Monday, October 19, 2020

"Who's That?" with the MWHC Community Violence Intervention Program

MedStar Washington Hospital Center has re-launched their popular "Who's That?" video feature, which introduces associates to front-line associates and leaders.  In this newest edition, meet Gary Durant, Darrell Givens, and James Wiggleton, with the Community Violence Intervention Program and part of the broader MHRI team. The mission of the MedStar Center-Community Violence Intervention Program is to reduce and prevent new injuries and retaliatory violence through promoting an improved sense of self.

This is a very special team and part of the MHRI family as well, testing and implementing a new way to advance health! Under the direction of Dr. Erin Hall & Millie Sheppard, this team connects directly with our community. Their work was recently highlighted as a feature in the April issue of Health Affairs.

Congrats to the entire CVIP team!


Check out their story in this video.

 Members of the Medstar Community Violence Intervention Program (from left to right) Tionna Pierce, Darrell Givens, Erin Hall, Gary Durant, and James Wiggleton.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Checking the Pulse of Our Associates

In normal times, this would have been a year for our comprehensive MedStar Associate Survey. Given the dynamic climate in 2020, we changed from a single large survey to four shorter ones that will be happening throughout the year. The MedStar Pulse Surveys are being used to gather timely, actionable feedback from MedStar Health associates and physicians to provide their perspectives on how we are doing as an organization. The first survey was conducted in early August, and the results were released in early September.

Since March, our teams have been hard at work advancing health through research, both COVID and non-COVID related research. Our success, as indicated in this survey, is because of the great team work and dedication of our associates at MHRI.

Click on the image to view it larger

While we are very proud of these results, it is actually more important what we do with the results. So what happens next? We have the data, so we are planning on taking steps to make change based on the data. Our first step was to share the results for MHRI at the Town Hall in September, just a few days after we received them.

Following that town hall, our senior leadership took a look at all the written comments to understand the perspective of our MHRI associates. These comments provide valuable information for our leadership to understand how we can move the needle for our teams. We presented the results with our managers, with more in-depth conversation, so that they can have conversations with their teams. 

One of the areas for opportunity for us was making sure that our associates are aware of, and using, the support resources available to them for their wellbeing. As part of that, we have Dr. Dan Marchalik, the Medical Director of Physician Well-being and Chair of the Frontline Associate Wellness Committee, present at our town hall about all the wellness resources available to us. With our managers, we will be holding an in-depth managers meeting next month, with a focus on wellbeing and supporting our associates. The other area highlighted in the written comments were remote working and working hours and we are working with individual managers to address these written comments.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey. I look forward to hearing from you again with the next Pulse Survey in November.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Medstar Partnership Supporting the Design of Clinical Trials

Guest Blogger:
Petros Okubagzi, MD
AVP, Research Operations

The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) is a public-private partnership to develop and drive adoption of practices that will increase the quality and efficiency of clinical trials. Once a specific aspect of the clinical trials process is targeted for improvement, CTTI establishes a project in order to more thoroughly explore the various elements that create the issue at hand, as well as novel solutions for it. The ever-increasing membership now comprises more than 80 organizations from across the clinical trial enterprise allowing it to innovate through collaboration. MedStar Health, through MHRI has been an active participant for a very long time and is represented at the Steering committee level. One of the unique characteristics of CTTI is the variety of its members (FDA, Industry, Patient advocacy groups, Universities as well as Nonprofit groups).

One of the initiatives that CTTI had undertaken was working on standardization and integration of clinical trials using mobile technology. This was made through task groups which consisted of teams looking at Legal-Regulatory issues, Mobile Device Selection, Novel endpoints and Stake holder perceptions. The latter, the group I worked in, looked at ways to reduce patient burden, streamline operations and optimize data collection when designing clinical trials using mobile technology. This was done using a survey of 193 potential research participants and qualitative interviews with a dozen investigators of varying backgrounds. This has led to CTTI developing a comprehensive evidence-based set of recommendations for incorporating patient and site perspectives in digital health trials.  

The actual study and conclusions have also been published this week in the journal of Contemporary Clinical Trials Communication that you can access here. This is one of the many ways Medstar Health contributes not only in the conduct of clinical trials, but also upstream in setting the ground rules for conduct of future clinical trials through research and advocacy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

It's Time for your Influenza Vaccination!

Never has there been a more important year to get your annual 'flu shot' and now is the best time to do it.  None of us wants to have the anguish, fearing we contracted COVID-19 only to find out it is the 'routine' flu. The best way to keep yourself, your family, your MedStar colleagues and those we care for safe and healthy is to get the flu shot.

All MedStar Health medical staff members, residents, associates, volunteers, students, contracted staff, and vendors are required to receive a vaccination by December 9th. Flu vaccine clinics are scheduled at a variety of locations across the system (see schedules/locations at Additionally, free flu vaccinations are available from:
  • Occupational Health locations
  • Unit vaccination clinics
  • Flu vaccine carts (at hospitals)
  • Peer immunizers
  • MedStar Health Urgent Care (appointment required, free with valid MedStar ID)

Today, I went to a vaccination clinic and was warmly greeted by Marla, with her efficient set up and even a lollypop when you are done....brings one back to their childhood!

Thanks Marla for keeping me and those I work with healthy.  Thank you all for getting your flu shot as soon as possible!