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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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    In August 2016, Virginia Wills began a battle to save her life due to a large tumor discovered in her colon. Read her story of recovery.
  • May 30, 2018

    Drs. Leigh Matlaga and Nicola London to Lead OB-GYN Department

    BALTIMORE, Md.—(May 30, 2018)—MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center has named two OB-GYN physicians to leadership roles where they will help guide the department’s operational efforts and ensure the highest quality of safe patient care.

    Drs. Leigh Matlaga and Nicola London will each assume the role of associate chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, under the leadership of chairwoman Kathryn Elgin, MD. Dr. London and Dr. Matlaga will also serve as medical director of the Bel Air and Dundalk women’s practices, and the White Square OB-GYN practice, respectively.

    “Dr. Matlaga and Dr. London have demonstrated enthusiasm and leadership in our efforts to continually improve the OB-GYN department,” said Mimi Novello, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. “Their expertise, passion and commitment to patients sets a high bar for the program as we continue to provide the best care possible for women in the Baltimore area.”

    Dr. Matlaga will manage quality and safety for the department while Dr. London oversees operations.

    Dr. Matlaga joined the MFSMC in 2006 as an attending physician after practicing at Indiana University School of Medicine.  She earned her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine and completed her OB-GYN residency training at Duke University.  She has practiced in several locations affiliated with MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, including Bel Air, Dundalk and Timonium. She earned a Baltimore magazine Top Doctors award in 2012.

    Dr. London launched her career at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in 1993 as a resident. She has served as a practicing OB-GYN and had a managing role in the Dundalk and Bel Air practices.  She received her medical degree from University of Maryland, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha.  She has a reoccurring place in the annual Baltimore magazine Top Doc edition. Dr. London has served as a peer reviewer on the Maryland Medical Board of Physician Quality Assurance, as well as on several hospital committees.

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    About MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
    MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is a not-for-profit 378-bed community teaching hospital located in the White Marsh section of eastern Baltimore County, Maryland. MedStar Franklin Square provides many medical and healthcare services, including a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals. The hospital is ranked third in admissions among all Maryland hospitals and is first in Emergency Department visits with more than 108,000 visits annually. MedStar Franklin Square is accredited by the Joint Commission and certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has earned some of the nation’s most prestigious quality awards including Magnet Designation for excellence in nursing, the Excellence Award for Quality Improvement from the Delmarva Foundation and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital specialty ranking for four consecutive years. With more than 3,300 employees, MedStar Franklin Square is one of the largest employers in Baltimore County. Visit medstarfranklin.org for more information.

  • May 30, 2018

    (Washington, D.C.,) The far-reaching possibilities of 3D printers are building better, stronger futures for spinal fusion patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    U.S. Capitol Police officer Craig Galope, 45, now lives with three futuristic-looking, 3D printed titanium implants in his neck. Before his operation, a spine injury left him suffering from bulged discs, several pinched nerves, numbness and pain down his right arm.

    “One day I woke up and couldn’t lift a backpack over my head,” Galope says. “It looked like someone stuck a needle into a balloon and deflated the right side of my body.”

    Galope had heard negative stories about spinal fusions using metal rods and was nervous about permanently losing mobility as a result. He saw MedStar Georgetown Orthopedic Spine Surgeon S. Babak Kalantar, MD, who recommended anterior cervical fusion of the spine using 3D printed interbody spacers placed in between discs. No metal rod necessary.

    “This kind of device is the next level in the evolution of the procedure. It’s used in instances where we’re looking for higher fusion rates and doing multiple levels of fusion,” says Kalantar.

    According to Kalantar, fusing a spine with titanium helps bone grow back more quickly than other types of implants, like those made of plastic. However, even older titanium implants come with challenges. Kalantar describes them as “really dense, just like a big fat piece of metal.” The new 3D printed pieces (developed by 4WEB) change all of that.

    “We really had to wait until 3D printing became available so that these devices can be made in three dimensional ways that we never could have done before,” says Kalantar.

    Their hollowed core leaves only roughly textured trestles. All of that open space allows doctors to use more sterilized cadaver bone to help vertebrae to heal and eventually fuse together on their own.

    “This device stimulates the person’s own bone to grow across it, like your own body will grow across a broken bone to fix it,” says Kalantar.

    With no contraindications – like allergies or reactions to the metal – almost anyone suffering from similar spinal injuries can be a candidate for the procedure. Galope elected to have it done and is still “blown away” by his own recovery.

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    “I’m at 100% movement. I would have been happy with 85%, but to get 100% back – that’s Dr. Kalantar’s work.”

    According to Kalantar, the pain & weakness from the bulged discs went away less than 24 hours after surgery. Three months later, Galope was back to full duty at U.S. Capitol Police.

