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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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    American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition Program® is an Indicator for Excellence in Patient Care
  • November 19, 2018

    In Season of Giving, Family is Thankful for the Gift of Life

    (Washington, D.C.,) A Virginia father has received a kidney transplant thanks to his son’s organ donation five months earlier and a program that is reducing another barrier to living donation, time.

    In March 2018, 48 year-old Ivan Jones was surprised to be diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure. He needed a transplant. 

    “I knew right away that I wanted to donate a kidney to my dad,” says Amir Jones, 20. 

    But father and son’s blood types were incompatible. If Amir wanted to donate to his dad, the next option was to participate in the paired kidney exchange program so Ivan could be matched with a compatible living donor.  The schedule of testing and the intricate logistics of a paired kidney exchange made the date of his father’s transplant unpredictable.  Adding to the time pressure, the younger Jones had already been admitted to a prestigious research program at Princeton University which started in June.  As a senior studying Global Affairs at George Mason University, this was an important chance for Amir to learn from experts in his field. And graduation was scheduled for December 2018.

    “In March he was already set to go to Princeton,” says Ivan Jones. “As his father, I didn’t want to hold him back and I didn’t want him to miss this important opportunity.  I know he worked hard to get accepted to the program.  But knowing my son, I knew he was going to figure something out so he could do both things.  It’s just who he is.”

    Fortunately for father and son, they were able to participate in the Advanced Donation Program through the National Kidney Registry which would allow Amir Jones to do both. Amir could donate a kidney on his father’s behalf by scheduling his surgery at his own convenience. His father could then receive a voucher for a living organ in the future.

    “Because living donation is the best option for recipients, transplant programs are trying to use this option in every possible way,” says Seyed Ghasemian, MD, transplant surgeon and director of Transplant Urology at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. “This NKR program is making it possible for Amir to continue his education and continue with his plans, and for his father to receive a kidney from a living donor.  We expect nothing but long term success for both of them.”

    “As one of the largest paired kidney exchange  programs in the country, we’re very fortunate to have a dedicated living donor team to make these types of innovative donations and transplant opportunities happen for our patients,” says Matthew Cooper, MD, director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the MGTI.”

    In late May 2018, Amir had surgery to donate his kidney to someone in the Washington, D.C., area.

    Ivan Jones spent the summer getting worked up for his transplant.  Then in October, a living donor match in San Diego was offered to Ivan through the NKR. On November 14, about five and a half months after Amir’s donation, Ivan Jones had his kidney transplant.

    Dr. Ghasemian performed both Amir’s kidney donation as well as his dad’s kidney transplant.

    “At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t be a direct donor to my dad,” says Amir.  “But after realizing that I could help not only him, but someone else, was a real moment of gratitude for me.  Two weeks after my surgery, I was packing up my car and driving off to New Jersey for my program,” says Amir. “I’m just so grateful for this opportunity that allowed me to continue with my plans and for my dad to receive a kidney from a living donor.”

    “It’s been overwhelming and amazing at the same time,” says Amir’s mother Pinky Jones.  “With Amir being 20, I realized he wasn’t asking me, he was telling me he was going to do this. And he was saving his dad’s life so there wasn’t much I could protest about that.”

    “It’s been amazing that at there’s a program like this,” says Ivan.  “I just had no idea.  This is such a blessing. Amir is really big into helping others around the world. And now he’s helped not only me, but someone else in need.”  

    As part of his curriculum at George Mason, Amir has traveled around the world to study other cultures. He is vice president of George Mason’s chapter of UNICEF and he works with a mentoring program that helps struggling high school students in Fairfax County.

    Amir will be followed closely by physicians at the MGTI for a mandatory period of two years. After that Dr. Ghasemian recommends he visit his primary care provider for regular checkups.

    “Very few transplant centers in the world have the resources or the experience with logistics and organization to be able to offer this to their potential donors and patients,” says Dr. Cooper.  “This shows MGTI’s high level of investment and belief in paired kidney exchange as one critical way to offer creative transplant options. We also have significant living donor benefits not offered at most centers to support and protect donors who give the gift of life.”

    After graduation in December 2018, Amir plans to apply to law school with this experience behind him.

    “I’m just so thankful for all that my dad, my family and I have been able to be part of this,” says Amir. 

    More than 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States.

  • November 14, 2018

    The Breast Center Will Offer Cutting Edge Technologies, Convenient Care

    BALTIMORE— Bringing together the region’s top breast cancer experts under one roof, MedStar Health Cancer Network opened the Breast Center at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital on Oct. 29.

    The center, located in the Smyth building, will unite a multidisciplinary team of oncologists, breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, reconstruction surgeons, radiologists and genetic counselor. It is the first center to be opened at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital dedicated solely to breast care.

    MedStar Good Samaritan has cutting edge technologies and services including genetic counseling; an infusion center; onsite CT, MRI, ultrasound, mammography, and breast biopsy; clinical trials and radiation therapy. It has the Varian Halcyon system, a new cancer technology that advances radiotherapy treatment. Surgical services include intraoperative radiation therapy, localization with Savi Scout and oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery.

