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 08, 2019
Hyattsville, MD — Suzanne Groah, MD, MSPH, has been awarded a contract through the U.S. Department of Defense - Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs to conduct focused research for patients who are living with spinal cord injuries and neurogenic bladder.
“Urinary tract infections are the most common outpatient infection world-wide, and for people with spinal cord injuries, it is the most common infection, cause for emergency room visits, and infectious cause of hospitalization,” said Dr. Groah. “Attempts to reduce urinary tract infections among people with spinal cord injuries are stymied by long-standing diagnostic challenges which arise from evidence gaps around ‘gold standard’ diagnostic tests (urinalysis and urine culture) that have lower sensitivity and specificity for urinary tract infections in people with spinal cord injuries.”
The study has three objectives. The first is to define and differentiate what constitutes “normal” urine versus clinically meaningful change from normal with respect to urinary symptoms, urine inflammation, and the urinary tract’s microbial ecosystem. This will help to advance the diagnosis of urinary tract infection among this population. Secondly, the researchers will conduct a pilot clinical trial of intravesical LactobacillusGG®, the goal of which is to reduce urinary symptoms and potentially prevent urinary tract infection. The third objective is to develop and validate a computational model incorporating urinary signs, symptoms, and urinary ecosystem data to advance the understanding of the complex interactions between the bacteria that cause (and do not cause) urinary tract infections and the individual, with the ultimate goal of informing diagnostics, self-management, and research.
“This work specifically targets people with SCI who use indwelling catheters due to neurogenic bladder,” said Dr. Groah. “These individuals will potentially be helped by having an easily accessible method to reduce, through self-management, frequent and burdensome urinary symptoms, reducing the occurrence of UTI and ultimately, antimicrobial resistance due to overuse of antimicrobials.”
Dr. Groah is the Chief of the Spinal Cord Injury program and Director of Spinal Cord Injury Research at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital and Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Georgetown University.
The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick MD 21702-5014 is the awarding and administering acquisition office. This work was supported by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs endorsed by the Department of Defense), through the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, Translational Research Award under Award No. W81XWH1910541. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Department of Defense.
About MedStar Health Research Institute
The 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. Visit us at www.MedStarResearch.org.
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 31,000 associates, 6,500 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 www.MedStarHealth.org.
January 08, 2019MedStar Health Orthopedic Surgeon Visits Ethiopia to Treat the Community and Perform Some of the Country’s First Arthroscopic Procedures
(Columbia, MD) - MedStar Health clinicians know the importance of giving back to those in need and seeking out ways to treat people where and how they need it. Wiemi Douoguih, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director of MedStar Sports Medicine in Washington, D.C. and MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre, recently led a team of MedStar Health clinicians to Ethiopia.
In four days, Dr. Douoguih and team performed nine complex and advanced surgical procedures at no cost to patients in Addis, Ethiopia. This was the first time these patients could access these innovative joint repair surgeries that would allow them to get back to activities they once loved.
The following is a first person account from Dr. Douoguih of the MedStar Health team’s trip to Ethiopia and his reflections from their experiences treating people in this community with care that will change their lives for the better.
Day 1 – Arrival in Ethiopia with Dr. Douoguih and the MedStar Health team
Landing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia following a more than 13-hour flight from Washington, D.C., I was immediately struck by the energy and excitement of this vibrant city. This was my second visit to the Ethiopian capital, having visited the previous summer with my family to explore our African heritage and learn more about this country and region.
It was this family experience, along with connections established through the MedStar Health network with the Ethiopian community in the Washington, D.C., metro-area – the largest ethnic Ethiopian community outside of Africa – that led me to extend the reach and expertise of MedStar Health’s advanced orthopedic practice to the African continent and people who had never before had access to the tools and expertise that our MedStar Health patients know so well.
While the thin air of the 7,700 ft above sea level city and the haze of a long overnight flight were familiar, my mind was immediately focused on the task at-hand, treating patients. Within hours we arrived at AaBET Hospital in the heart of the city.
Going into the trip, our team of five MedStar Health team physicians and nurses had planned conservatively to ensure we used our three days on-site as efficiently as possible, amidst unfamiliar operating conditions. Thanks to the advanced planning that included months of meetings and phone calls between members of our team and the excellent support from the AaBET Hospital staff, it became clear that we were in a much better position than anticipated to serve the community.
Before the first afternoon was over we had seen 40 patients and tentatively booked 23 surgeries including 12-15 elite professional and Olympic athletes. There was a predominance of ACL tears and multiligament knee injuries as well as shoulder instability and rotator cuff tears, many of which had significant associated injuries.
Day 2 – Surgeries begin at AaBET Hospital
The operating rooms at AaBET Hospital were “bare-bones” compared to my typical facilities at MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre and MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Thanks to the unwavering enthusiasm of the local staff and the expertise and foresight of our traveling MedStar Health team, we were able to jump right in and manage cases just as we would back home.
