Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Research as an Emissary

If a picture paints a thousand words, what does a video give us? 

I was ecstatic to see the highlights video from the 2017 MedStar Health Research Symposium and share it with MHRI associates at our spring town halls.

For those who could not attend the Symposium, this video really gives you a feel for the symposium events and the commitment that MedStar Health make to advancing health. I hope you enjoy and share this video with your colleagues.

I couldn't say it better than this.

If you'd like to share the video, it can also be found on the MedStar Health YouTube channel at this link:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quarterly Manager's Meeting: Engaging Everyone

At the beginning of the month, MHRI manager's came together for the quarterly manager's meeting. Each meeting has a different focus, and this sesssion was focused on the results of the 2017 Engagement Survey.

Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for MedStar Health started the day out, setting the stage for the importance of the associate survey. After that, Jill Perkins, PhD, from Willis Towers Watson, the company that created, managed and analyzed the associate survey shared the results.

As we reviewed the results, managers chimed in with their thoughts and feedback. The conversation was engaging and allowed us to recongize the strengths and opportunities for MHRI and MedStar Health.

We took the time to award three groups for the highest associate engagement and greatest increase and then Dr. Evan's presented MHRI with an award for our overall results.

There was a lot of conversation regarding the results and what we can do to continue making MHRI a great place to work. The next step is for managers to get their results and share it with each department. I look forward to seeing action plans go into place!

Here are some pictures from the meeting:


Sharing Our Knowledge

Guest Blogger: Eva Hochberger
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

In my role at MHRI, I do many things. A recent, new experience for me was attending an event in the community with associates from the MedStar Community Clinical Research Center.

The team was invited to present at a local church on diabetes and let attendees know about diabetes clinical research at MedStar. The group was engaged and wanted to know more about how to care for themselves and their families. The questions they asked really highlighted all the information out there and that our clinicians and associates want to share their knowledge!

The discussion was a reminder that because we work within healthcare and research fields, we interact daily with information regarding health that some people are unaware of. It’s important to share the knowledge, through community events and industry presentations, to support the health of the global community.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MedStar #Patient2Consumer

Are you ready to do your part in helping MedStar stay on the cutting edge of innovation that advances health and wellness?

I know many researchers and investigators at MHRI are also innovators! Here is your chance to connect with others who have the same goal as you: to advance the health and wellness of our community.
MedStar Health is collaborating with global startup incubator and seed fund 1776 to host a startup competition called the MedStar #Patient2Consumer Challenge.

The effort is intended to activate the startup community throughout the country (not just in Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York!) to identify those innovative startups that have the potential to catalyze the transformation of any strategic aspect of MedStar’s health system in order to benefit our patients through more convenient, consumer-friendly care.

You can read the challenge annoucement or learn more on the challenge site. The deadline to submit your idea through the application portal is Sunday, June 11, 2017 (by 11:59 p.m. ET).

Partnering with the most promising emerging leaders enables us to further understand the innovation landscape and find—and realize—the next big thing.

The MedStar #Patient2Consumer Challenge is intended to focus and drive these outcomes. Thank you for helping connect us—whether that’s with a late-stage startup looking to take its work to the next level, or an earlier stage effort in need of further validation and/or domain expertise. (And if you are already working with a startup, recommend that they apply today!)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Building a Legacy

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
What is going to be your legacy?

Wow! That is a big, audacious question! It is also exactly what we were asked at the end of the MedStar Leader of the Future.

The MedStar Leader of the Future is a multi-part training course for all managers across MedStar Health. I just completed Day 4, which is dedicated to “Nurturing Talent”, a dynamic session in which we discussed everything from effective communication to mentorship. As participants shared their “legacy”, it was not surprising how it often connects to empowering associates. One of my favorites was “to build a world class organization, one associate at a time.”

So how can we accomplish our “legacy”? Well, to start, the scientist in me wants to first “collect data” – and that is exactly what the associate survey is all about! Thanks to all of you, we now have survey results from well over 85% of associates. This week, we will start digging into the results (and written comments) with the MHRI managers, and then we will present the survey results to everyone in Town Halls, running June 9th to 21st.

