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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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  • A team of MedStar Health associates wearing masks standing next to shelves of food inside a food distribution center.
    August 13, 2021

    Healthy Food, Nutritional Counseling Provided Through Collaborative Care Program

    Baltimore, MD - In a collaborative program unique to the state, MedStar Health will premiere Food Rx, an evidence-based medically tailored food and nutritional support program for patients with multiple complex chronic conditions, and/or food insecurity, who are referred through the Collaborative Care Program at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. The program is supported by a grant awarded earlier this year by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC).

    Teaming with Maryland Food Bank, Hungry Harvest, Sodexo, and the American Heart Association, the program is designed to improve clinical outcomes for chronic disease, eliminate food barriers for vulnerable populations, and decrease racial and socioeconomic health disparities.

    “The Community Health Resources Commission is thrilled to support this innovative program,” commented Mark Luckner, CHRC Executive Director. “This community-based program will help bring much needed services and support to vulnerable residents impacted by food insecurity and will help support the state’s overall goal of addressing diabetes.” 

    “We know that food plays a huge role in one’s overall health,” said Lucas Carlson, MD, MPH, regional medical director for Care Transformation at MedStar Health. “For instance, if the patient with diabetes or heart failure is discharged from the hospital but does not have the ability to maintain a diet appropriate for their condition, they’re at high risk of ending up back in the emergency department. Ultimately, food is medicine and is a necessary component of chronic disease management.”

    Located in 16,000-square-feet of newly renovated space on the hospital’s second floor, the Collaborative Care Program (CCP) is an innovative new approach to coordinate primary and specialty care for patients living with multiple complex conditions. In the CCP, patients are evaluated and treated by an intensive core medical team meant to complement their longitudinal primary care. There, they are seen by the program Community Health Advocate and Dietician, who determines the patient’s eligibility for Food Rx.

    Once enrolled, patients will receive weekly shipments of fresh produce, including bread and eggs, through program partners, Hungry Harvest. Produce shipments will be titrated based on household size, ranging from 10 to 22 pounds of fresh produce per week.

    "The MedStar Health FoodRx program perfectly marries near term compassionate care with long term strategies for sustained wellness,” said Evan Lutz, of Hungry Harvest. “By supplying the fresh fruits and veggies patients need to create a healthy eating routine, they are not only providing exceptional care today, but also seeding healthier habits for positive, sustainable health outcomes for the future.”

    “Ensuring all Marylanders have access to healthy foods, regardless of income level, is a priority for us,” said Nekeisia Booyer, the Maryland Food Bank’s senior vice president of Programs. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate on this program to help improve health outcomes for MedStar Health patients while bringing even more high-quality food into the hands and homes of those who need it most.”

    The Maryland Food Bank has partnered to help stock the program’s on-site food pantry, which is embedded within the CCP clinic. Here the Food Rx dietician works with the patient to provide nutrition education and assists the patient in selecting non-perishable goods and frozen proteins, which are provided by Sodexo.

    The Food Rx program will include direct education from the program dietician with support from the American Heart Association. This will include access to evidence-based seminar series, nutritional guidelines, and education events in partnership with the American Heart Association and it’s Simple Cooking with Heart Kitchen, such as cooking classes/demonstrations and education for participants.


    About MedStar Health
    At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

    About the Maryland Food Bank
    The Maryland Food Bank (MFB) is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization dedicated to feeding people, strengthening communities, and ending hunger for more Marylanders. Since March 2020, the food bank’s statewide food assistance network distributed the equivalent of 66 million meals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. MFB will continue to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities while collaborating with partners to provide resources beyond food and address root causes of hunger so that more Marylanders can become financially stable and thrive. To learn more about the Maryland Food Bank, visit www.mdfoodbank.org.

    About Maryland Community Health Resource Commission
    The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2005 to expand access to health care services in underserved communities in Maryland. The CHRC is an independent commission operating within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), whose 11 members are appointed by the Governor. Since its inception, the CHRC has awarded 347 grants totaling $85.9 million, supporting programs in every jurisdiction of the state. These programs have collectively served more than 504,000 Marylanders, and grants awarded by the CHRC have enabled grantees to leverage $31.8 million in additional federal and private/non-profit resources.

  • July 28, 2021

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health has released a toolkit to improve the early diagnosis of hepatitis C and the frequency with which hepatitis C patients are treated in the primary care setting. The toolkit, called A Pragmatic Guide for Primary Care Practitioners: The Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients with Hepatitis C Virus includes practical steps health practitioners can follow related to screening, testing, workup, treatment and post-cure to improve the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C. The toolkit was informed by over two years of work with 18 subject matter experts and 38 primary care providers throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

    The number of reported acute hepatitis C infections have more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2018, and The US Department of Health and Human Services has identified untreated Hepatitis C infection as associated with more deaths than the top 60 reportable diseases combined. It is estimated that only 56% of individuals infected with HCV are aware of their infection[1]. Safe and effective treatments that can cure hepatitis C are now available, but many primary care providers find the integration of new guidelines and processes into practice daunting. The toolkit was developed to support the integration of HCV identification and care in the non-specialist clinic.

    The toolkit was developed by the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and the MedStar Health Research Institute under a grant awarded from the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation. Lead authors of the toolkit were Dr. Christine Goeschel, Assistant Vice President, MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety and Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University, Dr. Dawn Fishbein, Scientific Director, Viral Hepatitis Research, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Sara Miller, Vice President of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Med-IQ.

