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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 01, 2021

    WASHINGTON — MedStar Georgetown University Hospital announced today a historic $50 million philanthropic gift from entrepreneur, venture capital investor and philanthropist Grant Verstandig, and the Verstandig Family Foundation, to support the new Medical/Surgical Pavilion currently under construction at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    This transformational gift from Mr. Verstandig is one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever made to health care in the Washington, D.C., region, and will support one of the most significant healthcare projects to take place in the region.  Upon its completion and in recognition of this generous gift, the new pavilion will be named in honor of Mr. Verstandig.

    “We are incredibly grateful to Grant Verstandig for his generous support of MedStar Health and in particular, for making this naming gift to the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Medical/Surgical Pavilion,” said Kenneth A. Samet, President and Chief Executive Officer of MedStar Health. “Grant is a true visionary, and his commitment to the health and well-being of patients in our region is highly impactful. I believe Grant’s leadership gift will inspire others to join him in partnering with us, as we build a world-class facility to support the world-class care we provide.”

    Mr. Verstandig developed a deep personal commitment to advancing healthcare systems of all kinds after his own experience as a patient with a knee injury that required 16 surgeries, and from observing numerous care experiences of family members and close friends. These care experiences ignited a determination to help make health care easier and more accessible for everyone, and to empower people to take control of their health and well-being. Core to his approach is advancing cutting-edge, transformative health care and new technologies that support it, including using large data sets, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create novel methods for characterizing and curing disease.

    “I believe in the positive and profound impact that innovation and technology can have on medical facilities and treatments, and I am proud to support the development of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s world-class Medical/Surgical Pavilion that will impact people for generations to come,” said Mr. Verstandig. “With its state-of-the-art capabilities, the Medical/Surgical Pavilion will completely transform healthcare options in the region, bringing unparalleled patient care and advanced technology to the area. I am pleased to offer my gratitude by supporting this campaign and investing through philanthropy in the incredible work being done by the amazing care teams at MedStar Georgetown.”

    Slated to open in 2023, the Medical/Surgical Pavilion will accelerate the region’s healthcare capabilities and usher in an even stronger future of providing excellent clinical and patient care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health has one of the largest Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs in the country.  The Medical/ Surgical Pavilion will advance the work of the partnership in critical areas of research and support an even greater commitment to medical education. The new facility will also be a place that serves to reinforce the spirit of cura personalis, care of the whole person, which complements Mr. Verstandig’s passion of caring for a patient’s mental-spiritual well-being, in addition to their physical health.

    The Medical/Surgical Pavilion will foster growth and training in the specialty services for complex diseases, including oncology, gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, and transplant. The Pavilion will also be comprised of 477,213 square feet, featuring 156 private patient rooms; a rooftop helipad with direct access to 31 state-of-the-art Operating Rooms; and 32 exam rooms in a modernized Emergency Department.

    The most recent contributions by the Verstandig Family Foundation to MedStar Health build on their enduring commitment to the greater Baltimore-Washington community.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation generously donated a total of $750,000 to MedStar Health in support of the procurement and delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for care teams, as well as enhancing the MedStar Health Mobile Health Center, which traveled the Baltimore-Washington area to provide critical COVID-19 vaccine awareness and distribution.

    An accomplished entrepreneur, investor and technology advisor, Verstandig has founded and scaled numerous businesses, including Rally Health, a consumer-centric digital health company acquired by UnitedHealth Group; Epirus, an AI-enabled power management company focused on directed energy defense applications; and Zephyr AI, an AI platform developing novel methods to characterize and cure disease. He is a Founding Partner of Red Cell Partners, an investment and incubation platform that backs, builds and scales transformative, technology-led businesses in health care and defense.

    A respected technologist as well as practitioner, Verstandig advises numerous public and civic institutions, including the National Security Agency (NSA), where he serves as senior advisor on advanced analytics, technology and AI. From 2017 to 2021, Verstandig served as Chief Digital Officer of UnitedHealth Group and now serves as Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer. In 2013, he was awarded Forbes “30 Under 30,” and in 2018, Business Insider “30 Under 40” in the healthcare category.

