Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rooted in Good Health

It’s great when research is brought to the next generation!

Health for America, part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, is a group of young adults, tackling a health challenge that affects the national community. The goal of the fellowship is to “create an innovative solution that will improve lives” and they have certainly done that for our community.

The four fellows were led by MHRI’s own Michelle Magee, MD, director of the MedStar Diabetes Institute, based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

A Well-Rooted pantry delivery and recipe
WellRooted is a way for those living with diabetes to create a meal that is a healthy option for them. They can either cook a diabetes friendly meal at home or have a full meal delivered. In working with the MedStar Diabetes Institute and the tech incubator 1776, the fellows have created a plan that works for folks who are willing and able to cook their own meals and for those who may want to have full meals delivered.

The program is being piloted at both MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Great work to all those involved and I can’t wait to see what the next group of fellows (focusing on stroke) innovate for our community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hitting Your Health Out of the Park

I’ve written before about using the treadmill desk at the Core Lab, and many of you know that my son is an avid baseball player. The MHRI commitment to wellness has brought us a new event: the Home Run for Health Challenge!

On September 12, we are all challenged to hit “home runs”, which is measured as 10,000 steps. Those steps can be earned through your daily work walking around the hospital, running errands for your family or by adding just a little more walking to your day.

But, maybe you swim instead of walking. Or maybe you take a spin class. What’s great about this challenge is that you are able to utilize the portal on MedStarMyHealth.org to convert that exercise into steps.

For each week you participate, you are eligible for two raffle prizes each week, along with three grand prizes at the end of the event. The weekly raffle prizes are at the entity level, so MHRI associates will have 18 chances to win a prize throughout the course of the event! In order to be eligible for prizes, you must track your activity for at least 3 days each week and you must log the information at least once a week.

Registration opens on August 29. Once registration opens, just go to MedStarMyHealth.org > MyHealth Central > Health Tools > Wellness Event Registration. But, you have to register before September 11!

I look forward to hearing about the great ways that you are taking care of your health!

If you have any questions, please contact the wellness committee at MHRI-Healthy4Life@medstar.net.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Future of Textbooks is in Our Hands (and on our phones!)

With all the rapid changes happening in medicine, information in textbooks is often out of date even before the book gets printed. Research studies, which share new information, are changing what we know about medical practice constantly. With the success of the studies completed at MedStar and around the world, staying on top of all the information available to doctors and nurses could be a full-time job. If only there was a textbook that was current on the new trends?

Well, to keep you up to date in your medical knowledge, MedStar Health has bought a system-wide license for UpToDate, the first online textbook that is updated every three months with the newest information for clinicians. UpToDate is an evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support resource that now all MedStar clinicians can access from any internet browser or mobile device.

One great feature is the “What’s New” section that breaks down updates for each specialty, so our clinicians aren’t spending as much time looking for new information; it’s right at their fingertips!

To help showcase the new service, MedStar Academic Affairs will coordinate registration events with entity libraries; however you can register today by completing the following instructions:
  1. Go to www.uptodate.com from any MedStar computer, via the MedStar Network (not the Guest Network).
  2. Click “Register” in the top-right corner and sign-up as a new user.
  3. Once you’ve signed up from a VPN-verified server, you may download the UpToDate mobile app for your iOS, Android or Windows 8 device, and access the service from your home or office computer. 
You can find more information about the service on the MedStar Academic Affairs website.

Disclosure -  I am an author for several chapters in UptoDate and have been since the electronic textbook was created about 15 years ago.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

FY17 Plan on a Page

Last year I posted our plan on a page in an effort to increase the line of sight between associates and the direction MHRI is going; with that goal, I want to tell you about next years' (FY17) plan here.

The operating plan is created after gathering feedback from many different sources: our associates and mangers (though management working groups); conducting an internal needs assessment; evaluating prior plans and accomplishments; re-assessing our long term projects; and ensuring we are aligned with the MedStar Health system strategic plan. There are some initiatives that are included as next steps from the FY16 operating plan and some initiatives that are new for this year.

The plan is separated into the four pillars:
  • Research Development 
  • People 
  • Administrative and Financial 
  • Compliance, Quality and High Reliability
Each of these pillars supports the mission of MHRI to advance the health of our community through research. The 'plan on page' is a one page version of this operating plan that allows you to be aware of initiatives that MHRI is taking on this year.  It also allows you to see how you fit into the process of moving MHRI and MedStar towards the MedStar 2020 plan and another successful year.

Every MHRI Manager received enough copies of the plan-on-a-page for each of their associates so if you have not yet gotten your copy, please contact your manager.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

