MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Wins 15 National Awards for Excellence in Healthcare Advertising, Including Best in Show

Clinton, MD – MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center received six national awards from the 2020 Aster Awards and nine national HealthcareAD awards from the 37th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards. The HealthcareAD awards included a Best of Show designation for in-house publication, Connections. Only 24 of the 4,200 entries received a Best of Show award, and MedStar Southern Maryland was one of only six entries that did so without the assistance of an outside advertising agency.

“Each of these 15 awards are the result of our team’s creativity, advertising expertise and many hours of hard work,” said Cheryl Richardson, director of marketing and community relations at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. “I am incredibly proud of the work that went into our entries, particularly our Best of Show winner Connections. This monthly newsletter features compelling stories and news for our associates, which helps keep us all connected and informed.”

In addition to the Best of Show award, MedStar Southern Maryland earned eight category-specific HealthcareAD awards:

  • One Gold Award for associate newsletter, Connections (Publication Internal)
  • Two Silver Awards for their HEALTH magazine (Publication External) and Hospital Week Poster (Special Event)
  • Two Bronze Awards for Connections (Newsletter) and Groundbreaking 2019 (Other)
  • Three Merit Awards for their Hospital Week Banner (Other), Hospital Week Poster (Special Event) and Hospital Week Program (Special Event)

MedStar Southern Maryland also claimed six 2020 Aster Awards:

  • Two Gold Awards for Associate Awards Banquet Program (Special Events) and Connections (Newsletter/Internal)
  • Two Silver Awards for HEALTH Magazine (Magazine Publication) and Hospital Week Schedule Poster (Poster/Display)
  • Two Bronze Awards for Groundbreaking Invitation (Invitation) and Nursing Report (Annual Report)

Both national awards competitions recognize excellence in healthcare communication and employ a panel of judges to review all entries in each category. The Healthcare Advertising Awards is sponsored by the Healthcare Marketing Report. These awards are granted based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. To receive a Best of Show award, entries must display outstanding creativity in their advertising. For more information, visit

Aster Award entries are judged on creativity; layout/design; typography; production; and quality and overall effectiveness. To be considered for an Aster Award, a healthcare facility had to submit all advertising/marketing materials developed, produced and/or distributed during the calendar year 2019 to be eligible for the 2020 program. For more information, visit


About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176-bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Cheryl Richardson
Director of Marketing
[email protected] 
Phone: 301-877-5556

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Publications Win Five Golds, One Silver, and Two Bronze Aster Awards for Excellence in Healthcare Communication

CLINTON, MD -  MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s community magazine, Health, and four pieces of its 2018 Hospital Week marketing materials have won 2019 Gold Aster Awards. MedStar Southern Maryland’s associate newsletter Connections won a Silver Aster Award, and MedStar Southern Maryland’s Annual Nursing Report and Hospital Week CNA and Tech Luncheon Invitation won Bronze Aster Awards. Aster Awards are granted annually for excellence in healthcare communication. 

“I’m very proud of our Marketing Team,” said MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine Wray. “We try not only to be a great hospital for our patients, but also a great place to come and work. We attract talented people to every team in the building and the Marketing Department is no exception. They come up with great content to inform our community members in Health magazine and important articles to inform associates in Connections. I applaud MedStar Southern Maryland’s Marketing associates for earning this recognition.” 

Health is a glossy magazine mailed out to more than 220,000 households surrounding the hospital. This magazine is shot by professional photographer Ryan Smith**. The publication also begins with a Letter from MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine Wray. It contains a Patient Testimonial cover story, and feature articles promoting the work of the hospital, educational articles on medical conditions and treatments, and a Heart&Soul section featuring MedStar Southern Maryland’s Cardiology Department. Current and past issues of Health are available on the MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center website

Connections is published monthly and mailed to associates’ homes. It features a Letter from the President, stories about physicians and the latest innovations at MedStar Southern Maryland, department spotlights, and contributions from human resources and nursing. 

Hospital Week is celebrated annually in May with a series of fun events for hospital associates. The hospital’s annual nursing reports are created yearly to provide a detailed report of accomplishments throughout the year. 

To be considered for an Aster Award, a healthcare facility had to submit all advertising/marketing materials developed, produced and/or distributed during the calendar year 2018 to be eligible for the 2019 program. All entries for each category are placed together for judging by a panel of design and healthcare marketing professionals with decades of combined experience. Entries are judged on: Creativity, Layout/Design, Typography, Production, and Quality & Overall Effectiveness. For more information, visit
**For more information on photographer Ryan Smith, visit or call 267-712-9501. 


