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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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  • January 26, 2018

    An important reminder during this flu season.


    Washington, D.C., January 26, 2018 - To help protect our patients, visitors, and employees, we ask that visitors not bring children under the age of 14 to the hospital. This flu season is challenging, and our young visitors and patients are especially vulnerable. Thank you for your cooperation.


    About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

  • January 26, 2018

    Leonardtown, Maryland (Jan. 25, 2018) – Nine members of Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM), an educational leadership program for executives, visited MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital on Jan. 18 as the program’s monthly focus turned to local healthcare.

    Participants from the Class of 2018 arrived for a presentation with Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating and chief medical officer at MedStar St. Mary’s, followed by a tour of the Leonardtown campus. Stops included Interventional Radiology, the Emergency Department, the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, and “Reflections,” the new history room.

    Amy Magyar, CRN, VA-BC, demonstrated the vast capabilities of the Interventional Radiology department, including a discussion of kyphoplasty: a minimally invasive procedure used to treat spinal compression fractures. Through a small hole, kyphoplasty injects special cement into the vertebrae, which can alleviate back pain.

    In the Emergency Department, Daniel Geary, MD, department chief, and Dawn Yeitrakis, MS, RN, CEN, department director, demonstrated Telestroke — a virtual connection to stroke experts at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The electronic communication allows local emergency clinicians to consult with specialists in real time through a secure video link. Stroke patients may be stabilized and treated faster in Leonardtown with this specialty care, leading to better patient outcomes.

    At the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Wound Healing Center, Richard Greengold, MD, medical director, and Lisa Nelson, RN, MHA, CWCN, clinical program director, spoke about hyperbaric oxygen therapy — one of many advanced treatments offered in Leonardtown. Patients breathe pure oxygen inside a pressurized chamber to stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities. The department recently received the Center of Excellence Award from Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services.

    The Jan. 18 tour ended in “Reflections,” the first-floor history room, where participants learned more about the hospital’s role in the community since its founding in 1912.


  • January 24, 2018

    Upper Marlboro Police Chief Calvin Washington Shares his Experience with Colon Cancer to Highlight the Importance of Regular Checkups, Particularly Colonoscopies

    As a municipal police chief in Prince George’s County and a dad of three, Calvin Washington was so busy with his job and family, he wanted to ignore the nagging stomach pain he was experiencing. As with many unpleasant things you’re trying to ignore, it worsened, becoming so severe, Washington knew he would have to get it checked out.

    First, Washington went to his primary care doctor, MedStar physician Arnulfo Bonavente, MD, who referred him to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s gastroenterologist Walid Chalhoub, MD, for a colonoscopy. His scan showed a mass that proved to be a cancerous tumor the size of an orange.

    “Here’s a young, healthy, fit guy, a cop, with kids,” said Dr. Chalhoub, a MedStar Georgetown University Hospital physician who sees and treats patients at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “This proves you need to get yourself screened and if you have symptoms, don’t take them lightly, because they won’t go away. In this case, I had to send him to a colorectal surgeon to take out that part of his colon and now, he’s alive and he’s cancer-free.”

    During Washington’s successful surgery, all cancer was removed and repaired expertly, so with time, he would heal back to normal, without needing a colostomy bag. “That day, I was nervous and Dr. Chalhoub knew I was nervous,” said Washington. “His bedside manner, the way he can calm you down, the way he said, ‘It’s going to be okay, trust me,’ was comforting.”

    After surgery, Washington began six months of chemotherapy treatments with MedStar oncologist Sunnie Kim, MD, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “The MedStar physician group; all of you guys are just great,” said Washington. “I’d recommend this group to anybody.”

    Washington is now back to normal, after months recovering and overcoming fatigue. He reports he is fully mobile with a normal appetite and desire to enjoy hunting, fishing, and kayaking, like he did before his medical ordeal.

    “I would encourage people to listen to your doctor, not only listen to your body,” said Washington. “A lot of people fear a colonoscopy because people know what that means, but for those people who fear this, fear the other thing: a physician telling you that you could possibly die. I could have, but I didn’t, so don’t be afraid.”

