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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 25, 2017
    The MedStar Health Research Institute, in conjunction with the Georgetown University School of Medicine, has awarded summer research internships to two rising second-year medical students, Ester Chung, to study patient safety under the guidance of Seth Krevat, MD, and Kelly Smith, PhD and Anasha Janna Islam to study quality improvement under Chris Goeschel, ScD, RN.
  • January 25, 2017

    STATEMENT OF ERIC R. WAGNER EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INSURANCE AND DIVERSIFIED SERVICES

    Regarding Managed Care Contract Awards by the District of Columbia

    MedStar Health is deeply committed to serving the 58,000 men, women and children in the District of Columbia who rely on MedStar Family Choice for vital healthcare services through Medicaid. We are extremely disappointed and puzzled by the decision announced by the Department of Health Care Finance to exclude us from the managed care contract award after five years of service to District residents. Such a change is especially risky at a time of uncertainty over funding and access to safety net programs nationwide.

    It is hard to understand why the District would turn away from a health plan with a proven record in the District of reliable, high quality performance that is highly accountable and responsive to the needs of the community. Locally owned and controlled, we are already woven into the fabric of the District’s safety net community.

    Over the past five years, MedStar Family Choice has become the health plan of choice for Medicaid services in the District by providing broad access to high quality care, earning patients’ trust, and holding down costs. Enrollment in our programs has grown dramatically, especially when compared to the other two Medicaid health plans. Under the proposed change, not only will tens of thousands of District residents be required to switch insurers, many could lose access to their current physicians.

    As the largest not-for-profit health system in the region, MedStar Health’s hospitals and physicians provide care to more than 35 percent of the District’s residents. MedStar has been serving patients in the District for more than 100 years, and we understand our patients’ needs. We are committed to continuing our role for years to come. Therefore, we are seeking further information about this decision and are formulating our next steps in response.

    Contact: Ann C. Nickels, ann.c.nickels@medstar.net, 410-772-6661; 410-409-6399 (cell)

  • January 24, 2017
    In a joint research project from researchers at Georgetown University and MedStar Health, analysis of New York State's Medicaid expansion showed that while rates for those who were uninsured decreased, the access to cancer surgery for racial minorities showed no change.
  • January 24, 2017

    WASHINGTON (January 24, 2017) – A clinical trial to examine the effect of nilotinib on clinical outcomes and biomarkers in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease has opened at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).

    The clinical trial is a phase II, randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the impact of low doses of the cancer drug nilotinib (Tasigna®). GUMC is conducting the study with its clinical partner, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    The rationale for using nilotinib is based on laboratory and clinical research conducted by the Georgetown Translational Neurotherapeutics Program (TNP). Nilotinib appears to aid in the clearance of accumulated beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques and Tau tangles in the brain. Both are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. Nilotinib appears to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and turn on the “garbage disposal” machinery inside neurons (a process known as autophagy) to clear the Tau, Abeta and other toxic proteins.

    “In a 2015 proof of concept study at Georgetown, patients with Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies were treated with nilotinib. As my colleagues reported, those who completed the study had a reversal in disease progression, observed both clinically and in key biomarkers—the same biomarkers seen in Alzheimer’s,” explains Scott Turner, MD, PhD, medical co-director of the TNP, who will serve as principal investigator for the study. “But even before the Parkinson’s study, research in the laboratory strongly supported studying this drug in people with Alzheimer’s. The promising results of the Parkinson’s study give an even stronger rationale.”

    “When used in higher doses for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), nilotinib forces cancer cells into autophagy or cell death. The dose used in CML treatment is significantly higher than what we will use in our Alzheimer’s study,” says Charbel Moussa, MB, PhD, scientific and clinical research director for the Translational Neurotherapeutics Program. “When used in smaller doses once a day, as in this study, it appears nilotinib turns on autophagy for about four to eight hours—long enough to clean out the cells without causing cell death. Toxic proteins that build up again then appear to be cleared when the drug is given again the next day.”

    Moussa conducted the preclinical research that led to the discovery of nilotinib for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

    Moussa is an inventor on a US patent owned by Georgetown University and on other pending US and foreign patent applications for use of nilotinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

    The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation is supporting this clinical trial through a $2.1 million grant to Turner.  The study has also received private philanthropic support.

    Turner conducts additional clinical research supported by funding to Georgetown University from Lilly, Biogen, Merck, Acadia, and Toyama as well as the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.

    To learn more about this clinical trial, please click here.  To learn about other Alzheimer’s clinical studies, please visit the Georgetown Memory Disorders Program website.


    Meet Dr. Turner

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  • January 24, 2017

    Creasey being interviewedMedStar Georgetown kidney transplant recipient Constance Creasey learned about the kindness of strangers after a national radio broadcast featured her story, along with an interview with Dr. Matthew Cooper, MD, medical director of the Kidney Pancreas Transplant program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

    NPR national medical correspondent Richard Harris compiled a story about Medicare coverage of anti-rejection drugs that expires after three years, but continues to pay for dialysis and even a new transplant. Dr. Cooper commented that this is a policy he believes needs to change.

    To add patient perspective NPR interviewed Creasey, age 60 of Washington, D.C., who mentioned that sleeping on a bed is a luxury she can’t afford because she has to save money for her anti-rejection medications. When NPR’s Morning Edition  listeners heard the story on December 22, many wanted to donate and began to contact NPR and MGUH Media Relations to find out how.

    A woman from Virginia bought Creasey a bed right after the holidays, while donated gift cards from all over the country provided her with sheets and blankets. Another woman from Illinois started a funding page for Creasey; some listeners donated to the MGTI's patient assistance fund that helps patients like Creasey in similar situations.  

    “I was overwhelmed and in total disbelief,” said Creasey. “I didn’t feel like I deserved it.  I was just trying to bring awareness to this issue for other people like myself.” 

    Creasey spent 11 years on dialysis after her kidney failed and received a transplant in 2015. Thankfully, the surgery was a success. However, to prevent rejection, Creasey will have to take medication for the rest of her life. She is becoming increasingly concerned about how she is going to pay for her medication after Medicare stops covering the costs in 2018. 

    Creasey has been “truly grateful” for what people have given her since the story on NPR. She is enjoying her brand new bed, headboard and frame with sheets, a comforter and some curtains. She is happy to finally make her room a little more like home.  Creaseys says she can now turn her heat down because sleeping on the floor was cold.

    “I’m starting off my new year with more faith in people. This experience has touched my heart and I can’t thank everyone enough, “Creasey said.

    -Shannon McCarthy

  • January 24, 2017

    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital Receives Prestigious International Award 

    Albany, NY - Baby-Friendly USA, announces that MedStar St. Mary's Hospital has received prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility. Baby-Friendly USA, Inc is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (“BFHI”), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

    The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

    There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently there are only 405 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.  The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.

    Further information about the U.S. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative may be obtained by contacting:

    Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.
    125 Wolf Road, Suite 402
    Albany, NY 12205 

    Learn more about maternity services at our hospital ►