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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md. – Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof. 

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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  • August 08, 2018

    WASHINGTON --  Can nicotine slow or stop memory loss in people experiencing mild memory problems, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI)? A new study being conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center aims to find out.

    Recent studies have suggested that one of the causes of memory disorders may be a reduction in a particular chemical substance in the brain. This chemical substance, known as acetylcholine, is thought to act on certain brain cells in a specific way, helping us to remember and use memories as well as affect our mood.

    In people with MCI (and Alzheimer’s disease), the level of acetylcholine may be changed, and this may impair brain functioning. Preliminary studies have suggested that shorter-term administration of nicotine appears to improve memory in patients with mild memory loss and early Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It has been known for years that nicotine imitates many of the actions of acetylcholine.

    To expand on this finding, a clinical trial led by Georgetown’s principal investigator, R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, will explore whether nicotine may act to improve memory loss symptoms over the longer term and whether it may help to delay the progression of memory loss symptoms.

    “We are increasingly able to detect those at risk for future Alzheimer's disease in order to perhaps slow or stop their progression to dementia,” says Turner. “About 10-15% of those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will advance to dementia each year most commonly due to Alzheimer's disease – with a total risk of greater than 50% after 5 years. This new study is seeking volunteers with MCI to test whether treatment with a daily Nicotine skin patch can slow or stop further cognitive decline.”

    This phase 2 randomized clinical trial is being conducted at approximately 30 to 40 clinical trial sites across the United States and will enroll 300 participants. Participants will wear a skin patch, containing either nicotine or placebo, for approximately 16 hours per day for two years.

    Half of the participants will receive transdermal nicotine (nicotine by skin patch) called a “nicotine patch” with a dose of 7 mg per day increasing to 21 mg per day. The other half (the control group) will receive an identical patch, which does not contain an active dose of nicotine, called a “placebo patch.” The placebo patch contains a small amount of nicotine that cannot pass into the skin or be absorbed by the body.

    Given that this is a randomized trial, neither the investigator nor the participant will know which group they are in.

    During the first visit, participants will undergo standard physical and cognitive testing with the addition of an electrocardiogram (ECG). They will also be given a memory and thinking skills test that will be written as well as administered on an electronic device.

    Some side effects could include sleepiness, diarrhea, stomach ache, muscle pain or joint pain  (reported by 3-9 percent of patients using the nicotine patch) and reddening or irritation of the skin where the patch is applied (reported by 17 percent of patients using the patch).

    “Since we don't know all the possible risks and benefits as yet of Nicotine patch treatment in individuals with MCI, we advise against taking the drug for this purpose outside of the study,” says Turner.

    Study participants must be between the ages of 55-90 and have a study partner who can accompany them to all appointments.

    Full study criteria are available at

    To learn more about this or other clinical trials, please contact Carolyn Ward, program coordinator of the Memory Disorders Program at (202) 784-6671,

    The study is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and is being conducted by the

    Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) with Vanderbilt University through a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).  Turner conducts additional clinical research supported by funding to Georgetown University from Lilly, Biogen, Merck, Acadia, and Toyama as well as the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.


  • August 02, 2018
    Hope for Henry and Dormify Partner to Help Ease Transition from Home to Hospital
  • August 01, 2018
    Researchers with MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare have received a U.S. utility patent for a novel system they developed for analyzing eye-tracking data that leverages human insight with machine learning and results in a streamlined, more robust analysis process.
  • July 26, 2018

    Lisa Riggs, of Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, becomes board president of world’s largest specialty nursing organization

    ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – July 10, 2018 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, announces its board of directors for fiscal year 2019, with terms effective July 1, 2018.

    Lisa Riggs, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, CCRN-K, is the new president of the AACN board of directors. She is system director for regulatory readiness at Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, Missouri, where she oversees organizational performance relative to The Joint Commission and federal, state and other regulatory standards.

    “When our community of nurses uses our collective voice and strength, we can create lasting change and reinvent our future,” Riggs said. “Our voice and our strength give us power to improve the lives of our patients, transform the healthcare system and change the nursing profession.”

    Megan Brunson, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN-CSC, begins a one-year term as president-elect. She is the night shift supervisor in the cardiovascular ICU at Medical City Dallas Hospital, a position she has held since 2007. During more than 20 years as a night shift nurse, she has focused on securing professional development resources for nurses in a 24/7 care environment. Brunson previously served on the AACN board from 2014-2017, including a one-year term as treasurer.

    Current board member Beth Wathen, MSN, RN, APRN, CCRN, begins a one-year term as secretary. She is a clinical practice specialist in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora.

    Rosemary Timmerman, DNP, RN, CCNS, CCRN-CSC-CMC, also a current board member, begins a one-year term as treasurer. She is a clinical nurse specialist at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage.

