Pellegrini Research Scholarship Awarded to Two Medical Students | MedStar Health

Pellegrini Research Scholarship Awarded to Two Medical Students

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Hyattsville, Md. (July 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 Ansha Janna Islam to study quality improvement under Chris Goeschel, ScD, RN.

Scholarships are provided through the Frank S. Pellegrini, MD, Research Scholarship Endowment that supports summer research fellowships for Georgetown University medical students to work within MedStar Health under the auspices of the MedStar Health Research Institute. The scholarship is awarded to medical students who demonstrate academic excellence and recognize the importance of patient-first values and innovation, and the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, which means to care for the whole person.

“The Pellegrini Scholarships in Clinical Quality and Patient Safety are so important to expose our medical students to these important aspects of healthcare delivery,” says Jamie S. Padmore, associate dean for Graduate Medical Education and Educational Scholarship at Georgetown University School of Medicine and vice president of Academics Affairs at MedStar Health. “We are fortunate to have this endowment that allows us to highlight the integration of medical education, quality and safety as a foundation to exceptional patient care.”

Chung will focus her research on a gap analysis of the implementation of CANDOR (Communication and Optimal Resolution) at MedStar Health hospitals. CANDOR is an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality initiative, implemented to help hospitals respond to, defuse and quickly resolve potential patient harm situations. She will review the current processes, policies, and systems at each of the organizations to assess if gaps existed prior to the implementation of CANDOR. “Through this research, I hope to raise awareness of this epidemic and the need for a shift in culture from that of being punitive to one that involves inter-professional collaboration and effective communication to learn from mistakes and prevent future ones from occurring,” said Chung.

Islam will base her research on goals set forth by the Institute of Medicine’s 2015 report on Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare. During her summer research experience, she will develop and pilot test a survey to gain insights on health care professional’s perception of diagnostic error from awareness of the problem to perspectives on what represents diagnostic error.  The survey results should help inform next steps in developing a curriculum for patients and researchers to partner in improving healthcare diagnoses. My research focus of improving healthcare diagnoses has the potential to improve the quality of medical care and treatment, but also emphasizes patient-first values because one in twenty individuals experience a diagnostic error in their lifetime,” said Islam. In addition to her research, she participated in the Improving Diagnosis in Health Care: Implementation Workshop at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine this July.

Both Chung and Islam attended the Academy for Emerging Leaders in Patient Safety Conference in Telluride, Colorado as a part of the Pellegrini Scholarship. The lectures, discussions, and experiences from this conference further contributed their quality improvement and patient safety projects.

The Pellegrini research endowment honors the late Dr. Pellegrini, a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine. The endowment was established in 2008 by Dr. Pellegrini’s daughter, Pam Pelligrini Oetgen and son-in-law, William J. Oetgen, MD, who is a MedStar Health board member. Dr. Pellegrini graduated from Georgetown in 1939 and died in 2003. He was a general practitioner in the District of Columbia and Maryland from 1941 through 1986, and he held many leadership positions in the medical community, including president of the District of Columbia Medical Society.



About MedStar Health Research Institute

The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. For more information, visit

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit