Ashley, Health and Medical Branch Director, COVID Operations and Senior Deputy Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration (HEPRA) at DC Health. "The District still needs more vaccine, and we will continue to advocate for additional doses so that we can save lives and meet the demand of our community," he added.

    The vaccination center at Arena Stage is the only high capacity site in the Southwest area of the District.

  • Main entrance lobby interior at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
    April 08, 2021

    $43 million project supported by MedStar Health associates aims to meet community’s care needs

    Clinton, MD — MedStar Health is celebrating the opening of its newly-renovated emergency department (ED) at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The $43 million renovation expands the facility by 18,000 square feet, adding almost 50 percent more treatment space and several new services uniquely designed to meet the needs of surrounding communities like Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.,

    “Emergency departments are important to the community because whether it’s a surgical emergency, a cardiac episode, or diabetic episode, when patients come to the ED, they’re often sicker than they’ve ever been,” said Chile Ahaghotu, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This new state-of-the-art emergency department gives us the ability to get patients in quickly, identify their issues, and provide our community with the best quality care that we can. In designing this new space we took into account the history of the kinds of medical conditions we see here at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, behavioral health and cancer. We made sure that we had the technologies and the physical features to support that type of care.”  

    “Prince George’s County continues to grow rapidly, and its residents need seamless access to the most advanced care,” said MedStar Health President and CEO Kenneth A. Samet at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held for the grand opening of the new department. “MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s ED is a critically important access point. This facility is part of our wide-ranging efforts to improve care delivery across the region, with more specialty care located here, so patients don’t have to travel long distances to see their doctors, and population health strategies designed to keep people healthier and out of the hospital in the first place.”

    Crews broke ground on the project in September 2019 and continued to work tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, starting April 8, emergency department patients have access to:

    • Additional treatment rooms, which have been expanded from 28 to 40.
    • A designated behavioral health area to help manage patients suffering from a behavioral health crisis or substance abuse issues in a quiet and therapeutic environment.
    • Modernized ambulance access and patient waiting areas that emphasize patient privacy, including quick telehealth evaluations for all patients.
    • Upgraded diagnostic imaging including a 128-slice Siemens CT scanner and a new MRI available in the ED for the first time.
    • A new front entrance and two-story lobby space, including gift shop and 24-hour café.

    This summer, the emergency department will complete the second phase of renovations, opening a new special pathogen treatment center used to diagnose and treat patients exposed to dangerous viruses or other microorganisms. The plan for the new pathogen center started long before the pandemic as MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center serves as one of Maryland’s five designated Special Pathogen Assessment Hospitals.

    In other ways, COVID-19 did impact construction. Hospital leaders quickly adjusted project plans last year to make sure even more of the emergency department would be ready for the pandemic.

    “We have 27 negative pressure rooms to keep the germs inside and keep them from getting outside,” said Kristen Quade, RN, nurse director of the Emergency Department. “MedStar Health also created what we’re calling pandemic response rooms, which we will be using in the new space as well. Those were really developed with the mindset to keep both isolation patients and the rest of the community safe.”

    “Despite all of the challenges that we’ve had to deal with over the last several months, we were still able to take care of each other as a team and take care of our patients,” Dr. Ahaghotu said. “That’s really the heart of high reliability. You do it in a way that’s safe, you do it in a way that’s high quality, and you do it in a way that means a lot to the folks who are getting the care.”

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    One of the most special features of the upgraded facility is that more than $142 thousand of the cost was donated by MedStar Health associates in addition to donations from board members and others from the community. Through its Power to Heal campaign, MedStar Health empowers associates to financially support projects through philanthropic gifts as affordable as five to ten dollars. Often, associates choose to contribute to projects that will improve their own communities or workplaces. That was the case for both Operating Room Nurse Christine Young, RN, and Kevin Scales, who started as a volunteer in the Emergency Department at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center several years ago and worked his way up to become a radiology transporter.

    “We are very appreciative that this new emergency department will assist our community because it’s gratifying to help those who need help such as the elderly, the homeless, and children,” Scales said. “To me, they are the most vulnerable in our society. As long as we give them proper care, I believe they will go on and live prosperous lives. We are at liberty to help people, so for us to be able to add to our community is a great thing.”

