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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md.Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof.

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

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  • January 06, 2022

    Christine R. Wray announces Jan. 2022 retirement after 42 years of service in healthcare

    CLINTON, Md.Christine R. Wray, FACHE, president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital who also serves as a senior vice president for MedStar Health, announced that she will be retiring on January 28, 2022.

    Wray was named president of MedStar Southern Maryland in September 2014, two years after MedStar Health acquired the hospital located in the Clinton area of Prince George’s County. With Wray at the helm, MedStar Southern Maryland saw the development and growth of several new service lines.

    In 2016, the hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report, having ranked among the top 50 of best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery. In 2017, MedStar Southern Maryland joined the prestigious MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute-Cleveland Clinic Alliance. Wray also helped facilitate the opening of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in February 2020. This 25,000 square foot facility offers unmatched medical expertise, leading-edge therapies, and access to robust clinical research, all under the same roof.

    Moreover, the construction of MedStar Southern Maryland’s new Emergency Department (ED) expansion project took place under Wray’s leadership, and remained on schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The $43 million ED expansion project has been deemed the largest construction project in the hospital’s history. The new emergency department opened its doors in April 2021 to provide local residents with seamless access to the most advanced care.

    Wray’s focus on providing quality care has helped MedStar Southern Maryland build a foundation of excellence that will serve local communities for decades to come. MedStar Southern Maryland is grateful for the innumerable and lasting contributions that Wray made throughout her 42-year healthcare career.

    “I have so cherished working with all of you in our commitment and service to our wonderful communities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege,” Wray said in an announcement that was emailed to hospital associates. “Please always be proud of the work you do and how you care for each other as you care for our patients. It is incredibly important work and you are the best of the best!

    Dr. Stephen Michaels, who currently serves as the chief operating and medical officer for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, will take over as president of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

  • November 16, 2021

    Columbia, Md. – MedStar Health is taking COVID-19 vaccines on the road to make sure the newest group of eligible children who live in underserved communities of Washington, D.C., have easy access to the life-saving shots. Children age 5-11 are now getting their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at pediatric offices across the system, including MedStar Georgetown Pediatrics in Tenleytown and onboard the Kids Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at its regular stops in wards 6 and 7.

    “Getting the COVID-19 vaccine to our younger populations is critical to our overall vaccination strategy,” said Christina Hughes, vice president, Healthcare System Preparedness & Chief Preparedness Officer and a leader in the coordination and logistics of vaccine arrival and distribution for MedStar Health. “As we work to address health disparities in our community around COVID-19, the Kids Mobile Medical Clinic helps us improve their access and get the vaccines to groups who have been disproportionately affected by this virus.”

    “We are pleased to be able to vaccinate our pediatric patients five days a week at both our Tenleytown office and on the Kids Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in wards 6 and 7 in the District,” said Michael Donnelly, MD, chair of Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    Onboard the Kids Mobile Medical Clinic/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, which has served as a medical home to underserved children across the District especially in wards 5,6,7, and 8 for some 30 years, teams are vaccinating this newest group on Tuesdays starting November 16 and circling back to locations to ensure kids get their second dose.

    “We’re just very relieved,” said Dwight Miller whose two sons were vaccinated onboard the mobile clinic. “I was stressed about getting calls from school about positive cases at school wondering if my child would be next, so it’s a huge sigh of relief.”

    “Getting the vaccine is very easy and only takes five minutes,” said Harriet Huntley whose son also got the COVID-19 shot onboard the medical clinic. “My son wanted to play football and they told him he couldn’t play football until he got the shot.”

    “We’re really excited to have this opportunity to provide vaccines for all our patients in the mobile clinic which is the medical home that families in these wards know and trust,” said Janine Rethy, MD, MPH, division chief of Community Pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

    The Kids Mobile Medical Clinic serves communities that have expressed concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, but Dr. Rethy says their long-standing presence in the community has made a big difference.

    “When we started to give vaccines to the older kids over the summer, I thought it was going to be a hard sell for some of our families, but it really wasn’t,” said Dr. Rethy. “It was a matter of them knowing us and trusting us and just having one or two questions answered and then they were good to go.”

    “This is a really special opportunity for MedStar Health to take the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine directly to the children and their families in the District’s most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Senior Director of Community Health for MedStar Health, Diana Quinn. “We know this is the next important step towards getting our families and our communities back to normal.”

    “We feel like this vaccine is safe and effective and the risks of taking the vaccine are lower than the risks of getting the disease itself and spreading it to others in the community,” said Dr. Rethy. “For 5-11-year olds, the vaccine decreases the risk of getting the virus by 91 percent which is really excellent. In fact the side effects such as sore arm, fatigue and low-grade fever are even lower than those experienced by the older teens, which is very promising.”