    He has backed many technology-led companies from their earliest stages, including NexImmune (NEXI), where he serves on the board. He also serves on the boards of the Greater Washington Partnership, the International Spy Museum and the Third Option Foundation, which seeks to heal, help and honor members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s Special Operations community and their families.

    “Finalizing this transformational gift with Grant has allowed me to see how deeply he cares about our region; about giving back; and about advancing health care from both a care and caring standpoint,” commented Samet. “Grant and the Verstandig Family Foundation are making a difference for generations to come.”

  • A magseed marker, about the size of a grain of rice, on a human hand
    October 29, 2021

    MedStar Montgomery becomes the first hospital in the region helping patients access more accurate and less invasive breast tumor removal with the Magseed® marker.

    Olney, MDMedStar Montgomery Medical Center recently introduced an innovative cancer technology, the Magseed® marker, to improve outcomes and the standard of cancer care in Montgomery County. The Magseed® marker helps women benefit from more accurate marking and removal of breast tumors.

    The Magseed® marker is a tiny seed placed in the tissue to mark tumors before surgery and help the surgeon accurately locate the cancer and remove it in one piece. Once placed, it cannot be dislodged or damaged1. The Magseed® can be placed days, weeks or even months ahead of surgery to mark any cancer site for accurate removal.

    As the first hospital in the region to utilize the Magseed® marker, MedStar Montgomery serves as an innovative local leader in breast health. Oncologists at MedStar Montgomery began using the Magseed® marker in mid-August, and already deem the technology to be a welcome addition for doctors and patients.

    According to Dr. Jennifer D. Son, Breast Surgeon, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, “When it comes to cancer marking, our surgeons and patients have found the Magseed® marker to be vastly safer, more comfortable, more effective, and more time efficient than traditional guidewires. Our team can place the Magseed marker well in advance of surgery, which means patients don’t have to worry about additional procedures on the day of surgery.”

    The Magseed® marker replaces the traditional guidewire method of cancer marking, which has been shown in numerous studies to carry the risk of migrating before surgery.2 These studies have demonstrated that guidewire migration can cause surgery to be inaccurate, leaving behind cancerous tissue after the first surgery in 20-50% of cases.2 Marking and removing the tumor with a Magseed® marker has been shown to reduce these figures significantly to between 6.5% and 10%.3,4,5

    “We are proud to bring the most innovative and effective treatments to our patients right here in Montgomery County'' said Thomas J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “The addition of the Magseed marking technology advances our goal to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate and high-quality breast cancer care.”

    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and MedStar Health
    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care community hospital serving Montgomery County, Maryland. For 100 years, MedStar Montgomery has served as a medical care provider and community health resource offering high-quality, personalized care. MedStar Montgomery provides a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies, and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals—including cutting-edge care in obstetrics, orthopedics, breast health, and oncology. MedStar Health is the region's largest non-profit and most trusted integrated healthcare delivery system, giving patients access to the latest in modern medicine and medical technology within a community hospital setting.

    About Endomag

    Endomag is a global technology company that believes everyone deserves a better standard of cancer care. Many of the world’s leading physicians and hospitals use the company’s technologies to help women with breast cancer avoid surgery when it isn’t needed, and experience better outcomes when it is.

    Originally founded in 2007 by professors at University College London (UCL) and the University of Houston, Endomag harnesses the power of magnetics to enable a better standard of cancer care.

    The heart of the company’s product platform is the Sentimag® localization system. The Sentimag® system features a probe which works like a metal detector, and when placed near the skin’s surface is used to detect Endomag’s magnetic seed (Magseed®) or liquid tracer (Magtrace®), for tissue localization and sentinel node biopsy procedures. Today, the Sentimag® system has been used in over 130,000 procedures worldwide.

    Endomag is a global company headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with an office in Austin, Texas. To date, the company has helped tens of thousands of women around the world access more precise and less invasive breast cancer care. To learn more visit: https://www.endomag.com/

    References

    Harvey, JR, et al (2018). Safety and Feasibility of Breast Lesion Localization Using Magnetic Seeds (Magseed): a Multi-Centre, open-label cohort study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 169(3):531-536.

