Hospital’s Team Earns Seven National Marketing Awards

LEONARDTOWN, MD— MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Marketing, Public Relations & Philanthropy Department was recently honored with seven awards in two nationwide competitions honoring excellence in medical marketing.

The marketing, public relations, and philanthropy team, from left: Sandy Ondrejcak, Deborah Gross, Jeni Irwin, Jennifer Davis, Megan Johnson, Holly Meyer, and Ruby Hawks.

The Healthcare Advertising Awards are sponsored by the Healthcare Marketing Report, a publications group focused on marketing news from around the nation in the fields of higher education and healthcare. More than 4,000 submissions were received in 2019, according to the committee, with gold recognition awarded to only 346 entries — two of which went to MedStar St. Mary’s.

Healthcare Advertising Awards received were:

  • Gold for “A Mad Adventure: Gala 2018,” Special Events
  • Gold for The Pulse – 2018 Series, Internal Publications
  • Silver for Healthy Living – 2018 Series, Newsletters
  • Merit for the 2018 Nursing Annual Report, Annual Reports

The Aster Awards, a competition dedicated to recognizing excellence in medical marketing, is hosted by Marketing Healthcare Today. The awards program began in 2001 and has become one of the largest medical marketing awards competitions of its kind.

Aster Awards received this year were:

  • Gold for “A Mad Adventure: Gala 2018,” Special Events
  • Gold for The Pulse – 2018 Series, Internal Newsletter Series
  • Silver for the 2018 Bariatric Campaign, Service Line – Bariatric Services

Among its many roles, the hospital’s Marketing, Public Relations & Philanthropy Department is responsible for developing internal and external communications; planning philanthropic initiatives and associate-oriented events; coordinating advertising and public relations; and serving as a liaison to community partners. Team members are Holly Meyer, director; Ruby Hawks, assistant director; Jennifer Davis and Sandy Ondrejcak, designers; Jeni Irwin, marketing and philanthropy coordinator; and Deborah Gross and Megan Johnson, writers.

“Creativity and positivity are abundant in our department. This year’s awards celebrate our commitment to teamwork and quality storytelling,” said Meyer. “We are proud of the work we do on behalf of MedStar St. Mary’s and are pleased to represent our associates and hospital in the community.”

What is Aphasia? Upcoming Sessions Will Share Resources on the Communication Disorder

In honor of National Aphasia Awareness Month, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will offer free information sessions from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 27 to help educate individuals about the communication disorder.

Aphasia is an acquired condition that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. The most common cause of aphasia is stroke, though it can also result from head injury, a brain tumor, or other neurological causes.

Individuals with aphasia often have difficulty reading, writing, speaking, and/or understanding language. Approximately 2 million Americans are affected by the disorder.

“Many people do not understand that aphasia is a loss of language, not a loss of intelligence,” said Anna Decker, MS, CCC-SLP, speech language pathologist at MedStar St. Mary’s. “There are strategies available to help those impacted improve their communication, and we hope to help families by sharing these resources.”

Interested individuals may stop by The Blue Heron Café at MedStar St. Mary’s between noon and 1 p.m. June 25 and June 27. A speech language pathologist will discuss how to help those affected by aphasia. To learn more about the disorder and strategies for improvement, visit MedStarStMarys.org/Aphasia or call 301-475-6062.

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

MedStar St. Mary’s Earns Second ‘A’ in Leapfrog’s National Hospital Safety Grade

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital has been awarded an “A” in The Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2019 Hospital Safety Grade, recognizing the hospital’s superior efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the United States. This is the second consecutive cycle in which the hospital has earned top marks.

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization committed to improving health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F to hospitals nationwide based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections, and other harms.

“Our top priority is always the safety of our patients. MedStar St. Mary Hospital’s Medical Staff and associates work tirelessly to create a safe environment for all,” said Christine R. Wray, president of MedStar St. Mary’s.

“To be recognized nationally as an ‘A’ hospital is an accomplishment the whole community should take pride in,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Hospitals that earn an ‘A’ grade are making it a priority to protect patients from preventable medical harm and error. We congratulate hospital leaders, board members, staff, volunteers, and clinicians who work so hard to earn this A.”

Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public. Visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org to learn more.

