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)!