Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Optimizing Recruitment through Engagement and Innovation

Guest post by Mahaya Clark, Clinical Research Coordinator, MCCRC
I attended the annual conference, “Research Participant Recruitment & Retention: What is Working Across the Nation?” on September 9th at the John Hopkins School of Nursing. The conference bought together nationwide and local research professionals, various stakeholders and study team members focusing on best practices and innovative strategies for research participant recruitment. Associates from MedStar Health Research Institute attended along with our colleagues from the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translation Science (GHUCCTS). 
We heard from notables such as Ken Getz, founder and chairman of CISCRP, about building trust, engaging communities and disseminating results as ways to engage patients in research. We learned about many exciting and innovative methods for recruitment that are being utilized across the country including social media, patient portals and deeply rooted community-engagement strategies. Dr. Sherrie Wallington of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center discussed ways we can achieve complete community involvement with our research through Community-Driven Research. She stressed not just simply conducting research and recruiting from certain communities, but truly engaging, partnering and getting the community involved and invested in research. Rose Hallam from The Ohio State University presented on cross promotional strategies for recruitment and making those avenues work together for the optimum recruitment results.
The day was full of dynamic presenters and lively cross-institutional dialogue. There were many takeaways that we could bring back to continue to advance the research done here at MHRI. It was a conference that anyone involved in clinical research would greatly benefit from. Pictured below are MHRI associates along with our GHUCCTS colleagues from Georgetown and Howard Universities.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016 National Health Research Forum

Research!America, the nation's largest non-profit public education and advocacy alliance that works to make research to improve health the nation's priority, held it annual National Health Research Forum on September 8th at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in downtown DC.  This forum had leaders from across the medical research spectrum talking about timely topic, from funding for Zika research to patient centered engagement in research design and implementation.  There were also many notable speakers including the commissioner of the FDA (Dr. Rob Califf) to the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Dr Tony Fauci).  I even had a chance to speak to the new director of AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) and one of our prior keynote speakers at our annual symposium, Dr. Joe Selby the executive director of PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute).

For those that have not been to the Newseum, it is just a few blocks from the Capitol.  This was very symbolic since most often, when you discuss advocacy for medical research the topic of federal funding and policy is brought up.  So, from my seat , in which I saw the entire room (similar to the picture above) when I looked past the room and out the windows, this is what I would see....


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Making Time

Beginning in last month, I started sharing the monthly message from MedStar Research Focus here on my blog, in addition to the newsletter. MedStar Research Focus is released the first Sunday of each month and can be viewed on StarPort.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

“So, how was your summer?”

“Go anyplace interesting for vacation?”

“Can you believe the kids are going back to school already?”

It seems that every conversation in recent days has started with a reflection of how quickly the summer passed and changes that are approaching as we go into the fall. We all seem to relish the time off we had to take a break, breathe, enjoy our family and friends and even, perhaps, to experience something entirely new and exciting.

So I ask you: Does summertime enjoyment in any way diminish our passion and commitment to our professional lives?

I remember when I was a very ambitious medical student, working on a project with a cardiologist over the summer. He always made of point (barring emergencies) of getting out of the hospital by 6pm. I remember not fully understanding it. There was more work to be done, we weren’t tired, and what could possibly be more important than our research project? What truly confused me was that this cardiologist was remarkably successful and productive. At the end of the summer, I decided to ask him about it. He shared that having dinner with his family was very important to him, that his daily evening activities gave him energy for the next day and motivated him to start a little earlier and get things done in a timely manner. In short, it provided him additional motivation and the ability to be focused and productive while at work. I ended up working with this cardiologist throughout medical school and residency (7 years) and to this day, I consider him a mentor.

Recently in the Washington Post, there was a story1 about the crazy hours Americans work. One of the most notable quotes was from Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, who, when asked about whether she really could work 130 hours in a week, answered “The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom." It brought back (really bad) memories of how my roommates in medical school taped flip cards to the bathroom walls so every minute awake could be used for studying – craziness!

Since we live in an evidence-based world, let’s look at the data. A Stanford study in 20142 showed that productivity (work completed per unit of time) starts to decrease after 50 hours/week and really plummets after 55-60 hours/week. It’s not just cognitive impairment but physical effects too. After 55-60 hours/week, stress-induced impairments like sleep deprivation, depression, drinking, diabetes and impaired memory start to increase. Of course, those are detrimental on their own, but they are also bad for quality of work. These things lead to increased absenteeism, increased turnover, and impaired judgment. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a 2015 Lancet study3 showed the most alarming warning for workaholics yet: a 13% higher risk of heart disease and a 33% higher risk of stroke than those working 40 hours/week. All of these detrimental things come with the added expense of decreased productivity leading to a Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Research is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies.”
In Bob Rosen’s book Grounded, I learned that to be successful at work, you need all aspects of your life to be healthy. Your energy needs to be managed: “ …. energy to mentally juggle priorities and tasks, energy to concentrate and think clearly, energy to manage people’s personal issues, and energy to be active...”

