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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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  • November 18, 2020

    Columbia, MD – The MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety is joining a nationwide training program to help keep COVID-19 from spreading in area nursing homes and to prepare and equip staff so that they can better protect residents and themselves. This is an essential nationwide initiative in the fight against COVID-19.

    The program is part of the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Project ECHO. MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety is participating in the Network as an official Training Center for nursing homes.

    This program has six goals:

    • Keep the virus from entering nursing homes.
    • Find out early if residents and staff have been infected.
    • Prevent the spread of the virus to staff, residents, and visitors.
    • Provide safe and appropriate care to residents with mild and asymptomatic cases.
    • Ensure staff have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement best-practice safety measures to protect residents and themselves.
    • Reduce social isolation for residents, families, and staff.

    To do this, the Network embraces an "all teach, all learn" philosophy in which participants both receive education in best practices from renowned experts and learn from their peers. The MedStar Institute will lead 16 virtual learning sessions with nursing home teams in simultaneous cohorts. Each Network session is designed to be interactive—to hear from nursing home staff about the challenges they are facing and provide practical solutions. During each session, nursing home staff will discuss real cases of front-line problems with both experts and their peers. In this way, staff have a chance to share best practices and learn from their peers while benefiting from the guidance of nursing home and quality improvement experts. Each session will include a brief lecture or lesson paired with case presentations and discussion, followed by a Q&A forum.

    "We are thrilled to announce that we have over 100 nursing homes committed to MedStar Health's training center program. We look forward to creating a learning community to share COVID-19 education, best practices and practical solutions with our participating sites that will ultimately improve care quality and safety for residents, staff and visitors," said Bryan O. Buckley, DrPH, MPH, research fellow, Medstar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and director of the training center effort. 

    MedStar Health launched its first training cohort on November 10th, 2020.  As a designated training center MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety will also provide rapid response mentorship for any nursing home that experiences a sudden increase in COVID-19.

    All Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible nursing homes in the area are invited to join this free, voluntary program. The Network will provide a stipend to each facility for successful completion of the program and a certificate of completion for participating individuals. Any questions regarding the network can be sent to MIQS-NHCAN@medstar.net.

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    About the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety

    The mission of the Medstar Health Institute for Quality and Safety is to partner with patients, their families, and those that take care of them to improve patient care outcomes and reduce the global burden of preventable harm. Established by Medstar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, the Institute provides a global infrastructure in which leaders, front-line care givers, patients and family members jointly develop, educate, assess, and advocate for patient safety and clinical quality initiatives. For more information, visit www.medstariqs.org.  

    ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 ACTION Network

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

    The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) uses improvement science to advance and sustain better outcomes in health and healthcare across the world.

    Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a movement to demonopolize knowledge and amplify the capacity to provide best practice care for underserved people all over the world.

  • November 16, 2020

    The Greater Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System (GBRICS) Partnership will invest $45 million to minimize 911 calls, emergency department visits, and police interactions.

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health is pleased to announce its participation in the Greater Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System (GBRICS) Partnership. GBRICS is working to expand community-based behavioral health services in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, and Howard County that can serve as an alternative to calling 911, visiting an emergency department, or interacting with police during a behavioral health crisis.

    Over the next five years, GBRICS will award $45 million in funding made available by the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Regional Partnership Catalyst Grant Program. The partnership aims to create a regional behavioral health hotline to provide real-time care during a crisis, ensure 24/7 access to mobile crisis teams (MCT) capable of in-home crisis response services, and help outpatient providers interested in providing behavioral health services among other expansions of care.

    “Often when someone is experiencing a behavioral health crisis, they end up in the ED, but that isn’t necessarily the best place for them. With GBRICS, we are coming together to reimagine the crisis response system so we can take care of our communities in a better way,” said MedStar Health Vice President of Clinical Care Transformation Meena Seshamani, MD, PhD. “We want to support people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis with streamlined access to quality services – avoiding unnecessary trips to the ED and connecting to the appropriate services in a timely manner. This effort represents an unprecedented partnership between hospitals and numerous other stakeholders across four counties, to improve care for some of our most vulnerable populations.”

    Alongside behavioral health leaders, 17 hospitals are collaborating on the partnership including MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, and MedStar Harbor Hospital. Every year, hospitals in Baltimore and surrounding counties see 58,000 emergency department visits from patients suffering from mental illness or a substance use disorder.

    “GBIRCS is a game changer for how our region seeks to advance health care for the communities we serve. We’ve found that the top patient need across the Baltimore region is access to mental health and substance use services. This work will allow our region to respond to these needs, bringing together collective resources and assets to create more access points and provide better care,” said MedStar Health Director of Community Health Ryan Moran, MHSA.