    “Think about your loved ones. Think about your community,” said Miller who will be taking his sons to their grandmother’s house for the holidays. “Most importantly think about protecting the health of your family, especially your kids.”

    To make an appointment with the mobile clinic call 202-295-0547. To learn more and to find a COVID-19 vaccine in your area, visit vaccines.gov.

  • October 29, 2021
    WASHINGTON – Monumental Sports & Entertainment and MedStar Health, the official medical provider of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment teams since 2014, have enhanced their partnership with the renaming of the shared team practice facility as the MedStar Health Performance Center.

    The MedStar Health Performance Center is the hub for Monumental Basketball, serving as the training facility for the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go. The state-of-the-art complex, designed with innovative technology such as Kinexon positioning and performance system (indoor GPS system) and Polar Team System (Heart Rate Monitoring) was opened in 2018 and includes two full courts with eight total baskets, a recently renovated training/treatment room and an expanded 1,500-square foot weight room, which includes equipment such as Keiser functional trainers, AlterG antigravity treadmills and Woodway treadmills. The MedStar Health Performance Center is the only facility to house an NBA, WNBA, and G-League franchise under one roof.

    “During the facility renovation, Monumental Basketball and MedStar Health took the opportunity to revisit the name of the facility and chose MedStar Health Performance Center to reflect the commitment we both have to helping all of the athletes within Monumental Basketball reach their potential,” said Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer for MedStar Health, Dr. Stephen Evans. “There are three teams training at this facility, which is unique within professional sports, and this new name reflects both how the center is truly used by them and how we view our role as long-term medical partners with Monumental Basketball."

    MedStar Health’s sports medicine program is the premier sports medicine program in the region, which is reflected in their partnership with Monumental Basketball. MedStar Health has more than 16 physicians and clinicians dedicated to the three Monumental Basketball teams, providing world-class primary care, orthopedics, physical therapy and more.

    “We were excited to finalize the much-needed programming and design of our training facility for the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and the Capital City Go-Go,” said Monumental Basketball Chief Planning & Operations Officer Sashi Brown. “MedStar Health Performance Center is the foundation of our athletic care and performance program. We are fortunate to have a global leader such MedStar Health as a partner in our training center. We are able to provide our athletes a basketball performance, designed to support to drive excellence through our nutrition, strength and training and other programs, all of which are supported by innovative technologies that allows them to refine their skills.”

    There are designs celebrating the teams’ connection to the Washington, D.C. community throughout the MedStar Health Performance Center, including the D.C. map highlighting Ward 8 mounted on the ceiling. Digital displays telling the Monumental Basketball story are exhibited throughout the facility, while the main practice court features the 1978 NBA Championship banner of the Washington Bullets and the 2019 WNBA Championship banner of the Washington Mystics. As an homage to the athletes who have helped build the Monumental Basketball franchises, a new Legends Wall stands near the practice court to honor exceptional performances by Wes Unseld, Earl Monroe, Chamique Holdsclaw, Alana Beard and others as a trophy case recognizing the achievements of cornerstone athletes is exhibited in the foyer. The retired jerseys of Bullets players Unseld, Monroe, Phil Chenier, Elvin Hayes, and Gus Johnson also proudly hang in the practice court area.

    The adjacent Entertainment and Sports Arena serves as the home arena for the Mystics and Go-Go. Opened in 2018 with the inaugural season of the Go-Go, the Entertainment and Sports Arena saw the Mystics christen their new home with the 2019 WNBA championship. Located in the heart of Ward 8, ESA can hold up to 4,200 fans for basketball games and 5,000 for concerts and other events, bringing new entertainment options to Congress Heights residents and the capability of hosting 350,000 visitors per year. To further solidify their commitment to the Congress Heights community, Monumental Sports & Entertainment has made a $10 million community investment towards community and economic revitalization of the St. Elizabeth's East campus and surrounding community over its lease term.

    About MedStar Health
    MedStar Health uses the best of their minds and the best of their hearts to serve their patients, those who care for them, and their communities. Their 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through their core SPIRIT values – Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork – across their more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person, and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From their telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, MedStar Health is committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for their patients. At MedStar Health, it’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.
  • October 22, 2021

    Researchers target social determinants of health to decrease racial disparities in cancer outcomes in Washington, D.C.,

    COLUMBIA, Md. — MedStar Health is leading a $5 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at improving quality of life for recent cancer patients in Washington, D.C., The project aims to make advances by addressing social needs that disproportionally affect minority communities. Previous research shows that social factors like food insecurity, housing instability, transportation access, financial needs, and racial bias drive up to 80 percent of patient outcomes.

