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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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  • June 17, 2016
    The first clinical trial to compare standard of care chemotherapy with molecularly tailored therapy (also known as precision medicine) for metastatic pancreatic cancer is now enrolling patients at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • June 17, 2016
    “The vests are an investment in the safety and security of our dogs,” said MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s Corporal Joel Schindler.
  • June 14, 2016

    New Facility Unlocks New Model of Care and Patient Experience


    Washington, D.C., June 14, 2016 – The first dedicated heart and vascular hospital in the nation’s capital is opening on the campus of MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital is a 164-bed state-of-the-art facility, which will be the cornerstone of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute and will advance cardiovascular care for patients throughout the Washington and mid-Atlantic regions.

    “This is an extraordinary milestone for our patients,” said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “The new heart and vascular hospital, its construction, its design, its philosophy, was designed with patients’ needs in mind, coupled with our long-standing commitment to providing the most advanced heart and vascular care.”

    MWHC_Patient-Unit-4---press-releaseAs one of the highest-volume and nationally recognized heart and vascular surgery programs in the nation, MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the founding member of MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, which has cared for patients with highly complex cardiovascular disorders for nearly 60 years. It has been at the forefront of innovative new treatments and prevention of heart and vascular disease.

    The four-story, 160,000-square-foot facility centralized all cardiovascular services in the Hospital Center’s North Addition. The new space ushers in a new model of care and patient experience. Patients with similar medical conditions are cared for on designated specialty-care units that have dedicated teams of cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, nurse practitioners and nurses, to collaboratively deliver the highest quality cardiovascular care and achieve the best patient outcomes.

    “We want to make the overall experience for the patients and their families as good as it can be,” added Dr. Seides. “Every team member who works at the heart and vascular hospital takes great pride in their work. As a team, we are all focused on patients getting the best clinical care possible. And the only way to safely provide that kind of highly advanced care is through highly coordinated teamwork.”

    Increased critical care capacity was an important linchpin in the new design of the heart and vascular hospital. The 44-bed cardiac intensive care unit on the second floor was built to meet the increasingly complex needs of patients from all over the region. The ICU rooms are much larger, with wider doorways facilitating access for team members and advanced equipment to the bedside. Each ICU room is equipped with ceiling-mounted booms carrying medical gases, and electric and data outlets, offering greater flexibility and providing clinicians unrestricted access to the patient from all four sides of the bed.

    “The booms give us 360-degree access to patients. Beds pushed up against walls limit our ability to perform certain procedures in patient rooms. Opening the space in this way allows us to position patients, ourselves, and needed equipment for optimal care,” concluded Dr. Seides.

    Construction of the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital took three years to complete and was divided into four phases. In January 2015, a 60-bed inpatient unit opened to patients on the fourth floor of the hospital, followed by the third floor inpatient unit. The first floor, with a separate entrance and lobby, opened in December and is solely dedicated to outpatient care. The second floor cardiac ICU, the final phase of construction, is scheduled to open in July.

    The Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital was named to recognize long-time Washingtonians Nancy and Harold Zirkin for their generosity and extraordinary philanthropic support to the heart and vascular hospital. Their $10 million leadership gift is the largest single contribution in the history of MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health.


    *A dedication ceremony for the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital will be held on Thursday, June 16, starting at 6 p.m.  View the Media Advisory here.

    B-roll footage and photos of the facility are available to download. Click here to access.



    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., is a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and has been consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons as one of the top cardiovascular programs in the nation. In January 2013, MedStar Heart formed a first-of-its-kind clinical and research alliance with world-renowned Cleveland Clinic Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, the #1 heart program in the country. Together, MedStar Heart and Cleveland Clinic have forged a relationship of shared expertise that is transforming cardiovascular care, enhancing quality, improving safety and increasing access to advanced heart and vascular services. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute comprises more than 140 cardiovascular physician specialists throughout the mid-Atlantic region, as well as the nationally recognized heart care of all nine MedStar Health acute care hospitals and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network. For more information, visit

  • June 13, 2016
    Three physicians from the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute traveled to the White House today for the Obama Administration’s Organ Summit aimed at setting new strategies to increase access to organ transplants and shorten the organ waiting list.
  • June 09, 2016

    The Diabetes Self-Management Program celebrates 17 years of helping people live well with diabetes.

    What causes diabetes? Can people with diabetes eat dessert? Is it true that healthy foods won’t raise blood sugar? When it comes to diabetes, there are a lot of myths out there. Yet knowing the facts about diabetes can save your life.

    Here’s the truth: according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more Americans die each year from complications related to diabetes than they do from AIDS and breast cancer combined. The good news is that a person’s lifestyle choices, particularly healthy eating, regular exercise, and medication, can help manage diabetes effectively. The first step toward living well with diabetes is learning what you can do to help control it – and that’s where the hospital’s Diabetes Self-Management Program comes in.

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Diabetes Self-Management Program has been helping people understand and manage diabetes since 1999. Now part of the MedStar Diabetes Institute, the ADA-certified program is staffed by certified diabetes educators and offers assessments, education, and support designed to empower people who have been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, have never attended a self-management program, or are struggling to control their blood sugar levels.

    “Denial is a big problem after the diagnosis,” said program coordinator Susan Hicks, RN. “Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in this country, and it’s associated with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, blindness, and other complications. Our program helps people understand treatment options and lifestyle changes that they can make to control it and reduce health risks.”

    Participants attend a total of four classes to learn about diabetes self-care. The classes cover topics like monitoring blood glucose levels, establishing proper nutrition and exercise habits, taking medication, counting carbs, and reading food labels. Each class participant receives a personalized meal plan and follow-up.

    The hospital also holds diabetes support group meetings on the fourth Thursday or every month from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Hospital Library. To learn more about the Diabetes Self-Management Program, or to sign up, call (301) 877-5560.

  • June 09, 2016
    Doctors just entering residency or fellowship training at MedStar Health will experience a three-day immersion in patient safety before they ever see patients in a MedStar hospital or clinic. The orientation program begins Monday, June 13, at the Marquis Marriott, Washington, D.C.