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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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  • January 02, 2017

    Columbia, Md. (Tuesday, May 2, 2017) —Taking medications on schedule is an important aspect of self-care, but keeping track of prescriptions can be hard for consumers, especially if they take multiple medications. The challenge is not merely one of scheduling or convenience. The result of not taking medicines as prescribed, or medication nonadherence, is estimated to contribute to more than 100,000 deaths per year and 10 percent of hospitalizations, while costing the healthcare system billions of dollars a year.

    MedStar Health and CVS Pharmacy are tackling the issue with a new service called Multi-dose Packs that supplies all the medications an individual needs to take at the same time of day in customized, easy-open packets. The packets are clearly marked with the time of day and date for taking the medications, so it’s easy to keep track of scheduled doses.    

    The dosing system is designed for individuals whose condition is stable, who have not had a recent hospitalization and who take six or more medications a day, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Consumers receive a 30-day supply of medications that is boxed in a continuous roll of Multi-dose Packs. The cost is about the same as what would be paid at a CVS Pharmacy. Multi-dose Packs are delivered directly to the home by Fed-Ex or to a local CVS Pharmacy for pickup. There is no charge for delivery.

    “A large obstacle to effective treatment is that many patients don’t follow their medication schedules,” said Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, MedStar Health executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer. “Patients can become confused about when they are supposed to take medicines or whether they have taken this or that medication. The Multi-dose Packs system makes it easy for patients to adhere to their medication schedule, which is very important for managing their health.”

    In a recent, highly successful pilot program with a group of MedStar patients, medication adherence went from 60 percent to 91 percent, demonstrating the effectiveness of Multi-dose Packs. In making the service available through all MedStar physicians, MedStar is the first health system in the United States to fully deploy Multi-dose Packs.  

    MedStar physicians can review a patient’s electronic health record and electronically send a list of the patient’s medications to CVS, which will prepare and ship the medication box each month.

    “We are pleased to continue working with MedStar to help enhance patients’ access to care and improve health outcomes,” said Andrew Sussman, MD, executive vice president of Clinical Services and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health. “With this innovative program, we will help make it easier for patients to keep track of all their medications and complex dosing schedules, so they have one less thing to worry about.”

    CVS Health and MedStar Health began their collaboration in 2014, when the two organizations announced a clinical affiliation to provide coordinated care services such as medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring for MedStar patients through CVS  MinuteClinic locations in its retail pharmacies.  In addition, CVS Health provides critical prescription and visit information to the affiliated healthcare providers through the integration of secured electronic health record systems.

     

    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.

    Contact: Ann Nickels, 410-772-6661 (6678), ann.c.nickels@medstar.net

    Pill pouches are clearly marked by date, time of day, and contents

  • January 02, 2017
    At CROI2017, MedStar Health Research Institute researchers presented new data on hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive non-baby boomers.
  • January 02, 2017
    Neil Weissman, MD, commented on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of an important label update for an echocardiogram contrast agent.
  • January 01, 2017

    COLUMBIA, Maryland (November 1, 2017)—MedStar Health, the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, has elected William J. Oetgen, MD, to a two-year term as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Oetgen has served on the MedStar Health Board since 2005, including as Chair of the Finance Committee and Vice Chair of the Audit and Compliance, and Executive Compensation committees. Since 2013, he has been the Vice Chair of the Board.

     “MedStar Health and the communities we serve are fortunate to have such distinguished and respected individuals serving on our Board of Directors,” said MedStar President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth A. Samet, FACHE. “Dr. Oetgen continues this tradition, bringing valuable insights as a physician and clinical leader, along with his knowledge of MedStar and his service in healthcare governance,” he said. 

    Dr. Oetgen commented, “MedStar Health has a noble mission to serve patients, those who care for them and the community that surrounds us. I am honored to be elected to this position and to have the opportunity to work with MedStar and the other distinguished members of the board in furthering that mission.”

    A cardiologist by training, Dr. Oetgen currently is Executive Vice President for Science & Quality, Education, and Publications at the American College of Cardiology.  He also is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

    Dr. Oetgen succeeds William R. Roberts, who served as Board Chairman from 2013 to 2017. “MedStar is truly grateful for Bill Roberts’ service and leadership for the past four years, and looks forward to his continued service and guidance as the Past Chair of the Board,” Samet added.

    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

  • December 22, 2016

    Seven-Year old Gains Hand and Arm Function with Limb Lengthening Technique Using Toe Bone

    Ryan Katz, MD with Lal Ding
    Ryan Katz, MD with Lal Ding

    Baltimore — (December 21, 2016) — With a complex microsurgery that has never before been performed in the United States, surgeons Ryan Katz, MD, and James Higgins MD, from the Curtis National Hand Center (CNHC) at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital have advanced the treatment of congenital radial dysplasia, known as “radial club hand.” The groundbreaking approach uses bones, a joint, and growth plates from the patient's foot. The boy, Lal Ding, who will turn eight on New Year’s Day, now stands on the threshold of his new life with a functioning right arm and hand.