 About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. 

 About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary’s provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Awards Eight Scholarships

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital announced the winners of its 2019 scholarship Tuesday, May 7, during a reception held in their honor. The scholarships are funded by the Philanthropy Committee of the Hospital’s Board of Directors. Since 2001, 157 scholarships have been awarded and this year’s scholarships totaled nearly $100,000.

The 2019 scholarship winners are:

  • Madeleine Bridgwater is a student at Leonardtown High School and plans to major in nursing
  • Brooke Gatton attends Leonardtown High School and will major in nursing
  • Amber Gontarek is a student at Leonardtown High School and plans to major in nursing
  • Sarah Rannacher attends Leonardtown High School and will major in nursing
  • Samantha Tercedo is a student at Leonardtown High School and plans to major in nursing
  • Kylee Wickline attends York College of Pennsylvania and is majoring in nursing
  • Samantha Wilt attends Towson University and is majoring in speech-language pathology
  • Kaitlin Zelonis is a student at Leonardtown High School and plans to major in nursing

“I assure you that if you are one of the eight individuals sitting up here today you – and your family – should feel very proud,” said Rick Tepel, chair of the scholarship committee. “The entire committee was extremely impressed by all of the applicants for our 2019 scholarship program, and – to be honest – we had some difficult decisions to make.

“The road to this day was paved with many hours of hard work with more to come. MedStar St. Mary’s believes with your drive and determination, you will make a difference in the lives of many,” Tepel said.

The Philanthropy Committee, formerly the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, is a subset of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Board of Directors. The program is designed to help ensure the future of quality local healthcare. Applications are due each spring.

Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Scholarships to learn more.

The 2019 MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Scholarship winner, pictured from left to right: Samantha Wilt, Sarah Rannacher, Amber Gonrarek, Madeleine Bridgwater, Brooke Gatton, Samantha Tercedo, and Kaitlin Zelonis. Not pictured, Kylee Wickline.
Photo Courtesy MedStar St. Mary’s Hopsital

 

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary’s provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

When Precision Matters: Free Colon Cancer Seminar Happening May 9

Dr. John Marshall
John Marshall, MD

With the trend of colon cancer appearing earlier in both men and women, it’s important to stay educated on its symptoms and available treatments. MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital will host a free, informative presentation on colorectal cancer by visiting expert John Marshall, MD, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 9.

Dr. Marshall, chief of hematology and oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, will discuss cutting-edge treatments for colon cancer and the impact of precision medicine on cancer care. Catherine Dowling, clinical dietitian at MedStar St. Mary’s, will also discuss the importance of nutrition.

The seminar will be held 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. in the Potomac Room at The Blue Heron Café within MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Admission is free, but space is limited. To register, call Health Connections at 301-475-6019.

Mary Pfeiff Named Auxilian of the Year

Auxilian of the Year Mary Pfeiff Spring Luncheon
Mary Pfeiff was named 2019 Auxilian of the Year for MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital at the Auxiliary’s annual spring luncheon. Pictured, from left, are: Casey Page Pfeiff; Karen Pfeiff; Rich Pfeiff; Mary; Dawn Yeitrakis, MS, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, CEN, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of MedStar St. Mary’s; Karen Mudd, and Joe Mudd.

Leonardtown, Maryland – It was a simple suggestion by a friend that led Mary Pfeiff to start volunteering with the MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, and it was her hard work and dedication that led her to be chosen as the 2019 Auxilian of the Year. Mary was awarded the Fayrene Mattingly Award on April 12 at the Auxiliary’s annual spring luncheon.

Dedicated, dependable, loyal, and lovely were all adjectives used to describe Mary by fellow Auxiliary members, who nominated her for the award. Mary is a familiar face behind the cash register in the Gift Shop and has been a faithful supporter of the Auxiliary’s golf tournaments, bazaars, the $6 Sale, and bake sales.

The Fayrene Mattingly Auxilian of the Year Award was created in 2005 to honor Mattingly, a longtime hospital volunteer. It is presented to one Auxilian each spring.

Established in 1916, the Auxiliary has funded more than $4 million in hospital improvements over the last century. Recently, Auxiliary members approved funding for 13 new rocking chairs for the Women’s Health & Family Birthing Center and contributed $100,000 toward the complete renovation of the hospital’s dining rooms, now named The Blue Heron Café which opened to the public and hospital associates in March.

