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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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  • September 01, 2017

    An Epidemic Hits Home

    This is the third in a four-part series on the opioid epidemic in our community.

    As an Emergency Medical resident with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Eric Kiechle, MD, was prepared to treat patients coming to the D.C. hospital who had overdosed on opioids or heroin. But during a rural emergency medical rotation at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, a ride along with the Lexington Park Volunteer Rescue Squad gave him a different perspective. 

    “Walking into a home where people are overdosing really put things in perspective for me,” Eric said. “I could see that the opioid and heroin epidemic has hit the area pretty hard. Obviously, I see it in D.C., but seeing it here was eye-opening to me.” 

    Just as in other areas of the country, St. Mary’s County continues to deal with the impact of the opioid and heroin crisis. In June, St. Mary’s saw its first overdose from the powerful drug carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

    In the first half of 2017, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 14 overdose deaths all linked to the use of — or a combination of — heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and/or carfentanil. “On the law enforcement front, we are going after the drug dealers, and if we can identify a dealer in a fatal overdose, we’re going to work with the State’s Attorney’s Office to hold those dealers responsible,” said Capt. Eric Sweeney, Vice/Narcotics. “Our approach to the opioid epidemic is comprehensive: we are investigating, we are arresting, and we are educating.”

    The sheriff’s office works closely with the St. Mary’s County Health Department, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, the Young Marines, and other county organizations to host prevention programs. Its headquarters in Leonardtown is also a collection site for unwanted medications through an anonymous 24/7 drop-box program. 

    This initiative ensures proper disposal of medications, so they never enter the streets and minimizes the opportunity for an individual to become a target of crime by having unused medications in their home. Additionally, every September the Sheriff’s Office collects medications directly from the homebound who otherwise may not have the opportunity to dispose of their unused medications.

    Every deputy at the sheriff’s office is equipped with and trained to use naloxone (Narcan). The sheriff’s office responded to 106 nonlethal opioid overdoses in the first half of 2017 and administered 99 doses of Narcan to 50 recipients. In 2016, only 49 doses of Narcan were administered by deputies.

    “What we see on the streets is that this epidemic does not discriminate — it impacts all ages, genders, backgrounds, and
    races. This is a nationwide problem and St. Mary’s County is not immune,” said Sheriff Tim Cameron. “If you have a family member or friend struggling with addiction, please get them help. It’s a horrible epidemic, and the help is out there.”

    Visit for more information on lifesaving resources and information.

  • August 31, 2017
    Board certified in general surgery and fellowship trained in bariatric surgery, Dr. Tapazoglou specializes in minimally-invasive and laparoscopic procedures.


    “I offer laparoscopic preperitoneal inguinal hernia surgery, which means instead of entering through the abdomen, I go between the abdomen and hernia. This procedure is known to result in fewer complications and less pain for patients. It’s an outpatient procedure, after which patients leave the hospital from the recovery room.”


    “A hiatal hernia occurs in the diaphragm and often goes hand-in-hand with reflux. Typically, a hiatal hernia is not something you know you have, but rather something you find out about through imaging from your doctor. I offer both hiatal hernia repair and anti-reflux procedures. Basically, if you have severe reflux that’s not being managed by medications, or if you have Barrett’s Esophagus or a known hiatal hernia, you can qualify for these procedures.” 


    “No one else in this region is performing bariatric weight loss surgery so I wanted to bring that here for the residents of this area. Currently, we are working with MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Bariatric Surgery Program to bring bariatric surgery to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. I have patients here who are nearing completion of or who have already completed the extensive pre-operative preparation for bariatric
    surgery, so we know there’s definitely an interest.”


    “Patients can lose 60 to 70 percent of excess body weight, which can extend their life expectancy by 10 to 20 years and improve their quality of life by 95 percent. All types of medical problems are often resolved after bariatric surgery and it reduces the risk of just about every kind of cancer.”


    Many insurance companies offer coverage for weight loss surgeries, but some do not. Before talking to a specialist, contact your insurance company to determine what is covered under your specific policy.

    General and Bariatric Surgeon
    Conveniently Located in Leonardtown

    Dr. Tapazoglou’s office is in the hospital’s Outpatient Pavilion, located at 25500 Point Lookout Road in Leonardtown.

    Contact Us Today
    or call 240-434-4088 for an appointment.

