Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wye River and Medstar Scholars

In 1998 there was a historic meeting by the leaders of the Middle East that President Clinton arranged in order to broker a peace accord.  This meeting took place at the Aspen Institute's Wye River Conference Center, which is just over the Bay Bridge a few miles beyond Kent Island. The result of this meeting was the 'Wye River Memorandum.' 

That conference center continues to host many important delegations, including (at the end of last week) the new class of MedStar Teaching Scholars! This year's class marks the beginning of version 2.0 of the course, moving to a two year curriculum that will insure sustainability of their academic efforts.  Also launched at this gathering was a new initiative to leverage the success of Teaching Scholars and expand it to faculty that want to launch an academic career as independent investigators. Under the direction of Dr Umans, we are piloting this new MedStar Research Scholars program.

While several pictures were taken (including the one above where the group unwinds after a long day), my favorites are below. 

This is the picture from 1998 of Netanyahu, Albright and Arafat in the library at Wye River:
And here is the picture from 2014 of Evans, Padmore and Weissman in the same seats! Hope our efforts turn out to be more productive! If nothing else, next time I am there, I need to move those books around behind me - they don't appear to have been touched in 16 years!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cardiovascular Research at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital

 Guest Blogger: Petros Okubagzi, MD, Director of Cardiovascular Research Programs for the MedStar Cardiovascular Research Network

Are you wondering of how you could expand your research activities? 

The Medstar Cardiovascular Research Network (MCRN) just enrolled the first patient in a study at the Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC). This first patient was enrolled by Dr Sung Lee, an electrophysiologist, and Meseret Deressa, the MSMHC lead coordinator of cardiovascular trials. Dr Lee is an electrophysiologists who recently joined the MedStar Heart Institute and brings a lot of experience in clinical trials. MCRN helped insure success by providing the MSMHC coordinator three months of training alongside experienced coordinators at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. 

MedStar Heart Institute, through Dr Waksman's leadership, initiated this program in collaboration with the key leaders in cardiology at MSMHC. The hospital embraced the initiative and supported it, through its Vice President for Cardiovascular services, by allocating needed space to house the coordinator and create a helpful working environment. With everything in place, sponsors who already had trials with MCRN were approached and agreed to expand to this new site. In a nutshell, this was how it happened. Lots of investment were made from MHI/MCRN, MHRI and the MSMHC; teamwork and being all part of the big MedStar family!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Reflections of a (1 Year) Blogger

February marks the one year anniversary of this blog and I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect and share my thoughts. While I was initially skeptical, the blog has turned out to be a great way to share information (both formal and informal) with the MedStar Health research community.

Overall, I have received a lot of positive comments.  Many like how we highlight a diverse set of topics, from associate 'fun' activities to new system initiatives; things within the Research Institute to activities happening nationwide; all aspects of advancing health including new clinical applications, education, innovative and research findings.  Many have commented that it is a fun and easy way to stay up to date.

More than 10,000 pages have been viewed by over 800 people.  Most months average about 900-1000 page views.

What was the most popular post? The Ultimate MHRI Raven's Fan posted last last year had over 800 views. This story highlighted an MHRI associate (Alton) who lived out a lifelong dream to go to the Superbowl to watch the Raven's (and he did it along with getting body painted with a Raven's jersey!).

Among the most satisfying (and also the ones that seem to get the greatest response) are the personal stories.  During the Christmas holidays, I shared my perspective and thoughts on the Present of Presence. This post was in response to reading a simple tweet from @DrEdTori: "In 2014, will you be present?" with his link to NPR All Tech Considered Blog post.  It made me look around at my family and friends and appreciate what was happening at the moment around me.

Thanks for all your feedback - - - keep reading the blog and sharing with your friends  - - sign up 'follow by email' to the right so new posts get pushed to you without having to come to this site ---  also I hope over the next year we can enhance the 'two way' communication with people posting more comments - - I am always looking for guest bloggers and ideas of things you want to see so send them to me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Having Fun with 'Go Red'

The Cardiovascular Core Lab had fun this year celebrating 'Go Red' on Valentine's Day, the American Heart Association's public awareness to fight heart disease.  I am sorry I missed the excitement.

Pictures from last year's 'Go Red' are available at

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Hope everyone is surviving this snowstorm!  I have been catching up on email and wanted to share two of them with you about the great work our associates are doing (and are being recognized, in these emails, by our investigators).

The first is from Dr Dawn Fishbein:

Neil – Today we saw our first patient for our clinical trial in HIV-HCV co-infected patients.  Your team at MHRI was truly outstanding, though I really have to give the highest praise to Alex Geboy.   It was an incredibly tight delivery time, and if we didn’t start this week we likely would not receive  the full allocation.   From the time of receipt of protocol (Christmas eve) to Site Activation and FPFV was 7 weeks to the day.  Alex is incredibly dedicated and detail oriented and we couldn’t have accomplished this without him.

This is not meant to diminish the efforts from others as this really was teamwork: Ron Migues  and Oladunni Soremekun responded quite quickly, and Suzette VanBuren Hayes really assisting with the CTSA submission and today’s screening visits.  Today, I got to witness several of your employees helping out as a team.  You should be proud.  Dawn

The second is from Dr Kelly Smith to Myisha in MHRI human resources:

Hi Myisha, I wanted to reach out to see if you would be willing to share a copy of your on-boarding binder and any checklists you may use to make sure that everything is taken care of for your new associates. I sit within the Corporate Quality and Safety office and ......When I reflect on my on-boarding process at MHRI in comparison it was seamless. I am hoping that you might be willing to share your wisdom with the team here at corporate as they are struggling to build something similar. Thank you for your efforts. Take care, Kelly

Well, as Dr Fishbein said, I am proud and glad to be able to share it with you.  Thank you team!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Grant Rush

Anyone who has written a grant proposal is aware of the final sprint that takes place at the end of the process. 

Last week I blogged about my busy week – but this week I want to flip the tables and highlight all the investigators and associates across the system that put so much time, energy and brainpower into the proposal writing process. It can be painful, tedious and down right exhausting…. BUT then there’s that moment when it all magically comes together and the deadline is somehow, against all odds met! 

This afternoon Angela Thomas and Sarah Wright Gaul helped to get Dr. Terry Fairbanks and Dr. Kelly Smith’s P30 grant application (Patient Safety Learning Laboratories: Innovative Design and Development to Improve Healthcare Delivery) organized, printed, copied and boxed up for the carrier pickup (Yes, in some cases the federal government (AHRQ in this case) still requires paper NOT electronic submission).

This was no small feat as the P30 funding mechanism supports Research Program Projects and Center development, so imagine three R01 applications all rolled up into one proposal. Congrats to the entire study team who all had a VERY busy week….and to Angela and Sarah who survived the final sprint and completed the boxes a whopping two hours before deadline!