MHRI Researchers are Impacting Our Community in Beautiful Ways

Guest post by Katie Carlin, Director, Research Development, Planning and Communications
What a night!
Last Saturday I was able to attend MHRI and MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s HIV H.O.P.E. art exhibit: “FACES: “Fearless Expression; Expresiones Sin Miedo”, held at the Gala Hispanic Theater in Washington, DC. I can’t even begin to describe the pride, courage and sense of accomplishment that emanated from the stage and walls that night!
Like many, I attended the event not exactly sure what I was about to see and experience – I knew that the evening would showcase art work created by The Art and Peer Support Group at MHRI and MedStar Washington Hospital Center.  The Group is part of “HIV H.O.P.E.” (HIV Homecare Outreach Patient Engagement) a program made possible through a District of Columbia Department of Health grant which has provided more than 450 home visits to HIV/AIDS patients and approximately 75 percent of the enrolled, high-risk HIV patients have been able to regain control of their infection.
Seeing the MHRI- MWHC infectious disease group come together to support the courageous, brave and artistic members of the MedStar community was just amazing to watch. The night would not have been made possible without Antonio Pineda who literally planned and hosted the entire event! Antonio is a MHRI Treatment Navigator at the Infectious Disease Clinic at MedStar Health Research Institute at Washington Hospital Center and coordinates the Art and Peer Support Group every Saturday afternoon. Special thanks also go out to: Dr. Glenn Wortman, Ron Migues, Patricia Tanjutco, Cortlen H. Yarbrough, Cleo Johnson, Elya Nassaj Christina Costalas, James Page, and to Stefan Lopatkiewicz, who served as the master of ceremonies.
Stefan Lopatkiewicz (right) as the
master of ceremonies with Antonio Pineda.
Walking into the Gala Hispanic Theatre, I was immediately taken back by the beautiful full-color “masks” on the walls, each created by members of the Art and Peer Support group which empowers the members to express their various emotions and struggles, as well as learn techniques for overcoming depression, isolation, and finding ways to combat the stigma encountered by those who are living with HIV/AIDS.
What I didn’t expect that evening was to be escorted into the main theater to take part in a live artistic show!
Members of the Art and Peer Support Group performed moving dance routines including an originally choreographed work, “Be Strong, ... Carry On”. In addition, they shared personal stories of their life living with HIV/AIDS and the support MHRI and the HIV H.O.P.E program has given them every week. Guests were also treated to outside performances by the Tribal Remix group, Maru Montero Dance Company and professional musicians Stephen Czarkowski, Dr. Scott Beard and tenor singer, Jesus Daniel Hernandez – which by the way, if you have never seen a professional tenor perform live, add it to the list!
Members of the Art and Peer Support Group
Congratulations to Antonio and the entire MHRI infectious disease group for bringing the voices and stories of our MedStar patients to light in such a powerful and special way!
Maru Montero Dance Company


MHRI Associate Awarded John L. Green Scholarship

Guest Blogger: Ron M. Migues, M.D., Scientific Center Administrative Director, MedStar Health Research Institute
For the past several years, I have witnessed the efforts of my team members giving back to the community.  Today was just the opposite; our MedStar community was giving back to an associate. One of our MCRC associates, Antonio Pineda, was the recipient of one of several John L. Green Scholarship awards hosted at a luncheon held at The Kings Contrivance restaurant in Columbia, Maryland. Antonio is continuing his education in Public Health and the $3,500 award along with his educational assistance will get him closer to his goal. He contributes so much to the community as a treatment navigator for the Ryan White Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and leads the support group for the HIV HOPE grant through DC Department of Health. 
Dr. Joy Drass began the reception speaking of her relationship with the late John L. Green and the reasons MedStar started this scholarship in his name. Two of his sons present to congratulate the recipients; Lee Green stood and spoke of the number of applicants and their wonderful stories and how difficult it was to pick only a handful of recipients. It takes courage and determination to go back and continue one’s dreams of further education.  Antonio is only one of many here at MedStar.
It was a very nice reception where everyone enjoyed each other’s company around a great meal. I saw it as one big family in celebration. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Putting Your Life into Perspective

Many of you who read this blog also receive the monthly newsletter, MedStar Research Focus. Each month, when the newsletter is sent out, I share something that is happening in my life and/or at MedStar. Regardless of the topic, the goal is to connect with MedStar Research associates. A number of people outside of MedStar have asked that I share the monthly message on this blog so I will be doing so starting today.  MedStar Research Focus comes out the first Sunday of each month and can be viewed on StarPort.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

You may not know the name ‘Dr. Roberto Canessa’ but I suspect you know his story.

I find it interesting how we may all be consumed by daily routines and often don’t take time to step back and reflect on what is really the most important parts of our lives. It often takes a life event to ‘shock’ us into appreciation of what we have and what our potential can be. Even better is when we have the chance to meet someone special, someone who brings out more in ourselves than they realize. Such was the case for me when I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Roberto Canessa.

In fact, I have known Roberto for a while – he is a pediatric cardiologist from Uruguay with expertise in echocardiography. He is a regular attendee and presenter at our annual cardiology meeting and has made substantial contributions to the field. However, even after knowing him professionally for several years, it was not until last year that I got to know him beyond his professional accomplishments. His life story puts everything in our lives into perspective.

You see, Roberto is passionate about rugby and played on the Uruguay national rugby team when he was a medical student. In October 1972, while traveling with his teammates, their airplane crashed in the Andes. The story became internationally famous with the book and movie Alive. Two months after giving up the search, Roberto shocked the world when he arrived in Chile after hiking across the Andes Mountains for 10 days (with an average temperature of 22 below zero!). Roberto, as the only one with medical experience among the survivors, was also forced to provide care beyond his training and guide the others to employ controversial methods to stay alive.

Forty years later, he is a remarkably gracious, humble, generous man, who loves his family and cherishes his friends. While he remains passionate about rugby (and his son has also played on the national team), he is also passionate about his work – from caring for a sick child with heart disease to building a leading heart hospital that serves a broad community of needs. When I asked him why, after all he has been through, he keeps pushing and working so hard to further expand the quality of care in Uruguay, he simply states: “Because that is what is important in life – the love of those close to me and the love of my community I serve.”

It is summer time. Hopefully you are getting a chance to enjoy time with those you love and take a well deserved break. Perhaps you will soon start to think about ‘back to school’ and plan for fall activities. While all of that is very important, take a moment to let Roberto’s experience allow you to appreciate the work we do at MedStar, touching one life at a time when they need it most while also advancing health of our community through research, education and innovation.


P.S. Dr. Canessa recently came out with a book entitled “I Had to Survive” (http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/I-Had-to-Survive/Roberto-Canessa/9781476765440) and I am very proud that he included a picture from last year, when I had the privilege of presenting him an honorary award.