Friday, December 4, 2020

Virtual but Beautiful

Earlier this week, we held our annual Physician Recognition Event to celebrate our medical staff. Traditionally, this has been an in-person event with excellent food, music, and entertainment, however due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions placed on public gatherings, it was done virtually this year.

Our Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing and Communications, Jenny Coldiron, and her team, led by Kim Davenport and assisted by Laurie Wagerman and Garrett Morris, did not let the pandemic prevent this year’s event. Beginning at 1 p.m., our physicians and advanced practitioners came to a drive through at the Baltimore Country Club where they picked up a beautiful GBMC bag that contained a meal for them. They were greeted by members of the Senior Team as we distributed the meals. Holiday carolers sang in the background. 

At 7 p.m., our event began online. To watch the event, click here. The night started off with some fantastic entertainment courtesy of GQ, a female barbershop and contemporary a cappella quartet based in Baltimore. I truly enjoyed their performance. If you are interested in finding out more about them and their unique journey, please visit 

I gave a brief presentation thanking our physicians and advanced practitioners as well as Dr. Harold Tucker, our retiring Chief MedicaI Officer, for his years of service. Dr. Tucker then recognized those physicians celebrating a milestone of 25 years with GBMC and those who have reached Emeritus Status. If you see the physicians listed below, please congratulate them on their years of service and for the service they have given to GBMC and our patients through the years!

25-plus years of service:
David S. Goldstein, MD         Surgery/Urology
Randolph B. Gorman, MD Anesthesiology
Marc A. Honig, MD      Ophthalmology
David J. Hoyt, MD         Otolaryngology - H&NS
Michael S. Murphy, MD         Surgery/Orthopedic Surgery
David L. Strauss, MD. Emergency Medicine
Francis J. Townsend, III, MD Emergency Medicine
Robin M. Ulanow, MD Surgery/General Surgery
Karen R. Vail, MD         Anesthesiology

Emeritus Status:
Katherine M. Bass, MD         Gynecology
Paul Z. Bodnar, MD        Pediatrics
David D. Collins, MD Medicine/Internal Medicine
Stephen R. Feldman, MD Pediatrics
Deborah L. Hebb, MD Gynecology
Marshall A. Levine, MD         Medicine/Medical Oncology
Nader Gary, MD         Ophthalmology
Santiago L. Padilla, MD         Gynecology
Vivian Rismondo, MD Ophthalmology
Leon Strauss, M.D.         Ophthalmology
Anthony J. Vazzano, M.D. Pediatrics
Claire M. Weitz, M.D. Obstetrics

After our brief ceremony celebrating these clinicians, I was delighted to welcome some jazz greats to entertain us. Warren Wolf and the Christmas Vibes played holiday numbers and they were fantastic! Accompanied by vocalist Micah Smith, the quartet included Sean Jones, Professor and Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz at the Peabody Conservatory, on the trumpet; the sought-after sideman, Jeff Reed, who is a faculty member at Towson University on the bass; Quincy Phillips, a world-renowned drummer, who is also a faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory; and of course, Warren Wolf, also a faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory and a fabulous multi-instrumentalist, who is best known for his work on the vibraphone. Warren also played the piano for us at the event. I was in seventh heaven listening to this group! I am so grateful to them for coming to entertain us and to help recognize the excellence of our medical staff and Dr. Tucker. 

After they finished playing, Dr. Robin Motter-Mast, our Chief of Staff, again thanked our clinicians and closed out the evening (I then went home and ate the incredible meal). Especially during this time of the pandemic, it was important to take a moment to recognize our medical staff for everything that they do to serve the community.

Research at GBMC
Community hospitals are generally not thought of as centers for clinical research – it is the large academic medical centers that we think of in this arena.

GBMC is different. Among the centers of research excellence on our campus is the clinical trials program at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. They are currently working in partnership with The National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study those who have tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving cancer treatment. The COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study allows researchers to learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting disease progression and outcomes in cancer patients. This study is vital to increasing our knowledge to improve the care of infected patients during their treatment and is just one example of the research being done at GBMC.

It is remarkable is that our Cancer Institute was recognized as a “high-performing site” by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the second year in a row. The NCI’s High-Performing Site Initiative recognizes institutions that enroll many patients in the National Clinical Trials Network and demonstrate scientific leadership in the design and conduct of clinical trials. 

To find out more about the research at the Berman Cancer Institute, and to put their recent important designation from the National Clinical Trials Network in perspective, I spoke with our Clinical Research Nurse Manager, Judy Bosley, RN, BSN, CCRP. Please see her responses to some of my questions below:

Judy, can you give us a little background on the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network?
“The cornerstone of NCI’s clinical trials program, the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), is comprised of organizations and clinicians that conduct large Phase II and Phase III clinical trials across the United States and Canada. These trials help establish new standards of care, set the stage for FDA approval of new therapies, test new approaches to radiation therapy and surgery, and validate new biomarkers. NCTN provides an infrastructure for NCI-funded treatment, screening, and diagnosis trials at over 3,000 clinical trials sites.”

What does the “High Performing Sites” designation mean?
“This Initiative is targeted to those sites that have been identified by the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Leadership as “High Performing Sites” based on accrual, site participation, and high-level of data quality across the entire NCTN. The “High Performing Site Initiative” provides additional funds and other support to cancer research organizations to conduct national clinical trials. It compensates high-performing sites recognizing that the ‘per-case management funding’ provided by the NCI is significantly lower than the actual costs incurred by the member institutions/sites to participate in a trial.” 

How does this speak to the level of research being done at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute here at GBMC?
“This recognition is a testament to our efforts and commitment in growing the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute’s clinical trials program. It reflects the hard work of our physicians, research nurses, research coordinators, and regulatory staff in accruals, quality data management, and study conduct.”

Why is this important for our patients and the community to know?
“This grant recognizes GBMC’s commitment to bringing leading-edge treatments to our patients through our participation in clinical trials at a national level, as well as our high-quality standards for clinical trial conduct. It is also important for the community to know that our physicians at GBMC have their finger on the pulse of cutting-edge research. Clinical trials play a vital role in advancing cancer care and treatment. Today, people are living longer lives from successful cancer treatments that are results of past clinical trials and clinical trial participants play a major part in helping to create a cancer-free world.” 

Please don’t forget to VOTE!
Just a reminder, it's that time again - Baltimore magazine is collecting votes for its Excellence in Nursing issue. Please vote for the nursing colleagues you most respect! The survey ends soon, and you can vote here . The results will be published in the May 2021 issue of Baltimore magazine and the winners will be invited to a special reception.

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