Monday, April 29, 2013

MedStar at Leisure World

Just recently, Dr Vanita Aroda  ( and I had the privilege of presenting to the Leisure World health committee.  This gave us an opportunity to learn more about Leisure World and MedStar's new involvement.

Leisure World ( is a age-restricted community in Montgomery County that was started in the 1960's and has grown to over 8500 residents. This tight nit community is extremely active with many amenities such as on-site golf, swimming pools, dining and clubhouse facilities.  They also have alot of activites for the residents.

Over the last few months, MedStar Health has partnered with Leisure World to provide a variety of health services right on Leisure World Blvd (  Because of this association, we (MHRI) was invited to present to their health committee, made up of several members from each residential section. These members are very knowledgeable since most are retired doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others with healthcare experience.

The presentation gave MedStar a chance to show the residents that we have a robust research portfolio, in virtually all aspects of medical research.  It also allowed us to share that we do create knowledge through research at MedStar, each and every day.

I look forward to furthering our discussions with the residents at Leisure World to see how our research community to join forces with their residents to advance health!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SPIRIT of Excellence Award Winner

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 24, Ron Migues, clinical research coordinator, MedStar Clinical Research Center (MCRC) at MWHC, was honored with the 2013 First Quarter SPIRIT of Excellence Award.

The SPIRIT award honors one associate each quarter who is nominated by their peers
for excelling  in:

Patient first

Ron was nominated by his colleagues, who said that “Ron is a consumate professional and model clinical research coordinator. He is a tireless advocate of patients’ rights, as well as a believer in research." They also said, "He maintains a clear sense of good clinical practice, while deftly meeting the needs and demands of his principal investigators. In this way, he is an exemplary co-worker, and his service to his profession is unmatched.”
One of my favorite quotes about Ron was that "he is a natural and selfless mentor"... that says it all!

In the picture below, I presented the award to Ron after hearing remarks from several people inlcuding Dr. Alexandra Pratt, Critical Care Medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Leslie Ruhno, Administrative Director, MedStar Clinical Research Center.
Congratulations Ron!!!


If you’d like to nominate a co-worker for a SPIRIT Award, you can find the nomination form on our StarPort homepage:, in the top box that says, “Award Nominations.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MedStar Leadership Team

Did you know that each month, hospital, entity and corporate leaders from across MedStar come together to discuss strategic priorities for the system?

The MedStar Health Leadership Team is comprised of about 40 people (you can find out more at, connecting all aspects of our healthcare system.

List online of entity presidents, and corporate and operational leadership.

The monthly meetings serve several functions. We often have important and meaningful discussions about the future directions of healthcare, opportunities and challenges for MedStar, setting priorities and then transforming these priorities into a strategic and operating plan. This is also a forum for system updates. While research is not always part of the discussion, it is important for all of us to recognize the coordination, collaboration and synergy of this team to lead us to MedStar 2020.

Yesterday we met and had a very full agenda; this included discussions on post-acute care and population health, as well as updates on the PeopleSoft roll-out and finance/budget. We discussed next year's operating plan and then ended the day talking about the associate survey, the results of which will be available in May.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Has your voice been heard??

You bet it has!

Through associate surveys, focus groups and Town Hall meetings, MHRI associates have asked for more active 2-way conversation. Besides our 'Lunches with the President' and executive visits to staff meetings, you wanted an electronic forum where questions and suggestions can be posted for all to see, and where answers and follow up can be posted.

I am glad to share with you that earlier this month we launched “Engaged in 2-Way Communication” housed on StarPort and available to all associates. It’s a way to ask questions and submit great ideas, and to see what other associates have suggested and what has been done to make MedStar Health Research Institute the best it can be. 

Check it out at: You might even see one of your suggestions that has now been put into action. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is the UIDP?

Opening session at UIDP by
Dr. DasGupta from the NSF
UIDP stands for University - Industry Demonstration Partnership, which is part of the National Academies (where the Institute of Medicine and other prestigious academic organizations reside). In short, the UIDP is  an organization of universities, academic centers and companies who seek to enhance the value of collaborative partnerships. They do this by taking on issues that are needed for collaboration, such as contracting, education and professional development, and commercialization of discoveries. More information about the UIDP is available at:

MedStar is a member of UIDP and is playing an active role on the clinical trials project (to improve the efficiency of clinical trials) and their Ideas to Innovations workshops. We are hosting the first Ideas to Innovation workshop in June ( with our own Terry Fairbanks as workshop chair. Many other companies expressed interest in our initiative.

At its semi-annual meeting this week, I learned about many public-private partnerships, such as the NSF (National Science Foundation's) 'Discovery to Innovations' program that provides a framework for industry to realize early and ongoing value from university research through a shared research portfolio.

I also learned about 'FFRDC' (federally funded research and development centers), such as the one at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of CalTec (California Institute of Technology) and NASA which has led the exploration of Mars. Lectures about FFRDC's took place at the jet propulsion laboratory among the satellites and replicas of the Mars rover. 