About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176 bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve. 
For more information, visit

Media Contact

Cheryl Richardson
Director of Marketing
[email protected] 
Phone: 301-877-5556

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Recognized Nationally for Promoting Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) was among a select group of hospitals nationwide recognized for promoting enrollment in state organ donor registries in a national campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The campaign has added more than 443,000 donor enrollments to state registries nationwide.

MSMHC conducted awareness and registry campaigns to educate staff, patients, visitors, and community members about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donors and, by doing so, increased the number of potential donors on the state’s donor registry. The hospital earned points for each activity implemented between October 2017 and April 2018 and was awarded Silver recognition through the HRSA Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign.

Of the 1,283 hospitals and transplant centers participating in the campaign, 360 Silver Awards were awarded during this phase of the campaign.

“Winning the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) Silver Award for promotion of organ donation gives me such pride and also has personal meaning,” said Renee Sicheri, MSMHC RN and member of the MSMHC ICU team. “The collaboration between WRTC and our ICU team is evident with every donor patient, as well as the donor family, who are given compassionate care, love, respect and support by the entire team. My family has been touched personally by organ donation. My brother-in-law experienced a hemorrhagic stroke and was an organ donor. His gift of life impacted seven people’s lives. I remember how supportive the team was, and the comfort they brought my family. I am proud to be a part of this fabulous program and the great work carried out by the teams at MSMHC and the WRTC.”

The Donate Life campaign is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Workplace Partnership for Life, mobilizing the nation’s hospitals to increase the number of people in the country who are registered organ, eye, and tissue donors and ultimately, the number of organs available for transplant.

“MSMHC is proud to support organ donation,” said MSMHC President Christine Wray. “We humbly thank donors for giving the gift of life, and their families, for supporting their generous decision. We thank all physicians and associates who work in units where donations originate, for their professionalism and reverence for this delicate process. Finally, we thank WRTC for partnering with us in this important, life-saving mission.”


About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, located in Clinton, Maryland, is a 176 bed acute care hospital serving the Washington, D.C., metro and Southern Maryland area. The hospital is focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve.


Your Heart Questions Answered

We asked MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Cardiologist Athanasios Thomaides, MD, FACC, to give us answers to the following common health questions he most often deals with as a cardiac electrophysiologist.

What is Tachycardia and how is it treated?

Tachycardia is a heart rhythm disorder characterized by the heart beating faster than normal, which is caused by rapid electrical signals in the heart. Because the heart muscle is beating so quickly, it can weaken the heart.

Typically, tachycardia is treated by catheter ablation, a newer process with a 70 to 80 percent success rate that replaces the use of drugs, which were less effective at a 30 to 40 percent rate of success. Ablation destroys the tissue that is causing abnormal electrical signals in the heart, stopping the arrhythmia.

Like with other heart conditions, people with tachycardia should limit their alcohol and caffeine intake, maintain a healthy weight, control their blood pressure, and treat complicating conditions, such as sleep apnea, asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

This and atrial flutter are the most common types of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). It can be described as a quivering of the heart and indicates an electrical problem. Atrial Flutter means around 300 beats per minute, and Atrial Fibrillation could cause heartbeats of 500 to 600 in the upper chambers, which puts the heart into a kind of electrical chaos.

Symptoms include sudden fatigue, palpitations or feeling as if your heart is racing, shortness of breath and diminished energy. People most at risk are the elderly, those with hypertension, sleep apnea, and diabetes, as well as those who smoke or consume too much alcohol and caffeine.

Sometimes, a person with atrial fibrillation does not appear to have symptoms, but the young may be at risk for passing out and older people are at risk for having a stroke.

How is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?

Treatments can range from something simple like reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption or prescribing blood thinning medication, to a more complex solution, including the installation of a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator, to a more invasive solution, including a cardiac ablation or surgery.

What is a WATCHMAN device?

A WATCHMAN is a device that is implanted in the heart during a catheter-based procedure. This new technology does not allow clots to form, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. It is a great alternative to taking blood-thinning drugs, eliminating the food and drink restrictions of these drugs, as well as the possibility of bleeding problems from these medications.

To better understand common terms used by medical professionals who treat veins and arteries, this guide should help. It is important to know these terms and work with your primary care physician to prevent these conditions, when possible.

  • Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia means an abnormal heartbeat.
  • Atrium: The upper two chambers of the heart. The top right pumps blood to the lower chamber and the top left atrium pumps oxygenated blood out into the body.
  • Blood Flow: Deoxygenated blood travels from all parts of the body through your veins, back to your heart, to be pumped into the lungs to receive oxygen. Once the blood is oxygenated, it is pumped back through and out of the heart into the body through your arteries.
  • Cardiologist: A cardiologist is a physician who is specialized in the heart.
  • Electrophysiology: This is the study of the electrical activity of your heart, which is used to find where an arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) is coming from.
  • Pulmonary: Simply, this refers to the lungs.
  • Stroke: Cardiologists who are electrophysiologists deal with blood clots that can form in the heart and travel to the brain, reducing or completely blocking blood flow that can cause a stroke, resulting in temporary or permanent damage.
  • Ventricles: The lower two chambers of the heart. The right ventricle takes blood pumped in from the upper chamber and pumps it into the lungs and the left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood into the left atrium to travel throughout the body.

Athanasios Thomaides, MD, FACC

For more information on this and other heart-related issues, visit or call 301-877-4367. 

If you do not have a physician, visit

Please call 301-877-5677 if you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Thomaides.

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
7503 Surratts Road
Clinton, Maryland 20735
[Get Directions]
Phone: 301-877-4367

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center partners with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a national leader in research, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

MedStar Southern Maryland Recognized as Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

CLINTON, MD - The American College of Radiology (ACR) has recognized the MedStar Regional Breast Health Program at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center (MSMHC) as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE). The BICOE designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR's voluntary accreditation programs and modules, according to Anna H. Choi, MD, Chief of Radiology at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. MedStar Southern Maryland is accredited by this organization in mammography, stereotactic biopsy, breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy, and breast MRI (via a relationship with MedStar Washington Hospital Center).

"The breast imaging team has been instrumental in maintaining high standards and meeting the high bar set forth by the American College of Radiology," said Dr. Choi. "I am very proud of the teamwork!"

MedStar Southern Maryland employs a team approach to treat breast health, of which Dr. Choi, as a breast image specialist, is a part. The team also includes a roster of OB/GYN's, medical and radiation oncologists, a contracted genetic counselor and Dr. Sarah Sher, plastic surgeon.

"We are honored to receive this recognition," said MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine R. Wray. "Breast health is a significant health concern for women, and in southern Maryland, they can be reassured by our comprehensive program that includes preventative care, early screening, use of the latest technology and innovations in treatment, surgical options that minimize risk and recovery times, and after-care that is compassionate and diligent in follow-up. We are proud of our program, proud to serve southern Maryland and proud of this attention given by the Commission on Quality and Safety, and the Commission on Breast Imaging with the American College of Radiology."

MedStar Southern Maryland's breast care experts provide comprehensive breast care for both women and men. They treat a wide range of breast conditions, including breast cancer and benign breast disease. They also follow women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Our breast health services include:

  • Disease prevention: breast self-exam training, risk assessment, genetic testing
  • Routine evaluation: annual well-woman exams
  • Breast imaging: screening, diagnostic and digital mammography, with breast radiologists to interpret the images
  • Diagnostic evaluation: needle localization, open surgical biopsy, frozen section pathology, stereotactic biopsy, sentinel node biopsy
  • Comprehensive treatment: treatment for benign breast disease and breast pain, fine needle aspiration, lumpectomy, partial or total mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy

For more information, visit

Cheryl Richardson
Director of Marketing & Community Relations
[email protected]
(301) 877-5556

What is Palliative Care?

A Comprehensive, Caring Approach to Dealing with a Life-Limiting Illness

Palliative Care is customized, supportive care that takes into account all aspects of who the patient is and what works best for them. It helps people understand their choices about their care and it’s why our new Director of Palliative Care, Dr. Alvin Reaves, III, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, refers to think of what he does as Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care.

“When I began my career as a physician, I began to take care of people with chronic diseases, managing symptoms we could not cure,” said Dr. Reaves. “Uncontrolled symptoms cause fear and anxiety and I wanted to address how to care for people at this time in their lives, providing customized care that recognizes the differing needs of each patient and works in partnership with the medical team, the patient, and the family.”

At MedStar Southern Maryland, the Palliative Care Team includes Dr. Reaves, social worker Zoe Plaugher, and Nurse Practitioner Sherri Hayes. Together, they are responsible for managing the care a patient receives to ensure their case is treated in a unique way determined by each individual patient.

“This means doing different things for different people, said Plaugher. “We consult with the medical team, we make sure the patient and their family understands what is going on and we listen to what they want. We ask what kind of person they were and how we can preserve their dignity.”

The team incorporates multiple disciplines, says Plaugher, as they help review the medical condition of the patient, set treatment goals, provide the family with support and resolve conflicts. The team also works with both in-patient consultants and outside agencies, such as hospice, to coordinate the best care for each patient.

