Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Research Lab of the Future

On the eve of New Year's Eve, I thought it would be fitting to share with you one of my favorite "futuristic" pictures from our end-of-year celebrations (which revolved around the theme 'Road to MedStar 2020').

Well, one very creative MHRI associate in the Cardiovascular Core Lab (Jose Rodriguez-Weisson) created a picture of his colleagues in the lab of the future.  Since the Core Lab gets images from around the world to analyze, it was only fitting that this futuristic lab looks like a command center.

I hope everyone had / is having a nice holiday with their family and friends and a safe and enjoyable new year - I very much look forward to 2016 and going new places with research at MedStar Health!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Groundbreaking Concussion Research Study Underway

I am always amazed by the interesting research happening at MedStar. Just recently we announced our participation in an upcoming youth concussion research study at Walt Whitman High School! 

The study will research a new handheld, non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) device being developed by BrainScope that can quickly assess concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.  MedStar Health researchers will recruit 50 varsity student-athletes to participate in the yearlong study.  MedStar Sports Medicine physicians and concussion specialists, Elizabeth Delasobera, MD and Kori Hudson, MD, will oversee the study along with Andrew Lincoln, ScD, MS, director of the Sports Medicine Research Center for the MedStar Health Research Institute. Athletic trainers Katie Brodka and Chris Worrell will also be involved. Check out this article and brief interview with Dr. Lincoln on the benefits of this project!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ugly Sweater Holiday Bake-Off!

Yesterday, I was asked to be a judge of a very special competition - the MCCRC (MedStar Community Clinical Research Center) "Ugly Sweater Bake-Off" - what fun! 

This was a great, end of year celebration that brings out the best in all. There were nine entries, everything from cake to cookies to brownies.  Four impartial guest judges were invited (Clark Bean, Ashlee Tidwell, and Matt Hoffman, and yours truly) and the entries were judged on presentation, complexity, and of course the 'yum factor'.  There was a holiday crown for the winner as well!  

The winning entry was Luscious 4-Layer Pumpkin Cake, baked by Program Manager, Amy Loveland, but the competition was extremely stiff!  Afterwards MCCRC invited everyone over to sample the goods!  

Not only was the event pleasing on the palette, but it got everyone involved in some friendly holiday 'trash-talking' as well as gave us some time to slow down and come together to appreciate each other and the spirit of the season.  For some, it even brought out the latest in holiday sweater fashions!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

End of Year Celebrations

The end of the year is a time of holidays and family celebrations so why should it be any different at MHRI?

Over the last week, we had our end-of-year celebrations with events in Washington, Baltimore and at University Town Center.  Each event was filled with good food, good company and plenty of gifts.  Associates got to guess how many 'badge tags' were in the vase (with guesses ranging from 30 to 650! - the actual number varied at each event but was typically around 70-80).  

We also had a nice collection of Toys-for-Tots with everyone pulling together so we have a great contribution this year. This year also included a fun video, staying with our theme of 'Our Road to MedStar 2020' that included many of our associates showing their more creative and fun side!
Last, but certainly not least, Karen Wade (VP of Administration) presented the annual holiday gift for associates.  In full tradition, she gave us her best 'Vanna White' - while we were almost thrown a curve ball at the Washington celebration (when another associated offered to 'model' the associate gift), Karen was readily available to jump in!

Overall, it was a fun sequence of events and a great opportunity to meet with people outside of the routine of work.  Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


The MedStar Health strategic plan (aka 'MedStar 2020') lays our course to become a distributed care delivery network and one area that the Leadership Team recognized was going to be essential for our future is further development of the talent within our organization.  It is because of this need to further the professional development of MedStar associates that the MLOF (MedStar Leader of the Future) program was created. 

MedStar has now launched 3 leadership training cohorts - 'Top 2000' is a 4-day training session for the 2000+ managers across the system; MLOF Physician leadership training designed as an 18-month longitudinal program designed to provide high potential physician leader more business acumen; and the MLOF Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) which is also an 18 month program for 15 senior leaders at MedStar designed to further their skill set and be prepared for the rapidly changing landscape of health care. The last two are co-designed with Wharton, one of the premiere business schools in the country.  There is also a nurses MLOF in development.

I was fortunate to be part of the first cohort in the MLOF ALP and spent 3 days in Philadelphia on the Wharton campus with other leaders at MedStar (see picture below). Ken Samet, our system president and CEO kicked it off and shared his perspective on the importance of leadership development and planning. We then had great lectures by Wharton professors, some directly related to healthcare and other applicable to all areas of business (change, creativity and innovation, knowledge management, and behavior ecomomics);  and of course, a business school experience would not be complete without a day of finances!

It was an energizing experience and reminds me about the importance of life long learning - I look forward to the next 17 months of the program!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Georgetown 'Read'

I recently wrote my monthly message on the importance of life long learning through professional development and career growth.  Taking part in an educational experience can be the most rewarding gift we can give ourselves (and by role modeling life-long learning, we influence the ones we love to also be learners throughout their life).

So, the timing of the 'Read' posters coming out at the Georgetown University Medical Center library could not have been better!  Each year, the library unveils several new posters of Georgetown professors with their favorite book encouraging everyone to read.  I was fortunate to be asked to take part in this initiative this year.  I decided to highlight a new textbook on echocardiography.  That does not sound very exciting but it is meaningful for me - this is a comprehensive textbook (with an online textbook version that includes slide sets and case study videos) that is written by leaders across the globe from the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) and published on behalf of the Society (more info at: ).  This textbook came out while I was president of ASE and has rapidly gained acceptance as the leading textbook in the field.  I am proud to be part of the vision and implementation to see this textbook set a new direction where professional societies are leading the way on commissioning important pieces of work such as this.    

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Research Nurses' Retreat

Guest Blogger: Joan K. Bardsley, MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE

Many of MHRI nurses met a few weeks ago at the inaugural MHRI Nursing Research Retreat at the Sheraton Hotel in Columbia, MD.  The group included registered nurses working throughout MHRI who have not had the opportunity to meet each other face-to-face. There was a great deal of engagement based on the commonality of a nursing background, despite different locales and positions. Several nurses shared the work they were doing on studies, lessons learned, and pearls of wisdom.

Guest speakers included:

·         Dr. Neil Weissman, President of MHRI

·         Dr Maureen McCausland , CNO of MedStar Health

·         Angela Thomas, Executive Director, Health Services Research Administration

·         Dr Nawar Shara, Director, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

·         Dr Vanita Aroda, Scientific Director, MedStar Community Clinical Research Center

·         Maureen McNulty, RN , Quality Assurance Associate

·         Shaunagh Browning, RN, Nurse Manager, Clinical Research Unit, Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS)

Collectively, the group decided that research nurses should continue to meet face-to-face for a longer period of time and use technology to stay connected in the interim.   It was clear that nurses have a unique perspective on research, what they bring to MHRI, and the added value they bring to research participants’ experience given their nursing background.