Monday, January 8, 2018

What We Accomplished in 2017

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

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It seems that every newspaper, TV show, and magazine is doing a recap of “the top” things from 2017 these days. Life can go by quickly and I have found some of the year-in-reviews provide an appreciation for the number of events that can occur – especially in our 24-hour news cycle!
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
These recaps reminded me of a conversation I had with an MHRI manager who was frustrated because there were so many things she felt she needed to get done. I asked her to take a moment and come to my computer where I pulled up a document I keep on my desktop. When I started my current position, someone suggested that I create a living document of accomplishments for the year and pull it out whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. It is one of the best pieces of advice I got. We work so hard and get so many things done but our ”results-oriented” personalities tend to focus more on what is left to do.

So, heeding that advice from 10 years ago, here are some research accomplishments at MedStar Health from this past year that we can all be proud of:
  • Created new knowledge through research that was shared in over 1000 peer-review publications and range from new cardiovascular devices to wearable sensors in contact sports to healthcare disparities in surgical outcomes.
  • Nearly 1000 MedStar associates conducted research at 40 MedStar sites in dozens of clinical service lines – this has helped advance the health of our patients, elevate the level of care we provide and enhance our reputation as a site for excellent care
  • Received grant funding for a wide range of clinical and health services research that improve the care of our patients. For example, our Human Factors research team, led by Dr. Raj Ratwani, received grants from AHRQ and Pew Foundation this year to study how to improve patient safety with the use of electronic health records.
  • Our broader philanthropic community demonstrated their commitment and trust by investments in our research including:  1) a multi-million dollar bequest, 2) $500K donation by a single grateful patient for thyroid cancer research and 3) approximately $1M raised toward a new health economics and aging research institute based at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.
  • Made major investments in our research infrastructure, in strong collaboration with Georgetown University Medical Center, launching a new CTMS (clinical trial management system) with unified processes and approximately a dozen new joint policies with Georgetown. 
  • Advanced the MedStar–Georgetown partnership with the evolution of our Scientific Advisory Board into an Academic Council, with a reporting structure to both MedStar and Georgetown executives and Boards.
  • Continued our commitment to becoming an ‘Academic Health System’ and started to get national recognition for this work (e.g., Modern Healthcare viewpoint).
  • For the first time, we transformed our annual MedStar Health Research Symposium into the look and feel of a national conference and combined it with a first-ever system-wide resident research day. The Symposium was attended by over 800 MedStar associates.
  • None of these things could be accomplished without our MHRI associates, a talented and wonderful team of research professionals. Once again, MHRI achieved an engagement score over 80 on the associate survey, which further supports that we are committed and excited to advance health through research at MedStar.
Thank you for a great year! I hope you share my pride and excitement for what is ahead. Stay warm and let’s get started on our list for 2018!


Read Focus at

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Speaking Out For Diabetes Education

Guest Blogger:
Joan Bardsely MBA, RN CDE FAADE
Assistant Vice President, Nursing and Clinical Research Integration

I had the honor of being the “talent” at an event recently and it was a new experience for me!

I was a speaker at the recent “Swirl and Chords” event, held at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. I joined models and musicians to help bring awareness to the community on diabetes. This event benefited the American Diabetes Association.
It was a fantastic event and really highlighted the importance of education and awareness in our community. And since not everyone could attend, my speech is below.

I look forward to continuing to spread the message of education.


It is a pleasure to be here at this marvelous event.
This event brings together a diverse group of people who can all have an impact on diabetes in our community. Each one of you came to see beautiful fashions, but also to support the efforts of American Diabetes Association. For that I thank you.  
Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I believe that education must be the weapon to change the impact of diabetes in our communities. Diabetes self-management education and support have been shown to impact control of diabetes as much as medication and only has the side effect of better health!  
It is not a onetime event. Research has shown that those who participate n diabetes education at diagnosis, annually, during transitions in care and if complications occur have the best outcomes. 
While most people understand that they have a choice in the fashions they wear, they are not always aware that they have a choice in taking control of their diabetes. Diabetes education is a standard of care as described by the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Diabetes educators want the best for all their patients. One of the things that makes me most upset is when I see someone for the time and they say after the visit: How come I wasn’t sent to an educator before? How come I didn’t know how to take better care of my diabetes?  
I would like you to walk away from this evening with something to share. Take with you the knowledge that there is a community of diabetes educators, providers and the ADA who want to help. For those with diabetes, ask your doctor for a referral. If you know someone with diabetes, ask if they have had the weapon of education. 
Help make education about the difference in our communities and the lives of people living with diabetes. 
Thank you and enjoy the show! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Celebrate the Season

