Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday MedStar!

On June 30, 1998 MedStar Health was born. In a short 15 years, it has "grown up" to be 10 hospitals, research and innovation institutes, 20 other healthcare entities, over 100 locations across Washington and Baltimore, and more than 6000 associated physicians. It is amazing what 30,000 associates can do when they work together!

Take 3 minutes and see this uplifting video celebrating the first 15 years of MedStar Health:

Happy Birthday MedStar!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MedStar Pride

Day in and Day out we come to work at MedStar. While we know about some of the great work that goes on throughout our organization, every now and then there is a moment of pause where we stand back and just take pride in being part of MedStar Health .....

Below is a guest blog about one of those moments:

Represents MHRI "Amazingly" at the American Diabetes Association Meeting
By: Guest Blogger Joan K Bardsley, Assistant Vice President Core Scientific Services

I just returned from the American Diabetes Association meeting in Chicago. Vanita Aroda, MD, scientific director of the MedStar Community Clinical Research Center, gave an amazing presentation on the controversies related to the safety of
GLP-1RA and DPP-4i incretin therapies. This was the "hot topic" of the session and the room was packed with over a thousand people.

Dr. Aroda presented the data systematically,  thoughtfully  and non-biased. Her answers to the questions from the audience were enthusiastically greeted with applause. Dr. Aroda knocked it out of the  park and I was so proud  to be associated  with MHRI and our great scientists!

On the recent associate survey, 79% of MHRI associates said they were proud to be part of MedStar Health, up 6 points from the survey 2 years ago.

So what makes you proud to be part of MedStar Health?  Is it the science and research presentations, like Dr Aroda's at the American Diabeties Association or is it something else?  Perhaps hearing from a patient about their good experience or how they benefited from taking part in a research study.  Maybe it is the pride of training the next generation of healthcare givers?

Or perhaps, as with my son, it is something far simplier that brings pride to be part of the extended MedStar family...... want to guess?  Perhaps this picture will help:

MedStar Health, the official medical partner of
the Washington Nationals

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's all about the people we work with . . .

Let me tell you about a wonderful surprise I had today.  I was busy working in the core laboratory, having just finished a meeting with the head of MedStar Institute for Innovation and trying to get a few core lab echos completed before running off to a meeting with a potential study sponsor.  Lin Han grabs me and says the lab is having an ice cream social in the conference room and when I walk in this is what I see:

The lab had this feast of ice creams and desserts laid out to celebrate my birthday.  It totally caught me off guard and was such a nice 'break' from a busy day.  There were 12 types of ice cream, cheesecake and a killer chocolate layer cake. There were so many ice cream flavors that some I never even heard of (my favorite was grape nut ice cream).  After a little while, I got a phone call and had to step out but what I heard from the hall warmed my heart  -  people laughing and just enjoying each others' company.... and of course, enjoying the desserts too (see picture below).

The laughter and spirit reminded me of comments I heard over the last few days. Jamie Padmore (VP of Academic Affairs for MedStar Health and my counterpart for medical education across the system) and I conducted a series of focus groups with educators and investigators to get their input on the future of academics at MedStar.  We asked many 'what keeps you here' trying to ascertain the 'good' things that are here that we want to preserve and build upon.  Almost universally, they say 'the people I work with.'  Such a simple statement but so true.

I encourage each of you to take a moment, look around and appreciate the people you get to work with day in and day out.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creating the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network Regulatory Team

About a month ago, a MHRI associate suggested having guest bloggers to cover areas that I am not personally involved in. This was a great suggestion and you will notice that many from the administrative team have since contributed posts. I want to extend the invitation to EVERYONE at MHRI to consider being a guest blogger and tell us about work going on in your area. 

Below is a guest blog from Colleen Kelly. It is a great example team development. Last month, I posted some of our survey results and the importance of teamwork (see teamwork post with picture of my son's baseball team). What I love about this story is that it tells about the formation of a new team and the creation of systemness. Thanks Colleen!

By: Guest Blogger Colleen Kelly, regulatory manager, MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network 

The MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network Regulatory team had their inaugural meeting at UTC earlier this month. It provided the opportunity for three previously separate cancer network teams to meet one another, discuss organizational plans/cancer network assignments and review projected IT initiatives. 

The new team includes MedStar Health Research Institute and Georgetown University regulatory associates. The MHRI cancer research teams are located at the Washington Cancer Institute (at MedStar Washington Hospital Center) and the Harry & Jeannette Weinberg Cancer institute (at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center), and the Georgetown team is located on the campus of the Georgetown University Medical Center.   

Also in attendance were Becky Montalvo, MHRI, executive director, Oncology Research; Sharon Levy, Clinical Research Management Office (CRMO) director, Oncology Research at Georgetown University; and Colleen Kelly.

