Friday, September 27, 2019

An HBO Documentary Comes to MedStar Health

Guest Blogger
Katie Carlin, MBA
Senior Director, Business Development and Planning
MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety (MIQS)
September 19 is an evening I will never forget. MedStar Health welcomed writer, comedian and director, Steve Burrows to lead a screening of his award-winning HBO documentary, Bleed Out. The harrowing film follows the personal journey of the Burrows family after a routine hip replacement surgery leaves Steve’s mother, Judie, in a coma with permanent brain damage. What starts as a personal video diary becomes a 10-year account of the deep problems of America’s current healthcare system with a focus on medical error – the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Confronted with agonizing “deny and defend” practices by the treating healthcare system, the documentary serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and open and honest communication with patients and families.  At MedStar, we work hard every day to establish a culture of safety and high reliability and after viewing Bleed Out we are reminded just how important it is to “do the right thing.” After viewing the film, Steve and his wife Margo took part in a poignant question and answer session and most memorable, received a standing ovation from the MedStar leaders for their courageous work.

For me personally, I reflect on the evening with great pride as it reinforces the resilient vision and effort of our leaders, nurses, doctors, front-line staff, and quality and safety researchers who help MedStar continually improve - CANDOR implementation, “We Want to Know,” Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care, and many other quality and safety research projects that extend across the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MHRI, Mi2, and MIQS are a testament to MedStar’s unique research and innovation environment.

For Steve, this is what he had to say:
“We were utterly astonished to receive a standing ovation for BLEED OUT from the esteemed doctors and executives that make up the MedStar leadership.

And we are moved by MedStar's incredible philosophy in how they practice medicine. This is how it's supposed be, folks. It was an evening we will NEVER forget. #WeStandWithJudie”

I encourage you to see the film – available on HBO and Amazon Prime and reach out to the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety ( if you would like to bring a screening to your site!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2020 MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research Symposium

Mark your calendars now for the 2020 MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research Symposium on April 6, 2020, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. This annual event supports our continuous effort to become a leading academic health system, while celebrating innovation, inspiration and investment in research and academics.


The Research Symposium showcases the diverse and wide-ranging research activities of investigators, residents and associates from across our system. More than 1,000 guests attended this year’s event, which featured 400 abstracts and highlighted our unique partnership with Georgetown University in building a collaborative academic community.  

The 2020 Research Symposium is a full-day event, beginning with presentations from educators in the health professions, followed by educational sessions hosted by experts from MedStar and Georgetown University. Resident oral presentations, scientific poster presentations and speakers take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the main ballroom.


From bench to bedside and into the community, our research and education efforts are advancing health and providing better and more effective care for our patients.


Thank you for planning to attend this important event that supports our ability to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

McCourt School of Public Policy - Georgetown Medical Center - MedStar Health

Together with Dean Maria Cancian, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a faculty collaboration dinner between Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown Medical Center and MedStar Health.  This dinner brought together twenty of the nation’s leading researchers across both organizations in areas such as health policy, health law, health economics, health equity, social determinants of health, health insurance, access to care, health services research, high-risk and under served populations, outcomes research and healthcare utilization.

As I listened to each faculty member share their research interests, the pride in the work being done by our research community was overwhelming! Dean Cancian and I are excited about the new connections made, budding collaborations, and the tremendous opportunities that will come from bringing the broader Georgetown - MedStar research together in such a meaningful way.  We’ve already identified opportunities for collaboration including data linkage, pilot projects, large grant proposals, and policy analyses.

I am excited about the future and so pleased to have new partners such as Dean Cancian.  A special thanks to John Monahan for initiating the introduction and for his vision of broader collaboration across campus-health system!

Cerner Research Leadership Forum

Last week Cerner, one of the largest electronic health record (EHR) companies, brought together research leaders from healthcare systems across the country that use the Cerner EHR.  During this meeting, Cerner shared information about 'next generation' EHR's and then, with the help of scientific advisors from Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), made the case for the need for pragmatic research and evidence adoption.  Then, they offered up a solution: An EHR-enabled Learning Health Network. By using some of the new functionality Cerner has built, to share de-identified data in a secure manner without burdening the local sites, there is potential for the Cerner healthcare systems to come together to collaborate on research.  This is an exciting possibility which can support investigator-initiated studies, multi-study clinical trials and population science.

