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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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  • September 16, 2020

    Hyattsville, MD — MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare will be developing computational algorithms and software tools to make the reporting and analysis of patient safety event reports easier in order to improve patient safety. This work is funded through an R01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The four-year, $1.5 million award is led by principal investigator Raj Ratwani, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, MedStar Health Research Institute and Director, MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.

    The research will focus on developing artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to classify medication related safety event reports into actionable medication error categories and creating prototype software that will help safety analysts more easily identify meaningful safety patterns. The team will pilot test the software with safety analysts from hospitals and patient safety organizations.

    “Our goal is to apply powerful computational approaches and intuitively designed software tools to tens of thousands of patients safety event reports to make healthcare safer for all patients,” said Dr. Ratwani. “Through this grant we will have the opportunity to make it easier to report on safety hazards and easier to analyze those reports so patterns can be identified and effective interventions can be developed to reduce risks to patients.”

    The multi-disciplinary research team has experience in computer science, safety science, user-centered design, and human factors. As part of the academic healthcare system approach at MedStar Health, the team will be collaborating with the computer science department at Georgetown University. In addition, two patient safety organizations are part of the team to support data analysis and software tool development and testing.

    This work builds on previous efforts of Dr. Ratwani and the Center, including a past AHRQ R03, and an R01 from the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with Virginia Tech. Awarded in 2019, the R01 work is focused on developing novel statistical methods to analyze unstructured text in patient safety event reports and to identify temporal trends and patterns in the data. Additionally, this work builds on the Center’s contract with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority to conduct clinical analysis of safety reports.

    R01 awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are among the most prestigious grant mechanisms. The Center has been awarded 6 multi-year R01 awards, which are all focused on improving patient safety.

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    About MedStar Human Factors
    The MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare occupies a unique position in the United States as the largest human factors program embedded within a healthcare system. It brings together human factors scientists, systems safety engineers, health services researchers, clinicians, and other experts to create a safer and more efficient healthcare environment through four core services in research, usability, safety advisement, and education. The Center is part of the MedStar Health Research Institute and is also affiliated with the MedStar Institute for Innovation and MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety. MedStar Health, the parent organization, is the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., region, with 10 hospitals and an extensive ambulatory services network, and is the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University.

    About MedStar Health Research Institute
    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. For more information, visit www.MedStarResearch.org.

    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.

  • August 11, 2020
    AHA/ASA Award Recognizes Hospital’s Commitment to Quality Stroke Care
  • July 27, 2020
    MedStar Health’s telehealth, human factors, and research teams authored two recently-published research articles to share lessons learned while helping the system navigate telehealth’s exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • July 17, 2020

    Washington, D.C.,– While government stay-at-home orders helped to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it had some unintended consequences: more people were getting burned in the kitchen. The Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has seen a nearly four-fold increase in cooking-related burns during the height of COVID-19.

    “We saw nearly sixty to seventy percent more volume than we typically have during this time of the year,” said Jeffrey Shupp, MD, director of the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “About thirty to forty percent of those burns involved cooking accidents. Most were grease related.”

    Some of the burn injuries were more severe than usual, requiring hospitalization and surgery. Some patients required intensive care, with some needing skin grafting procedures.

    “We don’t exactly know why the number of burn injuries is rising, but we suspect social isolation played a role as more people stayed at home, dabbling in different types of activities that maybe they don’t normally do,” added Dr. Shupp.

    Some burn centers across the country have experienced a similar increase.

    Dr. Shupp and the Burn Center team share these tips to minimize potential problems from kitchen fires:

    • Keep a functioning fire extinguisher nearby
    • Cover fires with a pot or pan with a lid
    • Do not throw water on cooking fires. That can make them worse
    • Wear proper clothing: Baggy or loose shirts can catch fire when cooking

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    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.

  • July 16, 2020
    During the peak of the spring 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, MedStar Health conducted more than 4,500 telehealth encounters each weekday to ensure safe and efficient care for our patients, providers, and communities. By May 1, the system had reached the significant milestone of more than 100,000 telehealth sessions delivered in total during the pandemic.
  • July 16, 2020
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded $976,679 to MedStar Health to provide additional support for the exponential growth of the system’s telehealth offerings in response to COVID-19. As of early July, MedStar Health had delivered more than 275,000 telehealth sessions during the pandemic.