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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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  • February 09, 2021

    MedStar St. Mary’s to offer increased access to prevention programs

    Leonardtown, MD – Thanks to funding from Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grants program, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will be teaming up with four other hospitals in the region to help tackle one of the most common chronic conditions suffered by residents of Southern Maryland, diabetes.

    In November 2020 the HSCRC granted $30 million to Totally Linking Care in Maryland (TLC MD), a collaboration between MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, MedStar St. Mary’s, University of Maryland Capital Region Health, Doctors Community Health System, and Adventist Healthcare Fort Washington Medical Center. The funds are to be split among two initiatives—regional diabetes care, just over $7 million, and behavioral health access in Prince George’s county, $22.8 million. As part of the program, MedStar St. Mary’s will offer increased access to its National Diabetes Prevention program (Simple Changes) and its diabetes self-management program. Additionally, eligible participants will also have access to community health workers.

    “Diabetes is unlike many other chronic health conditions in that good daily self-management can make a remarkable difference in long-term outcomes. Helping people prevent and manage diabetes is most effective when it happens not in the hospital, but in the community, with the most effective programs including a suite of wraparound services designed to close the gap between an individual’s social determinants of health and the excellent diabetes care they deserve,” said Stephen T. Michaels, MD, chief operating and medical officer, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

    “This work, in collaboration with our regional partners, is evidence of our commitment to population health initiatives designed to improve our community’s health before they ever come through our doors. Projects like these can reduce hospitalizations and readmissions, expand equitable access to care, and support individuals with programs and resources to help them manage chronic conditions and live well,” said Christine Wray, president of MedStar Southern Maryland and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “We are proud to continue our collaboration with hospitals across the region through TLC MD.”

     


    About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MedStar St. Mary's received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

  • February 08, 2021

    Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade announces fall 2020 recognitions

    Leonardtown, MD – MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital was awarded its fifth “A” grade in December 2020 from the Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. It is based on a hospital’s performance in preventing medical errors, injuries, accidents, infections and other harms to patients in their care.

    “We are incredibly proud of the work our staff and medical providers carry out each day to provide quality, safe care,” said Christine Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “To achieve such an honor while facing one of the greatest healthcare challenges of our times affirms the constant dedication and professionalism of everyone who works at our hospital.”

    Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 27 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.

    “We are extremely grateful to hospital leadership and health care workers who have remained steadfast in prioritizing patient safety as our nation battles COVID-19,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “This ‘A’ is a testament to the care and commitment of those who work for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. With the current pandemic exposing existing flaws within the U.S. health care system, we appreciate you putting patient safety first. Lives depend on it.”

     


    About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

  • February 01, 2021

    Mobile Strategy Begins in Cherry Hill with 65 People Vaccinated

    Baltimore, MD – MedStar Health became the first healthcare provider in the region to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the community with the vaccinations of 65 at-risk, vulnerable adults inside the MedStar Health Mobile Health Center at Cherry Hill Senior Manor on Friday January 29, 2021.

    The initiative was the first day of a mobile strategy in partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department to vaccinate and educate underserved populations in the city’s public housing and nursing centers.

    “It’s really special because this is an opportunity for us to take the COVID vaccine directly to residents who may have difficulties or challenges coming to vaccination centers across Maryland,” said MedStar Health Director of Community Health Ryan Moran, DrPH, MHSA. “The response has been incredible.”

    “I came out here today because I know that I have issues, I am an older lady, and I know I need to get something so I can help other people so they won’t get it,” said Cherry Hill resident Margaret Carpenter. “If you want to keep your children and your grandchildren and your family safe, you should get it. I pray. I pray about it.”

    “Some people are nervous, just because they have questions about what they’ve heard and potential side effects,” said nurse practitioner, Kelli McCallum, CRNP, who leads the mobile care team. “I’m glad we were able to come out to answer those questions, to give some comfort to the community and hopefully encourage more people to get vaccinated.”

    Residents who received the shot Friday will get their second shot when MedStar Health returns in the mobile primary care center to Cherry Hill Senior Manor February 26.

    “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable populations is critical to our overall vaccination strategy,” said Christina Hughes, MS, BSN, director, Healthcare System Preparedness and has been leading coordination and logistics of the vaccine arrival and distribution for MedStar Health. “As we work to address health disparities in our community around COVID-19, the mobile health center helps us get the vaccines to the groups who have been disproportionately affected by this virus.”

    As the mobile vaccine strategy continues, MedStar Health community health teams will be onsite at the following locations for pre-registered residents to be vaccinated:

    • J Van Story Branch Apartment Complex
      11 W. 20th St.
      Baltimore, MD 21218
    • Shepherd’s Clinic and Immigration Outreach Service Center
      2800 Kirk Ave
      Baltimore, MD 21218

    McCallum added, “It seems many of them get the shot and there’s a sense of relief and maybe a little bit of excitement.”

    To learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations being offered by MedStar Health, visit MedStarHealth.org/Vaccine.

     


    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.

  • February 01, 2021

    Mobile Strategy Begins in Cherry Hill with 65 Vaccinated

    BALTIMORE—MedStar Health became the first healthcare provider in the region to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the community, when they vaccinated 65 at-risk, vulnerable adults inside their mobile primary care center at Cherry Hill Senior Manor Friday. The initiative was the first day of a mobile strategy in partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department, to vaccinate and educate underserved populations in the city’s public housing and nursing centers.

    “It’s really special because this is an opportunity for us to take the COVID vaccine directly to residents who may have difficulties or challenges coming to vaccination centers across Maryland,” said MedStar Health Director of Community Health Ryan Moran, DrPH, MHSA. “The response has been incredible.”