Prior to our departure, MedStar Health team members Dawit Haile, Maggie MacKeever and Sewasew Kifle had ensured shipment of all the medical devices and surgical tools we would need. We also received support from medical device manufacturers, notably Arthrex and Supreme Orthopedics had generously donated an arthroscopic tower and more than $4,000 worth of disposable implants to enable us to perform some of the first arthroscopic surgeries in Ethiopia. I even packed some disposable implants in my carry-on luggage, just in case!
The first cases were an ACL repair which went smoothly, followed by a shoulder arthroscopy which also needed a rotator cuff repair. As all surgeons know, we have to prepare to adapt and improvise, which we did with the rotator cuff repair when we realized we had to create a makeshift shoulder suspensory device to properly position the shoulder for surgery. With the help of the local medical team, we were able to rig a setup which led to a successful surgery with an anticipated good result long-term.
Day 3 – Surgeries in high-gear and a VIP meeting
Before we got to surgery we had the honor of meeting with Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia, at the Royal Palace. It was wonderful to meet President Zewde, Ethiopia’s first female president and currently the only female head of state in Africa. In the hour we had together we discussed a range of topics related to our trip, highlighting the excellence and passion we saw from the local care teams, along with the commitment of MedStar Health to treat people across the globe. She expressed her gratitude for our willingness to travel a great distance to help those in her country and demonstrated a genuine interest in putting whatever resources and support she could behind our efforts to help the young Ethiopian athletes we came to treat. It was an incredible and humbling experience.
We got to work in the OR immediately following our meeting with President Zewde and ran two operating rooms to maximize our time and resources. We navigated sweltering heat in the OR and a couple of power outages, to finish four surgeries in total that day, including three ACL/meniscal surgeries and one open shoulder stabilization procedure.
The day went incredibly smoothly overall and there were many people to thank because without their help, these successful surgeries would not have been possible. Dr. Ebrahim and Dr. Milkias from AaBET Hospital were scrubbed in the entire time and deftly lent a hand wherever needed. Matt Cullen, MedStar Health sports medicine fellow (who started his first day of his MedStar fellowship in Ethiopia) was an excellent assistant and helped coordinate logistics of aftercare in addition to preparing patients for the operating room. Maggie MacKeever, MedStar Health Physician’s Assistant, immediately adapted to the setting and anticipated every need. Sewasew Kifle, MedStar Health nurse, who is from Ethiopia originally, was invaluable in providing all the equipment and helping act as translator into the local languages of Oromo and Amharic. The local in-house anesthesia staff were consummate professionals and did a fantastic job of caring for the patients without a hitch. In all, it was an incredible experience for our team.
We finished the day with a visit to the youth sport academy where 260 students train and learn together with a goal of following a career in sports such as soccer, athletics and a range of others. Our final evening was celebrated with a traditional Ethiopian Habesha dinner and dancing.
Day 4 – Return to Washington, but not before more surgeries
We were able to complete three more successful surgeries, two ACL reconstructions and one knee arthroscopy with a partial meniscectomy. In all, we had performed nine major surgeries on people from all walks of life in Addis, and all with new opportunities to pursue their careers and lives feeling stronger than before.
Not a single implant or piece of equipment went unused, and as our 72 hours in Ethiopia ended, we were all filled with the desire to return as soon as possible, with even more equipment, to give back to the people of Ethiopia, and others across the African continent.
As I reflect on my experience I am struck by the passion and expertise of the Ethiopian medical team we worked with at AaBET Hospital. Working side-by-side with these medical professionals, it is clear that quality of care is not the issue in treating these complex orthopedic injuries, but rather a lack of access to resources and specialty devices. I am encouraged by my conversations with local leaders, including President Zewde, about the future.
This trip and the ability to give back to communities around the globe was possible thanks to the support from MedStar Health– a testament to the organization’s commitment to treat people in many different ways.
It was a privilege to be able to offer the help we could, and I look forward to future efforts to help those in need in Ethiopia and other places around the world.
Wiemi A. Douoguih, MD
MedStar Sports Medicine
January 08, 2019MedStar Health Assists Wizards District Gaming to Score Against Injuries
January 07, 2019National Cancer Institute Renews Prestigious Designation of MedStar Health's Research Partner, Georgetown Lombardi
(Columbia, MD) – MedStar Health is proud to announce that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center as a “comprehensive cancer center.” Georgetown Lombardi serves as the research engine of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, which combines medical expertise, the latest therapies, and research across the region. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center are hospital affiliates of Georgetown Lombardi.
