Monday, February 27, 2017

Celebrating 100 Years

Guest Blogger: Kimberly L. Cockey, Quality and Safety Research, WWTK Specialist, MedStar Franklin Square Hospital

Every day as the We Want to Know (WWTK) Specialist at Franklin Square, I have the privilege of speaking to our many diverse patients and their families. WWTK is an innovative program that gives our patients and families a voice to express concerns about their care. The WWTK program allows us the great opportunity to address patient concerns and affect change for a positive patient experience in real time.

I want to share a story that came from a recent WWTK interview. It is one of those stories that highlights what is special about MedStar and reminds me of why I love my job…

I was having a typical day, going from room to room, asking patients how they felt about their care. In one room, I peeked in past the curtain and asked permission to enter. I received a polite invitation from small voice in the recliner across the room. I introduced myself and the WWTK program and began asking my usual questions. Ms. Green was happy with her care and reported that her care team was doing a great job. What she was really concerned about, though, was whether or not she was going to be discharged by Friday. “You see,” she said, “Friday is my 100th birthday, and I must be out of here by then because I have plans to celebrate.” She was very excited as she filled me in on all her celebratory plans and proudly showed off a rather large birthday card that was signed by everyone at her church.

At the end of the day, I documented my interview with Ms. Green (as I do with all my interviews each day) in an email to unit and hospital leadership. Based on a single sentence about Ms. Green’s birthday in my email, Franklin Square rallied to celebrate Ms. Green. Hospital leadership requested a cake, Food and Nutrition Services ordered it, and leaders and staff came together to present her with the cake and sing her “Happy Birthday” in our own little celebration. Ms. Green received well wishes from all over the hospital all day long. Both she and her daughter were surprised and touched by the gesture. And I am happy to report that Ms. Green was discharged in time to make it to her evening festivities.

Her family shared with us the following message: "Thank you for making her 100th birthday special...and for getting her transferred and settled for the family celebration. Also for the treatment and care she recieved during her stay with you."  The Green Family

We Want To Know is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Grant #1R18HS022757:K.M. Mazor PI). The project is a partnership between MedStar Health, MedStar Health Research Institute, and Investigators from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Washington.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

HeROs' Awards at MedStar Health

As part of MedStar’s commitment to becoming a high reliability organization that puts patient safety first, our associates good work is recognized every week of the year through activities such as with Good Catch Monday's to Celebrating HeRO’s at MHRI. Yesterday we took time out to recognize 'the best of the best' at the 2016 HeRO Awards Luncheon.

At its annual event, the MedStar Institute of Quality and Safety celebrated its 'HeROs' at a red carpet like 'Academy Awards' luncheon in honor of those who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure patients stayed safe. The HeRO program is part of our journey to high reliability to create a culture where every associate speaks up when they see something to contribute to patient safety.
 The place was packed - and it brought out leaders from across the system with nearly every hospital president. There were opening remarks and then awards for different categories such as team HeRO and leader HeRO's.

Our own Laurie Want, RN from the MedStar Community Clinical Research Center was awarded the best “Good Catch" of the year for her diligence on behalf of a research participant in a diabetes study.  Because of what she did, she probably saved this research participant's foot and put into place procedures to help future diabetes patients . We previously shared the story when she was presented with the Josie King HeRO award earlier this year (see post at Creating a Culture of Patient Safety).
As part of the luncheon, they shared a video that highlighted a few of the HeRO award recipients so we could hear directly from them what it means to build a high reliability organization at MedStar. I think Laurie summed it up nicely: “I’m proud of MedStar, I’m proud of the team I work with. I do feel proud that we do it well.”

You can watch the award video here.

Congratulations to Laurie and I thank you for your commitment to our patients and research here at MedStar.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Wearing Red for Heart Health

In support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) fight against heart disease and the MHRI celebrated “Go Red” day on Valentine's day this year, Feburary 14.

Now in it's fifth year at MHRI, departements are invited to show their support of American Heart month by taking creative photos of their teams wearing red. Check out some of the great photos submitted!

MCCRC at University Town Center

Oncology Research

Office of Contracts and Grants Managment

University Town Center Office


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Funding Opportunities for MedStar Investigators

At MedStar Health we are committed to creating a learning healthcare environment that fosters and supports research. To support this effort, we are very pleased to announce FOUR intramural grant funding opportunities that are now open.
These research funding announcements have been developed to increase collaboration, support new investigators, and enhance the quality of care to our communities. Each funding opportunity is in a different domain, with the hope that any investigator can find some internal grant opportunity that applies to their area.
  1. The 2017 New Investigator – Associate Giving Grant Fundis a grant opportunity made possible by our annual associate giving campaign. We all know the first years are so important and this grant opportunity will provide support to initiate research and complete pilot studies that can lead to building a robust research activity that will be competitive for external funding. Applications are due by midnight on April 3, 2017.
  2. The 2017 MedStar Diabetes Research Grant is an opportunity for Investigators interested in diabetes research and is made possible by a generous donation to advance diabetics’ health through research at MedStar Health. Applications are due by midnight on April 3, 2017.
  3. The 2017 Greenspring Financial Insurance Limited, Inc (GFIL) Grant Program. This grant seeks to improve patient safety and prevent avoidable patient injury at MedStar Health through projects that identify innovative ways to address prevention of losses in the areas of professional and general liability. Applications are due by midnight on April 3, 2017.
  4. GHUCCTS Pilot Translational and Clinical Studies Program. This grant supports promotion of interdisciplinary research that will translate basic findings into clinical applications and clinical research findings into community use in order to improve human health. Applications are due by COB Friday, March 10, 2017 Application submissions are on-line: Link to PTCS Application.
You can view the full guidelines and RFPs for the available Intramural Grant Opportunies on the MHRI website at

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weathering Change

Below is my monthly message for the Febrary 2017 Focus. You can view the Focus at

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.  - Jimmy Dean

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I’ve used this monthly message previously to write on the topic of change. Change is hard, change is frightening, change is inevitable and change can be very exciting – all at the same time.

For my son, if you ask him what the biggest change has been in the last year, he will tell you about starting high school. As adults, we may talk about a new job, moving into a new home, or the start of a new relationship. These are all very big things that have a tremendous effect on our life. However, what happens when the world that surrounds your private life starts to change? Well, that can raise emotions to a whole new level.

For the last several years, we at MedStar have been part of many changes – performance transformation, evolution into a distributed care delivery network, and health care payment reform, just to name a few! But to be honest, that is nothing compared to what is happening today. These last two weeks have brought some of the most significant changes this nation has ever seen. The world that surrounds our world is changing. Many folks are asking “what happens next?”

While I certainly don’t know exactly what happens next, what I do know is that when changes surround us, I look inward. I personally take comfort at foundational aspects of life - the things that are steady and can anchor and help guide us through dynamic and unpredictable times.

At the last quarterly MHRI Managers’ meeting, we heard from Dr. Evans and took comfort that the MedStar 2020 vision and strategies hold strong and will guide us through the likely changes in the healthcare agenda. Just two days ago at the MHRI Board of Directors’ meeting, I again took comfort hearing how our portfolio of research and the diversity of funding will position us well with potential changes in sponsoring agencies. And as you think about it, it makes sense — our investigative teams continue to follow through on the instincts that make research so important: verifying and validating when something does not make sense, figuring out why and how something works, innovating new solutions to problems, examining new problems and results. All of this adds up to discoveries that advance the health of our communities. This work will only become more important in times of uncertainty, and in fact, can bring great optimism and accomplishment despite other areas of unsettlement.

Yes, there will be changes in our life and yes, there will be times that the world around our daily life will change, but despite all that, we are well positioned at MedStar and MHRI.  We will not only weather the change, but excel. It’s about finding that balance between changes in the world around you and applying the foundational principles and good work within.

So with that, I hope you take some time this afternoon to keep that balance within your own life and enjoy something that is planned and regularly scheduled every year – the Super Bowl!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Representing MedStar on the World Stage

Guest Blogger: Becky Montalvo, Executive Director, MedStar Community Clinical Research Center, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, Biomarker, Biochemistry and Biorepository Core

Dr. Vanita Aroda is the Scientific Director for MedStar Community Clinical Research Center (MCCRC), where she serves as Principal Investigator for many clinical trials sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the NIH as well as commercially sponsored clinical trials.

In addition to Dr. Aroda’s very busy investigator role in MCCRC, supporting over 18 MHRI positions,  she is often sought by educational services and Sponsors to consult in her diabetes field of expertise.

One of her recent experiences was to serve as a panel member for a CME program presented by MedScape Education, entitled “Innovative Insulin Combinations: A New Strategy for the Person With T2DM”. This 3-person panel of diabetology experts included colleagues from Italy and Canada, with Dr. Aroda representing the USA and was filmed in September during the annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes held in Munich, Germany.

We are understandably focused on our work within MedStar Health, but this is but one of many examples where MHRI investigators are contributing to science and education that extends well beyond our local area, and is part of why I am proud to be part of MedStar Health Research Institute.

You can view the full panel presentation at