    “I have been at the hospital for about 15 years and I am very involved in the community doing different things, like helping with women’s shelters, so donating to the Emergency Department project was a very natural thing for me to do,” said Young, who helped lead the Power to Heal campaign in her department. “I come from a background where I didn’t have a whole lot and to be in the position to help other people is very important to me.”

    “I'm so grateful for how our associates, other donors and our entire community came together to support the hospital during this renovation and also during the pandemic. I am filled with gratitude and all I can say is a big ‘thank you,’” said Dr. Ahaghotu.

  • April 06, 2021

    Arlington, VA — The National Evaluation System for health Technology Coordinating Center (NESTcc), an initiative of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC), today announced MedStar Health as the newest network collaborator to join the NESTcc Research Network.

    NESTcc’s research network of internationally recognized health organizations supports the generation of real-world evidence and collaboration with stakeholders across the medical device ecosystem. In partnership with its network collaborators, NESTcc curates diverse data sources and research expertise, applying rigorous methodologies and data standards to enable efficient, high-quality studies of medical devices. Studies have been developed across multiple disease areas, device classes in the 510(k) and premarket approval (PMA) pathways and all stages of the total product life cycle. NESTcc recently opened access to its research network for sponsored studies.

    “MedStar Health is pleased to join as a NESTcc Network Collaborator, and we look forward to our exciting and important work together,” said Neil J. Weissman, M.D., FACC, FASE, chief scientific officer for MedStar Health and president of MedStar Health Research Institute. “Our partnership with NESTcc will allow us to utilize our clinical research expertise to advance health using real-world evidence from the delivery of care, as well as expand the scale of our impact for patients and clinicians.”

    Leveraging access to electronic health records, claims, and other relevant data from 4.2 million unique patients across MedStar Health’s 10 hospitals and 300 service centers, is the executive research organization for MedStar Health, headquartered in Maryland. The Research Institute provides scientific research infrastructure and administrative and regulatory support for programs conducted at MedStar Health facilities. From bench to bedside to community, MedStar Health plans and conducts studies that advance medical knowledge and translate research into improved patient care. With more than 300 active investigators, research areas of focus include cardiovascular, health care delivery, cancer, neuroscience and rehabilitation, diabetes, women and infant service and orthopedics and sports medicine.

    “NESTcc continues to transform the paradigm of clinical research, expanding access to high-quality evidence and informing clinical and regulatory decision-making to empower people with safe and effective technologies,” said Sandra Siami, MPH, senior vice president, NESTcc, MDIC. “Our growing research network is helping NESTcc set the standard for real-world evidence innovation, and MedStar Health’s diversity of data and caliber of investigators will make them a key partner and driver of excellence for us and our research sponsors.”

    With the addition of MedStar Health, the NESTcc Research Network is now comprised of 16 network collaborators with access to data from more than 161 million patients.

    About MedStar Health Research Institute

    MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest health care 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

    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 the National Evaluation System for health Technology Coordinating Center

    In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) funding to establish the National Evaluation System for health Technology Coordinating Center (NESTcc). The Coordinating Center seeks to support the sustainable generation and use of timely, reliable and cost-effective Real-World Evidence (RWE) throughout the medical device lifecycle, using high-quality Real-World Data (RWD) that meets robust methodological standards for the purpose of enhancing regulatory and clinical decision-making. For more information, visit http://www.nestcc.org.

    About the Medical Device Innovation Consortium

    Founded in 2012, the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) is the first public-private partnership created with the sole objective of advancing medical device regulatory science throughout the total product life cycle. MDIC’s mission is to promote public health through science and technology and to enhance trust and confidence among stakeholders. MDIC works in the pre-competitive space to facilitate development of methods, tools and approaches that enhance understanding and improve evaluation of product safety, quality, and effectiveness. Its initiatives improve product safety and patient access to cutting-edge medical technology while reducing cost and time to market. For more information, visit http://www.mdic.org.

    Funding for NESTcc was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through grant (3 U01 FD006292-03S1). Views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does any mention of trade names, commercial practices or organization imply endorsement by the United States Government.

  • April 04, 2021

    Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.