“At MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, we have so many great hospitals, experts, and scientists working together with a central mission of conquering cancer,” says Dr. Louis M. Weiner, director, MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and Georgetown Lombardi. “This further expands our oncology footprint across the Baltimore/Washington region so, whenever possible, our patients can be treated close to home. If their cancer requires complex, highly-coordinated multidisciplinary care, we have that available as well. Most importantly, if they would benefit from a clinical trial, we can offer that through Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through these partnerships, we can provide tomorrow’s treatments today across all the communities we serve that, in many cases, are lifesaving.”
First awarded to Georgetown Lombardi in 1974, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital serves as the cancer center’s primary hospital affiliate and clinical partner. In order to achieve its NCI designation status, in 2018, the cancer program went through a rigorous, peer-reviewed grant renewal process conducted by cancer center experts from across the country. The renewal occurs every three to five years.
M. Joy Drass, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MedStar Health, says “As the clinical partner for Georgetown Lombardi, our patients receive personalized care from physicians who are also, through innovative clinical trial research, offering breakthrough advancements in diagnostics, new technologies, and novel therapeutics. Our long-standing partnership provides patients with unparalleled access to a multidisciplinary team of experts, clinicians, and researchers who are leading the way in how cancer is detected and treated.”
The NCI approved Georgetown Lombardi as a “consortium center” reflecting an integrated cancer research program with John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey. MedStar Georgetown, Georgetown Lombardi, and John Theurer began their clinical and research relationship in 2013 through which the Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplant Program at MedStar Georgetown was established.
“Our research relationship with John Theurer Cancer Center has deepened our work in the key major areas of basic research, clinical research, population science, community outreach and engagement, and cancer research career enhancement,” says Dr. Weiner. “The combination of this deepening research partnership in New Jersey, along with the excellent clinical care provided by our outstanding clinical partner, MedStar Health, expands the impact our cancer center has on science and delivery of cancer care.”
In addition to expanding its impact to the north, the cancer center’s long established clinical relationship with MedStar Health has deepened its reach in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and led to the creation of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, directed by Weiner. Georgetown Lombardi serves as its research engine enabling the execution of more clinical research at six MedStar Health entities across the Baltimore/Washington region.
The NCI designation as a comprehensive cancer center indicates that Georgetown Lombardi excels in laboratory science, clinical research and population-based programs, along with robust translational research that connects these areas. It also demonstrates expansive public education and outreach capabilities, which focus on the community.
The populations in Washington, D.C., and in Bergen County, New Jersey, where the John Theurer Cancer Center is located have some of the highest cancer incidence and death rates in the country. Georgetown Lombardi researchers are working on new ways to address the underlying causes so that strategies to address these health disparities can be implemented and refined through outreach and education.
January 05, 2019
Did you know a tarp, a bucket of ice water and the right training is all you need to start treating a student athlete suffering from heat stroke? MedStar Health athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians and local EMS partners hit the gym at Howard Community College; putting their skills to the test creating ice baths (and much more) to practice live-saving techniques before real medical emergencies happen on the field.
During the annual, full-day class presented by MedStar Health, participants learned from healthcare leaders on topics such as clearing an athlete for play after heat illness, care of traumatic fractures and dislocations, responding to a mental health crisis, managing heart conditions seen in young athletes and recognizing other red flags.
“We do this every year because the best practices for emergency response are updated often and we need to empower our athletic trainers to be experts on the latest developments,” said Kimberly Bosley, director of Athletic Training Services at MedStar Health. “In a real emergency, this knowledge and experience can make all the difference.”
In the afternoon, athletic trainers split into six group focusing on the real-world application of those skills. Real volunteer student athletes from Howard Community College suited up in football pads, helmets, straps, stretchers and more to get athletic trainers as close as possible to handling a real emergency.
“Through practice, we can minimize delays in care and provide the best quality care immediately on the sidelines, in the gym in the pool deck or where ever those athletes may have their injury,” said Emergency and Sports Medicine physician Kori Hudson, MD.
The drills included building an ice bath for heat illness, spine boarding, setting up an automated external defibrillator, CPR compression timing, and proper equipment removal for an injured athlete.
“Athletic trainers really are the best qualified to do this because they know the athletes and they know the equipment better than hospital staff do,” Hudson says of properly stabilizing a neck injury. “We want to practice doing that here so that they can work with their EMS colleagues and the ER staff to safely remove equipment in an emergency.”
“Whether it’s something as simple as CPR and compressions, it’s a lot easier to practice it today when there’s no stress, so you’ll do a better job in the real-time of the moment you need it,” says Sports Medicine specialist Matthew Sedgley, MD.
If you are a coach or athletic director and need help preparing an emergency action plan, contact us at MedStarATC@medstar.net.
January 04, 2019
Andrew Lincoln, ScD, Director of the Sports Medicine Research Center for MedStar Health Research Institute collaborated with other researchers in the first study to compare lacrosse injury incidence across 3 levels of play. “We’ve had all of these at different places, but we’ve never really looked at them together in national samples at the youth level, the high school level and the collegiate level,” Lincoln said. Read more.