Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Research Symposium: Creating Lasting HSR Relationships!

Guest Blogger, Angela Thomas, MPH, MBA, Executive Director, Health Services Research Administration, MedStar Health Research Institute

Each year it gets bigger and better!  I’ve had the pleasure of attending all four annual Research Symposium events, and each year I marvel at its ability to create a tangible and infectious energy around research aimed at advancing health.  As the Executive Director of Health Services Research (HSR) Administration, this year was particularly special because it also represented a celebration of many great strides we've made in health services research this year.

We had over 30 health services research posters presented at this year’s symposium representing a variety of topics including telehealth, quality, safety, human factors, palliative care, simulation, patient engagement, and surgical outcomes.  The Executive Director of PCORI, a major health services research funding agency, our guest speaker, Dr. Joe Selby not only delivered remarks that spoke to the necessity of research in a real-world, care delivery setting, but also dedicated his time, knowledge, and expertise to meet with several health services investigators and members of the MedStar Health Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety (PFACQS) prior to the symposium.   Both meetings helped to inform future directions of our health services research program.

This year, we were also pleased to welcome several outside guests who have become collaborators with several investigators in our health services research program.  Guests from Booz Allen Hamilton attended the event and were not only extremely impressed with the quantity and quality of research happening at MedStar, but also walked away with ideas in several areas for continued collaboration with MedStar.  We also welcomed Dr. Karl Steiner, Vice President of Research for University of Maryland at Baltimore County.  He was impressed with the strong academic nature of the posters presented and commented to me that he remains excited to be collaborating with MedStar!  All guests remarked that they were impressed with the MedStar Health leadership’s engagement and support of research.

Finally, this was the first year of post-reception events, including our first Health Services Research Post-Symposium Reception.  Here, the goal was to capitalize on the tremendous energy from the symposium, have a networking reception for the investigators to make new connections, connect with Dr. Selby and our Booz Allen Hamilton guests, and to foster new collaborations.  We also aimed to celebrate our success over the past year having several projects awarded, including most recently the ACTION III Network.  The result? We laughed, we ate, we drank, we connected, and we celebrated!  The night ended around 9:30 with several of us giving each other hugs in the parking structure.  I’d say that we accomplished our aims!  It was a long day, but a great one! I look forward to attending my fifth research symposium next year!

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