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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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  • August 16, 2017

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has been recognized in the most recent Best Hospitals issue of U.S. News & World Report. The hospital was ranked as high performing in the areas of urology, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) procedures, and heart failure procedures. 

    “We’re so proud of our mention in the 2017 Best Hospitals Edition of U.S. News & World Report,” said MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center President Christine Wray.  “We appreciate the special recognition of urology, COPD procedures, and heart failure procedures, as we have worked hard to develop these programs in Southern Maryland.”

    Several MedStar hospitals earned recognition on the 2017 list. 

    In the Washington, D.C., region, three facilities were recognized:

    • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
    • MedStar Washington Hospital Center
    • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

    In Maryland, five facilities were recognized: 

    • MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
    • MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
    • MedStar Harbor Hospital
    • MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
    • MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

    Throughout the years, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center has been recognized nationally and regionally for its clinical and operational excellence many times. Read more about some of the hospital's most recent awards.

    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.

  • August 15, 2017
    Dr. Maen Farha is the first and only physician in the state to offer patients electromagnetic wave technology to locate and remove breast lumps that are not detectable by touch.
  • August 08, 2017
    When Perinatal Nurse Educator Lisa Hulvey, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, comes up with an idea for an educational exercise that can reaffirm best practice or help the team identify ways to improve current practice, she contacts the MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab (SiTEL) team to design and implement a drill. 
  • July 31, 2017
    New Office-based Treatment Uses UV Light to Strengthen Cornea, Avoids Need for Corneal Transplant
  • July 28, 2017

    Drug Monitoring Program May Help Curb Opioid Epidemic

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

    When you hear the words State of Emergency your thoughts naturally turn to natural disasters, not drugs. But on March 1, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a State of Emergency in Maryland in response to the heroin, opioid and fentanyl crisis devastating communities throughout the state and the country. 

    “Our community has not gone untouched by this crisis,” said Jeremy Tucker, DO, medical director of the Emergency Department at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. “The sad truth is that we encounter the effects of this every day in our Emergency Department. The number of people we have coming to us seeking prescription pain medication and the number of overdoses we see continues to rise. The drugs available on the street are stronger, more addictive and deadlier than ever before.” 

    Heroin and the new kid on the street, fentanyl, are cheaper more readily available alternatives to illegally obtained prescription opioids, and become the drug of choice for many when access to prescription opioids runs out. According to statistics from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in some areas of the state approximately one in 10 people are addicted to heroin. 

    “We are not just talking about prescription opioids,” said Meenakshi G. Brewster, MD, MPH, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Certainly, when this all started, it was probably the most prominent feature, but now a major factor is heroin and fentanyl.”

    According to Dr. Brewster, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and incredibly more potent than other prescription opioids and heroin. “Sadly, people buying and selling drugs on the street may not be aware that fentanyl is cut into the medication or the drug they are selling or buying,” said Dr. Brewster. “Even non-opioids, like Xanax, we are now sometimes finding have opioids like fentanyl cut into them and people are overdosing because it is incredibly powerful, they haven’t built up a tolerance and their bodies are overwhelmed.”

    Helping to Curb Over-prescribing 

    One way Maryland hopes to combat the opioid epidemic is with the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Officials are counting on it to become the first line of defense and help reduce over-prescribing of prescription pain medications as well as doctor shopping for multiple narcotic prescriptions. 

    The PDMP was created to support providers and their patients in the safe and effective use of prescription drugs. Pharmacists and practitioners authorized to prescribe controlled dangerous substances must be registered with the PDMP by July, and by July 2018 prescribers will be required to query and review their patient’s PDMP data prior to prescribing an opioid or benodiazephine, and repeat that query every 90 days thereafter as long as they continue to prescribe opioids.

    “The new drug monitoring program will be a tremendous benefit to help reduce the risk of over-prescribing opioids,” said Dr. Tucker. “The PDMP will allow us to make more informed decisions about whether or not to prescribe narcotics to patients to control their pain. Earlier identification of a patient who might be at risk of abusing opioids gives us the opportunity to help that individual find the treatment they need which ultimately could save their life.”

    Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Opioids for more information on lifesaving resources and information.

  • July 27, 2017

    Kristen Miller, DrPH, CPPS, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare at MedStar Health, was featured in a Texas A&M School of Public Health Spring 2017 alumni spotlight. She was recognized for being awarded a 4-year, $1.4 million R01 research grant from the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop a new approach to detect and treat sepsis—which nationally infects about 1 million people annually, killing a quarter of them.

    Miller will lead this work from MedStar, marking a significant milestone for the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) and its National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, as the NIH R01 research grant is among the most prestigious awards. This is the third R01 grant awarded to an MI2 associate.

    Read more.