Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday Award Season!

It’s been another successful proposal season at MHRI with several new federal and foundation awards as well as commercial contracts all within the last quarter of the year. I would like to extend a BIG congratulation to the investigators below for their recent accomplishments. It’s wonderful to see how their science will extend from the bench to the bedside to the community and ultimately make healthcare safer, better and more accessible. From a new PCORI contact to a high profile CDC study to a prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation award to an impressive AHRQ R01, the studies below all represent truly innovative and transformative research at the most elite level. To all investigators – thank you for your hard work and contributions to research across MedStar!

Suzanne Groah, MD, MPH,  director of Spinal Cord Injury Research at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network was recently awarded a prestigious research contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), titled “The Impact of Self-Management with Probiotics on Urinary Symptoms and the Urine Microbiome in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury and Spina Bifida.” As part of the three year study, with a projected budget of $1,785,883, Dr. Groah’s team will conduct a prospective study in which they will develop and assess a patient-initiated Self-Management Protocol using Probiotics (SMP-UTI) instilled directly into the bladder for UTI symptom relief, early UTI management, and urinary health.  The team will also develop a urinary symptom questionnaire for individuals with neurogenic bladder which will facilitate future research endeavors.

  Kathryn A. Walker, PharmD, will be leading a project with Abt Associates to develop a coordinated care plan for safe opioid prescribing for U.S. health systems. As part of the contract, awarded to Abt Associates by the CDC, MedStar will become the first healthcare system in the nation to develop, pilot and test a safe opioid prescribing plan which will then be available as a guide for any health care provider or system to implement in their practice.  MedStar’s subcontract is for an 18 month period.

Sarah E. Henrickson Parker, PhD, Research Scientist at the National Center for Human Factors Engineering in Healthcare was recently awarded an 18 month grant titled “Leveraging the informal social networks that exist in health care settings to improve patient safety” from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More information about the grant can be found here: 

Rollin J. "Terry" Fairbanks, MD, MS, director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and director of the Simulation Training & Education Laboratory (MedStar SiTEL), emergency physician at MWHC, and associate professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University received an AHRQ R01 award for “Cognitive Engineering for Complex Decision Making & Problem Solving in Acute Care.” This five year, $2.5 million award is being lead by Dr. Fairbanks and his co-PI Zach Hettinger, MD MS, Medical Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, emergency physician at Union Memorial, and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University, and continues a productive collaboration with the department of industrial systems engineering at the University at Buffalo. This grant is a follow-on to work the team completed as part of Dr. Fairbanks' NIH K08 career development award from the NIBIB which ended recently.

Monday, December 22, 2014


100% - the percent of MHRI associates who helped put patient first and complied with the MedStar mandatory influenza vaccination program

100% - the number of MHRI associates who are making MedStar safer and contributing to us becoming an HRO (High Reliability Organization) by taking their HRO training by the end of the year

100% - the number of MHRI associates advancing health through research each day and together building the future of academic medicine by doing research where academics and real world healthcare come together

100% - the percent of MHRI associates 'connected' through their work (and now through their holiday gift which will keep their smart-phones fully charged!)

100% - the percent of the MedStar-Georgetown research community that I sincerely hope gets to enjoy this  holiday season and spend meaningful / quality time with their family and friends.

Happy Holidays everyone.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Year-End Events Celebrate Teamwork

Earlier this week, we finished up our year-end celebrations that were held at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, University Town Center and MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

The theme of this year's celebrations was "Let's Get Connected". If you attended one of the three events, you saw the fun presentation on the lifecycle of research and how all of our roles work together to further research.

We asked attendees to sign a picture frame and share what keeps them engaged at MHRI. When we went to hang the frame, something stood out to me. More than any other word on the frame was the word: TEAMWORK. It is teamwork that most of our associated treasure most.

And for those of you who didn't attend. View our photo slideshow here!