    Before a colonoscopy, patients are administered medication to relax. The instrument used during the procedure is a thin flexible tube that allows the physician to see any abnormalities that can be removed. A colonoscopy typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

    “Colonoscopies save lives,” says Dr. Chalhoub. “People can lose their life because of ego. Take the time to become informed and educate yourself on colon cancer.”

    Please visit for more information about gastroenterology services and treatments.

    To view Dr. Chalhoub’s Facebook Live seminar on stomach pain, recorded in the fall of 2017, visit our page here ►

  • January 23, 2018

    A research team at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital were awarded first place at the 13th World Stem Cell Summit for their research on stem cells enhancing bone grafts. Presented at the Summit Zijun Zhang, MD, PhD, the director of the Orthobiologic Laboratory in the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, the research team was also led by  Lew Schon, MD, chief of Foot and Ankle Services at Union Memorial. The research found that intravenous introduction of stem cells in into mice that had received bone grafts led to nearly two times as much formation of callus, the healing tissue that forms around the ends of the broken bone. Read more.

  • January 22, 2018

    MedStar Health announces the expansion and renovation of the MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab’s (SiTEL) Baltimore Clinical Simulation Center. At nearly 12,000 square feet, the Baltimore Clinical Simulation Center is the largest of MedStar Health’s four training centers, all designed to enhance patient safety through the continuous development of our associates’ skills. Learning environments mirror high-profile areas of hospitals, providing a realistic training venue where associates can safely practice critical skills and gain experience before treating patients. The expanded simulation center is also equipped for a new program for Environmental Services associates, which teaches them to resolve common hazards in the healthcare environment and trains them on a new method of disinfecting patient rooms. Read more.

  • January 21, 2018
    Zach Hettinger, MD, MS
    Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS

    Hyattsville, MD (August 21, 2018)—Researchers from MedStar Health will investigate the implementation and efficacy of shareable clinical decision support resources as part of healthcare team communications through a one-year contract award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Jointly led by Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS, and Zach Hettinger, MD, MS, from the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, the collaborative team will seek to understand the role and usage of clinical decision support resources that are available from the AHRQ Clinical Decision Support Connect platform. The platform is a repository that shares structured data and resources, providing tools for promoting a collaborative model of clinical decision support. 

    With the implementation of electronic health records, the way that healthcare teams communicate is changing. Clinical decision support resources seek to ensure that the entire healthcare team, from doctors to nurses to pharmacists, is receiving the correct information at the appropriate time to help inform their clinical decisions to enhance patient outcomes. By leveraging a shared clinical support system, healthcare systems can increase efficiency in communication across care teams, leading to more positive patient outcomes.

    “Providing clinicians with decision support, through the electronic health record, at the point of care, is critically important – but the process is complex. A key barrier is the need for most organizations to independently develop, deploy, and manage clinical decision support content. Shareable resources have the potential to standardize and optimize care, reduce costs, and moderate redundant work across healthcare systems.” says Dr. Miller.

    The research team will leverage human factors engineering methodologies, including stakeholder interviews, an ethnographic approach for task analysis, along with process mapping, usability testing, and business case development as part of the contract. The resulting analysis will be used as the strategic evidence necessary to build a business case that considers key aspects of an organization’s clinical and business strategies.

    Dr. Miller is a clinically-oriented, human factors researcher, and focuses on medical decision making and behavior, informatics, and the assessment of medical interventions and practices. Dr. Hettinger is the medical director and director of cognitive informatics at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health and a practicing emergency medicine physician at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. Other key team members include Jessica Howe, MA, senior human factors specialist and system safety specialist, Joseph Blumenthal, clinical informatics researcher and developer, and Derek DeLia, PhD, director of health economics and health systems research at the MedStar Health Research Institute.

    Collaborating on this research will be Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), as a primary analysis location, and two secondary healthcare systems, Medical University of South Carolina and Hahnemann University Hospital. “By implementing the resources at multiple sites, we will have the ability to make systematic comparisons and produce a rigorous evaluation that demonstrates within-site and between-site analyses to test the efficiencies of shareable clinical decision support resources in multiple healthcare settings,” says Dr. Miller.

    This federal contract was awarded through AHRQ’s ACTION III (Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks) funding mechanism. This is one of four contracts that have been awarded to MedStar Health as part of this federal contract vehicle, including one that was awarded earlier this year.

    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. For more information, visit

    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