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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 19, 2016
    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Initiates First Clinical Trial Investigating Use of Less Invasive Heart Valve Procedure for Patients at Low Risk

    Endpoint: Will TAVR Be Safe for Lower-Risk Population, Too?

    Washington, D.C., January 19, 2016 – MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center will be the first in the nation to launch a clinical trial, evaluating the use of a minimally invasive procedure to replace narrowed heart valves in patients who are considered at low risk for death from surgery. The Food and Drug Administration granted an Investigational Device Exemption, which allows MedStar Heart to use the investigational device in a research setting, and to enroll these patients into the study, which is starting this month.

    For decades, traditional open-heart surgery has been the gold standard for treating patients with severe aortic stenosis, an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. The only effective treatment is to replace the heart valve. The procedure, called TAVR, for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, is currently FDA approved for patients who are inoperable or too high-risk to undergo the open surgical procedure.

    With TAVR, instead of opening the chest, physicians insert a new valve using a catheter threaded into the heart through a small incision in the groin or chest wall.

    Trials are currently underway to investigate the use of TAVR in patients with intermediate surgical risk. However, the new study at MedStar Heart will be the first in the U.S. to investigate whether the results of TAVR in these patients are comparable to a lower-risk population.

    “We appreciate the FDA’s trust in our ability to conduct this important investigation of TAVR and its safety and efficacy in the low-risk population,” said Ron Waksman, MD, lead investigator of the study and director of Cardiovascular Research and Advanced Education at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “We will be watching the results of this study closely as we strive to make minimally invasive procedures, such as TAVR, safe and effective for as many patients as possible.”

    The study is expected to enroll up to 200 patients in at least four centers across the U.S. In the trial, commercially available TAVR devices will be implanted in patients who would otherwise be candidates only for open-heart surgery. The study will compare this newly acquired TAVR data to historical controls from surgically-treated patients at each of the four sites in a patient-to-patient match.

    About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute:

    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.

  • January 16, 2016
    A grant has been awarded to Suzanne Groah, MD, MSPH, a MedStar Health Researcher to screen for urinary tract infections (UTIs) among patients with spinal cord injuries at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network.
  • January 13, 2016
    The MedStar Health Research Institute, in conjunction with the Georgetown University School of Medicine, has awarded Baljeet Rai a summer research internship through the Pines-Kleinman Mental Health Fund.
  • January 13, 2016
    MedStar Franklin Square will soon unveil its new private-room Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), improving privacy and safety for the babies and their families.
  • January 11, 2016
    Being able to offer the WATCHMAN device means having a greater arsenal of treatment options to help manage arrhythmias.
  • January 11, 2016
    MedStar Health has been named to the American Hospital Association’s Most Wired hospitals and health systems for the 12th time. The survey reveals technology is improving the efficiency of care delivery and creating a new dynamic in patient interactions, and MedStar is recognized as a leader.