Thursday, May 29, 2014


Today, a small group of us at MHRI had the opportunity to visit with leaders at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in their beautiful new building on K Street diagonally across from the convention center (in fact, they just moved in 2 weeks ago and there are still wires hanging out from the walls but it did not take away from the great view from the 11th floor conference room or the warmth of their welcome). 

The primary reason to visit was to follow up on a discussion I started about their new initiative on 'Research on Care Community' or 'ROCC'. The ROCC fosters collaboration between researchers and clinical providers who are engaged in clinical effectiveness and implementation science to improve quality, safety, health equity and outcomes of their own patient populations.

ROCC supports members focused on identifying and leading approaches that advance health system and research integration, alignment of research and quality improvement, and institutional commitment to clinical effectiveness and implementation research scholarship—all through capacity building and enhancing peer learning.

This initiative is perfectly aligned with MedStar Health's initiatives around health services research (research on the delivery of care) and great way to build upon our use of research to advance patient safety and quality.  I was glad we could meet and greet these AAMC leaders with MHRI leaders in health services research, primary care research, the research development council and new leaders in research in our community-based hospitals.  I am confident the visit will pay dividends and open up many possibilities for us!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action! Hepatitis Research Team on TV

MedStar Clinical Research Center’s Hepatitis Team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center cannot get enough press this month! The team, featured in our May issue of HR News, was also featured in a WUSA 9 story encouraging patients to get tested for Hepatitis C—as May is Hepatitis Awareness Month.

In this video (link also below), the research team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center offers free testing and points out that this “silent epidemic” means up to 75% of people don’t know they are infected. 

Dr. Dawn Fishbein established the Hepatitis C testing and linkage program in December of 2012 within the Primary Care Clinic at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Since that date, they have tested nearly 1500 people with an 8.4% positive rate.

The team now runs three Hepatitis C related projects: two grants focused on testing and linkage to care, and one clinical trial for patients co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.  Since 2012, they have presented their work at two major conferences (AASLD 2013, CROI 2014), and were awarded the highest scoring abstract in the research area of combined medical specialties at the 3rd annual MedStar Health Research Symposium.

On May 19th, National Hepatits Testing Day, MedStar Washington Hospital and MedStar Health Research Institute’s HCV (Hepatitis C virus) Linkage to Care Navigation program provided FREE testing to adults who were interested in being tested for HCV.

See their TV debut below!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MedStar Health's Memorial Day

As part of MedStar Health’s mission—to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities— MedStar developed a print ad that recognizes those who have served in our armed forces and sacrificed their lives for our freedom, as well as the men and women who continue to serve.

This ad will run on Memorial Day (Monday, May 26) in both The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post and I thought I would share it with you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The (Health) Challenge Festival 1776

In a previous post in March I introduced you to 1776, a platform to connect start-up companies to resources that they need (more on in a innovative physical and virtual space.

Since then, I am proud to share that MedStar Health has partnered with 1776 as the fourth and final founding partner of this start-up incubator, joining Microsoft, Comcast and the District of Columbia (see press release).

As part of that partnership, MedStar played a prominent role in 1776's annual 'Challenge Cup' - this is an annual global start-up competitition spanning 16 cities around the world to identify the most promising start-ups tackling the challenge in education, energy, health and cities.  Yesterday, the health challenge occurred downtown at Studio theater (pictures with MedStar logo on intro slide).

It was fun to hear the 3 minute presentations of companies with novel approaches or technologies to address: improved access to care (everything from high end cancer care to navigating infertility treatment options); improved coordination of care (from 'patient hand offs' to chronically ill management); devices that improve prosthetic comfort, ear buds that will reduce hearing loss long-term and devices that detect traumatic brain injury; to inexpensive methods for very rural and third world patients to get blood tests. 

Want to learn more?  Follow the challenge @1776dc #ChallengeFestival

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

YPO at MedStar

Last week MedStar Health hosted the YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) from the Washington DC area. The YPO was founded in 1950 and has grown to unite 20,000 business leaders in more than 120 countries around a shared mission of 'Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange' (more information at

During their visit, the young presidents learned about MedStar Health key initiatives such as population health and our focus on quality and safety. Besides hearing cutting edge talks on cardiac and orthopedic surgery, oncology and neurosciences, they toured MWHC. During that tour, they  learn about our trauma services (see picture to the left at the MedStar helicopter) and got first hand experience with the 'da Vinci' surgical robot (don't worry, it was just a demo version)!