    Over the next five years, the study will focus on breast and prostate cancer patients finishing treatment at three Washington, D.C.,-based cancer clinics, using strategies to reduce health inequities and improve their outcomes. These strategies include screening patients for social needs ahead of graduation from treatment, engaging with community health workers to connect patients directly to local resources, and holding anti-discrimination training sessions for staff and clinicians.

    Researchers hope the project will eventually lead to a permanent and sustainable process for addressing social determinants of health and enhancing cancer care for minoritized communities.

    Hannah Arem, Ph.D., is the study’s corresponding principal investigator.

    “Despite improvements in cancer outcomes over time, significant disparities remain between Black and white cancer survivors,” said Arem, scientific director at MedStar Health Research Institute. “We believe the results of this research will play a major role in improving the survivorship of D.C. cancer patients over time as we better understand the burden of social needs in our community and how to support cancer survivors in addressing those needs.”

    “Once cancer patients finish active treatment, the transition to survivorship can have its own challenges,” said Christopher Gallagher, MD, co-investigator on the study and hematologist oncologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “While new treatments and screenings lead to better outcomes, so does access to long-term social services. This study aims to connect patients to the right community resources at the right time to build a successful transition.”

    MedStar Health is partnering with co-principal investigator Mandi Pratt-Chapman, Ph.D., of George Washington University Cancer Center in addition to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center and Howard University.

    “I am most excited about identifying and changing structural biases across three cancer care centers in the nation’s capital,” said Pratt-Chapman. “Through our anti-racism task forces, we hope to help reverse entrenched and growing disparities experienced by communities historically excluded from the healthcare system. We will work to resolve root causes of inequity while providing immediate relief to patients and families with significant social needs.”

    The research also builds on MedStar Health’s continued investment into community health, which includes the utilization of the Aunt Bertha Social Care Services Platform. In August, MedStar announced a new software integration that embeds the social needs screening tool directly into patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs). MedStar Health patients enrolled in this study will take advantage of the Aunt Bertha platform to quickly connect with thousands of nearby food banks, rent assistance programs, diaper banks, and more.

    “What’s so exciting about the community health and Aunt Bertha collaboration is that it enables us to identify community resources more easily for our clients and patients,” said Diana Quinn, senior director of Community Health for MedStar Health.  “This one-stop shopping approach within the electronic health record is designed such that we simply input a zip code, and it provides us with the names of the resources available in that area. This project will help us better understand which resources are needed for cancer patients specifically.”

    The study was awarded at the end of Sept. 2021 and will continue through Sept. 2026.

  • October 18, 2021

    Multi-million expansion addresses the complex health care management of the region’s aging population

    OLNEY, Md. – MedStar Health announces the opening of the Center for Successful Aging at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center  which delivers a new model of specialized care for older adults. The first-in-the-region center is designed to address the complex needs of older adults through integrated care coordination, a patient-centered approach, and highly skilled medical and psychosocial care. The new center was modeled after the very successful, innovative program at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore.

    The growth of the geriatric population continues to rise at epic levels, as the population of Marylanders 60 years and over is expected to reach more than 25 percent by the year 2030 according to the state's Department of Aging.

    "Through the Center for Successful Aging, we want to radically transform healthcare delivery and support a thriving community of older adults across the continuum of care," said Thomas J. Senker, FACHE, president of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center. "With a growing elderly population and a shortage of geriatricians, it is increasingly important to evolve the geriatrics practice and extend the reach of high-quality clinical care for seniors in our region."

    The CSA will be led by Chief of Geriatrics and Center Director, George Hennawi, MD, FACP. Dr. Hennawi was recognized as one of the region's best and most respected physicians as chosen by his peers. He specializes in geriatric medicine, as well as palliative care and hospice.

    Patient-Centered Care Emphasizes An Individual's Own Preferences

    The CSA takes a holistic approach to care starting with a thorough health assessment to identify cognitive, functional and medical risks. Patients are then provided with an individualized "Life Plan" and a specialized care team to manage their physical, mental and emotional health, often in partnership with the patient's primary care physician, specialist provider, family and caregivers, and resident skilled nursing provider.

    The care team, led by a geriatrician, is comprised of care coordinators, social workers, therapists and pharmacists who collectively ensure that patients receive the necessary care while providing education, support, and encouragement for both patients and caregivers.

    "We understand the unique medical, social and emotional health challenges facing older adults today. Seniors and their caregivers want to return home as quickly and safely as possible. Our teams provide an elevated level of care and support to equip patients to manage even complex conditions in an outpatient setting, decreasing the number of unnecessary ER visits," said Dr. Rezanne Khalil, MD. "We've created a space to empower older adults and their caregivers to be engaged in the activities and services that accomplish individual health goals."