 

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary’s provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

Honoring the Gift of Life at Flag-Raising Ceremony

In celebration of National Donate Life Month, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital recently held its first flag-raising ceremony as part of The Living Legacy Foundation’s “Flags Across Maryland” initiative. The April 8 gathering honored past, present, and future organ, eye, and tissue donors, as well as donors in spirit.

“‘Flags Across Maryland’ is an opportunity to publicly recognize the generosity of families who have offered this gift to others while experiencing a profound personal loss,” said Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating officer and chief medical officer at MedStar St. Mary’s. “Whenever a donor’s family chooses, we raise this flag to honor those who have given one of the greatest gifts there is: the gift of life.”

Organ donors, recipients, and their families joined hospital administrators, nurses, and associates at the event, which was spearheaded by hospital associates and coordinated with The Living Legacy Foundation (LLF), a nonprofit organization that facilitates organ and tissue donation for Maryland hospitals.

Approximately 3,300 people are waiting on a life-saving organ in Maryland — a number that grows to 113,000 people on the national list, according to the LLF. In 2018, 159 Marylanders donated a total of 520 organs while 942 residents received a transplant.

Two patients at MedStar St. Mary’s became organ donors last year, while 19 individuals donated tissue. One patient was a tissue donor in spirit, meaning the patient or family authorized a donation, but recovery was not ultimately possible.

“We do not forget a single patient,” said Jennifer Alvey, director of the hospital’s Intensive Care Center. “I will never forget my first [experience caring for an individual who became a donor], and I will not forget my last.”

Edd Cathey, a volunteer chaplain at the hospital, read a dedication to donors, recipients, and their loved ones, as well as all assembled on that sunny April morning. “This flag is a symbol — a reminder that despair does not win the day,” Cathey said. “Every time the flag is raised, may we know that love lives on.”

To register as an organ donor, express your wishes through the Motor Vehicle Administration or sign up on the Maryland Donor Registry at donatelifemaryland.org.

Honoring Medical Staff on National Doctors’ Day

Emmanuel Atiemo, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating officer and chief medical officer of MedStar St. Mary’s at the hospital’s Doctors’ Day breakfast on March 29.
Photo courtesy of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
Emmanuel Atiemo, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating officer and chief medical officer of MedStar St. Mary’s at the hospital’s Doctors’ Day breakfast on March 29.

Leonardtown, Maryland – MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital joined in the celebration of National Doctors’ Day (March 30) last week to thank its dedicated medical staff.

A special breakfast was held March 29 to celebrate the many dedicated physicians, physician’s assistants, and certified nurse practitioners making a difference in our community.

“Our providers are talented and dedicated people, and we thank them for the many ways in which they put their patients first,” said Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating and chief medical officer of MedStar St. Mary’s.

As of January 2019, the hospital had 426 medical staff members, 95 percent of whom are board certified. Of those, 90 percent practice exclusively at MedStar St. Mary’s.

 

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

Yahia Tagouri, MD, and Anil Shah, MD, during the hospital’s Doctors’ Day breakfast on March 29.
Photo courtesy of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
Yahia Tagouri, MD, and Anil Shah, MD, during the hospital’s Doctors’ Day breakfast on March 29.
Cathy Oliver of the hospital’s medical staff office pins a carnation on Archana Gupta, MD, during the Doctors’ Day event.
Photo courtesy of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
Cathy Oliver of the hospital’s medical staff office pins a carnation on Archana Gupta, MD, during the Doctors’ Day event.

 

The Blue Heron Café Now Open at MedStar St. Mary’s

Leonardtown, Maryland – After undergoing a significant transformation over a year and a half, the new Blue Heron Café was officially unveiled at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital on March 19.

“Though the renovation was time-consuming, we are thrilled to open the Blue Heron Café,” said Stephen Michaels, MD, chief operating officer and chief medical officer at MedStar St. Mary’s. “We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience during this process. We hope the modern dining area will be enjoyed by many: our patients, visitors, and their families, as well as our hardworking associates and physicians.”