    Joining the board as directors are Amanda Bettencourt, MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN-K, ACCNS-P; Theresa M. Davis, PhD, RN, NE-BC, CHTP; Anna Dermenchyan, MSN, RN, CCRN-K; and Kiersten Henry, DNP, ACNP-BC, CCNS, CCRN-CMC. They each serve a three-year term through June 30, 2021.

    Bettencourt is a predoctoral fellow at the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia. As a pediatric clinical nurse specialist, her focus is on achieving the best possible outcomes for acutely and critically ill children. She has worked as a staff nurse in various areas of pediatric critical care, including congenital heart surgery and burns.

    Davis has been clinical operations director at Inova Health System, Falls Church, Virginia, since 2004. She is also adjunct faculty for George Mason University and Shenandoah University with a focus on nursing informatics, advanced pathophysiology and research. Her clinical specialties are trauma/neuro critical care and teleICU, and she has led research in the areas of healing touch and technology acceptance.

    Dermenchyan is a senior clinical quality specialist in the Department of Medicine at UCLA Health, Los Angeles. She previously worked in the Cardiothoracic ICU at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she cared for transplant and surgical patients from 2008-2013.

    Henry is chief advanced practice clinician at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, Maryland. In addition to her hospital responsibilities, she is a member of the Maryland-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

    Returning to the AACN board with Dana Woods, MBA, AACN chief executive officer, are the following directors:

    • Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems at University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle, and clinical nurse researcher at University of Washington Medical Center. She also serves a concurrent one-year term on the AACN Certification Corporation board.
    • Justin DiLibero, DNP, RN, CCRN, CCNS, ACCNS-AG, a clinical nurse specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. He also serves a concurrent one-year term on the AACN Certification Corporation board.
    • Nikki Dotson-Lorello, BSN, RN, CCRN, CPTC, organ recovery coordinator at LifeShare Of The Carolinas, part of Carolinas Healthcare System, Charlotte, North Carolina.
    • Deborah Jones, PhD, MS, RN, associate dean of professional development and faculty affairs at The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston School of Nursing, where she is also an associate professor and the Margaret A. Barnett/PARTNERS Professor in Nursing.
    • Mary Beth Flynn Makic, PhD, RN, CNS, CCNS, CCRN-K, FAAN, FNAP, associate professor and specialty director of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Program at University of Colorado College of Nursing, Aurora.

    About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

    American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000;;;

  • July 24, 2018

    Collaboration Provides Greater Access to World-Class Cancer Care


    BALTIMORE—July 24, 2018 —Community leaders and local elected officials recently joined MedStar Health leadership to celebrate the naming of MedStar Health’s cancer center in the heart of Harford County: MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute (MGCI) at the MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus.

    MGCI brings together clinical expertise and resources across MedStar Health in order to provide patients greater and more convenient access to comprehensive cancer care. MGCI, which also extends to MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, allows patients to benefit from this collective network of cancer specialists. Other locations include MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network.

    The institute also provides increased access to the most innovative clinical trials offered through Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the research engine of the institute. Clinical trials are an essential component to advancing the science of preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and treating cancers. Participation in clinical trials opens the door to the most progressive and customized treatment options, such as new medications and targeted immunotherapies. 

    “MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute harnesses the incredible talent of our cancer specialties across the Baltimore/Washington region and provides powerful treatment options for the citizens of Harford and Baltimore counties,” said Dr. Albert J. Aboulafia, director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus.

    “All cancer patients deserve access to tomorrow’s treatments today, and to receive that kind of care closer to where they live and work,” adds Dr. Louis M. Weiner, director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and director of Georgetown Lombardi, designated by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive cancer center.

    The 100,000-square foot MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus, located at 12 MedStar Boulevard in Bel Air, opened in 2016 offering services that include a full-service cancer center with screenings, smoking cessation classes, infusion services, radiation therapy, medical oncology, and breast center.

    The event featured remarks from Samuel E. Moskowitz, president of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center; Dr. Albert J. Aboulafia, director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus; and Dr. Louis M. Weiner, director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    About the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute
    The MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute (MGCI) combines medical expertise, research, and resources across MedStar Health throughout the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area. The institute comprises MedStar Georgetown University Hospital; MedStar Washington Hospital Center; MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus; MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center; MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, and the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center – the only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Washington, D.C., – serves as the institute’s research engine. MGCI provides access to advanced cancer care, clinical trials, and state-of-the-art technologies closer to where patients live and work. MedStar specialists, many of whom are nationally recognized for their expertise in numerous disease sites and disciplines, cover the full continuum of care – from screening, prevention, research, diagnosis, treatment and personalized cancer rehabilitation – ensuring patients throughout the region have access to the latest therapies available anywhere. For more information, visit

  • July 18, 2018
    Becomes Baltimore’s First Hospital to be Honored for Promoting Safe Sleep for Infants