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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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  • 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


  • January 07, 2020
    Recognized for Setting Highest Standards for Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies
  • July 22, 2019

    WASHINGTON D.C., – When Nicole Austin-Hillery looks at her wrist, she sees a small, pinhole-sized scar. It’s the only visible sign of her recent treatment for uterine fibroids.

    Nicole Austin-Hillery
    Nicole Austin-Hillery

    “It is hardly noticeable at all,” she says. “It looks like I have a little tiny mole there. There’s absolutely nothing. I don’t even think about that.”

    July is recognized as Fibroid Awareness Month. Nationwide, one in three women suffer from fibroids, including 80% of African American women and 70% of Caucasian women by the time they reach the age of 50. Oftentimes, the tumors can cause very heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, increased abdominal girth and urinary symptoms.

    Earlier this year, Austin-Hillery, a D.C.-based civil and human rights attorney underwent uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. UFE is an established, minimally invasive procedure that treats fibroids without the need for major surgery. Several years ago, Austin-Hillery did have surgery to remove her fibroids, but the benign pelvic tumors came back.

    “They eventually grew to even bigger sizes and in multiplicity beyond what they had been originally,” she says. “I could really feel the impact of those fibroids and how they were interfering with my daily activities, particularly when it came to exercise.”

    She was looking for way to address her discomfort without undergoing another operation like a myectomy or hysterectomy. After researching UFE on her own, Austin-Hillery was referred to Interventional Radiologist Theresa Caridi, MD, who specializes in the procedure.

    Dr. Theresa Caridi
    Dr. Theresa Caridi

    “One in five women are under the impression that a hysterectomy, or surgical removal of the uterus, is the only way to treat uterine fibroids. It’s not true,” said Dr. Caridi. “Treatments like uterine fibroid embolization can be just as effective and carry fewer risks of major complications than surgery.”

    During UFE, the fibroid is starved of blood supply as portions of connecting uterine arteries are blocked by a microscopic substance known as embolic or bead.

    “We deliver the substance through a small catheter that’s inserted into either the patient’s wrist or upper leg. It only takes one to two hours,” Caridi says. “The fibroids aren’t removed but, following the procedure, they shrink into scars over several months.”

    Austin-Hillery went forward with UFE and had the procedure in February 2019. The procedure only required a local anesthetic, she remembers being somewhat aware throughout. Afterwards, she did feel some side effects like nausea and abdominal discomfort, especially during the first day or so following the procedure, but they improved relatively quickly. A far cry from the recovery following a myectomy or hysterectomy.

    “MedStar Georgetown was great. They checked on me. I called them when I had questions. Around day three, I started to feel better,” Austin-Hillery says.

    Best of all, she feels like uterine fibroid embolization worked. According to Dr. Caridi, the fibroids will continue shrinking for up to a year after the procedure, but Austin-Hillery says the difference is already noticeable.

    “I’m continuing to see changes in my abdominal area. My menstrual cycles are much better,” she says. “My comfort level when I exercise is just off the charts. Overall it was a win-win for me.”

    For more information, visit: MedStarGeorgetown.org/Fibroids.

    To schedule an appointment with a MedStar Georgetown interventional radiologist, please call 202-444-5478 or complete an online appointment request form

  • June 14, 2018

    CLINTON, MD - The American College of Radiology (ACR) has recognized the MedStar Regional Breast Health Program at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE). The BICOE designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR's voluntary accreditation programs and modules, according to Anna H. Choi, MD, Chief of Radiology at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. MedStar Southern Maryland is accredited by this organization in mammography, stereotactic biopsy, breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy, and breast MRI (via a relationship with MedStar Washington Hospital Center).

    "The breast imaging team has been instrumental in maintaining high standards and meeting the high bar set forth by the American College of Radiology," said Dr. Choi. "I am very proud of the teamwork!"

    MedStar Southern Maryland employs a team approach to treat breast health, of which Dr. Choi, as a breast image specialist, is a part. The team also includes a roster of OB/GYN's, medical and radiation oncologists, a contracted genetic counselor, Dr. Ekaterini Tsiapali, breast surgeon, and Dr. Sarah Sher, plastic surgeon.

