Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

As we welcome the new year, let us reflect on the great work we have accomplished this past year. I hope you share my excitement for the new opportunities we have to advance health in 2019!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Favorite MedStar Holiday Card

I hope everyone is having a great holiday.

We get all kinds of holiday cards but rarely have I seen one like this..... from our friends at the Burn Center with an artistic version of the MedStar helicopter flying over DC.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

MHRI...Where Everyone is a STAR!

The MHRI Associate Engagement Committee just finished hosting our annual year-end celebrations at three of our MedStar locations (UTC, MUMH and MWHC).  We had a really great time together!

This year, there was a "Wall of Fame" for associates to choose from a variety of superlatives that would compliment a fellow associate or manager. We got competitive in a game of trivia that challenged our knowledge of MedStar, movies, acronyms, and random facts.  The events also featured our service award presentations and our wonderful raffle and associate gifts!

Thank you to all of our MHRI Stars, who shine effortlessly on a daily basis and help make a difference in the lives of our patients and the organization they represent.

Thank you to the Associate Engagement Committee for planning and executing such a tremendous special event!

In case you missed the fun, take a look!

Celebrating the Holidays

In this season of joy, I would like to thank our research community for all you do to advance health. Your knowledge and compassion is a true gift to our patients and your fellow associates throughout the year.  

May you enjoy this holiday season with family and friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

MHRI at the NCURA Meetings in 2018

Guest Blogger:
Tina Stanger
Director, Office of Contract and Grant Management

As the year winds down to the last few weeks, many of us will reflect on what we’ve accomplished this past year and what we hope to accomplish in the next. As part of my own reflection, I wanted to take a moment and share how many of our associates have been participating in the global research administration community. Several MHRI associates attended the NCURA National Meeting in Washington, DC, as well as the NCURA Region II meeting in West Virginia.

In early August, NCURA held its 60th Annual Meeting of the Membership in Washington, DC, allowing several staff to take advantage of the local event.  MHRI staff attended sessions on topics related to Pre-Award Administration, Post-Award Administration, Compliance, Departmental Management, International Research Administration, Clinical Trials/Research, and Career-Skills. Attendees from MHRI included Chad League, Christiana Akede, Emily Paku, Tina Stanger, and Kiara Calbart. Emily and Tina presented “Clinical Trial Jeopardy!” for the Medical/Research track. The theme of the conference was “Demonstrating Resilience and Advancing the Profession,” and offered a keynote by Kevin Carroll from Hanger Clinic. He developed WintersGel and a prosthetic for a baby dolphin that was featured in the movie “A Dolphin’s Tale,” which ultimately led to the creation of the Hanger ComfortFlex Socket Systems used on human amputees.

In October, NCURA Region II held their annual meeting in Wheeling, West Virginia. MHRI staff spoke at every medical/clinical track session for this conference. That is correct, we ran the show this year! The following speakers were there to represent MHRI:

  • Patricia Tanjutco: “Overview of FDA’s Bioresearch Monitoring Program, Clinical Site Readiness and What to Do During Inspections”
  • Candice Vance: “My PI Was Selected For a Clinical Trial…Now What?”
  • Candice Vance, Karen Barnes, Tina Stanger: “False Claims & Clinical Trial Billing: Recent Audits & Lessons Learned”
  • Amy Crupiti, Tina Stanger: “Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials”
  • Amy Crupiti, Tina Stanger: “Is it an NIH Clinical Trial?”
  • Emily Paku, Patricia Tanjutco, Tina Stanger: “Clinical Trial Recruitment Centers: A Panel Discussion”
  • Emily Paku, Tina Stanger: “Clinical Trial Jeopardy!”

Some participants’ comments on the presentations included:

“It’s good to see that there are people that really care about important topics like this”

“All three speakers clearly have passion, extensive knowledge, as well as dedication to this work”

“One of the best sessions I’ve been to. Please think about doing a longer session on this topic.”

“This was an excellent introduction to IIT contracts. I highly recommend the speakers and the topic. I suggest they expand this into a workshop.”

I am truly proud and thankful for all our associate's efforts, whether they are attending to learn more or those who are willing to share their knowledge. Participating in professional development opportunities such as these make us more well-rounded in our knowledge, allows us to learn how our colleagues handle the same hurdles as us and makes us (MHRI) part of the global research community.

