Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Celebrating Our MHRI TEAM!

Celebrating the end of year with MHRI associates has become a tradition that I look forward to every year. It's so nice to get together and recognize associates, the work they are doing, enjoy some good food and conversation and celebrate the coming of a new year!

Last week was the last of our Year End Celebrations, organized by our Associate Engagement Committee. It was a pleasure to travel to Washington, Baltimore and Hyattsville to celebrate with everyone who was able to join us.

 As Michelle Laubach wrote last week, we collected over 100 toys for Toys for Tots! Thanks to all who donated. Associates were also treated to the annual year-end video, highlighting the way our teams see teamwork across the system - last week, as research teams naturally sat at tables together, and looking over the room, we realized we were a team of teams! A team of teams that span the entire MedStar system.

As before, Karen Wade presented the annual holiday gift for associates.  In full tradition, she gave us her best 'Vanna', demonstrating how to properly use this year's gift. Thanks also to both Joan Bardsley and Kim Kemp were on hand to present the gift from the MHRI Wellness Committee.


Below are the photos from the photo booth! If you'd like a copy of any photo, please email Eva Hochberger (eva.b.hochberger@medstar.net) with the time marker of the photo and she'll send it to you.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016 from MHRI

May the magic & thrill of the holiday season stretch on!  

Very best wishes to you and your families!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

MHRI’s Teamwork Helps to Provide Joy…

Guest Blogger: Michelle Laubach, Manager, Office of the President

The theme of our 2016 Year End Celebrations is TEAM Pride–Together Everyone Achieves More

That MHRI teamwork was wonderfully demonstrated by the abundance of toys you donated to Toys for Tots! This worthy program is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, who distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to provide gifts themselves. Despite the fact that the bins were scattered about in various locations, many of you managed to track one down and help make a child happy this holiday season.

This year, MHRI surpassed the number of toys that were donated last year, with over 100 toys! As you can see from the pictures, we filled the Toys for Tots box at the Henderson Hall Marine Corps drop off location. I only wish I had a picture of the smiles on the faces of the young Marines on duty when I kept depositing more toys!  

Your work together as a team is something I am very proud to be part of - everyday I see and hear about the things we accomplish at MHRI, and this holiday season, you’ve come together as a team to provide joy to little ones that you don’t even know.  What could be better!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Perceptions of Positive Attitudes

Below is my monthly message from Focus. You can view December's edition of Focus on StarPort.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
December 21st is going to be the shortest day of the year.
Stop. Take a few seconds and gauge your reaction to that statement.
Yes, many of us cherish the sun and may find a short day as a gloomy prospect. But others may be excited about the start of winter that day or the prospect of extended time to take in the holiday lights. Or perhaps it may be as simple as recognizing that December 21st is the Wednesday prior to a long holiday weekend and that brings a smile to your face. All of a sudden, it’s not sounding so bad, is it?
This scenario reminds me of the phrase that the ‘glass is half full or half empty.’ However, wouldn’t it be nice if the glass is neither half empty nor half full, but rather always full? Truth be told, if a glass is partially filled with any liquid then the other part must be filled with air. This suggests that even when the glass looks half-empty or looks half-full, whichever your mood is making you think at the time, it doesn’t actually change the reality that it is always full.  I like when objective reality can help shape our perception and serve us to be better.
And why does a positive attitude serve us better? Well, let’s turn to the research! A series of studies by psychologist Suzanne Segerstrom found that people with positive attitude have enhanced cell-mediated immunity and improved health. And if health is not a motivator, then perhaps you will be interested in her study that found law students who were optimistic earned more money than those who were negative within 10 years of  graduation! Now, how can that be possible? Well, expecting good things to happen led to taking action that produced positive results, and while expecting only negative experiences kept those students from doing the very things that might have minimized or avoided those outcomes! Amazing!
So why am I writing about having a positive attitude and seeing what’s possible? Because I witnessed it first-hand last week at our MedStar-Georgetown Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting in Annapolis. About 30 lead scientists from across our community came together to discuss what is possible. We started the day with a video by DeWitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer, entitled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.
One of my favorite scenes was when he was asked to film a field of dandelions. While the field was in full bloom, he just was not into it that day and said he would come back tomorrow. Tomorrow became next week and when he returned, all he had was puff balls. That wasn’t the way he planned it. He was just about to leave when a little voice inside said “come on DeWitt, what is here to celebrate?” Perception controls our reality and if we don’t believe it, we certainly will never see it. So he took pictures of puff balls, and before he knew it, he was into puffballs; looking at them from above and from the side and all over them until……   he found it - the most magnificent photograph  (below) of the puffball with the sun shining through the fuzz. 


The Georgetown-MedStar SAB identified several areas of opportunity across our research community that we can work together on to add value to our collective success. These areas are far-reaching, from academics to population health. Members of the SAB volunteered to work on each new initiative. It is seeing what is possible and working toward it for the collective good.
I could not have asked for a better way to start the holiday season – it excites me to look forward to the next season and 2017. Yes, December 21st is the winter solstice and the start of an exciting new chapter for research, academics and advancing health at MedStar and Georgetown!
Happy Holidays everyone and I can’t wait to see what exciting new things 2017 brings!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Georgetown-MedStar Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meet in Annapolis

Approximately four years ago, lead investigators from across the MedStar and Georgetown community came together to learn more about each others' area of research and to explore collaborative potential.  Well, the wealth of opportunities were so great, everyone agreed we needed to 'keep this going' so the Georgetown-MedStar Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) was formed.  That initial group of about 30 investigators has grown over the years with period teleconferences, webex's and annual retreats (see prior posts at http://medstarresearch.blogspot.com/2013/09/georgetown-medstar-investigators-retreat.html). 

This year, we did a 'refresh' on what we have accomplished and where we want to go. After watching a video by DeWitt Jones (a national geographic photographer) entitled "Celebrate What's Right with the World (http://celebratewhatsright.com/film) we got down to work on identifying specific area that we need to work on to benefit the entire MedStar-Georgetown research community.

 From the flip chart notes below, you can see four broad areas the SAB identified and agreed to work on over the next 6-12 months.

 I particularly like this 'artistic' vision for the future (special thanks to Dr. Taylor for is artistic rendition!) where the Georgetown University and MedStar Health research communities continue to work in a closer and closer fashion (and notice the sun shining over us the whole time)!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Recognizing A Job Well Done

Our associates put in a lot of time working with investigators from every angle. I was pleased to hear that two of our own investigators, Douglas Van Nostrand, MD and Leonard Wartofsky, MD, have edited a new book on clinical management guide for thyroid cancer!

Dr. Van Nostrand was the Director of Nuclear Medicine at MWHC for many years and is now the director of nuclear medicine research at MHRI. He is supported by Ron Migues, MD, as a his Scientific Center Administrative Director.

As a thank you for his support and hard work, Dr. Van Nostrand presented Dr. Migues with a dedicated, signed copy.

I can’t say this any better than Mary Anne Hinkson, our Vice President of Research Operations said it: “Our investigators are at the center of everything we do.  We build trust with our investigators by delivering on our promises. Job well done Ron and thanks for all you do for our research teams.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two Weissmans

It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was working in the core lab (my area of research reading cardiac ultrasound exams) - it was a quiet day and I had only a few internal meeting so it was one of those rare days I did not wear a tie. 

I met with Gaby Weissman (no relationship despite also being a cardiologist) and look how the two Weissmans were dressed that day!  Too funny!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Research is a Team Sport: MHRI Fall Town Halls

We finished our MHRI Fall town halls last week, and after connecting with hundreds of associates from Baltimore through DC, it’s clear how large and effective our research teams are at MedStar.
I wanted to change the traditional format of our town halls to highlight the work that we complete as team. I think that, based on your Slido audience response results, it was important to showcase how many associate touch just one research study.
At Union Memorial, I was joined by Rachel Campbell, RN, Inpatient Research Nurse Coordinator for the REPRISE valve study. This study of a new heart valve is being conducted at both MUMH and MWHC. Even at just one hospital, over 50 associates touch this study!
At both UTC and MWHC, I was joined by Terry Moriarty, MSN, RN, research nurse coordinator and primary coordinator for the RESET Study. This study test a new medication for patients who are hospitalized for a sickle cell crisis. This study touches even more than 50 associates, with members of the infusion lab and emergency department playing an active role!
Being part of these teams’ shows that research is not an individual activity, but that it is a team sport. I liked relating this to gears in a clock- we are all working together in a coordinated, inter-locking manner to achieve a unified goal; each associate plays a key role in their duties and as a member of the team.
In addition, Mary Anne Hinkson (VP Operations) provided a brief update on the status of the CTMS (clinical trial management system), OnCore. Thank you to all the associates who have been a part of that team to help us roll-out a successful pilot. Karen Wade (VP Administrtion) shared a few brief reminders: open enrollment is happening until Nov. 17, flu shots need to be received by Dec. 7, and we all look forward to seeing you at the year-end celebrations!
I was also pleased to share some photos and results from the Power to Heal campaign. I appreciate all the donations that you have made to the New Investigator fund and the enthusiasm that came from our “Call-Out Challenge”.  If you would still like to make a donation, please visit MedStarResearch.org/PowerToParticipate
Congratulations to all our raffle winners! If you want to see what calories your favorite activity burns, check out the data from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
I will be looking at your feedback on how MHRI can improve our teams. If you have any additional questions or feedback, please contact me or use the 2-Way Communication feature on StarPort. Thank you to all who attend the town halls and the associates who shared their part of the team.
On my way back to my car at MWHC, I came across this sign. It seemed so approriate after our town hall focus on teams!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Number One [Blog] Fan

I started sharing my monthly Focus message on this blog only a few months ago. It turns out that this has had at least one big effect- I got such a nice email on Monday from my "#1 fan".... 

I just read your blog.... it was GREAT. So good that you researched it. Really enjoyed reading it... your line about enjoying each day was perfect.
Have a super day.
Love ya

Yup, my #1 blog fan is my Mom.  Now that was a nice way to start the day!

Here is a picture of my Mom a few months ago on her 80th birthday and a more recent one where she took part in a play as Marilyn Monroe.


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Gift of Time

Below is my monthly message from Focus. You can view November's edition of Focus on StarPort.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We all woke up this morning to a rare gift – the gift of an extra hour.

Lately, I have heard many comments about how quickly time is passing by. We are already well into the fall while it feels like summer just ended. The beautiful colors and the fallen leaves this weekend remind us that winter is just around the corner. And it is not just the rapid change of season. My gosh, I have trouble fathoming that my son is in high school and is already starting to talk about getting his drivers’ permit – how did that happen so fast?

Well, the truth is that perceived time does move more quickly as we get older. When we were children, the summer holidays seemed to last forever and the wait till Christmas felt like an eternity. But as adults, time zips by with a whirlwind of activity and blurred calendars. As a scientist, I was curious about this and found out there are some biologically plausible explanations.

The most commonly accepted theory is that the perceived passage of time is related to the amount of new perceptual information we absorb. With lots of new stimuli, our brains take longer to process the information so that the period of time feels longer. In addition, when faced with a new situation, our brains will record details more richly into our memories. This makes our recollection of the event appear slower rather than the event was itself. This phenomenon helps explain the ‘slow motion’ effect described by a victim after an accident.

But does this explain the continued shortening of perceived time as we age? As we get older, we get more familiar with our surroundings and we no longer need to remember the details. The more familiar we become with our day-to-day experiences of life, the less details we need to remember and the faster time seems to run.

So what is the solution? It’s simple – take in and enjoy the new experiences that each day has to offer, both at work and at home. At MedStar Health, we are fortunate to have so many opportunities, every day, to gain new experiences caring for people and advancing health. By definition, advancing health through research, innovation, education or new quality/safety initiatives, is a new experience. And not only are you helping the patients of today and tomorrow, you are getting a meaningful experience yourself (i.e., new memories for your brain).

Yes, winter is just around the corner but for today, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and the colors are tremendous. So, rather than worrying about how fast time is moving, just:
  1. Recognize that our perceived speed of time has a biologic bases; and,
  2. Understand that both the perceived and actual time, like the actual beauty of today, is just a function of what you do with it.

Enjoy what the fall has to offer and thank you for creating new experiences at MedStar by advancing health.




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MedStar Physician Leadership Development - Staying Connected

When twenty-five MedStar physicians completed the 18-month MedStar Physician Leadership Development Program last June, an overwhelming number of them stated in their evaluation that what they liked most in the program were the relationships formed among the cohort. As one participant said, “I have friends and connections throughout the MedStar System for life.”

One commitment this cohort made to each other was to stay connected. They are determined to come together twice a year to reunite, catch up with each other and learn something new. Last month, they met in the late afternoon and I was delighted to be invited as their guest speaker. The organizers invited me to share my leadership story and then deliver my presentation on "Redefining the Academic Health System.”

The challenge, however, is that some had already heard this presentation. So, I tried something new. I opened the presentation as usual. After the first few slides, I stepped out of the formal presenter role and then told 'the story behind the story.'  

While I wanted to share the content a how MedStar is redefining the academic health system, I wanted to let this group know 'the story' of how this topic became important to me and how it came together through my interactions with other MedStar leaders. Putting together impactful presentations is an important skill for leaders to develop.

I was honored to be this groups' first guest speaker and look forward to working with all 25 of these physicians as they take on leadership roles throughout MedStar Health.

