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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 24, 2017

    New Guidelines Recommend Higher Targets for Older Adults

    Washington, D.C., January 25, 2016One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. That number climbs to two in three for older adults.

    Recently, two medical groups released recommendations that set safe blood pressure targets higher than ever for adults 60 and older – a group at high risk for complications from high blood pressure.

    Traditionally, the threshold for high blood pressure has been set at 140/90 mm/Hg. But the new guidelines, from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, state that patients older than 60 should begin treatment if their systolic blood pressure (top number) reaches 150. If the patient has high cardiovascular risk or a history of stroke, treatment should begin at 140.

    The new recommendations come after a series of studies that show that a lower systolic blood pressure increases heart-health benefits for adults 60 and older, including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) in 2015 found that targeting a blood pressure of 120 or lower was more effective to reduce the rates of major cardiovascular events than targeting 140.

    “It’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions from these studies for a variety of reasons,” said Allen J. Taylor, MD, chief of Cardiology with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “It’s important to remember that blood pressure doesn’t just measure pressure. It’s also a marker for other things going on in your body, such as stress, heredity factors, diet and exercise.” 

    Dr. Taylor concluded that there’s no magic blood pressure number that applies to everyone. “Your health history and lifestyle greatly influence your heart health and what’s safe for you. Work with your doctor to monitor and effectively manage your blood pressure.”

    The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the Annals of Family Medicine.

    About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
    MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks the hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program as one of the nation’s best. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates 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.

  • January 22, 2017

    Led by Raj Ratwani, Ph.D., from MedStar Health's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, the study was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Cognitive science and psychology studies suggest interruptions generally cause people to commit five to 10 times more errors than they would without interruption. Read more. 

  • January 22, 2017

    Event Jointly Sponsored with the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General Child Support Services Division

    WASHINGTON, D. C., – MedStar Family Choice and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Child Support Services Division (CSSD) are co-sponsoring a Men’s Health Day and Fatherhood Conference from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at the St. Elizabeths Gateway Pavilion and R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Ward 8. The event is designed to provide fathers in the District with the tools they need to improve their physical and mental health, strengthen relationships with their families, and improve their prospects for meaningful employment.

    MedStar Family Choice, a managed care organization, provides healthcare services to 58,000 Medicaid enrollees in the District. “We are really pleased to co-sponsor this event, because we understand that improving the health and well-being of a community’s residents makes for a stronger, healthier community,” said Leslie Lyles Smith, executive director, MedStar Family Choice.

    “A father’s most important job is to be a consistent, reliable, and supportive part of his child’s life,” Attorney General Karl A. Racine said. “But we also know that too many fathers face barriers that get in the way of their doing everything they can for their children. This conference and health fair will provide fathers and other interested adults opportunities to take the initiative to build their job and life skills so they can break through those barriers and provide their children with the support they need to grow into mature and independent adults.”

    The event, with the theme “Celebrating Men: Bridging the Gap, Investing in Our Future,” includes a conference at the R.I.S.E. Center and a health fair at the adjacent pavilion. Both facilities are located on the St. Elizabeths East Campus at 2730 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE. The health fair will feature vendors and partners from multiple government, nonprofit, and private agencies and businesses, including physicians and other health experts; health-insurance resources; educational resources; and other opportunities.

    Conference Workshops
    The conference will feature workshops on:

    • Building and maintaining relationships
    • Money management and financial literacy
    • Common health issues affecting men
    • Making positive life choices

    The conference will culminate with a town hall-style meeting entitled “Overcoming Barriers: Creating Pathways to Healthy Fatherhood.” Attorney General Racine will moderate a panel of experts who will address barriers to healthy fatherhood and provide solutions to common issues that may hinder fathers from being present in the lives of their children. 

    There will also be food, entertainment, and haircuts offered at no cost to conference participants. Radio personalities from WKYS 93.9 FM will also broadcast from the site of the event.

  • January 22, 2017
    MedStar Sports Medicine researchers, in conjunction with researchers from UT Southwestern and the Cleveland Clinic have found that retired NFL players have significantly larger aortas as compared to the general population.
  • January 21, 2017

    Louis M. Weiner, MD, has been named director of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute. In that role, he will oversee the development and coordination of clinical care and research programs across the MedStar Health system— including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, survivorship and end-of-life care. Dr. Weiner also will continue to serve as director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Learn more.

  • January 20, 2017

    Surprise Visit: D.C. Fire and EMS Encourage Pediatric Transplant Recipient

    D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (D.C. Fire and EMS) surprised eight-year-old Hunter Scarborough, a transplant recipient who dreams of becoming a firefighter, at MedStar Georgetown in December.

    “It was amazing – They even brought a fire truck! It was the coolest part,” said Hunter.

    Wearing a robe and a mask, and given little information about the surprise, Hunter was wheeled down to the circle by the Emergency Department. Battalion Fire Chief David McLain and his team from Engine 5 and Truck 5 created a welcoming tunnel for Hunter. When the automatic sliding doors opened, the firefighters cheered and gave high-fives to Hunter as he made his way out to see the fire truck.

    “You couldn’t see it, but his face really lit up behind the mask,” said Jessica Uze, a child life specialist who helps children cope with being in the hospital. “Hunter has spent so much time in the hospital for serious things, and having real-life community heroes visit and remind Hunter that the world is out there pulling for him was really sweet!”

    After firefighters from Hunter’s hometown in Livonia, Louisiana contacted D.C. Fire and EMS about this “brave young boy,” Uze and Hunter’s mother quickly coordinated the surprise visit. Hunter suffers from chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and received a transplant for his small and large intestine in November 2016.

    “It was so special that the firefighters went out of their way to do something for a child they didn’t know,” said Kymberly Scarborough, Hunter’s mother. “I knew this was something for Hunter to look forward to, so keeping the surprise a secret was worth it!”

    “I think that kids around Hunter’s age enjoy visits from role models and heroes. These visits break the routine of their long and hard medical journey, which is often riddled with uncomfortable interventions and situations they have no control over,” said Dr. Nada Yazigi, Medical Director of Pediatric Liver Transplantation, who was seen on the unit wearing one of the red firefighter hats.

    Hunter wore a firefighter hat during the visit and learned about the special equipment firefighters use to stay safe in a fire. He later asked some of firefighters to follow him back to the pediatric unit to meet some of his friends, and the firefighters handed out more firefighter hats to other young patients to brighten their day.

    “I was crying because I was so happy,” said Hunter. “I didn’t know I would get to meet firefighters while I was in the hospital!”