NCURA is a professional society that “advances the profession of research administration through education and professional development programs, the sharing of knowledge and experiences, and the fostering a diverse, collegial, and respected global community.” NCURA offers several avenues for education including: 3 national conferences a year, regional meetings, traveling workshops, and various webinars throughout the year. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

MHRI Around The World ... The Winner's Circle!

The MHRI Associate Engagement Committee kicked off the "MHRI Around The World" contest for a chance to have some fun with our MHRI gear!  There were some really great photos submitted and the winners were announced at the Year-End Celebrations across the system. 

There were three categories in which you could win: Furthest Location, Most Swag in One Photo, and Most Creative.

The Winners Are...

Furthest Location

(Shreejana Pokharel at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal)


                                     Most Swag in One Photo

(Oncology Research Crew at MWHC)

Most Creative

(CORE Lab at MWHC)

 Thank you to everyone who participated!
 It was fun to see all the creative photos!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Colleagues .... Friends!

It is the holiday time and that is a great opportunity to get together with those you work with in a more informal setting to enjoy just 'being' with each other.  Such was the case this weekend when a number of MHRI leaders, MedStar Teaching Scholar graduates and MedStar Research Scholar graduates got together for some wine tasting at a local vineyard (  It was so nice to meet significant others in our colleagues' life and share good food and wine and conversation.  I feel blessed to work with such nice people!

Here are some pics!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

MHRI Around The World...Who Wants To Win?

We work quite a bit at MHRI, and sometimes it's important to step back and have a little bit of fun.

The MHRI Associate Engagement Committee presents "MHRI Around the World"! I know most of you have created a rather extensive collection of MHRI gear - so, let's have some fun with it!  It doesn't require much to participate, just some humility and creativity. 

I was invited to kick-off the contest at the recent Town Halls. In case you missed it, here's my contribution.

So, how do you particiapte in the contest?

  1. Take a photo in your MHRI gear and submit your photo to by Thursday, November 29th.
  2. There are four categories:  Furthest Location, Most Swag in One PhotoMost Associates in one Photo and Most Creative
  3. Photos will be shared and winners will be announced at the Year-End Celebrations. 
I know we've gottten a few submissions so far, so don't miss your chance to join in the fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a year it's been!  Thank you all for advancing health through research at MedStar! We've been able to accomplish so many awesome things this year and we couldn't have done it without you!

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends and all of the memories that make you grateful.  I'm thankful for all you do!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Celebrating Thinking Differently at the MI2 Forum

Guest Blogger:
Emily Paku
Program Coordinator
One of my biggest takeaways from the MI2 Forum, was during Steven Johnson’s session. Johnson, innovation expert and author of ‘Farsighted’, stressed the importance of mapping out alternate scenarios when making decisions and shifting from “whether or not” to “what if”. An example he shared was the High Line in Manhattan, NY. The High Line was a high traffic railroad where freight trains transported food. In the 1980s, use of the train dwindled leaving city council asking “whether or not” they’d demolish the structure. At the same time, a resident of the community rallied neighbors encouraging the city council to preserve the structure and asked “what if” they turned the structure into a park. Today, the High Line is one of NYC’s most popular park and has stimulated real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods increasing real-estate values near the park. The decision to turn the old structure into a park was made by community members with diverse background and experiences. Johnson further clarified the importance of diversifying your own interests and hobbies to which consequently diversifies your own approach to making decisions (e.g. a MedStar Investigator during the day, a rock star at night).
With the High Line success story in mind, I left the forum thinking differently and understanding the importance of diversifying my hobbies and making future-oriented decisions. Who knows, one day you may find me performing on stage with the Foo Fighters!

Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager
Each year that I attend the Mi2 forum, I find something to takeaway with me and apply to my regular work and life. This year, I had the pleasure of attending with other MHRI associates who had never experienced the event and their fresh eyes found different parts important.
For this year, I found a few things that really resonated with me:
  • Diversity trumps ability in teams, with those teams that include a wide variety of members out-performing and producing more than teams on one type. This is tied to thinking about teams as more than just those in the room: is your idea of team inclusive enough?
  • A well designed city park can have the same long-term impact as street grids.
  • Is the 3- to 5-year plan the right approach? Perhaps using a 6-month plan and a 15-year plan, like most of silicon valley, will get me closer to where I want to be.
  • It’s not always what question you ask: it’s what causes you to ask the question in the first place.

If you are interested in learning more, the entire event was live-streamed and the videos archived. The archives of the Forum live stream videos are available here.  And over the next few weeks, the official videos of the presentations will be posted on the same site:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Seeing Innovation in Person: MedStar MindLab Events

Have you made a visit to the incredible MIND Lab at the corporate MedStar offices in Columbia? If not, I’d like to invite you to check it out soon!

Don’t miss the MIND Lab live stream presentation of Challenging Conventional Wisdom, the theme of this year’s MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) Innovation Forum on November 7, 2018. The live stream will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET with Brain Tai Chi and a light breakfast, followed by a very exciting program with speakers from both inside and outside MedStar until 3:30 p.m. ET

I encourage you to check out the #medstarmindlab on Twitter for photos and the latest excitement throughout the MedStar system! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

How Are We Using Our Time?

Below is my monthly message for the November 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today is the 100th year that American’s set their clock back one hour for daylight saving time. Initiated by an act of Congress to save on energy costs, it has become a mindless (and somewhat annoying) ritual of fall. 
Yes, it’s nice to have a little sunshine each morning on your way to work but other than that, is it really worth it? Well, perhaps that depends…
on how you use that extra hour!

Time is a precious commodity. No one, no matter how rich nor how powerful, has the ability to buy more time in their life. And what’s more, we all know how quickly time flies by–for those who have been reading these monthly messages over the years will share my surprise that my son (who I often write about such as his little league experiences or first days of school) turns 17 this month and already drives himself to school each day. How often have you said ‘where has the time gone!’

This morning when we woke up, we have gained an hour to our day. What are you going to do with that priceless gift of time? Perhaps use it to focus on your health and get some much needed sleep or some extra time at the gym? Maybe read something new and acquire the gift of knowledge. Perhaps use the time to give to others? Which loved one would relish for an extra hour of your time? If nothing else, recognize you gained an hour today and use it with purpose…even if you need to ‘bank it’ for later in the week.

The month of November brings us closer to the holiday season when we spend time with family and friends, take vacations, travel to new places, or give back to the community through donations or volunteerism. It is all about using your time with purpose.

I write this column while attending the annual AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) meeting with our Georgetown partners. The meeting opened with the inspiration of making a difference with the Dallas Street Choir (who brings homeless to stages around the world through song). Throughout the meeting, I heard about academic advances and am so proud to see how we are at the forefront with our activities at MedStar-Georgetown, from physician wellness to creating an academic health system that truly brings together the best of academics and real-world medicine. At MedStar, we are using our time wisely and we are making a difference.

Daylight saving time: it may be 100 years old today but it can be brand new for each of us by using the hour with new purpose. Enjoy the fall colors and upcoming holiday season.

Thank you!

Read Focus at

Monday, October 22, 2018

ASEFoundation Mission in WV

It's great when you can 'give back' and do it with professional friends from around the country.  That was how I felt this weekend when I volunteered with the American Soc of Echocardiography (ASE) Foundation providing free screening to over 350 people in West Virginia.

Several ASE members flew or drove into Morgantown (home of West Virginia University), where we used hand-held echo and wireless blood pressure cuffs and ECG's to perform cardiovascular screening. Among those that came through, we detected several conditions, including someone who had critical narrowing of his aortic valve (main valve leaving the heart) and will need an operation.

There was a lot of Twitter activity throughout the weekend with great pics - here are a few!
You can see/read more from the weekend on Twitter:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

MedStar-Georgetown Summer Research Capstone 2018

The MedStar-Georgetown Summer Research Capstone was held on Wednesday, October 10th at the French Embassy. This event is the culmination of the summer experience for second year medical students who received scholarships to conduct research over the summer under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This includes students who received scholarships from MedStar Health and the Georgetown Family Medicine department, stipends from the Office of the Dean at Georgetown School of Medicine, and those enrolled in the Population Health Track.

The event began with a wine reception and light hors d'oeuvres. Dr. Munish Goyal, the new director of the MedStar Summer Research Program, gave the welcome and was the moderator for the evening. He was followed by Dr. Joseph Timpone, who oversees the Dean’s stipend students. David Xiao, a current 4th year student and previous MedStar Summer Research Scholarship recipient, led the audience on a journey through his summer experience, emphasizing how it has shaped his career interest.

The main portion of the evening involved moderated poster presentations from 78 students, proudly highlighting the work they did over the 7-week summer experience. Congratulations to all students on completing a successful summer of research.  The best is yet to come! 

