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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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  • July 30, 2019
    Only Heart Program Nationally Ranked in the Washington Region by U.S. News
  • July 29, 2019

    Columbia, MD  –Christine A. Goeschel, Sc.D., R.N., FAAN, assistant vice president, MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety and director, Center for Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare was appointed to The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

    The council provides advice and recommendations to AHRQ's director and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on priorities for a national health services research agenda. The panel is comprised of private sector experts and ex-officio members from other federal health agencies. Private-sector members are appointed by the Secretary, HHS, to serve 3-year terms.

    Dr. Goeschel is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She was founder and first executive for the Keystone Center for Patient Safety and Quality at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and was the Michigan principal investigator on groundbreaking research to reduce bloodstream infections in intensive care units. A quality and patient safety researcher, she has led large scale, national and international quality improvement projects.  Dr. Goeschel has served on the board of directors of the Maryland Patient Safety Center and was a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s panel that released the seminal report Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare in 2015.


    About MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety
    The mission of the Medstar Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS) 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, MIQS 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  

    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

    About Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

    AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with improving the safety and quality of America's healthcare system. AHRQ develops the knowledge, tools, and data needed to improve the healthcare system and help Americans, health care professionals, and policymakers make informed health decisions.


  • July 22, 2019
    $100,000 donation assists network’s fitness and adaptive sports programs
  • July 22, 2019

    WASHINGTON D.C., – When Nicole Austin-Hillery looks at her wrist, she sees a small, pinhole-sized scar. It’s the only visible sign of her recent treatment for uterine fibroids.

    Nicole Austin-Hillery
    Nicole Austin-Hillery

    “It is hardly noticeable at all,” she says. “It looks like I have a little tiny mole there. There’s absolutely nothing. I don’t even think about that.”

    July is recognized as Fibroid Awareness Month. Nationwide, one in three women suffer from fibroids, including 80% of African American women and 70% of Caucasian women by the time they reach the age of 50. Oftentimes, the tumors can cause very heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, increased abdominal girth and urinary symptoms.

    Earlier this year, Austin-Hillery, a D.C.-based civil and human rights attorney underwent uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. UFE is an established, minimally invasive procedure that treats fibroids without the need for major surgery. Several years ago, Austin-Hillery did have surgery to remove her fibroids, but the benign pelvic tumors came back.

    “They eventually grew to even bigger sizes and in multiplicity beyond what they had been originally,” she says. “I could really feel the impact of those fibroids and how they were interfering with my daily activities, particularly when it came to exercise.”

    She was looking for way to address her discomfort without undergoing another operation like a myectomy or hysterectomy. After researching UFE on her own, Austin-Hillery was referred to Interventional Radiologist Theresa Caridi, MD, who specializes in the procedure.

    Dr. Theresa Caridi
    Dr. Theresa Caridi

    “One in five women are under the impression that a hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus, is the only way to treat uterine fibroids. It’s not true,” said Dr. Caridi. “Treatments like uterine fibroid embolization can be just as effective and carry fewer risks of major complications than surgery.”

    During UFE, the fibroid is starved of blood supply as portions of connecting uterine arteries are blocked by a microscopic substance known as embolic or bead.

    “We deliver the substance through a small catheter that’s inserted into either the patient’s wrist or upper leg. It only takes one to two hours,” Caridi says. “The fibroids aren’t removed but, following the procedure, they shrink into scars over several months.”

    Austin-Hillery went forward with UFE and had the procedure in February 2019. The procedure only required a local anesthetic, she remembers being somewhat aware throughout. Afterwards, she did feel some side effects like nausea and abdominal discomfort, especially during the first day or so following the procedure, but they improved relatively quickly. A far cry from the recovery following a myectomy or hysterectomy.

    “MedStar Georgetown was great. They checked on me. I called them when I had questions. Around day three, I started to feel better,” Austin-Hillery says.

    Best of all, she feels like uterine fibroid embolization worked. According to Dr. Caridi, the fibroids will continue shrinking for up to a year after the procedure, but Austin-Hillery says the difference is already noticeable.

    “I’m continuing to see changes in my abdominal area. My menstrual cycles are much better,” she says. “My comfort level when I exercise is just off the charts. Overall it was a win-win for me.”

    For more information, visit:

    To schedule an appointment with a MedStar Georgetown interventional radiologist, please call 202-444-5478 or complete an online appointment request form

  • July 11, 2019
    Sandy Spring, MD -- Sandy Spring Museum announces the Women’s Board of MGH supporting MedStar Montgomery Medical Center as the recipient of the Maryland Champion Award. Hailed as the Museum’s highest honor, this award is presented annually to a person or organization of distinction who has made state wide impact at a grassroots level. The Women’s Board is being honored at the Maryland Champion Gala on October 17, 2019 at Sandy Spring Museum.
    The Women’s Board, formerly known as the Ladies’ Auxiliary, played an instrumental role in founding Montgomery General Hospital (today’s MedStar Montgomery Medical Center), the first rural hospital in the United States in 1919. One hundred years later, the Women’s Board stills plays an important role in the hospital through its fundraising efforts and the volunteer service provided by its members.
    “In a rural area like Olney-Sandy Spring, the community had to provide for its own needs. Key businesses like the bank, the insurance company, the hospital, the theater and the museum were built by the community, for the community. Honoring the role members of the Women’s Board played in the establishment of the first rural hospital in the United States is our way of paying tribute to these community heroines,” Allison Weiss, Executive Director, Sandy Spring Museum.
    The cornerstone for Montgomery General Hospital was laid in November 1919 and, two months later, the flu epidemic of 1918-1920 hit Olney, Maryland. The new hospital was unprepared to care for the sick because furniture  as still in boxes and no supplies had been purchased. The eight members of the Ladies Auxiliary unpacked the furniture, and “begged, borrowed and bought” supplies like surgical dressing, ice caps, hot water bottles, equipment to serve food, and the food itself.  They also helped to transport the sick to the hospital during a terrible blizzard.
    Today the Women’s Board has grown to more than 100 members. They are the Hospital’s largest philanthropic group, carrying on the traditions of their founding mothers. Their fundraising includes hosting an annual Picnic and Bazaar (celebrating its 99th anniversary) and, in more recent years, running the hospital gift shop and thrift store.
    "On behalf of all of us with MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, we remain proud and inspired by the philanthropic spirit of The Women's Board," said T.J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery. "As champions for our community, I commend them for their commitment to legacy through their volunteer work and their celebration of our future with the Scholarship Program for students pursuing a degree in healthcare."
    Members of the Women’s Board of MGH are being honored at the Maryland Champion Gala on Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 7:00-10:30 pm. Proceeds from the gala support Sandy Spring Museum’s community-driven  cultural arts programming. Sandy Spring Museum is located at 17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860. For more information, visit
  • July 10, 2019

    American Heart Association Award recognizes MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s commitment to quality stroke care

    Clinton, MD,  ― MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

    MSMHC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

    “MSMHC is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

    MSMHC additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite Plus award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

    According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.


    About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176-bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve. For more information, visit

    About Get With The Guidelines®

    Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit