Sunday, January 29, 2017

Revisiting those New Year's Resolutions to Thrive

With so much going on in our lives, it can be hard to take time to focus on yourself. I know many folks make New Year’s resolutions each year, and many people focus on wellness goals.

Well, we are one month into the new year and now is the time those resolutions start to fall off so....
If you have made a health goal this year, consider checking out the Guide+Thrive program from MedStar's Business Health Services. This was formerly known as the Employee Assistance Program.

Not only can they help you with wellness goals, but they also offer coaching services for emotional, social, financial, and career well-being. Open to all MedStar associates, this program is offered at no cost to you. No matter what your starting point, Guide+Thrive works directly with you to achieve both your personal and
workplace goals, so you can be happy, energized and productive both in and out of the office.

Check out the flyer at this link to learn more about the services offered.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Coming Together for Melanoma Care

Guest Blogger: Jean M. Flack, BSN,OCN,CCRC, Manager, Oncology Research, MedStar Baltimore Oncology Network, Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square

We were fortunate to be able to host the very first melanoma disease group face to face meeting at the Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square. It was impressive to be in the room with some of the foremost thought leaders for melanoma research and treatment!

We had Dr. Andrew Pecora from Hackensack University Hospital , Drs. Michael Atkins and Geoff Gibney from Georgetown University and Dr. Rapisuwon from Washington Cancer Institute (WCI) in addition to our own Drs. Pallavi Kumar, Ed McCarron and Vinay Guptay. The research nurse and nurse practitioner from Georgetown, research coordinator from WCI, and our research staff also joined us. We also had Danielle Blair (research coordinator at Hackensack) and Brandon Clark call in.

I think all who attended considered this a successful meeting. There was much discussion about current melanoma studies and future directions for our programs as we strive to improve our treatment of melanoma. One major focus of discussion was immunotherapy and coming up with ways to determine who will respond, how long should treatment last, and ways to collect biological samples to study immunotherapy effects.

The group will continue this discussion with our monthly teleconference. I look forward to more innovative discussions!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

'FOCUS' Firing on All Cylinders

This month we shifted our monthly eNewsletter 'FOCUS' from a PDF version sent by email to an online format I didn't realize the impact that these stories would have on our web presence. I was surprised, when looking at statistics for just the first two weeks, that we have reached over 2,500 people! Of those 2,540 people, over 7,000 collective pages have been looked at! This is a staggering number when you compare that to the <1000 who were previously recieving it by email.

While FOCUS is released on the first Sunday of each month (January 1; a nice way to start the year!), I find it interesting that Jan. 4 was the peak reading day.  Perhaps that makes sense since MedStar was closed on Jan. 2 for the national holiday and people take a day or two to catch up on emails.

The other fun thing was to view where people were located. While most readers at in the US, with 91%, it's interesting to see where in the US those readers are. Washington DC has the highest, followed by Maryland, both of which make sense given the location of MHRI associates. But I wonder who is following us in New York and California?!

 I hope you are enjoying the new format for FOCUS and look forward to future editions.  Haven't checked it out yet, well then go to

Monday, January 16, 2017

MHRI Cardiovascular Team get a 'Good Catch' Monday

For approximately the last 2 years, every Monday morning an email goes out widely across MedStar Health to highlight a 'Good Catch' for patient safety that moves us to a high reliability organization.  While MHRI has been an active participant in the  Good Catch Monday's it is still a pleasant surprise to open up that email and see the great work of my colleagues -  verifying and validating when something does not make sense helps us provide better care to our patients and higher quality for our trials.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Teaching and Research Scholars' Capstone 2017

I find it hard to believe that just a few days ago we graduated the 7th class of MedStar Teaching Scholars and the 3rd class of MedStar Research Scholars.  The capstone is a wonderful event to recognize all the great work these faculty members do during the 2 year program and to show others how valuable the experience can be. 

To learn more about the capstone, take a look at this post from 2 years ago.  But even better, here is a quote from Kate Cohen, our new Director of Research Compliance:

Being new to MHRI, MedStar and the Mid-Atlantic region, I am constantly looking for opportunities to learn about the research occurring within MedStar. The Teaching and Research Scholars Capstone was a perfect opportunity for me to gain exposure to some of the great research within MedStar Health. Those of us who support the research organization get a front row seat to watch the new discoveries and improvements in health care, which was one of the reasons I moved into the research world originally. I was captivated by the interesting research presented and by the obvious passion for the research topics that was displayed by the scholars. During the evening’s presentation, I was particularly impressed by MedStar’s commitment to not only developing researchers and leaders, but also to improving the medical education delivered within the organization. The partnership between the MedStar Health Academic Affairs and MedStar Health Research Institute has created a very unique program. The Capstone was one of the first events I have attended as a new MedStar associate, and I can already confidently say that I am very proud to be a part of MedStar Health. 


 And after the poster and oral presentations, we handed out diploma's for the Teaching Scholars, Research Scholars and those that took part in the AAMC LEAD program.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bringing Hope Through Research

Guest Blogger: Angela Thomas, MPH, MBA, Executive Director, Health Services Research Administration

Research!America is a large national not-for-profit organization and alliance committed to "making research to improve health" a higher national priority through advocacy, leadership, outreach, public opinion polls, and public education. MHRI is a proud member of Research!America’s national alliance. In December, I had the pleasure of representing MHRI at Research!America’s dedication of their Paul G. Rogers Conference Room. 

The Honorable Paul G. Rogers was known as “Mr. Health” when he served for over five decades as a United States Congressman. He was known for championing innovative, non-partisan, and non-confrontational solutions in support of research and health. He was famous for saying “Without research, there is no hope”. His list of accomplishments was so vast that it took two plaques to list just the most notable ones!   

When I learned about Congressman Rogers, what he stood for, and how his efforts significantly contributed to the advancements in research and health, I felt a sense of pride in the great work we do here at MHRI as we believe that “research brings hope”!  The event was a top notch reception that was well attended by local and national organizations that support research as well as his immediate and extended family including his wife, daughter, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. I had the pleasure of chatting with many of them and hearing more about Congressman Rogers on a personal level. What a legacy he left behind that should give all of us a sense of pride that our research truly brings hope!



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Moving Forward in 2017

Below is my monthly message for the January 2017 Focus. You can view the new version of Focus at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

"If you don’t move forward, you begin to move backward."
- Mikhail Gorbachev at Harvard University, December 2007

Given the pace of change, maintaining the status quo is not ‘a static position’; it actually results in losing your standing while impeding progress.

But change is hard, especially when:
  1. Things are good enough as they are;
  2. There is inadequate time to take on something new; and
  3. We’ve waited this long, so what’s another few more months?

For several years on the first Sunday of each month, I have faithfully sent out this newsletter sharing with you the achievements of MedStar researchers, clinicians, and associates to advance health. While a newsletter provides only a small sample, it does serve as a view into the  investigational world at MedStar. As such, it’s important to make sure the newsletter also represents our continually changing environment and desire to move forward. And what better time to launch the new format than on the first of the year!

The new look for Focus is being rolled out with new, interactive functionality, creating a library of research stories now available to the public (directly at or via links on the banner at the top of our website The goal remains the same: to showcase how MedStar researchers and associates are advancing health through research.
The new look for the Focus
monthly email message

For those of you who like the traditional format of Focus, you are able to see the "table of contents" below, with links to read more on each story. For those who want to try something new, above this message are links to each section of FOCUS so you can view all stories in a category and also view the archives in that category. And yes, no need to worry - you will still get this monthly email from me and I will try to keep you entertained with stories that touch my life and relate to the great work we are doing at MedStar!

While the new look is a lot to take in, there is also a new feature that I would like to mention. As many of you know, MedStar Health investigators and associates publish approximately 1,000 peer review manuscripts in medical journals each year. At the end of the advancement section each month, you will be able to see a selected list of publications and a link to PubMed to see all the work (pulling from everyone who uses the name ‘MedStar’ in their author affiliation) from that month.

The research being conducted by our investigators, the multi-disciplinary research teams created and the SPIRIT shown by our associates- this is what makes us so successful and all of us so proud. I look forward to working with you in 2017!

Now, go enjoy the new issue of FOCUS and have a great year!