Learning About Safety Research at MedStar

Guest Blogger:
Eva Hochberger
Communications & Planning Manager  |  Office of Research Development, Planning & Communications

I had the opportunity recently to check out the MIND Lab space at the MedStar Health corporate offices and attend a lunch and learn by one of MedStar’s researchers, Zach Hettinger, MD, MS.

His presentation on cognitive informatics and safety research really highlighted the impact of research on patient care and what are ways that technology can be used to provide the best care to our patients.

Even for those of us who are not in a hospital, or even caring directly for patients, can benefit from the reminder that how we respond to interruptions and other stimuli is important in how well we execute our jobs. 

The threads of this research are in play across the system. A few hours after the lunch and learn, the safety moment in my meeting was one that occurred because of the ordering mechanism in the EHR. In the words of the presenter, it was an issue because we attempt to only communicate through technology, which does not always provide a clear solution for something that would be resolved by a phone call.

As a communicator, the presentation also served as an important reminder that if we make it difficult for someone to report information, it’s less likely to have a report made at all.

Dr. Hettinger is the Medical Director and Director of Cognitive Informatics, National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health.

Note from Neil: If you’d like to receive regular notifications on what events are happening through the MIND Lab, consider subscribing to the listserv here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Data Overload

Below is my monthly message for the October 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Get ready, because there is a data explosion happening in healthcare!

It was not too long ago that I would leave my weekly medical journals on my desk until I had the chance to read them. As the pile got higher and higher, I would have that constant reminder that I needed to catch up on the latest medical literature. I’ve since lost that battle, as has virtually all physicians. In fact, it is estimated that it would currently take a doctor 150 hours per week to read every piece of content published in their field of expertise.

On top of the growing amount of medical literature, much of healthcare data that was traditionally ‘unstructured’ (such as paper notes or x-ray ‘films’) is now captured digitally. And that is only the tip of the iceberg since more and more of our health data is being collected outside hospitals and clinics. How many have gotten your genetic analysis through or 23ndMe? Want a more passive and less invasive manner to collect health data? Well, our smartwatches are constantly recording heart rate, steps, and sleep patterns. In the next few years, we will likely see smart-clothes that capture respiratory rate, sweat analysis (to look at hydration status), overall activity (sleep, standing, steps, and falls), and an environmental scan (for pollutants or radiation). Smart-mirrors in your bathroom will look each morning for subtle changes such as facial dissymmetry (stroke) or early skin cancer and, combined with voice recognition, will likely be able to determine your mood and emotional well being.

All of these things create ‘data’ leading to the prediction that the amount of health data in the United States wills DOUBLE every 73 days!

So how to turn all of this ‘data’ into knowledge? Just like those journals piling up on my desk, data does us no good unless it can be converted to useful information. It is for this reason that the MHRI Board of Directors’ retreat last week was dedicated to research opportunities in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Managing all our data, across many systems (and many new sources that have not even been identified yet) is also the reason MedStar Health is investing in an enterprise data warehouse. Furthermore, our academic partners at Georgetown recently launched an Office of Health Data Science. Together, we are investing in our future and getting prepared for the data explosion in healthcare!

Let me close to remind you about another investment in our future – the Power to Heal associate giving campaign has started and every dollar designated to ‘Research at MedStar’ will go to fund the New Investigator Grants. Since we started 3 years ago, more than 15 junior investigators received these grants to collect pilot data so they can apply for external funding. This issue of FOCUS highlights many of our successes, including those that used that pilot data to get NIH, AHRQ, or foundation grants to continue their work. This money is making a difference and helping to build our next generation of investigators. It takes only a minute at

Giving: The Power to Heal | Ron Migues, MD, and Kimberley Kemp, MSA

Thank you!

Read Focus at

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Your Power to Heal at MedStar Through Research

Join me by investing in our future and the future of research at MedStar Health! Monday marked the official launch of the 2018 Giving: The Power to Heal Campaign at MedStar Health.

You are invited to participate and make a Gift of Gratitude in honor of a colleague, friend, or caregiver. Your expression of gratitude will extend beyond your daily work and positively impact our patients and their families as gifts of gratitude in support of “Research at MedStar Health” to support the New Investigator Giving Grant Fund.

The New Investigator Giving Grant Fund helps to establish the careers of investigators who are new to MedStar, advance health for patients in the communities we serve, and provide initial funding for research that can lead to external grant funding. As a result of generous contributions in the 2017 campaign, MHRI was able to fund six awards for 2018 and over 15 since we started this campaign! Learn more about the 2018 recipients here.

