Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Celebrating SPIRIT

Each quarter at MHRI, we select a recipient for our SPIRIT of Excellence Award. This award is for an assocaite who explifies the the MedStar Health SPIRIT values (Service, Parient first, Innovative, Respect, Integrity, Teamwork). 

This week, Dr Jamie Padmore (VP of Academic Affairs) and I presented the award to Allison Selman-Lovell, the program lead for research & education initiatives.  I have had the pleasure of working directly with Allison for several years and was particularly pleased to see her receive this distinction. Allison oversee’s several different programs, especially ones that link MedStar research and education to Georgetown. She single handedly makes sure everything is organized and runs smoothly for the MedStar Teaching Scholars, the MedStar Research Scholars, the Georgetown-MedStar summer research internships and the joint research and educational councils, just to name a few. Yes, Allison is very, very busy!  

However, Allison did not receive this award for WHAT she does but rather for HOW she does it. Everyday, Allison comes to work with a smile inside and out. No matter what is happening that day, regardless of how busy things get, she is always willing to help out. Her positive attitude is uplifting and infectious. Allison always puts others first and makes sure any issue is completely resolved. In the last few years she has touched hundreds and hundreds of people, showing them the best of MHRI!

THANK YOU Allison for being who you are and sharing that throughout MHRI and Georgetown!  And congratulations!

For the first quarter of the calendar year, for the first time, we presented the award to a team. You can read about the Ryan White team here.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Advances in Medical Care in Vietnam

Twenty years ago I was part of a small group of cardiologist that went to the Behn Vien Bach Mai (Vietnam National Heart Institute) to bring balloon mitral valvuloplasty (a cath lab procedure to treat mitral stenosis, a heart valve disease from rheumatic fever).  At the time, there was one person who did cardiac ultrasound and they had one machine that was about 15-20 years behind US standards.

Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to that hospital, seeing the remarkable advances (cardiac surgery, ICU's, echo lab with 16 machines and contemporary capabilities).  I also had a chance to visit a few other hospitals and a new medical school.  It was great to see medical care catapult to contemporary levels, albeit with cultural differences.  For example, there are still 'wards' with dozens of patients in one room and the need for advanced heart care at expert hospitals is still very high - to the point they continue to occasionally have 2 patients share one bed!

One thing that did not change - the people.  Everyone was friendly, professional, hospitable and gracious hosts.

Here are some pictures:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Study Information Portal: A New Way to Find Research at MedStar

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

I’m excited to share a new resource for finding clinical trials throughout MedStar! Several years ago, we launched our Clinical Trials Management System, OnCore, for the research that is happening across the system. One of the benefits of this system that was most interesting to me was the ability to have the information about currently enrolling trials embedded on our website.

When you click on a protocol number,
more information is available to the
user about the study.
The new Study information Portal is updated in real-time with OnCore. It allows users to browse by PI, location or age group or use the search field to find studies by research area. It’s a great resource for patients who are looking to participate in research and for clinicians to find potential studies for their patients.

If you find a study you are interested in, you can find more information by clicking on the protocol number. 

The portal is accessible directly from the MHRI homepage, with the blue button that says “Find a Trial”.

Thank you to Allie Moses, who spearheaded the project from our side, and the corporate digital team for their support in making this happen.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Call to Action

Below is my monthly message for the August 2019 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I had planned a great monthly message for you this week about artificial intelligence (AI). I was going to tell you about this fascinating conference I just came back from at University of Oxford and how MedStar investigators are making wonderful contributions studying the use of AI and machine learning to advance health through research. And then, I was going to top it off with the fact that MedStar is already starting to gain national recognition for this work, exemplified by a quote in Eric Topol’s new book Deep Medicine, where he calls MedStar Health out as a leading example!

That is the message I have been writing in my mind all week and it would have been exciting and uplifting…until this morning.

This morning, I woke up to the terrible news of two mass shootings in less than 24 hours. One of these shootings occurred in a mall as families were doing their back to school shopping. Just as the Annapolis shootings did
last year
, this one struck home. Just yesterday, David (my son) and I were browsing the shops in preparation for school. As we did this, I started reminiscing how, as a rising high school senior, this could be our last ‘back-to-school-shopping’ – but never in a million years could I imagine that it would be the last because of a shooting in such an innocent place as the mall.

So for my monthly message, I have a new, simple and important message. If you haven’t already, please go to the
MedStar Starport page on what to do if there is an active shooter/Code Silver and watch the video. We all hope and pray that we will never need to use this information, but hope is not a plan. If the unimaginable ever happens, whether at work or with our family, we need to be prepared. This short video is the first step in getting prepared. For the sake of your loved ones and for those we care for at MedStar, please watch the video

While it is a sad morning for our country in this regard, if it calls us to action individually and as a society then something good will come of it. Please call yourself to action and watch the video, have those you work with watch the video and share it with those you care most about.

We do great things every day so let us make sure we plan for the worse as we work together to create the best of healthcare for the future. I look forward to advancing health with you and the generations to come.


Read Focus at