In the picture above, I took part in a panel discussion discussing the potential uses and barriers for such a Learning Health Research Network with the DCRI leaders, Drs. Ann Marie Navar and Eric Peterson (both cardiologists by the way!) and Dr.James Breeling from the Veterans Health Administration who is installing Cerner across all the VA hospitals.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Research Compliance Resources

What do you think of when you think “research support”? Most would probably think of funding searches, proposal support, IRB requirements. At MedStar, part of that is also Research Compliance.

We’ve launched a new page on our MHRI website with all you need to know about research compliance at MedStar. You can view the page here:

Check back soon as we are working to include FAQs on many of the topics listed to make your work as researchers easier. If you have questions, you can contact the Research Compliance Program at

Monday, September 9, 2019

Team Building for Pre- and Post-Award Associatesat MHRI

It was several years ago that we talked about research as a team sport at our fall town halls. With MHRI associates located at multiple sites in a variety of roles, it can be hard to identify who is playing on the team.
Tina Stanger, Assistant Vice President, Research Administration, and Grant Gonzalez, Director, Financial Operations, oversee the pre- and post-award contracts and financial process for research at MedStar. This includes our contracts & grants team, the sponsored award administrators, and the finance team. They work closely with clinical research revue cycle team.
This internal team is also supported by members of the corporate team, mostly from the corporate finance team. Tina & Grant brought together all their team members with our collaborators to close out the last fiscal year as a team and start off the new fiscal year on a positive note.
In addition to the meeting, they also took the time to connect with each other and play a rousing game of Family Feud on the Wii!

Some members of the winning team with their trophy

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fresh Starts and New Perspectives

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Happy Labor Day weekend!

It is officially the end of summer and the start of the new school year. As the kids go back to school and reunite with their friends, the classic opening line is ‘what did you do this summer?’ Vacation? Travel? A new project? Maybe you finally got a chance to clean out the closet or fix that leaky sink. Or did you go for some down-time by the water and enjoy a new book? Summer seems to be a time to explore new things, catch up on life and expand our horizons.

Last week I returned from a fun and fascinating trip to Vietnam. It gave me a whole new perspective on what is possible.

I was invited to present at the Vietnam national cardiology conference, visit some of their hospitals and lecture at a new medical school (see pictures on my blog,
Notes from Neil). The most remarkable thing was how far their medical care has come in a relatively short period. You see, I was in the country 20 years ago, introducing cardiac ultrasound to a newly opened ‘Heart Hospital’ in Hanoi. Since then, they have left a third world-medical environment that operated with very limited technology, few medications, ‘open’ hospital design with one big room per hospital floor, and with medical knowledge a full generation behind.

Hanoi now has 2 Heart Hospitals (each with approximately 400 beds dedicated to cardiology), a modern cardiac surgery and interventional program, and some state-of-the-art machines. This transformation became very personal when I met Dr. Hoai Nguyen, the Vice Director of Bach Mai Hospital (Vietnam National Heart Institute). I first met Dr. Nguyen 20 years ago when I went there to help train them on their first cardiac ultrasound machine; she now has a fully functional lab with 16 machines and 8 physicians, doing more ultrasounds than most US hospitals! And it is not just the technology – the digital age and accessibility of knowledge via the internet has allowed these medical professionals to be among the brightest and most up-to-date doctors I have met anywhere. They have done all of this with a national medical program serving over 90 million people (in a country the size of California) with a cap on expenditure at approximately $3000 per patient per year. While that means there are still ‘wards’ with a dozen patients in one room, the quality of care is impressive. In short, I was inspired by their dedication, hard work, and reluctance to settle for second-class medicine despite continued headwinds. What I learned from the experience is that if there is the will, there is a way!

I hope your summer was refreshing, in some manner, for your body and/or mind. I look forward to the start of the new ‘school-year’ and the things we will learn together.

P.S. Mark your calendars now for Monday, April 6, 2020, for the 2020 MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research Symposium! View the flyer here.

Read Focus at

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Labor Day 2019

This Labor Day, please join us in recognizing our associates, and all MedStar Health assocaites, for their hard work and dedication to advancing patient care. We appreciate all that they do!

Have a happy, healthy, and safe Labor Day!