Participation is simple! Your gift of any size is welcome.
  • Make a commitment online at and select ‘Research at MedStar’ in the drop-down menu to direct your donation to the New Investigator Fund.
  • Text GRANT to 51555 to access the donation form and make your gift via credit card or payroll deduction.
  • Complete the commitment form and return it to Kristi Rasmussen, Director of Philanthropy for Research, at or via Interoffice Mail to MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Office of Philanthropy.
Once a gift is made, you will receive an email with the Gifts of Gratitude eCard so that you can express your gratitude to your honoree with a personal note! It is easy and can be very impactful.

Each year, more and more associates and investigators choose to make a donation to help support Research at MedStar Health. There are two videos below that highlight that spirit of gratitude. In the first video, hear from a research participant, expressing his appreciation for MedStar and our commitment to advancing health through research at MedStar. In the second, hear two of our colleagues expressing their appreciation for one another, their associates and advancing health through research at MedStar.

Thank you to those who made a commitment to Research at MedStar Health.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Meeting of the Georgetown-MedStar Scientific Council

Last week, I was part of the second meeting of the Georgetown-MedStar Scientific Council. The Council serves as a forum to bridge the research communities of Georgetown University and MedStar Health, allowing leaders from both organizations to understand the research programs at both organizations. It is a chance for us to connect on our priorities and maximize research collaboration, integration, and support across both entities.

I am a co-chair of the Council, along with Dr. Robert Clarke, Dean for Research, Georgetown University Medical Center. This most recent meeting highlighted our recent partnership on a common IRB system.

Thank you to all who attended and I look forward to more productive discussions later this year.

Thanks to Dr. Al-Refaie for his Twitter photo! @wbalrefaie

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Landmark Cardiovasular Research

With the amount of clinical research that happens around the world, only a handful get picked up by mainstream media (i.e. not science or medical focused publications). So it was all the more surprising when I saw a cardiovascular study in the New York Times that not only I was a part of, but that was also supported by the Cardiovascular Core Lab at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
You can read the NYTimes article here.

The positive patient outcomes of the COAPT study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at a recent conference prior to the article. The Core Lab served as the  imaging investigators for the ground-breaking study, for both qualifying patients to participate in the study and to determine the efficacy and safety review.

Smaller studies have been conducted to see if this device is a viable option for patients, but they have produced conflicting results. This study, with over 600 patients at 78 sites, is a milestone for treating heart failure. With the study showing positive patient outcomes and an increased quilaity of life for those patients, this research will help to advance the health of many patients in the future.

The story was also covered in MedPage today here.
Congratulations to the entire research team on this remarkable work!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What does Labor Day mean to you?

Below is my monthly message for the September 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

End of summer bbq, anyone?
(Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash)
Happy Labor Day weekend!

What does Labor Day mean to you?

For many, it is viewed as the end of summer as students head back to class.

For others, its one of the last chances to take a vacation, with more than 800,000 Washington area residents traveling 50 miles or more this weekend.

Some view it as a weekend for shopping. From end-of-season sales to routine household necessities, this is considered a big retail holiday.

In fact, Labor Day originated in 1882 in New York City with a picnic and demonstration by the Central Labor Union to recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers. It rapidly grew across 30 states when an act of Congress in 1894 made it a federal holiday to recognize and appreciate the efforts of our workforce.

On this Labor Day weekend, I’d like to thank each of you at MedStar for your dedication. MedStar continues our commitment to advance the health of our community through your work and achievements each day. None of our great work would be possible without YOU and for that, thank you!


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Labor Day 2018

This Labor Day, stop and smell the barbecue! Relax by the pool, and enjoy the last days of summer with those who motivate you to give your best at work all the time. Thank you for your commitment to our community and to advancing health. 

Happy Labor Day to you and yours from the Research Institute!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Research is Making Healthcare Safer

When we talk about medical research, most people frequently think about curing disease or increasing the quality of life of patients. Research also has the ability to inform the policy and guide change across the nation.

A report was recently released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, and the American Medical Association highlighted potential best practices when it comes to implementing and using an EHR safely in the hospital setting. You can read the report here. This collaborative work shares a framework for healthcare systems to use to identify usability-related risks to patients throughout the life cycle of EHRs, including the design, customization, implementation, and training stages.

Even more remarkable than the report itself is that in the few days it's been released, it has already been shared with the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

Congratulations to the research team on such important and wide reaching work!