    The center will be led by Maen Farha, MD, a breast surgeon who has been diagnosing and managing malignant and benign breast disease for more than 20 years, and Dr. Michelle Townsend-Watts, MD, chief of breast imaging for MedStar Union Memorial and MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

    Dr. Farha said the center will follow the practice’s commitment to treating the disease holistically.

    “After 50 years of service to the community, our comprehensive Breast Center opening and the Cancer Center few months ago are a demonstration of the commitment to serve the Good Sam community and the Baltimore area for another 50 years,” Dr. Farha said. “Our comprehensive Breast Center is committed to engaging the patients and their families as members of the patient’s care team. Our multi-disciplinary breast cancer clinic brings the patients and their families in an authentic face-to-face discussion and development of individualized treatment plan. Our team has been refining that very successful model for six years with outstanding patient feedback.”

    The breast care team, partnering with MedStar Health Research Institute and Avident Health, also won a $475,000 grant from Genentech to test the use of mHealth (mobile health) interventions to promote teamwork and patient engagement in breast cancer care. Genentech is a company known for its innovation in breast cancer care.

    Genentech is developing the mobile app for wide release with feedback from MedStar Health. Patients can use it to view detailed information about their case, get updates on appointments, and more. Doctors and other medical experts can use it to collaborate on a patient's care plan. It supplements, but doesn’t replace, the in person meetings doctors and oncology experts have with the patient about how their care is being tailored.

    The Breast Center will complement other recent enhancements to cancer services offered at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In April, the 7,800-square-foot MedStar Franklin Square Cancer Center at Loch Raven Campus opened featuring a state-of-the-art infusion center, a pharmacy and more.

     Breast Services at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

    5601 Loch Raven Blvd, Smyth Building, Suite 403, Baltimore, MD

    For more information, call (443) 444-4673

     #

    About the MedStar Health Cancer Network

    The MedStar Health Cancer Network, comprised of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan, MedStar Harbor, and MedStar Union Memorial hospitals, represents a true collaboration in oncology care. Our dedicated team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, oncology nurses, and cancer support staff collaborate to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of cancer patients and their families throughout the greater Baltimore region. Our goal is to provide evidenced-based, quality care with a focus on service and easy access.

    The Cancer Network has recently been granted Three-Year Accreditation with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). The Cancer Network is committed to delivering the highest standards of care—this national endorsement further validates the quality of care its experts provide to cancer patients in the Baltimore community.

    Our oncology experts provide all the cancer treatments you expect, plus some you might not. Treatments are always supported or driven by the latest research, including such sophisticated offerings as CyberKnife radiation, leading clinical trials, targeted therapies, and minimally invasive surgery—endoscopic, laparoscopic, or robotic-assisted. Our physicians, including a dedicated orthopaedic oncology team, are specially trained to treat complex cancers. Our seamless oncology care is backed by electronic medical records and top support services like genetic counseling and cancer rehab.

  • November 09, 2018

    BALTIMORE — Advancing its enduring tradition of high quality acute inpatient rehabilitation, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network in October named Kritis Dasgupta, MD, MBA, MSc to lead its integrated programs in the Baltimore region of MedStar Health.

    Board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a sub-specialty in brain injury medicine, Dr. Dasgupta has been with MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital for a decade and most recently served as medical director of its brain injury program and medical director of quality and safety.

    The legacy of MedStar Good Samaritan’s high performing rehab program began nearly 50 years ago. Through the years, the program has provided compassionate, evidence-based, multidisciplinary rehabilitation for an estimated 40,000 patients whose lives have been altered by stroke, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and more.

    The MedStar Good Samaritan inpatient rehab training program has produced hundreds of clinicians in physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychology, nursing and therapy.

    “The history of this hospital, and its commitment to physical medicine and rehabilitation, is very compelling here at MedStar Good Sam,” Dr. Dasgupta said. “It’s a very valuable part of our continuum of care at MedStar Health.  I look forward to developing greater integration and synergy between this program and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network to achieve a world-class rehabilitation service line serving a broad population.”

    MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital is in the midst of a $17.5 million rebuild of its inpatient rehabilitation facility that is expected to be complete in fall 2019. The space will encompass 60,000 square feet on the 5th floor of the main hospital and include private patient rooms, a low stimulation gym, a room for patients to explore smart home devices, and other features.

    “At MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, we are very excited to have Dr. Kritis Dasgupta join our inpatient rehabilitation team as we head into the next phase of our 50-year history serving the Baltimore community,” said Kevin C. Platt, administrative director of rehabilitation for the Baltimore region of MedStar Health. “Dr. Dasgupta brings an amazing skill set to the campus, which includes impressive accomplishments in the areas of quality and safety, evidence-based health care, traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, medical residency education, and physician leadership. With our state-of-the-art center set to open next year, the timing of Dr. Dasgupta’s arrival is ideal to help lead us into the exciting future for our program.”  