    Jeevan, R. et al (2012). Reoperation Rates After Breast Conserving Surgery for Breast Cancer Among Women in England: Retrospective Study of Hospital Episode Statistics. BMJ. [online] 345(Jul12 2),pp.e4505-e4505.

    3  Singh 2019 – Effectiveness and Safety of Magseed-localization for Excision of Breast Lesions. MD Anderson Cancer Center. SSO 2019, San Diego.

    4  Miller 2019 – Hospital system rollout and initial experience with stainless steel magnetized seeds for breast and lymph node localization. University Hospitals, Cleveland. ASBrS 2019, Dallas.

    5  Alvarado 2019 – Lesion localization and targeted axillary dissection with one platform. German Senology Congress 2019, Berlin.

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  • Two female medical professionals look at diagnostic imaging of the brain
    October 29, 2021

    The Primary Stroke Center’s use of advanced therapies promotes high performance, better outcomes

    Olney, MDMedStar Montgomery Medical Center’s multidisciplinary stroke program was recently named a High Performing Program by U.S. News & World Report in its annual Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22. Additionally, the Primary Stroke Center was recognized on the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS with Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll and was re-certified by The Joint Commission. MedStar Montgomery’s stroke program received the distinctions for its high-performance ratings, patient-centered care, and the use of advanced therapies to achieve positive outcomes.

    MedStar Montgomery’s Stroke Center earned top rankings, High Performance, from U.S. News & World Report, in several categories including survival rates (30 days after hospitalization for stroke), percentage of stroke patients treated with time-sensitive medical interventions, the nurse/patient ratio, and total number of patients treated (which is associated with better outcomes). These quality indicators are ranked based on national averages. MedStar Montgomery was among 6,000 hospitals evaluated in the Best Hospitals Rankings 2021-22.

    “I am incredibly proud of the multidisciplinary team of skilled, expert care providers within our Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery. This team deserves recognition for their incredible hard work in treating these patients and mitigating the long-term effects of the condition,” said Thomas J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “This distinction underscores our commitment to providing high-quality care, combined with the latest in advance therapies and a patient-first approach.”

    Positive patient outcomes during a stroke are largely attributed to the use of Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), an intravenous intervention that is given to individuals within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. This time-sensitive medical intervention works to dissolve the stroke-causing clot, overall supporting better and more complete recoveries, including higher levels of functional mobility and resolution of presenting symptoms.

    MedStar Montgomery’s tPA administration rate is currently 15.7%, above the national average of under 10%. From January 1 through July 31, 2021, 75% of eligible patients were able to receive tPA within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms.

    “Because time is so critical in treating strokes, our emergency department teams are trained to provide rapid, excellent care by prioritizing stroke treatments. In addition, we have an acute stroke team that evaluates patients and sets in motion specific procedures to diagnose the cause of the stroke,” said Nickie Miskell, RN, Stroke Coordinator, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. “For our team this is more than just recognition of hard work and positive outcomes, this distinction represents those patients’ lives we were able to impact. We’re very proud of that.”

    MedStar Montgomery was also jointly recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, earning a “Get with the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Honor Roll and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Achievement Award” and The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit national body overseeing the quality of healthcare, awarded an Advanced Certification to the Primary Stroke Center.

    For information about the Primary Stroke Center at MedStar Montgomery, visit: https://www.medstarhealth.org/services/neurology-and-neurosurgery. If you or anyone exhibits signs of stroke, you’re urged to contact 911 immediately.

    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and MedStar Health
    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care community hospital serving Montgomery County, Maryland. For 100 years, MedStar Montgomery has served as a medical care provider and community health resource offering high-quality, personalized care. MedStar Montgomery provides a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies, and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals—including cutting-edge care in obstetrics, orthopedics, breast health, and oncology. MedStar Health is the region's largest non-profit and most trusted integrated healthcare delivery system, giving patients access to the latest in modern medicine and medical technology within a community hospital setting.

