Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jesuit Medical School Conference

Yesterday I had the privilege of presenting with Dr. Robert Clarke (Dean of Research at Georgetown) at the Jesuit Medical School Conference at Georgetown University. The four medical colleges at Jesuit universities (Georgetown, Loyola, St Louis Univ and Creighton) come together to share best practices. This year the theme was 'partnership' and Bob and I got a chance to share how MedStar and Georgetown are partnering on clinical research.  The other fun aspect was the reception the evening before at SiTEL (Simulation Training and Education Lab) hosted by Dr. Terry Fairbanks of MedStar Innovation Institute. People presented posters and had fun with the simulation 'dummies.'

Teaching Scholars Manon Schladen (MNRH) and Margeret Montgomery (Nurse midwife from MWHC) discuss their posters with a happy attendee over a glass of wine!

Course directors of the Teaching Scholars Program Peg Weissinger and Jamie Padmore seem just a little
too giddy with a dummy in cardiac arrest. Must have been that wine!

Monday, February 25, 2013

So What Do You Think So Far?

This blog, "Notes from Neil" (the MHRI President's Blog) has been live for three weeks and in that time, I have written and published about eight posts. It's an experiment for me (appropriate for a Research Institute, don't you think!), so I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Most of the posts I've written so far are related to MHRI associates and organizational activities. Do you find these interesting and worthwhile? Are there other types of posts you would prefer? Please take a moment and let me know if I should 'keep going' or 'change course' by clicking on 'comment' below and expressing your thoughts. Remember, this is a blog for you!



Thursday, February 21, 2013

MedStar Teaching Scholars Launches 5th Class

Do you have any idea what is the MedStar Teaching Scholars Program?

This award-winning, 1-year educational program is for anyone involved in medical education and interested in learning how to apply the principles of research to medical education (i.e., medical education research). This is done through lectures, small group sessions, team based learning, journal club and a required research project.  Upon completion, participants receive a certification in Medical Education Research from the AAMC. Enrollment is in September and the class runs from February to December with a capstone in January (for more info, email

Today we kicked off the 5th class with representation from numerous MedStar entities with a broad area of expertise (physicians, nurses, a pharmacist, a statistician and a medical educator specialist).

Below Dr Stephen Evans, EVP of Medical Affairs and system Cheif Medical Officer for MedStar Health is welcoming the class with a lecture on medical leadership while Dean Mitchell (Dean of Georgetown Medical School) hosts the class first meeting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Hidden Gem in Foot and Ankle Research!

There are hidden academic gems in all corners at MedStar Health.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visitng Dr. Zijun Zhang's lab at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. Tucked away if a far corner of the hospital, behind closed doors are room after room of interesting research looking at the growth of collagen, bone and fat as it relates to foot and ankle orthopedic care.  In this slide, Dr Zhang's group examined a potential reason older people have heal pain. They found that the fat pad (using a pre-clinical model) is smaller and has altered cellular activity.

Here is a picture of Dr. Zhang and assistants Dr. Jeremy Molligan and student Sydney Rooney.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MedStar and Georgetown Investigators Partner to Win Research Grants

You may have heard about our efforts to increase research collaboration between MedStar Health and Georgetown University. We held a retreat last fall with investigators from both organizations and one of the ideas generated was an intramural grant that fosters new MedStar-Georgetown collaborations with the goal of increased external grant funding.

The MedStar Health–Georgetown University Partnership Grants were launched as a demonstration of how important clinical research activity can be enhanced by building research partnerships across the institutions. During this first round, 15 new cross-campus collaborations applied for the Partnership grants and four were awarded after a peer-review process.

I’d like to offer another CONGRATULATIONS to the investigators, especially the MedStar investigators Drs. Shara, Umans, Zapas and Hardwick! We expect the announcement for the next round of PARTNERSHIP grants to be available this spring with an early summer submission date.

To see the list of grants awarded grants go to the link:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

“Go Red” on Valentine’s Day!

On Thursday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, MHRI associates wore red in support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) fight against heart disease and the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) efforts to Stop Diabetes. MHRI’s own Wellness Committee organized the campaign to wear red and will send the photos to the AHA, which is posting photos on its website ( during February, National Heart Month.

Did you and your fellow associates wear red on Valentine’s Day? If you took pictures, it’s not too late to be included. Send them to the Wellness Committee at and post your comments.

Check out some photos below of the MHRI team located at UTC and at MWHC.

So check out this picture from MedStar National Rehab Hospital research group! They went all out!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Queen of the Freezer Farm

Our MedStar Health Research Institute associates do fascinating things.  Today, I had the opportunity to visit with Marianna Gokool who has the responsibility to oversee 58 freezers holding a wide array of biospecimens.  She processes incoming samples, makes sure the freezers are working properly and are inventoried and she responds to 'alarms' to prevent the loss of any specimens.  Hats off to Marianna for upholding her responsibility for so many research specimens, representing years and years of work that serve as a 'bank' of enormous value for the creation of knowledge through research.  Thank you!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Ultimate MHRI Raven's Fan

One of the great things about my job is that I get to meet many of the associates across MedStar.  It becomes even more special when they share some aspect of their life outside of work.

This week, Alton Henry, a new member of the Cardiovascular Core Laboratories, told me about how he has waited 12 years to go to the Super Bowl. When the Raven's got in, he was relentless to find a ticket.  In his words, "This was the best experience of my life. I got to see the greatest linebacker to ever play the position ride off into the sunset while sitting eight seats up from the field"

It is one thing to get the chance to go to the Super Bowl, and another to do so in style!  Attached is a picture of Alton preparing for the game with the artist who painted his body (yes, painted his body - that is NOT a shirt) and another picture with his friend just prior to the game! 

Alton, thanks for sharing with us.  Please feel free to post your comments - Alton promises to read them all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lunch with the President

During the last town hall meetings, associates ask for more interaction with the executive team. "Lunch with the President" is an idea that came from our colleagues at the Hospital Center. Today we had the second lunch which was again a great success. These lunches give me a chance to meet with associates in an informal setting and learn more about what you do, things that you are concerned about and to hear your suggestions. It also ended up giving associates a chance to meet new colleagues and learn what they are working on.

Good food and good conversation. What more can anyone ask for!

If you are interested in having "Lunch with the President" ask your manager to nominate you. We have several lunches planned over the next few months both in Baltimore and Washington locations.

But this is suppose to be a conversation, so for those who attended a 'Lunch' or plan to, please post your comment!