One area of opportunity that you helped us identify on the prior survey was professional development, a clear route to enhancing associate empowerment. I have no doubt that this is an area we will continue to focus on going forward. Peter Senge, an American systems scientist who is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, said it best: “A learning organization is one in which people at all levels, individually and collectively, are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about.”

This quote resonates with me on several levels. First, the importance that each person is an individual and that individual growth collectively results in organizational growth. Second, the organization must continually grow and become a "learning organization” because the world is constantly changing; there is no field where this is more evident than in research and healthcare. Lastly, we all want to do meaningful work that we truly care about and what can be more meaningful than advancing the health of those around us!

That leads me back to our professional home at MedStar. What makes MedStar what it is? What will it take for MedStar to recognize its full potential in the future? The answer becomes clear as I write this monthly message – It is each one of us, together. Together, we will continue building a learning environment that advances health.

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” - Les Brown

Thank you.


Read Focus at

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Art of Mentorship: “I Don’t Like Public Speaking"

Guest Blogger: Emily Paku
Program Coordinator,
Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science

The jitters right before the presentation, stuttering throughout the presentation, and a deep sigh of relief after the presentation--I’m sure I’m not the only one, right? In my role as Program Coordinator for the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science Multisite Study Support and Recruitment UnitI interact with colleagues from various institutions and backgrounds. What I wasn’t prepared for was the number of presentations I'd have to give to the community.

While preparing for one presentation, I discussed my nervousness with Tina Stanger, MHRI’s Director of Contracts & Grants Management. Months later, Tina asked me to co-present at the National Council of University Research Administrators – Region II Meeting.  Talk about tackling your fears head first!
Luckily, with encouragement and coaching from Tina, Becky Montalvo and Karen Wade, I utilized my professional development funds for the conference. Boy, was it a professionally developing experience!
I not only had the opportunity to sharpen my public speaking skills, but also the opportunity to network with research administrators in the Mid-Atlantic region. I attended sessions related to my current position and sessions that provided information I can use in the future.

Through this journey, Tina taught me tips and tricks for public speaking. Because of this, I wasn’t as nervous during the presentation and I even learned some methods for engaging the audience. As a result of the information I learned at MHRI and Tina’s encouragement to present, I was able to share best practices with the attendees. 

We were strongly encouraged to submit our presentation for the next NCURA FRA/PRA conference! Not only did chair and committee members for the conference take the time to let us know that our group was very engaged, attendees stopped by to express how much they learned and how they enjoyed the session.
Thanks to encouragement and coaching received from Tina, Becky & Karen, I took advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow not only as an MHRI associate, but as a clinical research professional. Whether it’s to sharpen a rarely used skill, learn about things related to your field from colleagues and experts across the country or to face your fears: Take advantage of the opportunity!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Honoring Memorial Day 2017

This Memorial Day, we honor the men and woman of our nation's Armed Forces who have proudly and honorably sacrificed for the freedom of Americans everywhere.

And, to those who continue to valiantly serve, and their families, we appreciate your unwavering commitment. 

For your service, bravery and sacrifice, thank you.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Engaged MHRI Associates!

While the results of the Associate Engagement survey are being released at the Spring Town Halls next month, it's always nice to see the friends and colleagues at UTC engaged on a day-to-day basis! As Michele said "We work so well together, we coordinate our outfits without thinking about it!"
From left to right: Eva Hochberger, Brenda Tsai, Patricia Evans, & Michele Lee Clements. Photos by Jim Resiert
I hope everyone is able to attend an upcoming town hall and see how engaged MHRI associates are across the system, not just at the UTC offices.

Friday, June 9
University Town Center
Multipurpose Room
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Click here to add the UTC Town Hall to your Calendar

Wednesday, June 14

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
Curtis Hand Conference Center
2:00pm to 3:00pm

Click here to add the MUMH Town Hall to your Calendar

Wednesday, June 21
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
True Auditorium
9:00am to 10:00am

Click here to add the MWHC Town Hall to your Calendar

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Research on MedStar TV!

