Friday, April 18, 2014

US Lacrosse-MedStar Health Webcast "ACL and Head Inuries"

Its springtime and that means our minds move towards the outdoors and sports!

If someone were to ask what are some of the "hot" topics in the sports medicine world today, at the top of the list would certainly be head injuries and ACL knee injuries.

The US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, in partnership with MedStar Sports Medicine, will present two 30 minute informational sessions on Wednesday evening, May 21 featuring a panel of medical experts to discuss both head injuries and ACL knee injuries. Included panelists are MedStar Health Research Institute's own Dr. Andrew Lincoln, ScD with MedStar collaborators  Dr. Andrew Tucker, MD;  Dr. Milford H. Marchant Jr. MD; and Justin Cooper, PT, MPT, alongside a team of highly-esteemed experts from US Lacrosse. The webcast will be moderated by Dr. Richard Y. Hinton, MD, MPH. 

The sessions will be presented via live webinar, starting at 7pm, and will also be recorded for later review following the original presentation. 

Session 1: ACL Injuries: Treatment and Prevention
Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00-7:30 p.m.

Session 2: The Facts On Head Injuries in Lacrosse
Wednesday, May 21 at 7:30-8:00 p.m.

You can find more information on the webcasts here:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Face2Face™ gives hope to patients with Bell's palsy

Guest Blogger: Stephen Kinsey, MBA is the Director of MedStar Inventor Services at the MedStar Institute for Innovation.

As Director of MedStar Inventor Services, I meet many creative people who are passionate about their inventions. Jodi and Gincy are two of the most passionate, enthusiastic and fun inventors I work with.

Jodi Barth, PT and Gincy Stezar, PTA care for patients suffering from idiopathic facial palsy. The condition, also known as Bell’s palsy, paralyzes half of the patient’s face virtually overnight; but patients who exercise their facial muscles recover more quickly. Jodi and Gincy noticed that their patients were emotionally distressed while practicing facial exercises with a mirror. The psychological impact of seeing a newly asymmetric face leads patients to avoid looking in mirrors and, as a result, avoiding exercise. To address the emotional impact of exercising with a mirror, Jodi and Gincy invented a book with mirrors on both inside covers called Mirror Book which allows patients to focus on the goal of a symmetric face. The patient positions the book such that the healthy side of the face is reflected in one mirror while the other mirror is aligned with the nose along the sagittal plane. The Mirror Book creates the illusion of a symmetric, “normal” face by reflecting the unaffected side onto the sagittal mirror. Using this technique, patients become enthusiastic and hopeful as they perform their exercises.

Knowing that this product needed to reach more patients, Jodi and Gincy contacted MedStar Inventor Services. In evaluating the commercial potential for the product, the MedStar Institute for Innovation team decided to commercialize not only the Mirror Book, but also transform it into an iPad App called Face2Face™. Face2Face™ will track the patient’s progress and allow virtual off line interaction with Jodi and Gincy through instructional videos.

See for more details.

To learn more about MedStar Inventor Services, please go to

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jokes for Nerds

For the science nerd in each of us ...... 

Popular Science magazine asked its Twitter followers for the best 140-character science jokes. Chemistry and physics jokes were more popular (and funnier):

Chemistry—"I was going to tell a joke about sodium, but Na."

Physics—"A photon checks into a hotel. The clerk asks if he needs help with luggage. The photon replies, 'I don't have any, I'm traveling light.'"

Biology—"Use chromosomes in advertisements—because, you know, sex cells." 

See more at this link to Popular Science website

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stress Happens!

Guest Blogger: Myisha Henry, Human Resources Generalist MedStar Health Research Institute

Whether we like or not …stress is inevitable! Stress happens in all areas of life— it is how we manage it that makes a difference. In recognition of Stress Awareness month, I want to share a recent personal story of how stress happened to me.

Last month I had the honor of helping to plan a wedding.   The goal of this joyous occasion was not just to have the marriage certificate signed, but the couple wanted the ceremony to be an embodiment of their values; and as the planner I was committed to delivering!

In planning the infinite amount of molecular details that would lead to the spirit-filled harmonious experience, I became overwhelmed and stressed.  During those stressful moments, I paused,  took a deep breath and whispered to myself “I am free from tension, stress and strain”.   You may ask yourself, why? How does that help? Well, I have researched different tactics for managing stress and through practice I know that a brief moment of  silence and positive affirmations are tactics that work best for me!

It is important to educate ourselves about the mental and physical impacts of such distress.  Stress is very powerful in that it not only causes mental distress but your physical health can suffer, so remember to take time for yourself.  As members of the MedStar Health community it is especially important to us to practice what we preach. This month I acknowledge, I must take time for me when necessary because stress happens!

What are you going to do to  ensure your are empowered with the tools necessary to effectively manage stress?  I encourage you to join me in participating in the below upcoming webinars.

