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  • 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.

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  • 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 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 01, 2021

    Columbia, Md - We are proud to share that each of MedStar Health’s ten hospitals is a 2021 recipient of the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence award, which recognizes health care facilities across the nation that continuously work to improve and expand upon their environmental sustainability programs.  The award distinguishes our facilities for efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, mercury elimination, sustainable product sourcing, healthy food initiatives, and more.

    021 PGH Environmental Excellence Award Logo

    “We are committed to environmental responsibility and stewardship as part of our mission to build healthier communities,” said Rachel DeMunda, corporate director of Joint Commission and Environmental Readiness and leader for sustainability for MedStar Health. “Human health is linked inextricably to environmental health, and Medstar Health continually strives for sustainable practices that preserve the earth and all its resources.”

    Highlights of MedStar Health’s sustainability accomplishments include:

    • Diverted more than 8 million pounds of waste from landfill or incineration through recycling, food composting, single-use device reprocessing, and donations.
    • Partnered with our contracted food service provider to institute a food waste reduction program and a variety of healthier food initiatives. 
    • Partnered with our contracted environmental services provider to use safer, green-certified cleaning chemicals and UV surface disinfection technologies during pandemic conditions that called for increased cleaning and disinfection.
    • Partnered with numerous non-profit and community organizations to improve social and environmental determinants of health ranging from food access, health and wellness support, homeless prevention, violence prevention, and transportation to medical appointments.
    • Significantly increased telehealth services, allowing for safe and increased access to many health services.
    • Promoted alternative transportation methods through EV charging stations, bike and/or walking paths, and collaborating with local city planning teams.

    “We are grateful to the many caregivers, frontline workers, administrators, and contractors who have faithfully committed themselves to this work and persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DeMunda.  “We look forward to continuing our sustainability journey by taking the successes we’ve had with the building blocks of our initiatives and expanding upon them into the future.”

    MedStar Health has received close to one hundred environmental sustainability awards through various national, state, and local award programs.

  • Close-up of a nurse giving a patient wearing a mask a COVID-19 vaccine shot
    September 05, 2021
    COLUMBIA, Md. – Monumental Sports recently announced a $1,000,000 contribution to support MedStar Health’s continued efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines within the District of Columbia.
    Throughout the pandemic, MedStar Health has remained at the forefront of care by rapidly implementing necessary changes to meet the demands of the virus and is now focused on efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities in the District.

    “Monumental Sport’s support for our continued vaccination efforts is coming at the perfect time,” said Elizabeth Delasobera, MD, Medical Director of MedStar Health Urgent Care and Team Physician for the Washington Capitals. “As we move our vaccine efforts into our primary care and ambulatory locations, it remains critical that we continue to vaccinate those in our community who still need to be vaccinated. This support will also help vaccinate our pediatric population as vaccinations become available to more age groups. I am grateful and proud of this amazing partnership.”

    “Monumental Sports knows every community member deserves equal access to these life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Monica Dixon, president of External Affairs and chief administrative officer at Monumental Sports. “With this support, we hope to help provide more access to vaccines for our community through MedStar Health’s expansive healthcare network.”

    MedStar Health currently offers COVID-19 vaccines at various sites in the D.C. region. To learn more about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine through MedStar Health, please click here.
  • Nurse wearing a mask giving a thumbs up after receiving a COVID vaccine shot
    August 30, 2021

    Columbia, MD – As a leading healthcare system, MedStar Health is coming together to do our part in the battle against the COVID-19 virus as the Delta variant continues to impact our patients, our work, and our ways of life. Science and medicine, with reinforcement from trusted sources, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicate the best defense against COVID-19 is to be fully vaccinated.

    With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021, MedStar Health will begin to implement our Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. 

    Showcasing our highest commitment to protecting the safety of those we serve, MedStar Health is requiring all associates, physicians, residents/fellows, students, Board members, medical staff members and other non-employed credentialed professionals, contractors, volunteers, agency employees, and vendors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021, as a condition of employment in accordance with our Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy. Fully vaccinated is defined as receiving both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), and we will offer medical and religious exemptions.

    Vaccinations are provided free of charge.

    Like other healthcare organizations and federal and local institutions, we support the science and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. We are joined by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA), and their member healthcare systems and hospitals in endorsing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers. Many have already implemented these requirements as part of local mandates, as have non-healthcare organizations and entities. The goal of protecting and caring for others through vaccination is a common and uniting commitment throughout our community, region, and nation.

    Overall, more than 70% of our associates and 80% of our clinicians are already vaccinated.  Compliance with this requirement from the remainder of our organization will further protect our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. It will move us closer to realizing the normalcy we no longer take for granted. Our commitment requires our shared and united dedication to protect the safety of those we serve.

  • August 24, 2021

    Virtual panel discussion being held on International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31

    Columbia, MD – Deaths caused by opiate-related drug overdoses are on the rise again in Washington, D.C., and MedStar Health is working to raise awareness of critical tools that can be used to save lives.

    In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, MedStar Health experts will host a virtual panel discussion focused on quickly detecting and preventing overdose deaths. Representatives from emergency medicine, pharmacy, peer coaching, behavioral health, research, as well as patients in recovery will explore the current gravity of the problem, efforts by MedStar Health to address drug addiction and overdoses, and important resources available in the Washington, D.C., area.

    The virtual panel is being coordinated alongside the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), which is promoting several local events highlighting the preventability of drug overdoses on International Overdose Awareness Day.

    Title: A multi-layered approach to substance use disorder and overdose prevention: A perspective from MedStar Health

    When: August 31st, 2021 at noon

    Where: Virtual panel discussion hosted through Zoom

    Panel:

    • Sadaf Kazi, PhD, is Research Scientist at National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She conducts research on improving screening and treatment practices for substance use disorder in pregnant and postpartum women, tapering opioid medication for chronic pain, and safe medication administration. Detailed bio link
    • Diana Quinn is Senior Director of Community Health at MedStar Health. Ms. Quinn is dedicated to ensuring community members have access to healthcare and opportunities to participate in engaging health promotion activities.  She has been instrumental in implementing the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in the emergency department, Women’s Health and Outpatient centers support by Peer Recovery Coaches. Detailed bio link
    • Ean Bond is a Peer Recovery Coach at Medstar Washington Hospital Center. He is passionate about helping people with substance use disorder since he is in recovery himself. In this role he feels that it allows him to give back what was so freely given to him. He believes it is never too late to recover from substance use disorder and that there is always hope. Ean is married and has three children and a dog.
    • Maryann Amirshahi, PharmD, MD, MPH, PhD, is Attending Physician in Emergency Medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Associate Professor in Emergency Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. In addition to implementing the SBIRT protocol at MedStar Washington Hospital Center as a practicing physician in the Emergency Department (ED), Dr. Amirshahi conducts research on prescription drug abuse, opioid stewardship, and addiction treatment in the ED. Detailed bio link
    • Bonnie Levin, PharmD, MBA, is Assistant Vice President for Pharmacy Services for MedStar Health.  She leads the pharmacy enterprise across MedStar’s ten hospitals, ten outpatient pharmacies, and ambulatory practices. Detailed bio link
    • Mihriye Mete, PhD, is Director of Behavioral Health Research at the MedStar Health Research Institute and Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. She conducts research in using the SBIRT model to address increasing rates of opioid-related overdose and mortality among DC’s vulnerable and underserved populations. Detailed bio link