    The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program was previously led by Scott Lepre, MD, who oversaw the rebuilding of the program after it separated from Johns Hopkins Medicine in June 2017.

    “We are delighted to have Dr. Dasgupta join our team, and thank Scott Lepre, MD, for his leadership during the transition of the rehabilitation program at MedStar Good Sam,” said John Rockwood, MedStar National Rehabilitation Network president. “Dr. Lepre’s commitment to the rehabilitation team and his expert care of his patients helped us begin to build a world-class rehabilitation program for the greater Baltimore community.”

    Dr. Dasgupta previously served as an attending physician at MedStar NRH in Washington, D.C., He was also the medical director of brain injury at Adventist Health Care System in Rockville, Md. In 2018, Dr. Dasgupta received MedStar NRH’s Team Member of the Year Award.

    Dr. Dasgupta received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University; his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Maryland School of Medicine; his MBA from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School; and his MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care from University of Oxford. He completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and his brain injury medicine fellowship at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital/Georgetown University Medical Center. He is an associate professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at Georgetown University Medical School.

    # # #

    About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

    The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    The Network’s interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury.  Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs.  Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.  

    The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopaedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

    Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region.  MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission,  the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

    For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to MedStarNRH.org.

  • November 07, 2018

    The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority convened a panel of some of the nation's top experts in the field to discuss how to improve the diagnostic process. Featured on the panel was Dr. Christine Goeschel, Director, MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, Center for Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare. The panel discussed a broad range of topics, including whether the current payment system is structured in a manner that prevents diagnostic error, what influence the fear of malpractice cases has over providers, and how much responsibility is appropriate for patients to assume.  Read more.

  • November 05, 2018

    Procedure in Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Repair is First for the Hospital

    BALTIMORE—A team at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute in September successfully clipped together the two flaps of a patient’s leaky mitral value using the MitraClip, a device that may soon be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in many more patients.

    The MitraClip offers a way to repair a mitral valve without open heart surgery.  The device is implanted by accessing the patient’s heart through a vein in their groin.

    “This is just one of many transformational technologies that MedStar Union Memorial is now able to offer patients,” said John C. Wang, MD, chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at MedStar Union Memorial and scientific director for Baltimore Cardiovascular Research. “We have patients that did not have surgical options and are now able to give them a new lease on life.”

    Mitral valve regurgitation happens when the heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close tightly, allowing blood to flow backward into the heart. In severe cases left untreated, it can cause heart failure or heart arrhythmias. Symptoms include heart murmur, fatigue and shortness of breath.

    In the 50-minute procedure performed Sept. 26, surgeons went in through the 79-year-old patient’s groin and through the inferior vena cava before clipping together the leaflets of the leaky mitral valve using the tiny MitraClip. The patient recovered well, went home the next day and was back at work within a few days.

    Harold Dwin, the patient, said he was pleased with the outcome of the procedure and his recovery. He lived with a heart murmur for years before he found himself struggling on a hike at high altitude while on vacation in Idaho. When he returned from the trip, he was diagnosed with severe mitral valve regurgitation and sought out the heart specialists at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.

    “It changed my life enormously,” he said. “I had a serious heart condition that could have been fatal to me eventually.”

    Many patients with mitral valve regurgitation are treated with open heart surgery; however some cannot undergo the procedure for various reasons. In Dwin’s case, surgeons thought open heart surgery might disrupt the six cardiac bypasses he had placed a couple decades ago. In those cases, the MitraClip is the less invasive option.

    The MitraClip is currently approved for use in patients with degenerative mitral regurgitation. In September, researchers reported in a large clinical trial that the device was very effective in patients with another type of mitral valve problem – functional mitral regurgitation. Far more patients have functional mitral regurgitation than the degenerative type, and the study is expected to lead to FDA approval for the device in patients with the functional type of the disease.

    #

    About MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

    MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit, 223-bed acute care teaching hospital with a strong emphasis on cardiac care, orthopaedics and sports medicine. With roots stemming back to 1854, MedStar Union Memorial has provided high quality care for 160 years. As one of the region's top specialty hospitals, MedStar Union Memorial is home to: The Curtis National Hand Center, the largest hand center in the world, focused on the treatment of the hand and upper extremities; MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a premier cardiovascular program in the mid-Atlantic, aligned with Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program; and MedStar Sports Medicine, which includes the oldest hospital based sports medicine program in Maryland (founded in 1979).  In addition, MedStar Union Memorial offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services including oncology, diabetes and endocrinology, general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery and palliative care.

    MedStar Union Memorial is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). It is the first hospital in Baltimore to receive spine certification by TJC, and the first in the state of Maryland to receive advanced certification for palliative care. MedStar Union Memorial is also TJC-certified in hip and knee replacement and has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center and the Hand Trauma Center for Maryland.

    MedStar Union Memorial is a proud member of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional health care system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

    For more information, visit MedStarUnionMemorial.org.

    About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

    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 MedStarHealth.org.