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


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 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!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Creating a Culture of Patient Safety

On October 4, I was pleased to see the University Town Center turn out to celebrate the great work of one of our associates, Laura (Laurie) Want, MSN, RN, CDE, CCRC, BC-ADM. She was surprised by the associates, joined by Dr. Dave Mayer, VP of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health, to receive the Josie King HeRO Award, in honor of her commitment to patient safety and her part in making MedStar Health a high reliability organization.

For those of you who attend the spring MHRI town halls at UTC and Union Memorial, the story should be familiar. Laurie is one of the staff of MCCRC on their diabetes research projects (and has been for 24 years!). As part of her routine with patients, she weighs them and notice with one particular patient that he had a foot injury. Since he is diabetic, and previously had a toe amputated, this patient was at high-risk for a serious adverse event due to this injury.

Laurie was able to spring into action to care for this patient, calling for Dr. Jean Park to asses the injury and determine what next steps should be. With Dr. Park’s assent and persuasion, the patient was seen the same day at the Georgetown Foot and Wound Center for treatment and follow-up. While this particular patient was the one saved from this potential serious event, the MCCRC has gone one step further and begun introducing a protocol to help catch this type of issue early in the process.

While Laurie jokes that this saved her some paper work from an adverse event, she was quick to point out that when patients participate in research, we are not just treating patients for their one illness or disease. We are treating them as a whole person and a member of a family and that we have a responsibility to care for them in a way that supports their total health.

Congratulations to Laurie and the MCCRC team for showing care for our patients, along with doing your part of advance the health (and care) of our community.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The day my son met the (MHRI) president…

Guest Blogger: Deliya B. Wesley, PhD, MPH, Program Manager, Health Services Research

Last Monday I was preparing to return to work after being out for several months on maternity leave. As one might imagine, I was dealing with a range of different emotions that morning: leaving my new baby at home, the angst of going back to work and getting reacquainted with month’s worth of project work, catching up with coworkers, and getting used to a new daily routine which now also involved dropping my 2 year old son, Isaac, at daycare before starting my day.

That morning I was juggling several large bags full of things I needed to bring back to the office. So I decided to first make a quick stop in the office to drop off my things, before going to get my son settled for the day at daycare. With my son in tow, I arrived in the building and happened to run into Dr. Weissman, who was getting on the elevator at the same time. He greeted me with a warm “welcome back” and immediately crouched down to greet my son, who usually talks a mile-a-minute but was now putting on his best shy act as he clung onto my leg pretending to hide. Dr. Weissman proceeded to introduce himself to Isaac and without a second thought invited us to go into his office so he could give Isaac something. Isaac happily bounced down the hallway, following Dr. Weissman into his office. Once there, he handed Isaac one of the MHRI giveaways from his bookshelf. Isaac examined it curiously and then gave Dr. Weissman a high five on his way out, clutching onto his memento.

I try to always make sure my son remembers people by name, so I repeated Dr. Weissman’s name to him as I walked him to daycare. Later that evening when we got home, Isaac was recounting his day and told his grandparents that he met “Dr. Iceman”.

It’s a fairly simple story but one that made me smile. “Dr. Iceman’s” simple act and kind gesture that morning actually completely changed the tone and mood of my first day back, making it so much easier to settle back into work. It’s nice to work at a place where even the president made time for the (literal) little guy.

And like any good mom I always have my phone at the ready to capture the moment….

Monday, October 3, 2016

Our Power to Heal

Below is my monthly message from MedStar Research Focus. MedStar Research Focus is released the first Sunday of each month and can be viewed on StarPort.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

“Receiving the new investigator grant has made a huge difference in my research on operating room teamwork.  It has validated my belief that this work is important, and provides the resources and support I need to find meaningful results related to teams and the delivery of care during surgery.  It also struck home that this grant came from my own community, from associates choosing to support the giving campaign.  I find that both humbling and motivating, and those feelings hold me accountable in a way that feels very personal.” – Shimae Fitzgibbons, MD

Each month I spend time thinking about what I am going to write for my personal message to the MedStar research community.  I often pick the topic early in the week, start formulating the ‘message’ in my mind and then sit down at the end of the week to write. This month I reached out to some of the recipients’ of last year’s MedStar New Investigator Grant, which is funded from associate giving during MedStar Health’s Giving: The Power to Heal campaign.  Last year we had over 75 associates donate to the MedStar Health Research Institute which allowed us to fund 5 new MedStar investigators with grants ranging up to $25,000. After reading the messages of some of the 2015 New Investigator Grant recipients, I couldn’t help but scratch my message for this week, and let their personal stories of gratitude speak for themselves. Tomorrow kicks off the 2016 Giving: The Power to Heal campaign – my hope is that this year we can once again come together and support the important research projects MedStar new Investigators are doing across the system to make the health of our communities better tomorrow than they are today. These investigators represent our future and the future of medicine for our patients.

Please take a moment to read how YOU have made a difference and consider giving once again to the Giving: The Power to Heal campaign by visiting (and select MedStar Health Research Institute in the drop down menu if you want to direct your gift to the MedStar New Investigator Fund).

“As a junior faculty member I was fortunate enough to be awarded the MHRI new investigator grant for the evaluation of a novel method to guide resection in early stage breast cancer. This award is allowing me to open the pilot study to evaluate if this idea is even feasible as it has never been attempted for breast carcinoma. This would not be possible without the generous donations from you -Patricia B Wehner, MD

“Being selected as a recipient of the inaugural MedStar New Investigator grant has been a privilege and a blessing for several reasons. First, it was an honor to be recognized by my own home institution. Second, my department chair (Director of the Transplant Institute, Dr. Tom Fishbein) generously agreed to match the grant amount. Third, the topic of the research has helped position me better for a large NIH grant application due this month. I appreciate the faith that my MedStar Associate colleagues have put in me and I look forward to reporting on the project’s results next summer.” -Alexander H Kroemer, MD

“I am utilizing my MedStar New Investigator grant to develop and pilot test a novel interruption management tool for the emergency department.  One of the challenges for new researchers is finding funding support for smaller pilot studies, thus producing data that is essential to applying for larger grants. The New Investigator Grant mechanism fills this essential gap, and demonstrates the commitment that the MedStar Health and their associates have made to fostering a strong research environment, particularly for early career researchers. The supportive environment of my career development by the MedStar Health Research Institute and the strong mentorship at the MedStar Institute for Innovation are truly unique among academic health systems.” – Kate Kellogg, MD