     “I came out here today because I know that I have issues, I am an older lady, and I know I need to get something so I can help other people so they won’t get it,” said Cherry Hill resident Margaret Carpenter. “If you want to keep your children and your grandchildren and your family safe, you should get it. I pray. I pray about it.”

    “Some people are nervous, just because they have questions about what they’ve heard and potential side effects,” said nurse practitioner, Kelli McCallum, CRNP, who leads the mobile care team. “I’m glad we were able to come out to answer those questions, to give some comfort to the community and hopefully encourage more people to get vaccinated.”

    Residents who received the shot Friday will get their second shot when MedStar Health returns in the mobile primary care center to Cherry Hill Senior Manor February 26.

    As the mobile vaccine strategy continues, MedStar Health community health teams will be onsite at the following locations for pre-registered residents to be vaccinated:

    • J Van Story Branch Apartment Complex
      11 W. 20th St.
      Baltimore, MD 21218

    • Shepherd’s Clinic and Immigration Outreach Service Center
      2800 Kirk Ave
      Baltimore, MD 21218

    McCallum added, “It seems many of them get the shot and there’s a sense of relief and maybe a little bit of excitement.”

    To learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations being offered by MedStar Health, visit MedstarHealth.org/Vaccine.


    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.

  • January 26, 2021

    Team will study technology used to access primary care surrounding COVID-19 and any related health disparities—and recommend actions to improve access for patients

    Columbia, MD—To better understand and address technology-driven U.S. primary care access and health disparities around COVID-19 and beyond, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded MedStar Health a nearly $1 million grant to create and advance a telehealth research collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare and Stanford Health Care. As the two-year effort launches this month, it establishes one of the largest COVID-19 primary care data sharing and analysis alliances to date, including three systems that have previously delivered 4.5 million primary care appointments in a year.

    “Truly tackling pressing health disparity questions requires expansive information about people’s experiences,” said the grant’s co-principal investigator (PI) Raj Ratwani, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs, MedStar Health Research Institute and director, MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. “We can study access more rigorously—and arrive at results and recommendations that better represent our nation—by combining data and other insights from three incredibly diverse sets of patient populations, primary care access models, and technical, social, and structural environments.”

    Focus areas

    COVID-19 resulted in a historic shift in the way primary care services are delivered, leading to the rapid adoption of a variety of ways for patients to seek care virtually such as telehealth video-based and phone-based visits, text messages, and patient portal messages. Nationally, it is unclear whether different patient subpopulations can access primary care during the pandemic and which avenues are being used by those accessing care. In response, the team will examine how their different subpopulations got their care during COVID-19; barriers and facilitators to accessing care; and if/how primary care accessibility evolves surrounding the pandemic by following patients’ use of primary care avenues over time.

    Anticipated deliverables of this collaboration include journal publications, policy briefings, and other outreach to stakeholders such as patients, providers, policymakers, community groups, trade and research organizations, etc., to further explore and implement meaningful research questions and resources.

    Team leadership and assets

    The grant work will be co-led by MedStar Health co-PI Ethan Booker, MD, medical director of MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center and MedStar eVisit. MedStar Health’s telehealth and human factors teams will work closely with Intermountain Healthcare site co-PIs Lory Maddox, PhD, RN, Senior Clinical Outcomes Researcher for Intermountain Connect, and Kerry Palakanis, executive director of Connect Care, as well as Stanford University School of Medicine site PI Kevin Schulman, MD, director of industry partnerships and education for the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC). 

    “As the initial surges of COVID-19 have massively disrupted traditional modes of care delivery, telehealth has helped us effectively bridge many potential gaps in care—especially in primary care—and we want to ensure that’s true in as many populations as possible,” Dr. Booker said. “Given the exponential growth of telehealth over this period, we now have an enormous amount of data that can help us inform policy and better invent the future. It will be a far greater opportunity for all if we share, expand, and apply what we’ve learned within the U.S. health system more broadly, which the AHRQ grant will help us achieve.”

    Following is preview of what these participating systems bring to this effort:

    • MedStar Health is the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Maryland and Washington, D.C., consisting of 10 hospitals and more than 300 ambulatory care sites in that region plus Virginia. The clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is also a microcosm of American medicine with urban, suburban, and rural care facilities serving a diverse patient population with nearly 5 million ambulatory visits a year. Due to COVID-19, outpatient telehealth visits increased from around seven to 4,500 per day at peak, with more than 600,000 telehealth sessions overall and around 30% of primary care visits shifting to video.
    • Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah, with 24 hospitals including a “virtual” hospital; 215 clinics; and a broad range of medical services. It is the largest healthcare provider in the Intermountain West, serving the healthcare needs of Utah, Las Vegas, and southeastern Idaho residents. During COVID-19, rapid implementation of existing and alternate video platforms increased telehealth visits from approximately five percent to 40% of scheduled primary care visits.
    • Stanford Health Care, located in California, is a leading academic health system delivering world-class clinical services and more via their enterprise virtual care platform, practicing across 150 clinics, and serving as the teaching hospital for the Stanford University School of Medicine. During COVID-19, telehealth visits increased 50x to meet patient needs and grew from less than two percent of ambulatory visits to more than 70%.

    This AHRQ grant is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ R01 award, which is among the most prestigious grant types. This marks the seventh R01 award led by the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, whose awards to date have focused on improving patient safety. This is the first R01 for the MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center, signifying the extent to which telehealth has become a new and increased research priority due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    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.

  • January 26, 2021
    MedStar Health announced launching a two-year telehealth research collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare and Stanford Health Care this month thanks to a nearly $1 million R01 grant award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.