How does this relate to MHRI?

Well, what I know is that medical research is a team sport and in these rapidly changing times we need to explore new types of partnerships and collaborations. This forum introduces many ideas of how to initiate and form partnerships that will be useful to our future.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MHRI Goes Green!

As MedStar starts to put more emphasis on the Health in MedStar Health, we all get to benefit (and have fun).  Wellness committees have popped up across MedStar and at MHRI we are leading the way.  Our wellness committee is setting the example with their initiatives, from healthy snacks at meetings to organization-wide events, such as ‘Go Green.’  Below is a clip from this months’ HR News.

Since I have not been able to attend most of the departments' ‘Go Green’ events, please post a comment to tell us what you did in your department or post a ‘green’ picture to share with your colleagues.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Now This is Cool Stuff !!

Last month we had a very successful MedStar Health Research Symposium with over 100 investigators presenting to over 350 attendees from across the system (see posting on March 5, 2013 at: ). 

Many who attended said they wish their colleagues that could not make it to the symposium could see the posters.  What a great idea!  We asked the poster presentors for an electronic copy of their posters and then asked our friends at SiTEL (MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab) to help us out. 

Well, the result is just fantastic - a virtual symposium where you walk around the building and view posters.  Check it out at

Setup/Running the Application
1. To run and view the virtual symposium, you must download the unity web player first. When you access the symposium online at, you will receive instructions on how to download the unity web player if it is not already downloaded. You’ll follow the links here:

2. You can view the virtual symposium in most browsers that are PC- or-MAC based, such as Windows Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. Make sure whatever browser you use is the most recent version in order to ensure that the virtual symposium loads.

While Viewing the Virtual Symposium:
1. There is a tips panel when you first enter the virtual symposium.

2. You can navigate through the symposium by double clicking on the floor. And hitting the ESC (escape) key on your keyboard will cancel this action.

3. To search for a poster, click on the search button, enter author or title information and click "search." Next, you’ll see the poster titles. Select the one you want to view next and then click "confirm." You will automatically be directed to that poster presentation.

4. In "view poster" mode, you can click and drag or scroll to look around the poster. There are “zoom in” and “zoom out” buttons located on the left and a “close” button in the upper right hand corner.

5. You can also navigate through the symposium using the arrow keys to move and mouse to look.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

MedStar Quality and Safety Retreat

Today I attended the MedStar Quality and Safety Retreat, a quarterly gathering of physician and nursing leaders, patient safety experts, risk management leaders and clinical educators all focused on improving patient safety and quality across MedStar.  The first lecture was by Paul Levy, the former president and CEO of Beth Israel  Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He led a major turn-around at the hospital and became a strong advocate for transparency of clinical outcomes and elimination of preventable patient harm.  Mr Levy has written numerous articles and a book (Goal Play! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field) and author of a blog - he already posted his experience at MedStar (he is fast!).  Check it out at: 

The second speaker was our own Raj Ratwani, PhD.  Raj is a senior scientist at National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, a collaboration between MI2 and MHRI. Raj shared his vast experience as a behavioral scientist examining human behavior and safety in the airline industry and defense field and applied it to medicine (see picture of Raj giving the lecture below).  His entire message is that we need to rethink the way we think about errors - they are to be expected!  Below is an example of the data from a research study where the number of errors increase 10-30 fold with increasing number of interruptions. We need to accept that interruptions, workload, fatigue (as examples) will cause errors and only a systems approach will be effective to decrease these errors.  It was very interesting and made me proud of how research will improve patient safety at MedStar.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Do you have all the answers?

Well, if the question is about research at MedStar, the answer is YES! You have all the answers at the tip of your fingers!

Yesterday someone asked me about resources to help with research at MedStar.  After answering his question, I realized that we need to make sure more people know about our newly launched 'Research Resource Center' on the Starport intranet site:

The first column is dedicated to research:
  1. Learn how to get your research career started at MedStar
  2. Learn how to conduct research at MedStar
  3. Find research collaborators at MedStar
  4. Learn about the research scientific services at MedStar
  5. Learn about administrative support services at MedStar
  6. Research education programs

As you see, there is also a column with information on the grant development process, funding sources, proposal writing and data portals to many of the grant funding agencies.  This site was developed by MHRI and the MedStar Grant Development teams.  Any questions, comments or suggestions to improve the site should be directed to

Please help spread the word and reference this site (and our website to anyone looking to learn more about research at MedStar.  Thanks!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Fanciest Lunch Yet!

On my Feb 6th posting, I wrote about Lunch with the President. These have been a lot of fun, getting to know many associates, learning about the great work they are doing and hearing their suggestions.

Well, yesterday I walked into the board room at MNRH and was blown away! I felt like I stepped into a fancy restaurant for a gourmet meal! All of this is because the feedback from our very first group 'lunch' suggested we step up the quality of the food. Well Shrylnee (Shrylnee Speed who works with me and keeps everything in my office running) has really taken this request to heart and helped make it a special event. Thanks, Shrylnee!