  • August 28, 2017

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — EnteroMedics Inc. (NASDAQ:ETRM), the developer of minimally invasive medical devices to treat obesity, metabolic diseases and other gastrointestinal disorders, today announced that MedStar Health successfully completed its first implant of the Company's vBloc® Neurometabolic Therapy for a veteran through the Veterans Choice Program. The surgery was performed on Friday August 18, 2017 by John S. Brebbia, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS.

    "We are so pleased to be a part of a program that allows access to a safe, durable, non-anatomy-altering solution for patients who are battling the potentially life-threatening disease of obesity and its associated comorbidities," said Dr. Brebbia. "While we have successfully implanted vBloc in the general population at MedStar, we are honored to now be offering this solution to the many veterans who qualify for vBloc through the Veterans Choice Program."

    The Federal Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to have the vBloc procedure within a facility in their local community instead of at a Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) hospital, significantly increasing the accessibility to vBloc for veterans. According to the VA, in the first quarter of FY2017, they observed a more than 30 percent increase in authorizations through the program as compared to the same period in FY2016.  EnteroMedics' previously-announced agreement with Academy Medical covers the cost of vBloc for qualified veterans in accordance with their VA health benefits.

    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

    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a 138-bed not-for-profit hospital serving the greater Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas. A proud member of MedStar Health, MedStar Montgomery is committed to delivering the latest in modern medicine and medical technology.

    About vBloc® Therapy

    vBloc Therapy works to control sensations of hunger using a pacemaker-like device that is implanted under the skin during a safe, minimally invasive procedure that does not alter or remove any patient anatomy. The vBloc System is designed to give the patient a sensation of fullness, empowering them to eat less, control their appetite, and lose weight. Studies have shown that vBloc Therapy produces meaningful weight loss while also reducing comorbidity factors related to obesity.

    vBloc Therapy is approved for use in people aged 18 years and older who are obese, with a BMI of 40 to 45 kg/m2, or a BMI of 35 to 39.9 kg/m2 with a related health condition such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or obstructive sleep apnea who have had a poor response to trying to lose weight under supervision in the last 5 years.

    About EnteroMedics Inc.

    EnteroMedics is a medical device company focused on the development and commercialization of technology to treat obesity and metabolic diseases. vBloc® Neurometabolic Therapy, delivered by an FDA-approved pacemaker-like device called the vBloc® System, is designed to help patients feel full and eat less by intermittently blocking hunger signals on the vagus nerve. EnteroMedics recently acquired the Gastric Vest System™ through its acquisition of BarioSurg, Inc.

    Forward-Looking Safe Harbor Statement:

    This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of words such as expect," "plan," "anticipate," "could," "may," "intend," "will," "continue," "future," other words of similar meaning and the use of future dates. These forward-looking statements are based on the current expectations of our management and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others: our limited history of operations; our losses since inception and for the foreseeable future; our limited commercial sales experience with our vBloc® System for the treatment of obesity in the United States or in any foreign market other than Australia and the European Community; the competitive industry in which we operate; our ability to maintain compliance with the Nasdaq continued listing requirements; our ability to commercialize our vBloc® System; our dependence on third parties to initiate and perform our clinical trials; the need to obtain regulatory approval for any modifications to our vBloc® System; physician adoption of our vBloc® System and vBloc® Neurometabolic Therapy; our ability to obtain third party coding, coverage or payment levels; ongoing regulatory compliance; our dependence on third party manufacturers and suppliers; the successful development of our sales and marketing capabilities; our ability to raise additional capital when needed; international commercialization and operation; our ability to attract and retain management and other personnel and to manage our growth effectively; potential product liability claims; the cost and management time of operating a public company; potential healthcare fraud and abuse claims; healthcare legislative reform; and our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for our technology and products. These and additional risks and uncertainties are described more fully in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly those factors identified as "risk factors" in Exhibit 99.3 of our current report on Form 8-K filed July 26, 2017. We are providing this information as of the date of this press release and do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this document as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

  • August 22, 2017

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute are pleased to announce that interventional cardiologist Dr. Malik Al-Omari will be joining doctors Hong, Thomaides and Lee. 

    The role of an interventional cardiologist is to intervene with heart complications to perform procedures such as angioplasties to open up arteries or veins, or to install stents, which are mesh wire tubes that keep blood vessels open. Without such intervention, artery blockages limit blood supply, which weakens heart muscles.