    A high-intensity outpatient center allows individuals to remain at home when possible and prevent hospitalization or readmission. Primary and consultative outpatient care will also address complex medical and psychosocial needs. Inpatient services include a geriatrics consult service, and a specialized Acute Care program, which focuses on helping patients admitted from private homes to return to a skilled-nursing setting.

    In addition, partnerships with skilled nursing facilities across Montgomery County allow for the provision of expertise and oversight of clinical operations. It will also support transition of care as patients move from the hospital to inpatient care or back into their private homes.

    Through these services, the hospital aims to retain patients' pre-hospital levels of function, reduce length of stay, reduce the need for sub-acute placement and reduce 30-day readmissions.

    $2 Million Grant Supports Center's Expansion

    The CSA was made possible in part by a $2 million grant from the Edward N. & Dell L. Thome Memorial Foundation, which was created in 2002 to advance the health of older adults through the support of direct service programs and medical research. The grant supported the renovation and outfitting of the outpatient center and other healthcare locations to provide coordinated care of other essential services.

    "On behalf of everyone at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, we are grateful for the generous grant and continued support from the Thome Foundation, which allows us to expand care for such an important population," continued Senker. "Our shared mission with the Thome Foundation is to advance the health of older citizens and promote aging with dignity. We're excited to bring The Center for Successful Aging model to Montgomery County and deliver important, comprehensive services across the care continuum."

    For more information or to request a consultation with a geriatric specialist, visit https://www.medstarhealth.org/ads/mmmc-csa/ or call 240-817-1411 to request an appointment.


    About MedStar Montgomery Medical Center and MedStar Health
    MedStar Montgomery Medical Center is a not-for-profit, acute care community hospital serving Montgomery County, Maryland. For 100 years, MedStar Montgomery has served as a medical care provider and community health resource offering high-quality, personalized care. MedStar Montgomery provides a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies, and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals—including cutting-edge care in obstetrics, orthopedics, breast health, and oncology. MedStar Health is the region's largest non-profit and most trusted integrated healthcare delivery system, giving patients access to the latest in modern medicine and medical technology within a community hospital setting.

     

  • October 14, 2021
    (COLUMBIA, Md) – MedStar Health hospital pharmacies are participating in a national effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration to help people dispose of unwanted prescription drugs with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday October 23.

    With 93,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States last year, a 30% increase from the previous year, this is an important effort aimed at reducing the chances of medications getting into the wrong hands. 

    “We know from studies that when people abuse or overdose on prescription drugs, those medications were often acquired from either the home medicine cabinet, a friend or a family member,” says Bonnie Levin, PharmD, MBA, FASHP and Assistant Vice President of Pharmacy Services for MedStar Health.  “We hope this effort will help to address the drug overdose crisis which is a serious public health challenge in our communities.”

    Hospital pharmacy drop off locations are open year-round but those that are open on Saturday Oct. 23 are:

    • MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, open 24/7 with a drive-through drop-off from 10am-2pm.
    • MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, open 24/7.
    • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, 9am - 2pm.
    • MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, open 24/7.
    • MedStar Washington Hospital Center, 10am – 4pm outside the Physician’s Office Building (POB) Pharmacy.
    • MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital will hold a drive-through drop-off from 10am-2pm.

    “People are invited to stop by and drop their unwanted prescription drugs in one of our DEA-approved receptacles.  They can do this safely and anonymously,” says Levin. “If this event prevents even one person from becoming addicted or one overdose in our community, we will consider this a great success.”

    This effort coincides with National Pharmacy Week October 17-23.  Levin says National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is supported by pharmacists from around the MedStar Health system.  A MedStar pharmacist may be available at the take-back unit to talk with you about your medications.

    “MedStar Health is strongly dedicated to patient safety. As pharmacy professionals we understand the seriousness and tragic consequences of opioid abuse and we’re committed to doing everything we can to raise awareness and prevent it from happening in our communities,” says Levin. 

    Unwanted drugs could be stored in the medicine cabinets of surgical patients who were prescribed opioids for pain, cancer patients as well as families who recently lost a loved one who was prescribed pain medications.  Other medications, such as those that are expired or medications have been stopped by your doctor, can also be dropped off at the take-back units.

    In addition to being an important patient safety issue, there are environmental benefits to the proper disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications, which people often flush down the toilet.

    “We know that small doses of certain medications are getting into our water supply, which because it’s a closed system, can never fully rid itself of these trace amounts,” says Levin. 

    Take Back Day in April 2021 brought in 839,543 lbs. (420 Tons) of medication.

    To find the DEA drop-off collection location closest to you, please visit the DEA website which provides a site locator by zip code.