    As in most cases of radial club hand, Lal was born without a thumb, a significantly shortened forearm, and a hand that was bent dramatically toward the thumb-side of his wrist. Traditionally, this problem would have been treated by surgically centralizing the hand on the wrist and fixing it in a straighter position.  Though such a classic approach temporarily improves the overall hand aesthetic, it does not improve function, it impairs future forearm growth, and does not stand the test of time – often resulting in deformity recurrence.

    Helping Lal achieve the best functional and aesthetic result was a three-stage process that began with a pollicization procedure that had successfully repositioned his index finger to serve as a thumb. The next step involved using a distraction device to extend the length of the forearm, straighten the wrist and create a space in which the joint and growth plates from the child’s second toe can be transplanted.

    In September, Simo Vilkke, MD, a Finnish microsurgeon and architect of the new technique, travelled to Baltimore to collaborate with the CNHC surgical team for the third and most complex stage – the toe transfer.  At that time, the child’s second toe with its vascular supply, was removed and transferred to the arm to definitively straighten the wrist and provide new growth plates and a joint to allow for balanced longitudinal growth and wrist motion.  This case is unique in that the vascularized toe was used to construct a full length radius - restoring for the child a two-bone forearm.

    Lal’s arm has gained nearly two inches in length; is now straighter, balanced, healed and growing as he grows. This New Year’s Day, as Lal celebrates his birthday, he and his family can look forward to a future bright with new potential, opportunity, and hope. 

    For more information on the Curtis National Hand Center or the MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, please visit medstarunionmemorial.org.

    About The Curtis National Hand Center

    Since 1975, people all over the world have placed their hands in ours – The Curtis National Hand Center. From repairing traumatic injuries to treating repetitive motion injuries, arthritic conditions and congenital differences, our goal is to restore the patient's use of the hand, wrist, arm, elbow and shoulder to the greatest degree possible. Our long history of experience, outstanding medical staff, and state-of-the-art facilities combine to create a treatment center that is the first choice in caring for the hand or arm, no matter how common or complex.

    Today, The Curtis National Hand Center is recognized as the largest, most experienced hand center in the nation. In fact, the hand center was designated by Congress as the National Center for the Treatment of the Hand and Upper Extremity.

    About MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

    MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit, 223-bed acute care teaching hospital with a strong emphasis on cardiac care, orthopaedics and sports medicine. With roots stemming back to 1854, MedStar Union Memorial has provided high quality care for 160 years. As one of the region's top specialty hospitals, MedStar Union Memorial is home to: The Curtis National Hand Center, the only hand center designated by Congress as The National Center for the Treatment of Hand and Upper Extremity; MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a premier cardiovascular program in the mid-Atlantic, aligned with Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program; and MedStar Union Memorial Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, the oldest hospital based Sports Medicine Program in Maryland (founded in 1979).  In addition, MedStar Union Memorial offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services including oncology, diabetes and endocrinology, general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery and palliative care.

    MedStar Union Memorial is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). It is the first hospital in Baltimore to receive spine certification by TJC, and the first in the state of Maryland to receive advanced certification for palliative care. MedStar Union Memorial is also TJC-certified in hip and knee replacement and CARF-accredited in Curtis Work Rehabilitation Services, and has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center and the Hand Trauma Center for Maryland.

    MedStar Union Memorial is a proud member of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional health care system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

    For more information, visit MedStarUnionMemorial.org.

  • December 22, 2016

    Washington Capitals Bring Holiday Cheer to Pediatric Patients

    “It’s the best day on earth!” said Joe Miller, a 6-year-old battling a rare blood disorder, who says he is a huge fan of the Washington Capitals.

    It was a sea of red in the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinic as Caps players visited with patients and their families. The Players autographed jerseys and hats and helped with various art projects. The young patients, parents and siblings were excited to see their favorite players take time off the ice for the visit.

    The Capitals teamed up with Hope for Henry and its founder Laurie Strongin whose son was treated at MedStar Georgetown 14 years ago. Addressing the team she said, “My son Henry was a total Caps fan. You guys made so many people happy today. It’s so hard to be in the hospital during the holiday season.” 

    Many kids enjoyed playing with Play-Doh, including 4-year-old Brock Ludwigson who was diagnosed with a rare cancer when he was 12 months old. Defensemen #88, Nate Schmidt was helping him make planets with the Play-Doh. “We’re all having a great time. I haven’t played with Play-Doh in awhile. The kids have been through so much, yet they still are smiling and having a good time. It’s an enlightening experience for me,” said Schmidt.

    Players handed out hats and caps through Ellie’s Hats and everyone enjoyed treats from Georgetown Cupcake.syringe-painting

    The Caps invited the children to create portraits of the players for a fundraising project for Tracy’s Kids, which helps young patients cope with cancer through art. Kids completed the portraits at the party by squirting paint through a syringe onto the white spaces of the canvas.

    19-year-old Charlotte Hay, who was treated for leukemia at MedStar Georgetown, drew a portrait of T.J. Oshie. “I’m a hardcore Caps fan. Not just a little fan. They’re such nice players, such great guys.”

    -Shannon McCarthy