It was great to see how these business leaders from across Washington were impressed by the dept and breadth of medical care we provide and how research, education and innovation help drive our ability to advance health.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Better Ways To Improve Health and Transform Communities

Guest Blogger: Katie Carlin, Director, Research Development, Planning and Communications

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of attending “Population Health and System Integration: Moving Beyond Community Benefit” – this one day program was organized and facilitated by Christopher King, PhD, MedStar Health’s assistant vice president for Community Health in close collaboration with the Advisory Board Company.

Leaders from Henry Ford Health System, Intermountain Health, Yale New Haven Health System, and Johns Hopkins Health System (just to name a few) gathered on the Georgetown Campus to share best practices in the field of population health. The day was outstanding as it provided an in-depth perspective of what peer institutions across the nation are doing to improve the health of residents in some of the most underserved communities in the country.

Perhaps most inspiring was when Christopher King and Gretchen Youssef, MS, RD, Program Manager, MedStar Diabetes Institute presented on the MedStar Hair, Heart, and Health program – of which MHRI provides survey and evaluation support. This program provides free blood pressure monitoring, diabetes screening, and education to participating Barbershops in Washington, DC. With the assistance of onsite care navigators and nutritionists, patrons and their families are now taking a more active role in managing their health. As part of the presentation, two DC barbers joined a panel discussion to share their first-hand experiences with the program. According to one barber, the program has become such a success that every Tuesday night his shop hosts nutrition classes and even a Zumba class! He has become such a believer in the program that he won’t even cut your hair until you’ve had your blood pressure checked. The other barber shared with the group that since participating in the program he has personally lost 25 pounds and now runs every single day. According to the barbers the benefit of the program is that it’s bringing their community important information about hypertension and diabetes and provides them with a warm contact for support and navigation.

The barbers’ touching and personal stories made me proud to be part of a system that is extending important knowledge and resources out into the diverse communities it serves. It was a wonderful day and a great opportunity to learn about the many innovative programs across the nation that are improving the health and wellness of our communities’ one person at a time.

National Nurses Week!

Tuesday, May 6th marks the beginning of National Nurses Week! The week-long celebration runs through May 12th and recognizes those who actively contribute to our health care system. Here at MedStar Health Research Institute our nurses are an integral part of our system that supports our research studies in a unique and important way.

The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since  1896.The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions.

We encourage you to acknowledge all the hard work and contributions from our MedStar community nurses this week and every day!

Below is an ad campaign to show how MedStar will publicly recognize this week of recognition.

Friday, May 2, 2014

MHRI First System-wide Managers' Retreat

One of MedStar's great strengths is its breadth, depth and diversity. We serve many people, in many different settings across a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic region. We also offer all types of healthcare, from prevention & primary care to acute, highly specialized tertiary medicine. As the research arm for MedStar Health, we are embedded within the system and share the opportunities this diversity brings.  However, with each opportunity often comes a challenge - for the MHRI management team, the geographic spread and the wide diversity of research makes it difficult for our managers to come together and function as a single, cohesive team across the system.
To address this and build 'research systemness,' the MHRI management team came together for a full day, off site retreat today in Kent Island. We started off spending time building collegial relationships and getting a better understanding of each others' work.  This allows the MHRI managers across the system to work together more effectively.  

We then turned to  understanding preferred learning styles and how it affects the research team and its members.  Lastly, we discussed the preliminary results from the last associate engagement pulse-check survey and the focus group results (the results of these will be part of the discussions at the upcoming spring Town Halls). Then, using our strength as a team, we brainstormed next steps to address what our associates told us in the survey and focus groups.

Overall, I was energized by the experience. Quoting our fabulous facilitator, Nadine Wethington from MedStar Occupational Development, 'I am in awe of this group' and the talent we have across the management team. It gives me confidence it our ability to succeed in these challenging and constantly changing times.

And now for the fun part of the retreat - want to take a guess what these creations are?  Well...........  you will just have to go ask your MHRI manager!