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  • October 29, 2021
    WASHINGTON – Monumental Sports & Entertainment and MedStar Health, the official medical provider of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams since 2014, have enhanced their partnership with the renaming of the shared team practice facility as the MedStar Health Performance Center.

    The MedStar Health Performance Center is the hub for Monumental Basketball, serving as the training facility for the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go. The state-of-the-art complex, designed with innovative technology such as Kinexon positioning and performance system (indoor GPS system) and Polar Team System (Heart Rate Monitoring) was opened in 2018 and includes two full courts with eight total baskets, a recently renovated training/treatment room and an expanded 1,500-square foot weight room, which includes equipment such as Keiser functional trainers, AlterG antigravity treadmills and Woodway treadmills. The MedStar Health Performance Center is the only facility to house an NBA, WNBA, and G-League franchise under one roof.

    “During the facility renovation, Monumental Basketball and MedStar Health took the opportunity to revisit the name of the facility and chose MedStar Health Performance Center to reflect the commitment we both have to helping all of the athletes within Monumental Basketball reach their potential,” said Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer for MedStar Health, Dr. Stephen Evans. “There are three teams training at this facility, which is unique within professional sports, and this new name reflects both how the center is truly used by them and how we view our role as long-term medical partners with Monumental Basketball."

    MedStar Health’s sports medicine program is the premier sports medicine program in the region, which is reflected in their partnership with Monumental Basketball. MedStar Health has more than 16 physicians and clinicians dedicated to the three Monumental Basketball teams, providing world-class primary care, orthopedics, physical therapy and more.

    “We were excited to finalize the much-needed programming and design of our training facility for the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and the Capital City Go-Go,” said Monumental Basketball Chief Planning & Operations Officer Sashi Brown. “MedStar Health Performance Center is the foundation of our athletic care and performance program. We are fortunate to have a global leader such MedStar Health as a partner in our training center. We are able to provide our athletes a basketball performance, designed to support to drive excellence through our nutrition, strength and training and other programs, all of which are supported by innovative technologies that allows them to refine their skills.”

    There are designs celebrating the teams’ connection to the Washington, D.C. community throughout the MedStar Health Performance Center, including the D.C. map highlighting Ward 8 mounted on the ceiling. Digital displays telling the Monumental Basketball story are exhibited throughout the facility, while the main practice court features the 1978 NBA Championship banner of the Washington Bullets and the 2019 WNBA Championship banner of the Washington Mystics. As an homage to the athletes who have helped build the Monumental Basketball franchises, a new Legends Wall stands near the practice court to honor exceptional performances by Wes Unseld, Earl Monroe, Chamique Holdsclaw, Alana Beard and others as a trophy case recognizing the achievements of cornerstone athletes is exhibited in the foyer. The retired jerseys of Bullets players Unseld, Monroe, Phil Chenier, Elvin Hayes, and Gus Johnson also proudly hang in the practice court area.

    The adjacent Entertainment and Sports Arena serves as the home arena for the Mystics and Go-Go. Opened in 2018 with the inaugural season of the Go-Go, the Entertainment and Sports Arena saw the Mystics christen their new home with the 2019 WNBA championship. Located in the heart of Ward 8, ESA can hold up to 4,200 fans for basketball games and 5,000 for concerts and other events, bringing new entertainment options to Congress Heights residents and the capability of hosting 350,000 visitors per year. To further solidify their commitment to the Congress Heights community, Monumental Sports & Entertainment has made a $10 million community investment towards community and economic revitalization of the St. Elizabeth's East campus and surrounding community over its lease term.

    About MedStar Health
    MedStar Health uses the best of their minds and the best of their hearts to serve their patients, those who care for them, and their communities. Their 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through their core SPIRIT values – Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork – across their 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 their telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, MedStar Health is committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for their patients. At MedStar Health, it’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.
  • October 26, 2021

    Board-certified, fellowship-trained physician joins hospital as member of Gastroenterology team

    CLINTON, Md. – MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is pleased to welcome its newest board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologist, Tilak Baba, MD. Dr. Baba attended medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies, prior to completing an Internal Medicine residency at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., He then obtained fellowship training in Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology at MedStar Georgetown.