Formerly known as the Café at Buena Vista, the remodeled Blue Heron Café is enlarged from the hospital’s previous dining space. Its new name and theme pay homage to the county’s maritime history and wetland residents. New features of the café include state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, premium tables and seating, and the ability to separate the space into two meeting rooms, as needed.

The project was almost entirely funded by donations from associates, the Medical Staff, the Hospital Auxiliary, the Foundation, MedStar Health, and the Leonardtown Rotary Club, as well as members of the community. A custom art wall inside the café acknowledges these contributions. Those who donated to the project were invited to tour the new café at a special reception held March 19 before its official opening the next morning.

“This renovation would not have been possible without so many people generously contributing to the renovation of the Blue Heron Café,” said Holly Meyer, director of marketing, public relations, and philanthropy. “As a community hospital, it’s amazing to receive such support for this well-loved, well-utilized area of MedStar St. Mary’s. We are very grateful and excited that it’s now complete, and we’re ready to welcome everyone to this tranquil, new space.”

 

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Maryland. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is an eight-time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. In addition, MSMH received the Maryland Performance Excellence award at the Platinum level in 2014 – the highest in the state. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit MedStarStMarys.org to learn more.

A Family Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Leonardtown, Maryland — Children expect to share many memories with parents as they grow older. What they never plan to share? Diagnoses of cancer — or pre-cancer, in Janet Langley’s case.

Janet, 46, began experiencing stomach pains last summer. She saw multiple doctors to puzzle out what was causing them before arriving at the office of U.K. Shah, MD, board-certified gastroenterologist at MedStar Shah Medical Group. Dr. Shah ran multiple tests to ascertain the source of her discomfort.

“At the same time I was experiencing this, my father had similar symptoms,” said Janet, of Solomons. “He went in for a colonoscopy and found out he had colon cancer. I had a colonoscopy myself just to make sure that had nothing to do with what I had going on.”

Janet (patient) with JCRegarded by many adults as an uncomfortable but necessary rite of passage, colonoscopies are procedures in which a clinician uses a flexible instrument to examine images of the colon and rectum. This view can reveal swollen and irritated tissue, ulcers, and polyps — common growths involving the lining of the bowel.

An estimated 15 to 40 percent of adults may have polyps, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and most are not dangerous. However, some polyps will turn cancerous over time — and removing them can help prevent colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

Testing revealed a large polyp in the bend of Janet’s colon. Due to its location, it could not be removed during the colonoscopy or an additional procedure known as a polyp resection.

Janet was referred to Tushar Samdani, MD, colorectal surgeon at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Samdani was simultaneously treating Janet’s father, J.C. Tubbs, for colorectal cancer.

For those at average risk, colorectal screenings are recommended to begin at age 50 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. At 46, Janet — with no known history of colon cancer until her father’s concurrent diagnosis — would not have been flagged for testing.

Janet had surgery to remove the polyp in 2018. A biopsy confirmed it was an adenoma — a precancerous growth.

“If I had waited, it would have definitely been cancer,” said Janet. “And I feel very fortunate because I probably would not have followed up attempting to remove the polyp if my dad hadn’t been going through the same thing. I would have procrastinated, and it’s a good thing I didn’t.”

“Around 10 to 20 percent of patients who develop colorectal cancer have other family members who have had it. Patients with a history of colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) are at twice the increased risk,” said Dr. Samdani. “The risk is even greater if the relative was diagnosed when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.

“It is important that patients with colorectal cancer or even precancerous (adenomatous) polyps inform their close relatives so that they can talk with their doctor about starting screening at an earlier age,” he continued. “With regular screening, colon cancer can often be found early when it is most likely to be treated successfully.”

Today, Janet and J.C. are both doing well. They will continue to undergo regular screenings to monitor any polyps that may develop.

“The colonoscopy itself was simple compared to the preparation for it,” said Janet. The cleansing process necessary to ensure a clear view during a colonoscopy can be challenging for patients, but Janet said the discomfort is “well worth it.”

“If I could convince somebody to just get beyond that preparation, the rest is just to breathe,” she continued. “It’s all worth it if you consider what could happen if you didn’t catch a problem in time.”

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Visit MedStarStMarys.org/Colon to learn more about the risk factors for colorectal cancer, including recommended screenings.