If you are interested in the Physician Leadership Development Program, nominations are currently being accepted through Nov 7th for the next 18-month offering, which will kick off in January 2017. A maximum of 25 physicians will be selected from a pool of candidates nominated by the MedStar Leadership Team, MedStar Chief Nursing Officer Council, MedStar Medical Group (MMG) Executive Team and MMG Governing Council. Program candidates must be MedStar Health employed physicians with: (1) an established leadership track record, (2) the ability to advance MedStar’s operating and strategic plan, and (3) a willingness to invest the time and effort to become a MedStar Leader of the Future. For more information please contact Nancy Williams at nancy.m.williams@medstar.net

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Special - 10 Scariest Medical Devices in History

I just read a 'perfect' Halloween article talking about the top 10 scariest tools in medical history.  Here are pictures of a few of my favorites. I won't tell you what they are, just show you the pictures and you can go to the article yourself if interested (like looking up the answers to a cross-word puzzle).  The article link is https://www.medreps.com/medical-sales-careers/top-10-scary-medical-devices-throughout-history-special-halloween-edition/


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quarterly Managers' Meeting - Perspective from New Managers

Every three months, managers from across MHRI come together to learn, share, solve and improve our organization. Last week, we met at 1776 (an incubator/accelerator which MedStar is a founding partner) where we learned about new healthcare start-ups and worked on how to create a culture across MHRI "where truth can be heard."

Rather than  you hearing from me, I thought you would enjoy hearing from some of new managers:

“As a new associate of MedStar and MHRI, and coming with a long background in the staid atmosphere of academic research, it is refreshing to join an organization understanding and utilizing its dynamism, listening to its managers, and seeking to effect positive change. It can be difficult, even overwhelming, for senior leadership to accept the fact that organizations must culturally evolve with the times if they are to remain relevant. I’m excited to see that MHRI not only accepts this phenomenon, but embraces it.”
Ian M. Brooks, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Biomedical Informatics

“The presentation from Dr. Ratwani was great.  Managers were able to learn more about the incredible resource we have in MI2 and it showcased the very cool and innovative research they have going on.  This was also an opportunity to identify potential opportunities to collaborate with them -- a great way of bringing different MedStar entities together for research.
Deliya B. Wesley, PhD, MPH
Program Manager, Health Services Research

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Supporting Our #PowertoHeal

As you may have heard, MedStar is in the midst of our annual associate giving campaign, Giving: The Power to Heal. I hope you consider consider making a donation to the Giving: The Power to Heal this year and support of new investigators of next year and beyond. Please visit MedStarResearch.org/InspireHealing and select MedStar Health Research Institute in the drop down menu to direct your gift to the MedStar New Investigator Fund.

As part of our power to heal, MedStar has launched a campaign to see what our associates are grateful for and why they might contribute to our #PowertoHeal. Check out some of our associates below to see what they say!

Kim Kemp, "I'm grateful for being part of a dynamic organization that values their employees"

MCRC, "I'm grateful for research to advance health and healing!"

Surafel Zenebe, "I'm grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a dynamic and diverse center that improves so many lives."

Alex Z., "I'm grateful for the chance Nawar gave me when she hired me."

JoAnnete Peres, "I'm grateful for my awesome team; OCGM Rocks!"
Patricia O. Evans, "I'm grateful for my fellow associates!"

Carmen Williams, "I'm grateful for associates who complete their time-sheets on TIME!!"

Omar Khalid, "I'm grateful for having the opportunity to improve the lives of others!"

MI2's "Altered States and Extreme Conditions" Symposium

Last week I attended Mi2 annual innovation forum - this year the topic was "Altered States and Extreme Conditions." This very interesting event was a highlight for MedStar 300-400 associates from across the system.

Topics ranged from hypnotism to trancendance to patient care in the ebola outbreak- and that was just before lunch!  I loved the presentation by Ken Stanley on why greatness can not be planned.  He used a series of pictures that form randomly and how they create images that were fascinating and beautiful and would not have happened if you tried.  I already bought his book!

One presentation that stuck out after lunch was by Jonathan Davis, MD, the academic chair of emergency medicine. Appropriately titled “It’s Right After Lunch…and I’m Sleepy”, it highlighted the effects of sleep deprivation on our lives. Not just our lives at work, but also at home. The striking effects of sleep deprivation lead not just to poor inter-personal relationships and unpleasant moods, but to making errors at work. In the case of an accountant, maybe the form gets missed or a decimal moved. In the case of our researchers and physicians, there are patient lives at stake. It highlights the commitment we’ve made to be an HRO and the steps we need to take to get there.

The final presentation of the day was also a highlight. Michael Gillam presented on “Lessons from Laughter”. A great end to the day, with some laughter, he also pointed out one fact that explained why he was here presenting on altered states and extreme conditions: every patient who enters a MedStar facility is in an extreme state. Maybe they are visiting a sick friend, caring for a chronically ill partner, following up on the care of their child; each of these situations that bring patients to MedStar is an extreme condition for their lives. Laughter is a way to say that the pain that they are feeling is ok. It’s something to keep in mind each time you interact with patients.

There was some great twitter action on the hashtag #mi2forum and I was able to grab some pictures too!