    "We are honored to receive this recognition," said MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine R. Wray. "Breast health is a significant health concern for women, and in southern Maryland, they can be reassured by our comprehensive program that includes preventative care, early screening, use of the latest technology and innovations in treatment, surgical options that minimize risk and recovery times, and after-care that is compassionate and diligent in follow-up. We are proud of our program, proud to serve southern Maryland and proud of this attention given by the Commission on Quality and Safety, and the Commission on Breast Imaging with the American College of Radiology."

    MedStar Southern Maryland's breast care experts provide comprehensive breast care for both women and men. They treat a wide range of breast conditions, including breast cancer and benign breast disease. They also follow women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

    Our breast health services include:

    • Disease prevention: breast self-exam training, risk assessment, genetic testing
    • Routine evaluation: annual well-woman exams
    • Breast imaging: screening, diagnostic and digital mammography, with breast radiologists to interpret the images
    • Diagnostic evaluation: needle localization, open surgical biopsy, frozen section pathology, stereotactic biopsy, sentinel node biopsy
    • Comprehensive treatment: treatment for benign breast disease and breast pain, fine needle aspiration, lumpectomy, partial or total mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy

    For more information, visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/Breast.

  • June 11, 2018
    Patients Have a Variety of Tissue-Based Options When Implants Lead to Pain and Discomfort
  • May 30, 2018

    Drs. Leigh Matlaga and Nicola London to Lead OB-GYN Department

    BALTIMORE, Md.—(May 30, 2018)—MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center has named two OB-GYN physicians to leadership roles where they will help guide the department’s operational efforts and ensure the highest quality of safe patient care.

    Drs. Leigh Matlaga and Nicola London will each assume the role of associate chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, under the leadership of chairwoman Kathryn Elgin, MD. Dr. London and Dr. Matlaga will also serve as medical director of the Bel Air and Dundalk women’s practices, and the White Square OB-GYN practice, respectively.

    “Dr. Matlaga and Dr. London have demonstrated enthusiasm and leadership in our efforts to continually improve the OB-GYN department,” said Mimi Novello, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. “Their expertise, passion and commitment to patients sets a high bar for the program as we continue to provide the best care possible for women in the Baltimore area.”

    Dr. Matlaga will manage quality and safety for the department while Dr. London oversees operations.

    Dr. Matlaga joined the MFSMC in 2006 as an attending physician after practicing at Indiana University School of Medicine.  She earned her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine and completed her OB-GYN residency training at Duke University.  She has practiced in several locations affiliated with MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, including Bel Air, Dundalk and Timonium. She earned a Baltimore magazine Top Doctors award in 2012.

    Dr. London launched her career at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in 1993 as a resident. She has served as a practicing OB-GYN and had a managing role in the Dundalk and Bel Air practices.  She received her medical degree from University of Maryland, graduating Alpha Omega Alpha.  She has a reoccurring place in the annual Baltimore magazine Top Doc edition. Dr. London has served as a peer reviewer on the Maryland Medical Board of Physician Quality Assurance, as well as on several hospital committees.

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    About MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
    MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is a not-for-profit 378-bed community teaching hospital located in the White Marsh section of eastern Baltimore County, Maryland. MedStar Franklin Square provides many medical and healthcare services, including a broad range of healthcare specialties, advanced technologies and treatments not traditionally found at community hospitals. The hospital is ranked third in admissions among all Maryland hospitals and is first in Emergency Department visits with more than 108,000 visits annually. MedStar Franklin Square is accredited by the Joint Commission and certified as a Primary Stroke Center and has earned some of the nation’s most prestigious quality awards including Magnet Designation for excellence in nursing, the Excellence Award for Quality Improvement from the Delmarva Foundation and inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital specialty ranking for four consecutive years. With more than 3,300 employees, MedStar Franklin Square is one of the largest employers in Baltimore County. Visit medstarfranklin.org for more information.