    As an Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Malik Al-Omari will treat patients preventatively with procedures such as angioplasties and stent installations and will treat patients who have suffered heart attacks. Dr. Al-Omari will perform angioplasties, cardiac catheterization diagnostic procedures, stenting and Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) Tests.  He offers care and treatment for angina, aortic stenosis, atrial fibrillation, cardiopulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, heart attack, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and mitral valve stenosis.

    Dr. Al-Omari earned his medical degree at Jordan University of Science and Technology in his home country of Jordan and completed an internship at Princess Basma Teaching Hospital in Irbid, Jordan. He completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and a Residency in Nuclear Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He also completed a Fellowship in Heart Failure and Transplantation at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, a Fellowship in Cardiology at a Mayo Clinic Program in Florida and a Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at the University of Tennessee Health Center.

    Prior to joining MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Dr. Al-Omari worked as an interventional cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He also served as an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo College of Medicine and is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles. Dr. Al-Omari speaks Arabic and medical Spanish. 

    To make an appointment with Dr. Al-Omari or any member of the MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute’s cardiologist group, please call 301-877-5677.

    About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, a 182-bed full-service hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland areas, was founded in 1977 and joined MedStar Health in December 2012.  Throughout the hospital’s history, it has remained a community leader, a strong supporter of health care education and a dedicated advocate for quality health care services.

    About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute:

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a national leader in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. A network of 10 hospitals and 150 cardiovascular physicians throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington, D.C., region, MedStar Heart also offers a clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program. Together, they have forged a relationship of shared expertise to enhance quality, improve safety and increase access to advanced services. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute was founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital. Opened in July 2016, the hospital ushered in a new era of coordinated, centralized specialty care for patients with even the most complex heart and vascular diagnoses. 


  • August 17, 2017
    MedStar National Rehabilitation Network Presents 14th Annual Super H 5K Run, Walk, & Wheel Benefiting Those With Disabilities
  • August 17, 2017

    Washington, D.C., August 17, 2017 – MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is pleased to announce that Seth Worley, MD, has joined the Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology as a senior consultant. An internationally recognized expert in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), Dr. Worley brings with him extensive expertise in device and lead implantation for those patients who present with challenging vascular anatomy. He has personally developed unique tools and techniques to facilitate and optimize the success of transvenous left ventricular (LV) lead implantation. The approach he pioneered is referred to as ‘Interventional CRT” and patients from centers around the country who have had an unsuccessful attempt at lead implantation are regularly referred to Dr. Worley for treatment. 

    Dr. Worley joins MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute from Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pa., where he was the director of Interventional Implant Program at the Lancaster Heart and Vascular Institute. He is the founder and past president of the Lancaster Heart & Stroke Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving cardiovascular health through clinical research and community programs.

    “The addition of Dr. Worley to our Electrophysiology team will substantially broaden the types of therapies MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute can offer patients,” says Zayd Eldadah, MD, PhD, director, Cardiac Electrophysiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “By joining MHVI, Dr. Worley gains a destination medical center from which to deliver care, as well as conduct and expand his internationally acclaimed teaching program for caregivers from all over the world.”

    Dr. Worley is a graduate of the Temple University School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. After completing a fellowship in cardiology and electrophysiology at Duke University Medical Center, he became the co-director of the Coronary Care Unit and Assistant Professor of Medicine. From Duke, he was recruited to the Mayo Clinic where he was Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology prior to relocating to Lancaster. He is board certified in clinical cardiac electrophysiology, and a fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society.

    Dr. Worley is an active participant in academic, research and teaching activities. He has been the principal, co-principal or sub-investigator of 87 clinical trials, published numerous scientific papers, case reports, book chapters and abstracts and holds four U.S. patents for medical devices. He is a frequent speaker at national and international medical meetings.


    About MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

    MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a national leader in the research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons as one of the top cardiovascular programs in the nation. A network of 10 hospitals and 150 cardiovascular physicians throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington, D.C., region, MedStar Heart also offers a clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program. Together, they have forged a relationship of shared expertise to enhance quality, improve safety and increase access to advanced services. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute was founded at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital. Opened in July 2016, the hospital ushered in a new era of coordinated, centralized specialty care for patients with even the most complex heart and vascular diagnoses.