This was a positive ‘first step’ in the right direction to move the cancer network forward and provide each team member an opportunity to share new ideas, voice opinions and discuss team organization. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PeopleSoft is Coming

By: Guest Blogger Bob Walden, vice president of finance and administration

You may have heard last week that while significant progress has been made toward implementing the new PeopleSoft system, the decision was made by MedStar Health project leadership and the steering committee to allow additional time to finalize a few elements of the project in order to ensure a successful launch. This means that the go-live originally planned for July 1 will be postponed. The project timeline will be reassessed over the next 30 days, after which a new go-live date will be announced. Please note that the delay is not anticipated to be more than a few months.

Training will continue in June with a focus on educating the core users — i.e., super users who work within Human Resources, Finance, and Materials Management/ Supply Chain. We understand that on-demand training will continue to be available to all staff (for example, NAV 100, Basic Navigation), however, all other training is being postponed (you may even receive a cancellation notice if you are already enrolled in a course that is being temporarily discontinued).

PeopleSoft will be our new platform for human resources, including associate time sheets, finance, and materials management and the supply chain. Additionally, MHRI will have a dedicated Grants module that will standardize administrative and financial processes, and provide enhanced reporting capabilities to help us better manage our programs. Below you can see a photo from a recent training session for all the managers who are becoming 'super users'. 

A PeopleSoft training session last week at UTC

Thursday, June 13, 2013


What is RESILIENCE and how is it related to medical research?

Today MHRI and the UIDP (see prior UIDP post to learn about the UIDP) hosted a 'Resilience in Healthcare' workshop conference at the National Academies (home of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and other prestigious organizations):

This conference attracted about 100 leaders from institutions from around the nation (and several from overseas) that seek to apply resilience engineering to healthcare. 

Resilience is defined by Webster as 'the physical property of a material that can return to its original shape or position after deformation.' In healthcare, we are interested in how the concept can be applied to improve patient safety. If we accept the premise that unexpected events are inevitable, we need systems and processes that bring extra adaptive capacity to bear in the face of these potential surprises so patient still have good outcomes. Many other fields use this approach with great success - just think of things that you count on to work everytime (electricity) or areas that safety must prevail despite a myriad of different conditions (air travel).  There is great potential applying this approach to healthcare and the process of testing it is a form of medical research.  This type of research, the research on the delivery of care, is an example of health services research  (see prior post on  Health Services Research).

You will be proud to know that MedStar had a prominent role throughout the conference. Our own Terry Fairbanks did a great job as the course director, Paul Plsek as moderator, and presentations by Ed Tori and Seth Krevat.  The MWHC CME office also did a fabulous job organizing the event.

As I walked out this evening, in the words of Mark Smith, Director of MedStar Institute of Innovation, 'This was a great conference!'  Congratulations to all!

In the atrium of the Keck Building at the National Academies,
the workshop participants took part in a 'World Cafe' moving
from table to table for small group discussions.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

School may be out but ....

My son just 'graduated' from 5th grade and has started his summer vacation.  For many student, the summer is a time to relax and do something fun.  For many, but not for all!

For sixteen first year Georgetown medical students, this week was the start of their summer research internship at MedStar Health.  Through a competitive application process, these med students are working with clinical investigators across the system in a wide variety of medical specialties.  See the list below:

Many of us are fortunate to have a 'tipping point' event in our career that helped shape the rest of our professional life.  For me, the summer between 1st and 2nd year of medical school was such an event.  I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful cardiologist doing research in the echo lab at Cornell Medical College. Dr Dick Devereux became a life-long mentor who gave me a research experience that continues to live with me every day (and, it will be no suprise that 25 years later, we still collaborate on many studies, including emails earlier today working on an abstract). 

My dream is that these 16 students will have a similar experiences that show them the professional fulfillment of a research career and exposes them to the great research occuring at MedStar.

This  opportunity would not be possible with the generosity of the Pelligrini family endowment and the Pines-Kleinman families.  Thank you Bill, Pam, Wayne and Carol!

For more info, see the press release at: or follow on the MedStar Health Facebook page: (scroll down- it’s the #2 item on the left side).

Monday, June 10, 2013

MedStar Ambulatory Medicine

I want to make sure all of our associates are aware that MedStar Health is rapidly expanding its outpatient clinics--from MedStar PromptCare (network of walk-in clinics) to more MedStar Physicians' offices to very large MedStar Medical Centers (70,000 square feet multi-specialty clinics). It's all part of MedStar's commitment to provide easier access to our community with a focus on you.

Here are two examples:

Last week was the ribbon cutting ceremony at MedStar Health at Leisure World Boulevard. As you may recall from a prior blog posting (Post on Leisure World), Leisure World is a community of 8,500 retired residents in Montgomery County. MedStar just opened a medical office on the property to serve the needs of these residents. In this picture, Dr. Burt Feldman, medical director of this new medical office, welcomes everyone as Bob Gilbert, president of MedStar Ambulatory Services looks on. It was a wonderful open-house event that showed off the medical services this new office will provide.

Also this week, MedStar will begin to advertise some of the new MedStar PromptCare facilities, such as the one in Wheaton, MD. I love the ad campaign. It says 'when you need a doctor, not an appointment' (see ad above). To learn more, go to A few  newspapers have also covered the expansion of new ambulatory sites. To read about it in the Washington Business Journal, visit

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Surveying MHRI Customers?