Stress ManagementPresented by: Denia Kramer, BHS Program Manager
Date/Time: Thursday, April 10th @ 2:00pm EST
Duration: 30 minutes
Tune in for a 30-minute interactive webinar that will teach you how to prevent unhealthy stress, and find lasting solutions for enhancing your lifestyle
Click here to register.

A Mindfulness MinutePresented by: April Crowell-Thurfield, BHS Business Development Manager
Date/Time: Friday, April 25th @ 12:00pm EST
Duration: 30 minutes
Feel the stress melt away while you relax and focus on your breathing during a 10-minute chair yoga and guided meditation sequence - Enjoy a bonus Q&A session to follow! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Learning Continuum

Over the last few days, I've learned a lot  about the continuum of learning that is going to be needed in the future of healthcare.

I just finished attending the annual meeting of the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers ( I enjoy this meeting because it brings together leaders from over 80 other academic centers similar to MedStar and gives us a chance to discuss timely topics (see last year's post on AIAMC for more information).

This year, there were several good lectures about how we need to prepare the next generation of caregivers for the the rapid changes we are experiencing in healthcare. For example, Dr. Susan Skochelak from the AMA discussed (picture at left) how there are a dozen medical schools testing new approaches with flexible, individualized learning plans which focus on chronic care (and not just acute care), team-based care (rather than only the single physician's role) and population health (in addition to the single patient needs).

There were also many lectures about how only a learning healthcare system will thrive during this period of rapid change. We need to be testing new healthcare delivery approaches in an integrated manner, involving administration, medical leadership, education and research. Implementation science, research on the delivery of care and health services research were viewed as areas that independent medical centers can lead healthcare reform.  I was also very proud that a prime example used was MedStar's quality and safety initiatives with Drs. David Mayer (VP of Quality and Safety), Kelly Smith (Scientific Director of Quality and Safety) and William Thomas (retired EVP of Medical Affairs) presenting (at left) how MedStar has integrated research with system safety initiatives.

And then I  was brought down to earth....... to remember where the learning continuum all starts - with simple curiosity and eagerness to learn.  Below my son was busy playing on his iPad mini when this little boy, and then his sister, just wanted to see what he was doing and then wanted to learn how to play the game. That eagerness to learn new things will serve them well in the future, as it will us all!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Power of "Hello"

During our New Hire Breakfast this past Monday, we asked our new associates what matters most to them at work.  Delmonica Glaze, who recently joined the research team at Washington Cancer Institute, reminded the group how important it is to create a friendly working environment for each other. She said that you’d be surprised at how a simple smile to someone in passing, even if you don’t know them or even speak to them, can completely change their outlook.
Delmonica, doing what she does
best, smiling! 

Delmonica added, “Giving a smile and saying hello makes the working environment more pleasant.  And even though we are employees, we can also benefit from a smile and a friendly hello because we are all people too. You never know, that smile may be just what your co-worker needs to make a busy day manageable.”

At MedStar Health we are all very proud of the good work we do for our patients and how we advance health for future patients. However, what brings me even more pride is how we do this great.  Here at MHRI we always stress the importance of our core SPIRIT values which stand for Service, Patient First, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork. These exemplify HOW we do our great work and not just what we do. Three of those values—Service, Respect, and Teamwork can be amplified daily by a simple “hello”. 

Delmonica reminded me of the power of a smile and a simple 'hello.'  I encourage you all take her advice to smile and say hello to your colleagues and peers. You might just change their day!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Always Learning and Improving

While attending the 3rd annual research symposium last week, something our keynote speaker Carolyn Clancy said really resonated with me. While she praised our work as a system and the quality of healthcare we provide our community, she also spoke about “room for improvement.” She mentioned the importance of improvement in science, and that we need to “keep going if we want healthcare to be what we know it needs to be.”  She coined this 'improvement science.'

It reminds me of a quote I heard: “There's always room for improvement, you know-it's the biggest room in the house.”  What I like about about this quote is that it points out that as much as we know, there is always so much more to learn that can lead to these improvements.

A fine example of learning and improving came to fruition this week. Over the last several years we have been on a journey of improving our research operations and financial infrastructure.  We do this by learning from each experience and applying what we learned into action. While we do this to serve our investigative teams and sponsors, we also do this to abide by federal regulations.

We are very excited to share that we have just completed our annual audit (by an external accounting firm) that is required for organizations receiving more than $500,000 of federal grant revenue. This year, there were no (zero) financial audit findings!  In an organization that conducts thousands (if not millions) of transactions with hundreds of sponsors and dozens of sub-contracts, this is a remarkable accomplishment - one that speaks volumes for our strong teamwork across the organization (including remarkable partnership with MedStar's central business office).  These results are from years of slow and steady improvement in our processes and represents the best audit in the history of the organization. 

While I want you to be aware of our stellar adherence to  federal regulations and accounting principles, I also want you to think about how each challenge or obstacle can turn into a learning opportunity that can ultimately lead to improved processes.  Together, we will live 'improvement science!'