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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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  • July 27, 2017
    This story recognizes the five health startups that won the MedStar Health & 1776 #Patient2Consumer Challenge, featuring interviews with the two companies that hail from the DC-area: Pacify Health and VEDA Data Solutions.
  • July 26, 2017
    MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital welcomed the latest ZeroG® technology to its arsenal of rehabilitation devices.
  • July 24, 2017

    The words congestive heart failure may sound scary, but with expert care and treatment, patients can either make lifestyle changes, begin medication regimens, or undergo procedures that can address the symptoms of congestive heart failure, and go on to live healthier lives.

    Congestive heart failure results from the heart muscle not performing normally. With congestive heart failure, the heart fails to pump efficiently and causes shortness of breath and swelling. In addition, because the heart is overworking to compensate, its walls may become thick and stiff as a result. This is the leading cause of hospitalization for people over the age of 65. 

    There are two types of congestive heart failure. The first is systolic heart failure, meaning weak heart muscle. It can be caused by a previous heart attack or viral infection. It can be treated by developing a plan with a cardiologist that addresses lifestyle changes and medications to improve the heart’s performance.

    The second is diastolic heart failure, meaning the heart muscle is strong, but stiff. It may be caused by longstanding high blood pressure or valve problems. Like systolic heart failure, it can be treated through lifestyle changes and medication.

    To make an appointment with Dr. Thomaides, Dr. Lee or Dr. Hong, ask your primary care doctor for a referral, or call their office at 301-877-5677.

    Advanced Heart Failure Symptoms

    Advanced heart failure symptoms are similar to those experienced by patients with less serious disease. The difference is that symptoms can be felt with minimal exertion or even at rest.  The severity of symptoms can still vary from day-to-day, or even within the same day.

    These include:

    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Swelling of the legs and feet
    • Swelling of the abdomen
    • Irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia)
    • Weight loss
    • Chest pain

    Advanced Heart Failure Treatment

    Our doctors usually treat less-severe heart failure with lifestyle changes and more common medications. But more advanced heart failure often requires a deeper approach. Possible options include:

    • Inotropes: Medications that increase your heart’s squeezing capacity (only select centers like ours can send patients home on these powerful medications)
    • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device: Ensures the right and left side of your heart contract at the same time (learn more about pacemakers)
    • Percutaneous valves: Repair or replacement of heart valves with a minimally invasive approach that avoids open-heart surgery
    • Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD): Devices that help the heart, either as permanent treatment or as a temporary measure before transplant
    • Heart transplant: Replacement of the heart with a donor organ 
  • July 20, 2017
    MedStar Health and 1776 are officially announcing the five winners and one startup designated for “honorable innovation”  identified during the #Patient2Consumer startup challenge event on July 13, 2017, at 1776’s DC campus.
  • July 20, 2017
    Joint replacement is among the most common surgeries in the U.S., with a million procedures performed annually. That number is expected to grow exponentially in the next two decades—with the number of knee replacement surgeries performed each year alone estimated to reach 3.5 million by 2030.
  • July 19, 2017

    Consider a career in health care and explore all the possibilities at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. More than 1,200 associates comprise clinical and nonclinical teams serving our community hospital. Those who live and work in the community enjoy a short commute to work. Best of all, are the benefits of being a MedStar associate. One of the largest employers in the county, MedStar St. Mary’s offers many career opportunities, including:   

    • Clinical dietitian
    • Physical therapist
    • Radiology technician
    • Registered nurse
    • Nursing technician
    • OR Surgical technician
    • Certified tumor registrar
    • Physician assistant
    • Nutrition aide
    • Environmental services aid
    • Security guard

    When Gina Steele, BSN, RN, began working part-time in Perioperative Services as a central sterile processing technician in 1985, her primary goal was to work full-time. So when she came across an opening for a surgical technician, she decided to apply for the job.

    “I loved it in the operating room (OR),” said Gina, “and so I was thrilled when they agreed to provide on-the-job training.” Feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to get her certification to become a surgical technician, she realized she wanted to achieve more and become a first assistant in the OR. To do that, she knew she needed a nursing degree. So Gina gathered her transcripts and began classes at the College of Southern Maryland. “The hospital supported me with financial assistance and also by shifting my hours so that I could fulfill my education requirements while I worked.”

    As a registered nurse, Gina continued to grow her professional career. She eventually became director of Perioperative Services, earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland along the way with a full hospital scholarship. Currently, she is working on her master’s degree and receiving financial support through a hospital grant funding program offered to nursing associates.\

    “MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital is committed to the growth and development of registered nurses and all associates, and we offer educational assistance and other types of support to associates who are looking to advance their education and professional goals,” said Pam Barnard, MSN, RN-BC, CNML, PHR, SHRM-CP, assistant director of Organizational Learning & Research. 

    “It’s very important for nurses to pursue their bachelor’s degree early on if you can,” encourages Gina. “It will make you aware of the big picture of nursing and why we strive to have best performance.” As far as financial support, Gina says, “It may take some work to find what’s available and go for it, but I think if you have goals and take the time to pursue them, the hospital will support you.”

    To apply for a position in health care and start building a rewarding career, visit MedStarStMarys.org/Careers or call Human Resources at 301-475-6018.