    Dr. Baba is a certified member of the American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology and the American Association of Study of Liver Diseases. He will be taking a certification exam for Transplant Hepatology in 2022. As a gastroenterologist at MedStar Southern Maryland, he will offer care and treatment for a variety of conditions including liver disease, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, cirrhosis, alcohol liver disease, liver lesions, acute liver failure, liver cancer and many others, in addition to certain esophageal diseases.


    Dr. Baba believes in prolonging the life of patients by providing healing through a continuity of compassionate care. From colon cancer screening to treating esophageal disorders, liver disease and other intestine issues, Dr. Baba is very intentional about creating positive outcomes when it comes to changing and saving lives.


    “For me, the most important thing is putting patients first when it comes to listening to their needs, understanding their concerns and working together to come up with a treatment plan on how to manage their disease,” Dr. Baba said. “The multidisciplinary approach to care at MedStar Southern Maryland is so unique because everyone here works closely together and is all about providing the best care for patients, which helps

  • October 22, 2021

    Researchers target social determinants of health to decrease racial disparities in cancer outcomes in Washington, D.C.,

    COLUMBIA, Md. — MedStar Health is leading a $5 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at improving quality of life for recent cancer patients in Washington, D.C., The project aims to make advances by addressing social needs that disproportionally affect minority communities. Previous research shows that social factors like food insecurity, housing instability, transportation access, financial needs, and racial bias drive up to 80 percent of patient outcomes.

    Over the next five years, the study will focus on breast and prostate cancer patients finishing treatment at three Washington, D.C.,-based cancer clinics, using strategies to reduce health inequities and improve their outcomes. These strategies include screening patients for social needs ahead of graduation from treatment, engaging with community health workers to connect patients directly to local resources, and holding anti-discrimination training sessions for staff and clinicians.

    Researchers hope the project will eventually lead to a permanent and sustainable process for addressing social determinants of health and enhancing cancer care for minoritized communities.

    Hannah Arem, Ph.D., is the study’s corresponding principal investigator.

    “Despite improvements in cancer outcomes over time, significant disparities remain between Black and white cancer survivors,” said Arem, scientific director at MedStar Health Research Institute. “We believe the results of this research will play a major role in improving the survivorship of D.C. cancer patients over time as we better understand the burden of social needs in our community and how to support cancer survivors in addressing those needs.”

    “Once cancer patients finish active treatment, the transition to survivorship can have its own challenges,” said Christopher Gallagher, MD, co-investigator on the study and hematologist oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “While new treatments and screenings lead to better outcomes, so does access to long-term social services. This study aims to connect patients to the right community resources at the right time to build a successful transition.”

    MedStar Health is partnering with co-principal investigator Mandi Pratt-Chapman, Ph.D., of George Washington University Cancer Center in addition to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center and Howard University.

    “I am most excited about identifying and changing structural biases across three cancer care centers in the nation’s capital,” said Pratt-Chapman. “Through our anti-racism task forces, we hope to help reverse entrenched and growing disparities experienced by communities historically excluded from the healthcare system. We will work to resolve root causes of inequity while providing immediate relief to patients and families with significant social needs.”

    The research also builds on MedStar Health’s continued investment into community health, which includes the utilization of the Aunt Bertha Social Care Services Platform. In August, MedStar announced a new software integration that embeds the social needs screening tool directly into patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs). MedStar Health patients enrolled in this study will take advantage of the Aunt Bertha platform to quickly connect with thousands of nearby food banks, rent assistance programs, diaper banks, and more.

    “What’s so exciting about the community health and Aunt Bertha collaboration is that it enables us to identify community resources more easily for our clients and patients,” said Diana Quinn, senior director of Community Health for MedStar Health.  “This one-stop shopping approach within the electronic health record is designed such that we simply input a zip code, and it provides us with the names of the resources available in that area. This project will help us better understand which resources are needed for cancer patients specifically.”

    The study was awarded at the end of Sept. 2021 and will continue through Sept. 2026.