Does a research institute have customers?

While we don't usually think of them as 'customers', we actually do have many in which we serve; in that sense, yes, we do have customers.  MHRI is here to serve and support our investigators, the sponsors of research, our patients/participants, and each other!  That's right - sometimes our 'customer' is other MHRI associates (such as when an associate needs regulatory assistance from the central office).

At MHRI, we are dedicated to providing the best customer service possible. In fact, we have set as an organizational goal that MHRI will provide efficient, customer-focused, user-friendly service in every interaction that showcases our expertise and our ability to provide excellent research support throughout the MedStar community to deliver on our promise of advancing health through research. In fact, we have written this concept into each associates' performance evaluation and individual goals.

So how are we doing?  Well, to find out if we are making progress on acheiving this goal and where we need to place more effort, we are conducting a customer service survey. In its second year, MHRI managers and investigators have been asked to fill out a customer service survey (email with link sent last week) to tell us how we are doing? This survey will assess all the core administrative, scientific and regulatory services and operational divisions (see sample screen shots below):

In our first week, approximately 20% of those who recieved the link completed the survey. Once we complete it later this month, we will get the results to the respective department heads.  From this process we can learn what needs to be done to continually improve our support for research across MedStar Health.  

Thanks to everyone that provided feedback and, more importantly, thanks to all the MHRI associates that put our 'customers' first with every interaction!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Do More 24" for MedStar Health Research Institute

By: Guest Blogger, Scott Lange, vice president of Philanthropy Services, MedStar Health

Today, Thursday, June 6, has been designated a “day of giving” in the National Capital Region. This means that MedStar Health Research Institute and its Washington, DC sister entities are participating in a campaign created by the United Way of the National Capital Area to encourage the most giving and fundraising that can occur in one day… and it’s all online.

From the United Way website, you, your friends or family can designate their United Way gifts to MHRI. Donor can simultaneously support the United Way and MedStar Health Research Institute.  Paste this link in your social site, Linked In or Facebook.  Send an email to a friend.  To give and learn more, visit

Monday, June 3, 2013

Duck Tales at MedStar Harbor Hospital

By Guest Blogger, Katie Kuehn, communications and marketing manager

We wanted to share this tale with you from our colleagues at MedStar Harbor Hospital! (Read the names of the ducklings carefully- you'll notice some similarities to the MedStar Health system.)

"On Thursday evening, Mrs. Mallard and most of her ducklings were gently brought outside by MedStar Harbor Hospital's Facilities team, aided by outside experts. The transition went smoothly, but two clever ducklings must have really loved their courtyard home, because they scurried away and hid. We escorted Mrs. Mallard and the ducklings to the water, where they happily began exploring their new surroundings. When we had daylight to assist, our Facilities “duck tenders” collected the other two ducklings, who are being cared for while we seek to find Mrs. Mallard. If we cannot locate her today, the ducklings will go to a wildlife refuge to live out a happy, safe existence, with – we are sure – fond memories of their first days at MedStar Harbor Hospital.

Each year, approximately 1,600 babies are welcomed to the world at our wonderful hospital. Moms and families know that we take special care of our tiniest patients and their mommies. Clearly, Mrs. Mallard recognized that, and found a safe, welcoming haven to bring her ducklings into the world.

We at MedStar Harbor recognize that we have a unique gift in being situated right on the water. Our system colleagues and visitors often remark about how special it is to be able to look out on the water during breaks and Baum Center meetings, each lunch outside with cruise ship views and enjoy perks like a front row seat to the Blue Angels air show last year.  We’ve said it thousands of times: this is a special place. And to prove it, we had a beautiful mallard and 11 ducklings in temporary residence to enchant and entertain us. What a great thank you from Mother Nature to a team that always works hard – whether it’s pulling together for an outstanding MedConnect II launch or partnering day-to-day to provide phenomenal care to our patients and their loved ones.

Special thank you to the Facilities team, and especially Bob Decker – who shall henceforth be known as Bob Ducker. They never missed a beat in completing their tasks, while also making us all feel special by taking such good care of Mrs. Mallard, and Harby, Sam, Unnie, Franklin, George, Rehabitha, Washington, Mary, Newbie, Monty and Star."

From: Jean Bunker, vice president, Marketing, Community Relations & Philanthropy, MHH

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pictures from MHRI Town Hall

Before starting the MHRI Town Hall meetings last month, we 'rolled' a series of pictures of how our associates came together for wellness and associate engagement activities.  Someone asked if I would share them so here they are!

'Go Red' in support of Heart Month:

(From left): Katie Carlin, Michele Lee Clements & Veronica Harris, UTC
Oncology Research



Lets Go Green and eat healthy now:

Gray Crum, UTC

Myisha Henry (left) and Karen Wade, Human Resources, UTC

Lets end with the National Strawberry Month celebration:

Cardiovascular Core Lab