Monday, January 29, 2018

Celebrating the Teaching & Research Scholars Capstone

What a wonderful evening!

Last Thursday, I attended the MedStar Health Teaching & Research Scholars Capstone. What a remarkable display of academic faculty commitment to the pursuit of new knowledge and inquiry to advance health through research and teaching.

The event began with a poster session and reception. There were many medical education and clinical research studies from a variety of specialties and from across the system. 

In addition to the posters presented by all scholars, two “graduating” scholars presented their work. Hunter Groninger, MD, from the palliative care team, presented his work on teaching effective communication with the MWHC rapid response team. Chukwuemeka Ihemelandu, MBBS, presented his work on searching for better therapeutic approaches for colorectal cancer patients by using microscopic imaging. Both of these presentations were the results of a two-year-long effort.

Following this, the graduating scholars were presented with their AAMC Medical Education Research (MERC) and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificates. They were joined by the CENTILE fellows who also completed the LEAD program, and the Georgetown medical students in the Medical Education Research Scholar Track Program, who completed MERC. New MedStar Members of the Teaching Academy were recognized along with those who have moved from one level to another.

Of course, the event wouldn't be complete without hearing from our very own Stephen Evans, MD, Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs, who always challenges us to think outside the box. Referencing a recent NEJM article on physician burnout, he reminded us that we need to find something that is meaningful and rewarding in our work and the work presented at this event is our "warm blanket and hot cocoa on a chilly, winter night". That imagery highlights the importance of programs like this for the future academic leaders at MedStar Health.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A New Way to Track Your Health

A screenshot of the new app Credit: Apple

Research and innovation frequently go together. As we make discoveries in healthcare, our goal is to use that information to advance the health of our patients today and tomorrow.
In order to make our health care better, MedStar Health has joined in with other providers to work with Apple to be the first institutions to be a part of the new Apple Health Records app, allowing patients to see their medical records on their iPhone.

While the app is still in beta testing, I’m proud to be a part of the group of early adopters. Making it easy for patients to access their medical records can help them have better outcomes and a better understanding of their care.

You can read the Apple press release here. The story was also covered in Healthcare DIVE,  Healthcare IT News, and Business Insider.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Somebody has to do it . . .

So how does a cardiology nerd spend a week off from work?

Yup.....  Echo Hawaii!

 As you can see from the brochure, I had the privilege of being the course director for this longstanding course run by the Am Soc of Echocardiography  which provides a great blend of education and fun.  Throughout the course, the participants were busy on Twitter at #echoHawaii.  Here are a few representative tweets:

 Although these two are my favorites - one shows the blend of science and scenic beauty as we had our poster abstract session outside as the sun was setting.  The other tweet makes fun of the fact that all of the faculty in the front row were wearing Hawaiian shirts.

However, not caught on Twitter was a bunch of cardiology nerds taking a picture of the sunset at the same time!

Monday, January 8, 2018

What We Accomplished in 2017

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It seems that every newspaper, TV show, and magazine is doing a recap of “the top” things from 2017 these days. Life can go by quickly and I have found some of the year-in-reviews provide an appreciation for the number of events that can occur – especially in our 24-hour news cycle!
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
These recaps reminded me of a conversation I had with an MHRI manager who was frustrated because there were so many things she felt she needed to get done. I asked her to take a moment and come to my computer where I pulled up a document I keep on my desktop. When I started my current position, someone suggested that I create a living document of accomplishments for the year and pull it out whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. It is one of the best pieces of advice I got. We work so hard and get so many things done but our ”results-oriented” personalities tend to focus more on what is left to do.

So, heeding that advice from 10 years ago, here are some research accomplishments at MedStar Health from this past year that we can all be proud of:
  • Created new knowledge through research that was shared in over 1000 peer-review publications and range from new cardiovascular devices to wearable sensors in contact sports to healthcare disparities in surgical outcomes.
  • Nearly 1000 MedStar associates conducted research at 40 MedStar sites in dozens of clinical service lines – this has helped advance the health of our patients, elevate the level of care we provide and enhance our reputation as a site for excellent care
  • Received grant funding for a wide range of clinical and health services research that improve the care of our patients. For example, our Human Factors research team, led by Dr. Raj Ratwani, received grants from AHRQ and Pew Foundation this year to study how to improve patient safety with the use of electronic health records.
  • Our broader philanthropic community demonstrated their commitment and trust by investments in our research including:  1) a multi-million dollar bequest, 2) $500K donation by a single grateful patient for thyroid cancer research and 3) approximately $1M raised toward a new health economics and aging research institute based at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.
  • Made major investments in our research infrastructure, in strong collaboration with Georgetown University Medical Center, launching a new CTMS (clinical trial management system) with unified processes and approximately a dozen new joint policies with Georgetown. 
  • Advanced the MedStar–Georgetown partnership with the evolution of our Scientific Advisory Board into an Academic Council, with a reporting structure to both MedStar and Georgetown executives and Boards.
  • Continued our commitment to becoming an ‘Academic Health System’ and started to get national recognition for this work (e.g., Modern Healthcare viewpoint).
  • For the first time, we transformed our annual MedStar Health Research Symposium into the look and feel of a national conference and combined it with a first-ever system-wide resident research day. The Symposium was attended by over 800 MedStar associates.
  • None of these things could be accomplished without our MHRI associates, a talented and wonderful team of research professionals. Once again, MHRI achieved an engagement score over 80 on the associate survey, which further supports that we are committed and excited to advance health through research at MedStar.
Thank you for a great year! I hope you share my pride and excitement for what is ahead. Stay warm and let’s get started on our list for 2018!


Read Focus at

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Speaking Out For Diabetes Education

Guest Blogger:
Joan Bardsely MBA, RN CDE FAADE
Assistant Vice President, Nursing and Clinical Research Integration

I had the honor of being the “talent” at an event recently and it was a new experience for me!

I was a speaker at the recent “Swirl and Chords” event, held at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. I joined models and musicians to help bring awareness to the community on diabetes. This event benefited the American Diabetes Association.
It was a fantastic event and really highlighted the importance of education and awareness in our community. And since not everyone could attend, my speech is below.

I look forward to continuing to spread the message of education.


It is a pleasure to be here at this marvelous event.
This event brings together a diverse group of people who can all have an impact on diabetes in our community. Each one of you came to see beautiful fashions, but also to support the efforts of American Diabetes Association. For that I thank you.  
Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe that education must be the weapon to change the impact of diabetes in our communities. Diabetes self-management education and support have been shown to impact control of diabetes as much as medication and only has the side effect of better health!  
It is not a onetime event. Research has shown that those who participate n diabetes education at diagnosis, annually, during transitions in care and if complications occur have the best outcomes. 
While most people understand that they have a choice in the fashions they wear, they are not always aware that they have a choice in taking control of their diabetes. Diabetes education is a standard of care as described by the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Diabetes educators want the best for all their patients. One of the things that makes me most upset is when I see someone for the time and they say after the visit: How come I wasn’t sent to an educator before? How come I didn’t know how to take better care of my diabetes?  
I would like you to walk away from this evening with something to share. Take with you the knowledge that there is a community of diabetes educators, providers and the ADA who want to help. For those with diabetes, ask your doctor for a referral. If you know someone with diabetes, ask if they have had the weapon of education. 
Help make education about the difference in our communities and the lives of people living with diabetes. 
Thank you and enjoy the show!