For the season of joy and thanksgiving, I would like to express my gratitude to the entire MedStar-Georgetown research community this holiday season.  May you all have a hearty, festive holiday season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Positive Thoughts = Positive Results

Guest Post:
Melissa (Mel) Goodrich, Director of Human Resources
MedStar Diversifieds & MedStar Health Research Institute
There are some phrases that I have come to realize we use too much. The main ones...
  • How are you today?
  • How are you doing?
  • Are you Okay?
My answer is always "yes I am fine thank you for asking". Or I will say, "yes I am okay". I don’t even know what okay and fine really means.

I am changing my phrases to engage and I hope many others do as well. I don't really want to know someone is fine or okay. I want them to be much better than that. If they are not better than fine or okay, I want to see what I can do to help.

My new phrases I think are going to be…
  • What amazing things have you seen or done today?
  • Any good stories to share?
  • What's new in your world these days?
Willie Nelson said once you start to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you will have positive results. Willie was not the strongest businessman but he was often happy. I think I will give it a try.

What makes you engage in a conversation? What makes you want to know more?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Socks

When I put the word 'socks' next to 'holiday' what comes to mind? Perhaps Christmas stocking hanging by the fire? Well, think again!

As some of you know, for the last year I have been 'expanding' my horizon of conservative clothes to include some 'fun' socks.  Most just introduce a little color or pattern to an otherwise boring wardrobe.  

 And then sometimes, they help celebrate a trip or gift from someone who recently took a trip:
Well, since our end of the year holiday celebration theme was to unleash the superhero in all of us, I had some very special socks to share at these events!  For those who did not make it, here are my superhero socks:

 AND THE ALL TIME FAVORITE, with sock 'cape' and all:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE - hope the super hero comes out in all of us in 2018!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Celebrating a Successful Year

We just finished hosting our three annual end-of-year celebrations this week, and what fun they were!

Organized by the MHRI Associate Engagement Committee, each event featured trivia, a photo booth, our service award presentations and the all important raffle and associate gift!

Thank you to all you research superheroes, who make a difference in the lives of our patients everyday and help make the world a better place for tomorrow.  

Thank you to the committee for arranging these very special events and all of those who helped to set-up, break down and host the festivities.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NIH Building a Local Clinical Research Network?

On Friday I attended an exciting meeting at National Institutes of Health (NIH) exploring the possibility of building a local clinical trials network.  The NIH leadership wanted to explore the interest of regional healthcare research leaders, from Virginia (UVA and VCU), DC (Georgetown, MedStar, GW, Childrens, Howard, USUHS/Walter Reed), Baltimore (Hopkins, U of MD, MedStar) to Philadelphia (HUP and CHOP).  I was very pleased that MedStar was 'at the table' with these other great medical research organizations.

The day started out with Francis Collins (NIH Director) welcoming us and setting the stage of possibilities.  Then John Gallin (Chief Scientific Officer) and James Gilman (CEO of the Clin Center at NIH) explained how the NIH hospital, the largest hospital in the U.S. dedicated to research, has enormous resources that could potentially be shared with regional investigators.  Furthermore, the NIH could facilitate other types of peer-to-peer research organizational collaboration.

Then we heard about the challenges for building a clinical research network from Rob Califf, the former FDA Commissioner (who currently spends half his time as Vice Chancellor for Health Data Science at Duke and half his time at Google spin-off Verily Life Science) which set the stage for a robust discussion of 'what is possible together.'

At the end of the day, we all agreed that there is potential for such a regional network and committed to continue to work on it together.