    For more information or to download A Pragmatic Guide for Primary Care Practitioners: The Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients with Hepatitis C Virus visit: www.medstariqs.org/research-programs

    ###

    About the MedStar Health Institute for Quality and Safety

    The mission of the Medstar Health Institute for Quality and Safety is to partner with patients, their families, and those that take care of them to improve patient care outcomes and reduce the global burden of preventable harm. Established by Medstar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, the Institute provides a global infrastructure in which leaders, front-line care givers, patients and family members jointly develop, educate, assess, and advocate for patient safety and clinical quality initiatives. For more information, visit www.medstariqs.org. 

    About the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation

    The Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation, Inc. provides grant funding and donations to organizations and innovative programs that improve patient care and safety, promote healthy lifestyles, and support individuals and organizations providing healthcare services. The development of the Foundation exemplifies Coverys’ dedication to being an affirmative and active corporate citizen in the healthcare community and the communities in which it operates.

    [1] “Awareness of chronic viral hepatitis in the United States: An update from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” Journal of Viral Hepatitis, May 26, 2019.

  • July 27, 2021

    Only Nationally Ranked Heart Program in the Washington Region

    Washington, D.C. – Once again, MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been recognized among the nation’s top cardiac centers in the 2021-22 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings. Its Cardiology and Heart Surgery program climbed to No. 30, up seven from last year’s survey. It is the only nationally recognized heart program of its kind in the Washington region. MedStar Washington also received the highest rating possible in aortic valve surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

    U.S. News evaluated more than 4,750 medical centers nationwide in 15 specialties and 17 procedures and conditions. In the 15 specialty areas, 175 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty.

    “Our continuing and ascending stature amongst the best regarded cardiovascular centers in the country is a tribute to the tireless teamwork and dedication of our physicians and associates who strive to put the principle of keeping patients at the heart of everything they do,” said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “And to all those patients and their physicians who entrust us with their care, we offer our most sincere gratitude.”

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, has one of the highest-volume cardiac programs in the nation. It integrates the cardiovascular programs and services of all 10 MedStar Health hospitals and outpatient practices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Its clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, again ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News, has continued to flourish since 2013.

    U.S. News also cited MedStar Washington’s Urology program as high-performing. Six other common procedures and conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, diabetes, kidney failure, pneumonia, and stroke, received the highest ratings, too. "High Performing" is the highest rating U.S. News awards for these types of care that were significantly better than the national average, as measured by factors such as patient outcomes.

     The complete rankings are available at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings.

     

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a not-for-profit, 912-bed, teaching and research hospital in the nation’s capital, and is a major referral center for treating the region’s 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. MedStar Washington operates the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to 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.

  • July 15, 2021

    Sewa International distributing PPE and other critical supplies to the Caribbean and India

    Columbia, MD – As COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low in the United States, MedStar Health is donating a significant amount of surplus PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and clinical equipment to several countries still working to contain the virus.

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    The donation is being fulfilled through a partnership with Sewa International, a not-for-profit organization that has been distributing disaster relief around the world since 2003. Following the hand-off of six truckloads of equipment to Sewa, the supplies are now on their way to facilities in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, the Bahamas, and India where frontline healthcare workers, patients, and the public are in need of as much protection as possible.

    Siva Subramanian, MD, chief of Neonatology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, spearheaded the effort with support from MedStar Health leadership.

    “This is something that is going to be a tremendous help in containing this very contagious COVID-19,” Subramanian said. “As someone who takes care of patients, I know this type of protective equipment is so important and it makes me very proud that we are able to share this from MedStar Health.”

    The donation includes KN-95 masks, reusable surgeon masks, cannisters of disinfecting wipes, packages of hand sanitizer for Caribbean nations and two CPAP machines to be distributed in India. MedStar Health successfully maintained its primary supply of N-95 masks throughout the pandemic, which made its emergency surplus of KN-95 masks available for donation.

    “We bought a lot of these masks because the supply of N-95 masks was very uncertain and we weren’t going to take any chances,” said Ed Robinson, vice president of Integrated Support Operations for MedStar Health. “Fortunately, we are in a position now where we can support this very noble humanitarian effort by Sewa International to provide much needed support to other parts of the world that are in great need right now.”

    Representatives from Sewa International graciously accepted the donation in person at a MedStar Health supply facility in Prince George’s County, Maryland where the equipment was officially transferred.

    “In this COVID situation, the entire world is one. There is no discrimination. It does not discriminate based on economy. It doesn’t discriminate on anything,” said Shree Sreenath, PhD, MBA of SEWA International. “We at SEWA International are really happy to receive this from MedStar Health so that we are able to help our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and in India, where supplies are extraordinarily needed.”

  • July 15, 2021

    Columbia, MD - MedStar Health is proud to announce a new research partnership with COTA, Inc., an oncology real-world data and analytics company. COTA will support MedStar Health in its use of real-world data to accelerate scientific discovery and improve patient care.   “Our partnership with COTA will support our ongoing efforts to leverage deep clinical data to power research that will improve outcomes for cancer patients,” said Neil J. Weissman, MD, FACC, FASE, president of MedStar Health Research Institute and chief scientific officer for MedStar Health. “As a leader in oncology real-world data, we are excited to work with COTA to drive innovative research that will change how cancer is studied and treated.”  Read more.

  • July 13, 2021

    Columbia, MD - Medstar Health is proud to announce that we have joined with 16 other healthcare systems as members of Truveta, a company with a vision of Saving Lives with Data. Founded by the member healthcare systems, the Truveta platform will bring clinical data from across the country to advance patient care and accelerate development of new therapies through research. Truveta will include data representing more than 15 percent of U.S. patient care with even greater racial and ethnic diversity. “With our mission to promote learning, discovery and innovation, we believe insights from Truveta can help providers learn more and have better informed conversations about inequities and health outcomes to make progress on this important topic,” said Kenneth Samet, president and CEO of MedStar Health. Please visit theTruveta website to learn more about this exciting partnership.