January 20, 2022MedStar Georgetown University Hospital names Lucy M. De La Cruz, MD, chief of Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center
The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center
WASHINGTON – Lucy 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.
“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.
January 04, 2016MedStar Health Awarded Federal Contract to Design, Develop and Test Guide for Improving Patient SafetyA MedStar Health research team has been awarded a 38-month contract from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
January 03, 2016About 55 percent of American women suffer from some sort of vein disorder, with varicose veins topping the list.
January 03, 2016Artwork as home-based therapy for District residents with HIV/AIDS will be showcased at an event featuring the artists and HIV H.O.P.E., a program made possible through a District of Columbia Department of Health grant, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and MedStar Health Research Institute.
August 03, 2015
A Major and Rare Patient Safety Milestone Celebrated
Washington, D.C., August 3, 2015 – The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at MedStar Washington Hospital Center reached a remarkable safety milestone last Friday, July 31: three years with zero Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI) in its tiniest and most vulnerable babies.
While three years CLABSI-free is extraordinary for any intensive care unit, what makes this accomplishment so remarkable is that these babies “are so small and fragile it makes it easier for infection to spread,” said Zacharia Cherian, MD, chairman of Neonatology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “In addition, their immune systems are still immature, so fighting off infection is much more difficult than for a healthy baby.”
The NICU team at the Hospital Center spent several years perfecting a sophisticated process for inserting a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) into the tiny patients. These lines are used for continuous infusion of nutrition and medication, and the long-term placement of PICC lines can create opportunities for infections.
A dedicated team of specially trained nurses handles all PICC line insertions in the NICU, and all nurses on the unit are trained in the special dressing changes and cleaning process for neonates with a PICC line. Special precautions are taken when placing the line or changing the dressing. One nurse performs the procedure, while the other monitors every step, making certain all sterile processes are followed.
“This is a team effort. Everyone here is involved in keeping the environment clean and keeping our littlest patients free from infection,” said Nuncia Dimagnaong, RN, one of the PICC line nurses in the NICU. “It takes all of us.”
“We have a very focused team, says Jacquelyn Bell-Benton, BSN, MSNc, IBCLC, the hospital director of the NICU. “At one point we almost reached two years, but then we had one infection. So, we reevaluated our processes, and aimed for one year, then two years and now three years without a single infection. I am so proud of our entire team.”
MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s NICU is a 20-bed, Level IIIa neonatology unit that treats approximately 850 patients per year.
To learn more about the NICU team’s recipe for success, please view video below.
June 18, 2015A Proven Model: National Demonstration Validates Treating Frail Elders in Their Home Saves in Medicare CostsThe Medical House Call program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center announced positive and promising results in its first year as part of a national Independence at Home Demonstration, focusing on providing high-quality care to chronically ill elders in their home.
October 23, 2014As a kidney transplant coordinator at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Julie Haimes has touched thousands of lives over the years, and was recently honored with the “Patient First Award” from Hospital Center President John Sullivan, for her commitment to providing exceptional quality, safety and service to transplant patients.