It was so great seeing all of you at these events.  Together, staying connected through our work, we are building the future of academic medicine, where research occurs at the intersection of real world healthcare and academics.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season with your family and friends.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cubicle Christmas

MHRI's Office of Grants and Contract Management (OCGM) showed their holiday spirit by holding a cube decorating contest! This is the first year of the contest but it was so much fun that it's sure to be a start of a yearly tradition. The winner, Gail Kiddy, won a poinsettia and Chili's gift card for her Ravens-inspired holiday decor! Enjoy the photos below! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

MedStar Health's Upcoming Advertising Campaign!

It's a great time to feel proud to be a part of the MedStar system! 

I'm very excited to share with you MedStar Health’s multimedia advertising campaign that will
launch Monday, December 15 in the Washington, DC and Baltimore regions.  The campaign, which will run through mid-February, features 30-second TV commercials, print and digital advertising, as well as social media. 

The goals of the campaign are to:

1)    Enhance MedStar Health’s reputation as the trusted leader in caring for people and advancing health
2)    Continue building MedStar Health’s brand awareness and, ultimately, consumer preference.
3)    Spotlight key service lines in the Washington, DC region.
4)    Promote MedStar Health as an integrated healthcare delivery system by highlighting our strengths: our people, comprehensive services, expertise, innovation and technology.

The underlying theme of the TV ads is “In One Day …” The ads demonstrate that the work we do is inspiring, but it’s not an abstract mission. Patients can see and feel it every day. The TV ads are more captivating than a typical commercial—with a personal look inside the region’s largest health system.

The TV ads will be seen on popular programs, including: The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, NFL Playoff and Championship Games, The View, The Doctors, The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Phil, and Ellen. These ads also will be shown during The Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and select holiday programming.

Four-color print ads will run in the Sunday Main section of The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun beginning December 28, and will go through the end of January 2015 (see a sample of the print ad attached). Digital advertising will run for eight weeks on various ad networks. Key messaging from the branding campaign, as well as the TV segments and print ads, will be included in social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To view the TV ads, please click the following links:

Friday, December 5, 2014

MedStar Health Becomes Medical Partner for Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards

It was announced yesterday that MedStar is now the team doctor for the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards! These teams add to the long list of organizations (55!) that MedStar is the medical partner for, including the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Nationals. 

MedStar has the largest Sports Medicine Program in the mid-atlantic region which includes more than 40 physicians, as well as certified athletic trainers, nurses, therapists, nutritionists and clinical support employee

MedStar Sports Medicine is also currently conducting cardiovascular research and head injury research for the National Football League. It also offers a sports medicine fellowship program for young orthopedic surgeons.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Just finished up a 2-day MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI) Board of Directors (BOD) meeting which we held at the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) headquarters at the Intelsat building downtown DC. This very modern building with lots of glass and spiral staircases was a dramatic setting for the meeting (although it did get a little noisy as the rain came down on the glass ceiling!).

MHRI Board of Directors is made up of national figures, from around the country, with expertise in different aspects of research.  We have members who have experience at the HHS, FDA, NIH, National Academies, American Diabetes Association, Doris Duke and Pfizer, just to name a few. These Board members have experience running large research hospital based organizations, research programs in companies or agencies that fund research. The full list of members is at this link. 

Much of our time was used to discuss 'advancing health' at MedStar - what are the differentiators and the unique areas of opportunities.  We weaved in advancing health through education (thanks to Jamie Padmore) and advancing health through innovatioin (thanks to Mark Smith). This was supplemented with scientific presentations from human factors group (thanks Zach and Terry!). It was a dynamic, engaged and thoughtful discussion - so much so, I realize we need several more hours to dedicate to the topic!

On fun thing we did was bring the Board to the simulation lab which is primarily used for education of clinicians in training. They got hands on experience (see photos below) and then we discussed how this lab can be used for research endeavors (thanks to Bill and  Kendall!).

All in all, a very productive 2 days - thanks to our Board!