Personal time is vital to recharging your energy and obtaining balance, which helps us be our best at work. We have an exciting academic year ahead of us and we need the very best in everyone, so I truly hope you had a wonderful, relaxing (and re-charging) summer!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Celebrating Labor Day 2016

This Labor Day, we at the MedStar Health Research Institute celebrate the contributions and achievements of our associates and all American workers.

From our nation's factories, corporations and small businesses, to our first responders, hospital teams and military bases, we celebrate your perseverance, strength and talent that are key to the freedom and prosperity we enjoy.  We are proud to contribute to this productivity by creating knowledge through research and applying that knowledge in a clinical setting -  in short, advancing health through research!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rooted in Good Health

It’s great when research is brought to the next generation!

Health for America, part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, is a group of young adults, tackling a health challenge that affects the national community. The goal of the fellowship is to “create an innovative solution that will improve lives” and they have certainly done that for our community.

The four fellows were led by MHRI’s own Michelle Magee, MD, director of the MedStar Diabetes Institute, based at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

A Well-Rooted pantry delivery and recipe
WellRooted is a way for those living with diabetes to create a meal that is a healthy option for them. They can either cook a diabetes friendly meal at home or have a full meal delivered. In working with the MedStar Diabetes Institute and the tech incubator 1776, the fellows have created a plan that works for folks who are willing and able to cook their own meals and for those who may want to have full meals delivered.

The program is being piloted at both MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Great work to all those involved and I can’t wait to see what the next group of fellows (focusing on stroke) innovate for our community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hitting Your Health Out of the Park

I’ve written before about using the treadmill desk at the Core Lab, and many of you know that my son is an avid baseball player. The MHRI commitment to wellness has brought us a new event: the Home Run for Health Challenge!

On September 12, we are all challenged to hit “home runs”, which is measured as 10,000 steps. Those steps can be earned through your daily work walking around the hospital, running errands for your family or by adding just a little more walking to your day.

But, maybe you swim instead of walking. Or maybe you take a spin class. What’s great about this challenge is that you are able to utilize the portal on MedStarMyHealth.org to convert that exercise into steps.

For each week you participate, you are eligible for two raffle prizes each week, along with three grand prizes at the end of the event. The weekly raffle prizes are at the entity level, so MHRI associates will have 18 chances to win a prize throughout the course of the event! In order to be eligible for prizes, you must track your activity for at least 3 days each week and you must log the information at least once a week.

Registration opens on August 29. Once registration opens, just go to MedStarMyHealth.org > MyHealth Central > Health Tools > Wellness Event Registration. But, you have to register before September 11!

I look forward to hearing about the great ways that you are taking care of your health!

If you have any questions, please contact the wellness committee at MHRI-Healthy4Life@medstar.net.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Future of Textbooks is in Our Hands (and on our phones!)

With all the rapid changes happening in medicine, information in textbooks is often out of date even before the book gets printed. Research studies, which share new information, are changing what we know about medical practice constantly. With the success of the studies completed at MedStar and around the world, staying on top of all the information available to doctors and nurses could be a full-time job. If only there was a textbook that was current on the new trends?

Well, to keep you up to date in your medical knowledge, MedStar Health has bought a system-wide license for UpToDate, the first online textbook that is updated every three months with the newest information for clinicians. UpToDate is an evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support resource that now all MedStar clinicians can access from any internet browser or mobile device.

One great feature is the “What’s New” section that breaks down updates for each specialty, so our clinicians aren’t spending as much time looking for new information; it’s right at their fingertips!

To help showcase the new service, MedStar Academic Affairs will coordinate registration events with entity libraries; however you can register today by completing the following instructions:
  1. Go to www.uptodate.com from any MedStar computer, via the MedStar Network (not the Guest Network).
  2. Click “Register” in the top-right corner and sign-up as a new user.
  3. Once you’ve signed up from a VPN-verified server, you may download the UpToDate mobile app for your iOS, Android or Windows 8 device, and access the service from your home or office computer. 
You can find more information about the service on the MedStar Academic Affairs website.

Disclosure -  I am an author for several chapters in UptoDate and have been since the electronic textbook was created about 15 years ago.