As many of you know, the new MedStar Health corporate offices in Columbia opened their doors at the new location recently. Just around the corner from the old building, it's a brand new space.

Around the same time, the Digital Team at MedStar launched MedStarTV. On screens across the MedStar system, from hospital to PromptCare, 'MedStar TV' provides information for patients about everything from tips to healthy living to events across MedStar. 

To my delight, I was happy to see (when I walked into the new building) not only a TV system promoting MedStar, but one showcasing research as a banner along the right border!  So, of course, I needed to take a picture and share it with you....

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Importance of Professional Development

Guest Bloggers:

Christina Stanger, MA, CRA
Director, Office of Contract and Grant Management, MedStar Health Research Institute

Ron Migues, MD
Scientific Administrative Director, MedStar Health Research Institute

We know, you’ve heard about the importance of professional development many times over, right? And there have been changes over the past year in how professional development and tuition assistance are being handled, right? Some staff are thrilled, and others not so much. We know, believe us, we know!

Being in management at a research institute means you automatically have to stay on top of changing regulations, political upheavals, new financial mandates, and specific agency changes. We have Uniform Guidance adoption deadlines, the final Common Rule and the single IRB, Research & Terms Conditions (RTC) implementations that are different for each sponsoring agency, DATA act compliance, changing proposal submission applications and systems…UGGHHH! And that is just the past year on the administrative side of things for federal awards. Being on the programmatic side of things is no easier. There are lots of changes and new ways of doing things popping up all the time in our 24/7 world. How do you keep up, and how do you keep your staff up-to-date on the latest and greatest without breaking the bank?

Thankfully, we can rely on our professional development funds. And, yes we know it is hard to stretch these funds! Sometimes you need to be inventive: speak at a conference to get free registration; look into volunteer work at a conference to see if you can work one day and attend sessions for free the next; search for local conferences; ask your department to pitch in a little extra (if they have it); build it into your annual budget; or build it into a grant proposal and dual-purpose the travel funds for both research meetings and professional development at a national conference.
We recently stretched our funds to the limit, but we were able to attend the most recent NIH meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana with a few other MHRI staff members. We pooled funds, discovered NIH has cheap registration fees, split hotel rooms, and took some cheaper flights with delays. However, we also learned a lot about upcoming NIH changes, spoke one-on-one with NIH experts, ate some awesome food in one of the greatest cities, and became good friends. The staff was immensely grateful, learned priceless information, and was actively engaged with NIH staff and what they were learning. We gained new contacts at NIH and brought back lots of peer review information to share at our upcoming PI Orientation. Here are a few photos of our group representing MHRI at the meeting and enjoying a lunch in New Orleans.

We highly encourage you to take advantage of your professional development funds, even if you have to be creative to achieve your needs. MHRI funds this because they know you and your staff are worth the investment. Also, what can top a happy and engaged staff that feels their professional development needs are being met?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Celebrating Nurses

Nurses are integral part to patient care and to clinical research. At MHRI, we have dozens of research nurses and at MedStar, there are dozens more involved in research through their clinical roles.I'd like to take a moment this week to thank all the nurses who help us advance health at MedStar.

The American Nursing Association designated 2017 as the year of the healthy nurse with a theme of "Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit".

Thank you to all nurses at MedStar for your commitment to patient care, in mind, body and spirit, and to advancing health through research.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Grin and a Nod

Friends and Colleagues,

It was only a grin and a nod as he returned to the dugout, but I could tell. My son just came off the mound from pitching a very difficult inning against one of the best teams in his league. These boys were big and swinging the bat hard. It was great seeing his pride as the coach gave him a pat on the back—it was even greater to see him immediately thank the outfielder who had a stunning catch to retire the sides. Baseball is certainly a team sport.

Last week, MedStar Health associates from across the system came together to share in the teams’ pride of advancing health through research, education and innovation at the annual MedStar Health Research Symposium. It was a wonderful event that celebrated the cutting edge research that is taking place every day in our hospitals and clinics (pictures and highlights available on Notes from Neil).

To give you a feel of the event, let me share a few ‘grins’ and ‘nods’ with you:

  1. Throughout the event, it was fantastic to see live tweets (#MedStarResearch17) from MedStar departments and hospitals proudly congratulating their associates on their research.
  2. For the first time, two nurses had the highest scoring poster presentation. When we notified Kathryn Curtain, a registered nurse in the burn unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center that her study on mobility was the award winner, she was quick to point out that it was a collaborative effort with her follow nurse and researcher, Shannon Walters. Research is certainly a team sport too!
  3. It brought together our broader community, including those that help support our innovative research. I found it empowering to watch the interaction between a philanthropy guest and an investigator to learn something new… from each other!
  4. The Symposium helped make new connections with creative minds – an Mi2 associates (Allan Fong) showcases a social networking algorithm (they built to find connections between the 350 posters presented) to our system Chief Medical Officer.
  5. And it catalyzed a continued conversation, such as the email after the event from a hospital president to the resident who presented his award winning research - the congratulatory email led to a deeper email conversation and a planned future meeting.
When you multiply these stories by 800 in attendance, we are clearly moving toward a learning healthcare system that encourages everyone to think differently, make new discoveries and become lifelong learners.

As we close out 2017 Research Week, I’d like to thank each MedStar associate who contributes to research . From the investigators, to the analysts, to the coordinators, to those who support the research team, you each play an important role in advancing the health of our community. Thank you – now go ahead and let that ‘grin and nod’ come out as you take pride in what we are doing at MedStar.


Read Focus at

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Take 2 of #MedStarResearch17

I posted the embedded Tweets from the Sysmpoium yesterday, but wanted to make sure that my email-based readers were able to see the images. The images really show the scale of the event!

800+ researchers & leaders hear speak at symposium. Truly a major academic health system.

From @MedStarHealth
Congratulations research fellows!

Welcome to , keynote speaker Darrell G. Kitchen, MD, President and Chief Officer @AAMCtoday.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


This year marked the second year of live tweeting the MedStar Health Research Symposium through the @MedStarHealth twitter account. Looking back at the tweets, it builds out the story of the day and highlights how successful the event was!

A few stats, since we are researchers:
  • 34 mentions
  • 195 favorites
You can see the whole story by searching #MedStarResearch17 on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

6th Annual MedStar Research Symposium: Advancing Health and Knowledge

What another successful event!

In continuation of our record setting events, this year’s Research Symposium was the largest one to date! It was great to have residents and fellows join with investigators from across the system to present their research. With approximately 800 people attending and  350 abstract posters and case studies, everyone walked away energized and proud of the research at MedStar.

With abstracts from the breadth of research at MedStar, there was something of interest to everyone. Our exhibit spaces showed the depth of support for research at MedStar, with Philanthropy and Mi2 presenting the connections of their work to research. The exhibitor spaces showcase how we are supporting MedStar investigators across the system.

This was the first year that the Symposium was paired with a system-wide Resident Research Day. I was thrilled to welcome the top scoring residents and fellows to give oral presentations of their abstracts to their peers. The addition of case reports to the abstract presentations highlight the quality of research that our residents and fellows are completing.

We were joined by Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for the keynote address. He shared some of the changes happening in Washington, how they can change academic medicine and how MedStar is ideally positioned for these changes.

I want to share my thanks and appreciation for all the investigators who submitted their research for the Symposium and to all who came out to support the investigative work that goes on throughout MedStar. My thanks to those associates who were on hand to host and support another great event.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Having Fun Getting Ready for the Symposium

What is that noise?  Is there a party going on?  Maybe a comic show since everyone is laughing so loud - I need to check it out.

You can imagine how surprised I was when I walked into the multi-purpose room at UTC yesterday to see a large group of associates working together to prepare for the Symposium! You would think they were having a new years' party given the laughter and fun.  Everyone from associates who only joined MHRI a few weeks ago to ones who have attended all 5 of the previous Symposiums were there, taking their lunchtime to come together to prep the materials needed for Monday.

While not a competition for speed, word has it that the team with Randy Estes, Deliyah Westley, and Angela Thomas finished their stack of bags first. Thanks to all the associates who stopped by throughout the afternoon to ensure everything is in readiness for Monday's symposium.

I hope you take the opportunity to join us on Monday, May 1, to see the results of the combined efforts of MHRI associates.

6th Annual MedStar Research Symposium
Educational Sessions begin at 1 pm
Resident & Fellow Oral Presenetaionts begin at 3 pm
Abstract poster presentations and keynote address begin at 4 pm

Bethesda North Marriott & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Rd.,
North Bethesda, MD 20852

** The Bethesda North Marriott Conference Centers off-site parking is located at: 6130 Executive Blvd., Rockville, MD 20852.**

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quarterly Managers' Meeting: Associate Presentation

For this quarter's Manager's meeting, we invited one of our associates to join all the managers to present their research. We welcomed Bonnie Carney, a research associate in the Burn Research Lab at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to present her research.

Having associates at the Manager's meeting reminds our managers that research is a team sport and that each person on the team has an impact on the results. Thank you for joining us and presenting your research, Bonnie!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Making MHRI Their Professional Home

Last week, we hosted the first annual MHRI Service Award luncheon.

At MHRI, we are committed to engaging our associates and want them to make MHRI their professional home. In honor of those associates who have committed multiple years here (5, 10, 15, or 20 years of service), the Associate Engagement committee suggested that we take the time to recognize those associates at a lunch in their honor. This luncheon is in addition to the presentation of the service award and gift at the annual year-end celebration.

I was joined by executive team members Mary Anne Hinkson, Joan Bardlesy and Karen Wade to honor these associates on their 5 year work anniversary. It was great spending some time with associates who work across the system, hear about their area of work and having them come together and connect. Associates who work only floors from each other had the chance to meet and discuss their roles at MedStar Health Research Institute.

Thank you to the Associate Engagement Committee for suggesting this idea and the planning team who helped pull it off, and thank you to each 2016 Service Award recipient, who continue to support the work that MHRI conducts in order to advance health and support our communities.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Continuing Progress with OnCore

I’ve been trying to keep you updated on the status of the new MedStar Health and Georgetown University collaboration of the clinical trial management system (CTMS), OnCore. OnCore will serve as a workflow manager and repository of all clinical research administrative and management activities.

Announced in February 2016, we have been hard at work with a kick-off meeting and immersion training in April 2016, followed by the launch of two pilots, in oncology and cardiology, in late 2016. Our goal was to fully test and vet the system before rolling it out to all areas of clinical research.

Since our pilot go-live, we have made lots of progress in 2017. End user training for all Oncology Regulatory Coordinators and Clinical Research Coordinators (CRCs) took place in January, followed by the data migration of all Oncology studies and subjects to OnCore in February. End user training for all non-oncology Regulatory Coordinators and CRCs at MHRI also took place in February and March.Several studies, including newly activited studies are now going 'live' using OnCore to help manage the trial.

With end user training and the oncology data migration complete, we still have lots of work to do. For example, we are manually entering all new non-oncology studies into OnCore, along with calendars and budgets for each. So far, 25 studies are live in OnCore with calendars and budgets (23 studies in oncology, 2 cardiology studies), and we plan to add all active studies to OnCore by the end of the 2017 fiscal year in June.
Training and support activities for OnCore users continue, with twice-weekly training webinars and daily support calls.
Many thanks to those who have participated launching OnCore! It's a long process and we couldn't have made it this far without your contributions.

Associates can find more information on StarPort, including documentation, training tools, and dates for training. If you have any questions, please contact