    “Alternatives to hospital-based services have been evolving for decades as we work to provide comprehensive outpatient behavioral health care,” said MedStar Health Senior Associate Executive Director for Behavioral Health Services Elias Shaya, MD. “Homelessness, unemployment, legal entanglements, and premature deaths caused by mental illness and substance use disorders can be prevented. We at MedStar Health are excited to be partners in GBRICS, working to meet patients where they are with early community-based interventions that help prevent these complications.”

    GBRICS planning and development will begin on January 1, 2021, including the establishment of the GBRICS Council to support implementation and sustainability. The expansion of behavioral health services and crisis response resources in Baltimore and three surrounding counties will start in the third year of the project.

  • November 12, 2020

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center First in D.C. and Central Maryland to Adopt HeartFlow Diagnostic Tool

    Washington D.C., – MedStar Washington Hospital Center became first in Washington, D.C. and central Maryland to adopt the HeartFlow® Analysis, a first-of-its-kind non-invasive technology to help physicians diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease.

    CAD is the leading cause of death for both men and women. It develops when cholesterol builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow, causing chest pain or heart attacks.

    Many of the non-invasive tests available today have low accuracy rates in detecting CAD and studies have shown there is a need to improve how the disease is evaluated and diagnosed. A recent study found more than half of patients with suspected CAD who underwent an invasive coronary angiogram (ICA) had no need for intervention, since no blood flow-limiting blockage was found during the procedure.

    “Historically, cardiac CT has emerged as a powerful and accurate tool to detect coronary artery disease, but it has a limitation in that it cannot sometimes determine how significant of blockage the cholesterol buildup is causing in the arteries,” said Gaby Weissman, MD, section chief of Clinical Cardiology with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “The HeartFlow Analysis changes this paradigm, allowing us to assess the coronary anatomy, blockages to the coronary arteries, and importantly, the physiological significance of those findings, all with one test. This provides essential information that can help us determine the right approach for a patient through a convenient, non-invasive platform.” 

    The HeartFlow Analysis takes the patient’s CT scans and creates a personalized 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries. It then uses powerful computer algorithms to simulate blood flow and assess the extent and the impact of blockages on blood flow to the heart. This detailed information helps doctors determine the next steps in treatment for the patient.

    The HeartFlow Analysis has been used for over 60,000 patients with suspected heart disease. In clinical trials, using the HeartFlow Analysis helped identify which patients do and do not need invasive treatment.

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    About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The Hospital Center operates the Washington region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to MedSTAR, a nationally verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

  • November 02, 2020

    Washington, D.C., – MedStar Health is honored to announce a generous gift of $4 million from local philanthropists Amy and Alan Meltzer. Mr. Meltzer is CEO and Founder of the NFP | The Meltzer Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based insurance brokerage firm. The gift will support research, training and new technology acquisition for the Comprehensive Stroke Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

    “My wife and I are making this gift in gratitude for the exceptional care I received from the stroke team of doctors and nurses at MedStar Washington Hospital Center,” said Mr. Meltzer. “The treatment they provided helped me to resume a relatively normal life within days of my stroke.”

    Mr. Meltzer was transferred to MedStar Washington Hospital Center after being hospitalized for a stroke in April 2018. Remarkably, only four days after having a stroke, he returned home to his family fully recovered. His lifesaving care experience with the Comprehensive Stroke Center team motivated him to help others who may be afflicted by a stroke. 

    “We are very proud of the amazing care given to all patients by our Comprehensive Stroke Center team,” said MedStar Washington Hospital Center President Gregory J. Argyros, MD. “With vascular disease on the rise, especially with young adults, the generous gift provided by Mr. and Mrs. Meltzer will definitely be put to good use and help us continue to provide the highest quality stroke care to everyone.”

    The Meltzers’ gift will be allocated into three areas: 

    • $1.5 million to support training, education, and certification for nurses
    • $1.25 million to support the acquisition of advanced stroke, neuroscience, and vascular surgery equipment and technology
    • $1.25 million to support neuroscience research

    “We are humbled by this generous gift from Amy and Alan Meltzer in support of MedStar Health and the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Team that has saved countless lives,” added Kenneth A. Samet, President and Chief Executive Officer of MedStar Health. “Even with today’s advancements in stroke care, this gift allows for the discovery of new diagnostic techniques and treatment options and ultimately, helps stroke survivors thrive.”   

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    About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The Hospital Center operates the Washington region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to MedSTAR, a nationally verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

  • October 26, 2020
    As Emergency Departments (EDs) work to best address unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, a study recently published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine by a multidisciplinary MedStar Health team details how integrating telehealth into the ED workflow can reduce healthcare provider infection risk, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and ED length of stay (LOS), among other benefits.
  • October 13, 2020
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is First in the U.S. to Use Cirq Technology