    “I think it worked incredibly well, especially with someone going back into a very intense field of work where he’s going to be performing very physical work,” Kalantar says. “It’s not a very painful recovery and is often very quick.”

    It’s a victory for 3D printing that Kalantar predicts will continue to make an impact on the medical world, allowing for more customized implants and easier recoveries in the years ahead.

  • May 30, 2018

    When a Career and a Passion Come Together

    Leonardtown, Maryland – MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital recently awarded seven local students with scholarships totaling approximately $168,000 to pursue careers in nursing and allied health.

    “We were very impressed by all of this year’s applicants,” said Rick Tepel, chair of the scholarship committee. “It is inspiring to meet all of the candidates and learn about their plans. We look forward to the great work they’ll be doing here in our community after graduation.”

    This year’s scholarship recipients with their fields of study are:

    • Tucker Arvin of St. Inigoes, nursing
    • Amaya Butler of Waldorf, nursing
    • Kimberly Campbell of Lusby, medical laboratory science
    • Angela Cox of California, nursing
    • Sydney Marshall of Port Tobacco, radiology
    • Alexandra Myers of Great Mills, nursing
    • Madison Richards of Clements, nursing

    At a May 24 reception, speaker Christine Taylor discussed how the hospital scholarship helped her to begin a nursing program at age 33.

    “I was terrified, but I knew this would be the best move for my family,” said Taylor, who was encouraged to enroll by the doctors with whom she was then working as a medical assistant. “So with a five-year-old, a 15-month-old, a husband on shift work and a full-time job myself, I enrolled in my very first college class. Often I spent my nights with my son in one arm and a nursing book in the other.”

    Taylor went on to graduate with honors from the College of Southern Maryland in 2010. She became an operating room nurse before transitioning to work as an outpatient care coordinator and breast navigator at MedStar St. Mary’s.

    Taylor found renewed purpose in working directly with patients to navigate life beyond a breast cancer diagnosis — a cause close to her heart, as she herself is a survivor. Taylor became the Susan G. Komen grant facilitator in 2016 and also organizes the hospital’s monthly Breast Cancer Support Group.

    “None of this would have been possible without the support of the hospital,” she continued. “This scholarship is what put me on the path to achieve my goals and be successful. It is a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”

    The Philanthropy Committee, formerly the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, is a subset of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Board of Directors. Including the 2018 recipients, 149 students have received tuition support to help ensure the future of quality local healthcare. Applications are due each spring. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Scholarships to learn more.

    Funds for the scholarship program are raised through the hospital’s annual Gala. This year’s event, A Mad Adventure, will be held Friday, Nov. 16, at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department’s Social Hall. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/MadAdventure to become a sponsor.

  • May 24, 2018

    Earlier this month, Prince George’s County, along with partners MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) and the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, which are the two entities delivering babies in Prince George’s County, the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services and the Prince George’s County School and Library Systems, hosted a press conference announcing a new Healthy Baby Initiative.

    The Healthy Baby Initiative provides several items to new parents to help after the birth of a new baby.  First, it provides a Graco Pack ‘N Play, which functions as a portable bed and playpen for babies.

    Second, the Healthy Baby Initiative provides a bag with literature that helps educate and provide resources to parents.

    Third, the Healthy Baby Initiative provides a set of soft-cover, washable books in this branded bag.  The bag also contains information on how to sign your baby up to receive additional books, totaling around 60, by the time the child is five years old and ready for school

    Representing MSMHC at this press conference was Dr. Nahid Mazarei, Director of MSMHC’s OB/GYN Department.  Last year, said Mazarei, MSMHC delivered around 1,200 babies, 65-percent of which were classified as high-risk births.

    “What we’re doing today is elevating the level of awareness for what we can do,” said Dr. Mazarei. “What we have learned as individuals, we can take this today and expand it to the community and raise awareness of how to best promote healthy babies.”

    The Press Conference took place at the Prince George’s County Health Department.  Dominique Stuckey, Nursing Director of MSMHC’s Women and Newborns Center, and Cody Legler, MSMHC’s Senior Director of Nursing, were also in attendance. 

    “We’re so proud to be a part of this great initiative,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray.  “We love bringing babies into the world here in Prince George’s County, and we want to do all we can to promote healthy pregnancies, healthy births and a healthy start to life.  Providing this Pack ‘N Play and all the books and resources that come with it, will really help families in Prince George’s County, and we’re excited to help distribute these items to our new babies.” 

    To learn more about MSMHC’s Women and Newborns Center, or to sign up for a tour of our facility, visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Baby.


    About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 182-bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient-centered services that connect us to the community we serve.

  • May 22, 2018
    Patients Experience Improved Quality of Life and Fewer Trips to the Emergency Department