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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 12, 2016

     

    In honor of National Heart Month, Dr. Mun K. Hong, FAACC, Chairman, Department of Cardiology at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, took the time to answer some frequently asked questions about heart attacks. Stay informed about the risk factors and common symptoms individuals may face every day by reading below! Learn more about heart care

     Q. What is a heart attack?

     A. A heart attack is an emergency in which the heart is suddenly deprived of blood, usually due to a blood clot in an artery or by plaque or fat build-up in the wall of the artery. A heart attack requires immediate medical care.

     Q.What are the symptoms?

     A. Symptoms can include chest tightness, heaviness, or pressure, as well as pain. The discomfort can get worse even when you are resting and may radiate to the left arm, neck, or back. It may feel like indigestion, with belching giving temporary relief. Patients with diabetes may experience severe shortness of breath rather than chest pain. If these symptoms persist or get worse over the next 20 minutes or so, call 9-1-1 and describe your symptoms – never drive yourself to the emergency room.

     Q. What causes a heart attack?

     A. Heart attacks are caused by many risk factors, including a family history of heart attacks and heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, obesity and emotional stress. Drugs such as cocaine can also cause a heart attack.

     Q. What are the treatment options?

      A. The best treatment is to restore blood flow with an angioplasty or a stent procedure. During an angioplasty, the cardiologist uses a tiny balloon to widen an artery that is too narrow. Sometimes the cardiologist will insert a mesh tube called a “stent” to help keep the artery open. These surgical procedures can be done only in hospitals with specialized facilities, like MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

     Q. What can you do to reduce the chance of a heart attack?

      A.  People who have risk factors should take the prescribed medications to treat them and should make lifestyle changes like exercising more. It is also important to see a cardiologist and family doctor regularly.

  • February 12, 2016
    Georgetown University Medical Center will host the first summit to explore gender differences of female brain injuries
  • February 05, 2016
    Breast Center named a recipient of the Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s Best Breast Centers.
  • February 04, 2016
    MedStar Franklin Square received the 2016 Women’s Choice Award® for being one of America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery.
  • January 30, 2016
    New research at MedStar Rehabilitation Network aims to spot and treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) for spinal cord injury patients, who are being treated for bladder dysfunction. Through a grant provided by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Suzanne Groah, MD, MSPH and team will develop and disseminate a questionnaire to identify patients at high risk and work with them to treat recurrent UTIs. Read more.
  • January 30, 2016

     

    WASHINGTON, D.C., (June 30, 2016)—The MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Health Academic Affairs, in conjunction with the MedStar-Georgetown Surgical Outcomes Research Center have officially launched their first joint program to support residents’ interest in conducting research.

    The new MedStar Surgical Resident Research Program is designed to encourage  MedStar surgical residents in the Washington, D.C., region to pursue careers focused on clinical, translational and medical education research in academic surgery by providing faculty mentoring and structure, and bio-statistical and study design resources from the MedStar Health Research Institute’s Biostatistics and Bioinformatics department.

    Recipients of the year-long research award are Filipe Carvalho, MD, Chris Devulapalli, MD, Conor Hynes, MD, and Michael Sosin, MD.

    “This is a wonderful opportunity for residents to see a research project through to completion with the help of the very best in the business,” says Thomas J. Watson, MD, regional chief of MedStar Washington Integrated Surgery Service at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. 

    Residents applied to new program by submitting research proposals for review by the newly formed MedStar Surgical Resident Research Program Council co-chaired by Shimae Fitzgibbons, MD, Jeff Shupp, MD, and Waddah Al-Refaie, MD.

     “As a novel program, this represents a pilot effort and, pending successful completion and review of program performance, may serve as a model for future expansion across MedStar Surgery,” says Dr. Al-Refaie, John S. Dillon Chair and chief of Surgical Oncology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and surgeon-in-chief of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Dr. Sosin, a third-year general surgery resident, was selected to research benefits of nipple-sparing mastectomy. Dr. Sosin says, “I applied to this program because it offers a unique opportunity of supporting resident-driven research that can be translated to optimization of patient care at the bedside and surgical decision making in the treatment of breast cancer.”

    The benefits of nipple-sparing mastectomy are tremendous including improved patient quality of life, increased sensation, and better aesthetic outcomes, Dr. Sosin, said, “And we hope to offer this surgery to more patients in the future.” Dr. Sosin will be mentored by Shawna C. Willey, MD, FACS, Eleni A. Tousimis, MD, FACS, and Troy A. Pittman, MD.

    Dr. Carvalho is a second-year urology resident selected to research a pre-surgical medication alternative to chemotherapy for patients with bladder cancer; Dr. Devulapalli was selected to investigate incisional hernias following major abdominal cancer operations; and Dr. Hynes will examine the role of a type of stem cells in patients with diabetes mellitus, a condition that affects the body's ability to use energy in food.

    The selected participants for this year’s MedStar Surgical Resident Research program are all from MedStar Georgetown University Hospital but the program is open to applications from MedStar Washington Hospital Center as well.

    About MedStar Health Research Institute

    The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare 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. Visit us at Medstarresearch.org.

    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.