Monday, July 30, 2018

MedStar Investigator Performs at Concert with Foo Fighters!

Dr. Lew Schon is a talented orthopedic surgeon and an internationally recognized clinical investigator but did you know he is also a 'rock star' in the literal sense?

That is right, for the SECOND TIME, Dr. Schon was invited up onto stage in Boston's Fenway Park to perform with the Foo Fighters.

The band's front man, Dave Grohl broke his ankle in 2015 and had a chance to get to know Dr. Schon.  They have remained close ever since.  That, combined with the 'bigger than life' attitude, made it a natural for this MedStar investigator to get up on stage.  See the fun video at the Baltimore Sun link

Congratulations Lew - looks like you had a lot of fun with it!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cerner Research Summit

I just returned from Kansas City this past week where several MedStar - Georgetown research colleagues attended Cerner's Research Summit.  Cerner is the electronic health system (EHR) MedStar uses across its inpatient and ambulatory locations.  Built within the  EHR is 'PowerTrials' to support our research activity.  MedStar went live with PowerTrials in February providing information in the 'bannar bar' and 'tabs' if the patient is on research and giving alerts to the clinicians and to the research team when the patient comes to the emergency room.

Given that many of Cerner's clients are big academic health care systems, they decided to bring us together to share best practices and discuss new initiatives /  enhancements to their system. We heard about innovative approaches to cohort identification from Indiana University, about merging data from disparate EHR's from the 'DC Cohort' and about enabling the learning health system (across different health systems) from Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Overall, it was very informative and a great opportunity to network with other like-minded health systems.  And of course, if you are out of town with your colleagues, you have to find a place to have a little food and wine!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Updates on Our Diabetes Research

One of the goals we set forth in our operating goals for FY 18 was to extend the reach and offerings of our lunch and learns. Earlier this year, we partnered with our human resources department to present on our educational/professional development assistance programs.

To close out our fiscal year, the Associate Engagement Committee (who has been spearheading the growth of our lunch and learns) invited Sue Shapiro, BSN, RN, CCRC, a long-time associate of MHRI, to share an update on one our diabetes research programs. The NIDDK-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and ongoing DPP Outcomes Study (DPPOS) are major studies that changed the way people approach Type 2 diabetes prevention worldwide. Sue is the program manager for the DPPOS at MedStar Health.

With nearly 20 people in the room and 20 more on our “live-streamed” WebEx, it was great to hear about the impact of this research on how we approach diabetes care today. Thanks to Sue and all the members of the DPP/DPPOS teams who are advancing health!

With our new technology, we were also able to record the session! If you missed the presentation, you can view the video here.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

MHRI Actively Participates and Leads at MAGI

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

In late May, MAGI held its east coast conference in Arlington, VA.  Our MHRI associates showed up in numbers to speak and learn about advances and regulation changes for commercial clinical trials. Attendees from MHRI included Colleen Kelly, Karen Barnes, Amy Crupiti, and Tamika Samuel. Here’s what our associates had to say about the conference:
  • This was my first time attending the MAGI conference and I hope it will not be my last! The conference provided dozens of workshops and sessions for site management, regulatory, contracts, operations, etc. and also provided a unique opportunity to network with experts in all aspects of the clinical trial field. I especially enjoyed attending the Sponsor and CRO panel discussion about the start-up and selection process for ‘Super Sites’.” Colleen Kelly
  • “I enjoyed attending sessions from non-contract clinical tracks (ie-regulatory and budgets). It helped give me a more well-rounded view of clinical studies.” Amy Crupiti
  • “I found the MAGI conference to be extremely educational and I enjoyed hearing the Sponsor perspective on contracting for clinical research. The environment was very productive and provided many opportunities for participants to mingle with Sponsors and CRO’s.” Karen Barnes
  • “This was my first experience as an attendee at the MAGI conference. As a new MedStar Health employee in a clinical research role, I was thrilled at the breadth of topics that were presented. I especially enjoyed the camaraderie of the individuals and the ability to network with a number of clinical research experts. Additionally, I was thrilled to realize that all of the presentations were available for review after the conference, especially for talks and workshops that I was not able to attend." Tamika Samuel

MHRI had at least one person speaking on each day of the conference, including the workshop days. MHRI speakers co-presented with colleagues from UNC, Yale, Abbvie, PFS Clinical, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, UVA, Ankura, Ohio State, and several independent law and consulting firms. Speakers representing MHRI included:
  • Mary Anne Hinkson: Billing Compliance Jeopardy
  • Candice Vance: Billing Compliance
  • Chad League: Managing Risk: Subject Injury and Insurance
  • Andrew Carter: Into the Abyss: Subject Injury and Indemnification
  • Tina Stanger: Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trials
  • Kate Cohen: sIRB, Common Rule, and FDA- Managing Different Regulatory Standards
  • Maureen McNulty: Regulatory Inspections of Research Sites

Some participants’ comments on the our MHRI-led presentations included:
  • “Well organized. One of my favorite sessions and I exclusively attended contract courses.”
  • “Great real-life examples on subject injury.”
  • “Extremely useful information that I will take back to our organization for investigator-initiated agreements”
  • “Good presentation with lots of helpful info”
  • "Excellent suggestions for making a billing compliance program successful"
MAGI is a professional organization that strives to streamline “clinical research by standardizing best practices for clinical operations, business, and regulatory compliance.” Their conferences offer tracks in site management, regulatory, clinical operations, contracting, budgeting, and special topics. To find out more about MAGI visit

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Celebrating Independence Day

With respect and honor, MHRI celebrates the freedom and independence of all Americans. We honor and give thanks to the men and women who served and continue to serve our country to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Wishing you all in the MHRI extended family a very happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Our Community

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On Friday night, friends and neighbors gathered to march down Annapolis’ Main Street to remember the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting. I have called Annapolis home for the last several months and I would be remiss if I didn’t address this tragedy in my monthly message.

The Maryland House Speaker said, “These people were husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They didn’t come from someplace else. They were dedicated to our community.” Gun violence has become all too common but when it strikes home, it takes on more meaning. And when it strikes good people, who are quietly and diligently doing their job that serves society, it is heartbreaking.
Victims of Capital Gazette shooting in
Annapolis. Learn more about them

Each of the victims has a rich life-story that transcends their work and dedication to the community. ‘Big Rob’ Hiaasen was a generous coach and mentor to young reporters and had “a special insight into people’s lives and their character.” John McNamara (‘Mac’ as he preferred) was the sports writer with “an infectious laugh” who had extensive knowledge of regional sports and was “a jack of all trades,” lending a hand whether it was to write, edit, or design the news pages. Gerald Fischman was the conscience of the paper with insightful and ‘exacting’ editorials. According to the editor, “he had a higher calling.” Beyond the newsroom, Wendi Winters was a proud Navy mom, a church youth adviser, a Red Cross volunteer, and a Girl Scout leader. She may have been best known for her generosity sharing delicious baked treats. And then there was Rebecca Smith, a recent hire who was the youngest victim at 34 years old. Her boss described her as “kind and considerate” and how “she really enjoyed to be working in the media business.”

Hearing about the victims’ stories demonstrated a workplace that was truly transformed into a community, a commitment to their career, and a dedication to a cause, much like I wrote about last month.

A shooting is the extreme of workplace violence. And while it remains statistically very rare, it is wake-up call for the risks we face every day. While violence is (thankfully) uncommon, I recently learned that a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work. In fact, healthcare workers face more hazards on the job and have a high number of days away from work each year due to safety-related issues than construction workers! Almost half the injuries are overexertion/back injuries (48%). That is followed by slips, trips and falls (25%), and then contact with sharp objects (25%). Violence (9%) and exposure to hazardous substances are far less common (4%).

I am proud that MedStar Health has launched an associate safety program. Safety is critical to everything we do at MedStar Health—not only for our patients but for ourselves. We are working to enhance workplace safety through awareness, training, and approaches for improved reporting and injury tracking. Our goal is to not only prevent associate injuries but also reduce hazards and risks that contribute to injury.

As we go into the 4th of July holiday, let’s all be safe both at home and at work. As well-stated by the Curtis National Hand Center team—we “don’t want your business” due to an injury! Watch out for your family’s safety at home and your colleagues’ safety at work. They are our community and together we work toward the meaningful cause of caring for people and advancing health.

Enjoy this coming holiday, be safe and keep the Gazette associates in your heart.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Science and Technology

Even as an academic cardiologist in the midst of cutting edge research, I still get amazed at how fast technology is moving.  Last week I attended my annual cardiac ultrasound society meeting and was inspired by how people are applying virtual reality and new types of artificial intelligence. To the right is a picture of me with my VR glasses on 'walking into' a 3D ultrasound image of the heart.  Could the days of looking at images on screens be going away?

The other area that will revolutionize image interpretation (and probably the practice of medicine) is machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).  We all experience when we use Google or Siri or Facebook or Amazon.  Somehow, they know what we are looking for before we even finish typing.  That is because it learns from our prior use of the app.  In the same way, machines can learn form thousands (and sometimes millions) of interpretations of medical images and give probabilistic interpretations much, MUCH faster and often more accurately than a human.  Scary!  Below, I was honored to be a judge on a 'shark tank' like competition of three start up companies in the cardiac ultrasound (echo) world.  All three had AI solutions for the future.  Exciting times ahead and a huge opportunity for research.