“We treat the whole person, physically, emotionally and spiritually, as well as the family,” said Dr. Reaves. “We find out their understanding of what is going on and what is important to them.”

The MedStar system believes putting a palliative care team in place is very important for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families, so they have assembled teams at each MedStar hospital.

Please visit for more information about Palliative Care at MSMHC.

What is the PFACQS Committee and How is it Helping MedStar Southern Maryland Improve?

Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety (PFACQS), Fall 2017

PFACQS stands for Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety. It is a committee that meets quarterly and is made up of hospital associates and patients, family members of patients and community members. Its mission is to work together to help each MedStar hospital continuously improve safety and quality of care, with an ongoing commitment to put patients first.

“This is where I come to make a difference,” said Carlene Davenport, one of the members who represent the community on the PFACQS Committee. “It’s important this hospital keeps striving. I tell people: I guarantee you, they’re working and they’re making improvements. Like with voting, you have to participate to make a difference and this is where I come to be an active participant in my community.”

At the beginning of summer, the PFACQS Committee met to discuss great strides the hospital has made to reach out to the community. These efforts included running smoking cessation courses and establishing the Transitional Care Clinic (TCC), which provides care and resources to patients who have left the hospital but have not yet seen their primary care physician. In the future, the hospital plans to hold additional courses and screenings, such as this summer’s Living Well courses dealing with chronic pain management, and a lung cancer screening to be held in August. The TCC is also expected to expand services to patients who need diabetes management and palliative (end of life) care.

“When MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center put out the message we were seeking PFACQS Committee members, the response was overwhelming,” said MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine Wray. “We are so proud of this committee and their important work. We want real, honest feedback, and they aren’t afraid to give it to us. This helps us tremendously, both as we identify ways we can improve, and also ways we can let the community know the great things that are happening here.”

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center thanks all members of our committee and dedicates itself to incorporating the work of PFACQS into our daily operations. Visit for more information on MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center's PFACQS Committee.

Welcoming Pediatric Dentistry Patients

It may surprise you to learn that a significant percentage of the cases seen in MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Operating Rooms are for procedures with pediatric dentists. Several groups of dentists come here when they have little patients who need to be sedated for dental procedures. 

Dr. Tanek Jenkins is one dentist who regularly schedules procedures at our hospital, performing tooth extractions, root canals and stainless steel and white zirconia cosmetic crowning.

“Everyone here is very nice and helpful,” says Dr. Jenkins. “This hospital has shown a commitment to get these children in. MedStar and their anesthesia team have recognized a need and they have been generous in giving us blocks of time because we have expressed this need.”

The mouth and teeth are the windows into the health of the whole body, explains Dr. Jenkins. This is why she loves pediatric dentistry, as she can help set up someone when they are young for a lifetime of taking care of the health of their teeth. She also enjoys making a cosmetic difference, helping children who have been teased because of the appearance of their teeth.

“It makes me feel good when I can help with a 180-degree difference and create a work of art,” says Dr. Jenkins. “Parents appreciate these services as well. I tell them, I will treat their child like they’re mine. I say ‘this is my baby now, don’t worry.’”

To learn more about general surgery at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, click here

If you are looking for a pediatric dentist, call:

Dr. Tanek Jenkins, DDS
ABC Dentistry- Oxon Hill

Dr. Richee Berry, DDS
Dr. Jarrett Caldwell, DDS
Dr. Marian B. Jordan, DDS
Berry's Children Dental LLCBowie

Dr. Felix Aguto, DDS
We Make Kids Smile Pediatric Dentistry- Waldorf

Dr. Ebonee Thrower, DDS
Bright Starr Pediatric Dentistry- Bowie

Dr. Eileen Buckle, DDS
KOOL Smiles Dentistry- District Heights

Director of Security Brings Workplace Violence Seminar to Hospital

This fall, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center Director of Security, Christopher Wade, attended an informative program presented by the Maryland Hospital Association and the Maryland Nurses Association, which outlined positive steps associates can take to prevent hostile exchanges before they start, ways to identify and monitor potentially difficult situations and steps MedStar Southern Maryland can take to prevent workplace violence.

“We’re committed to keeping our staff safe,” says Wade.  “With early intervention, and employing techniques that de-escalate situations, we can prevent workplace violence.  We also rely on training and working together because it takes a collaborative effort.”

Wade urges associates to be proactive.  An example of this occurred when he saw a frazzled mother of a three-year-old waiting in the ED.  After asking her to have her son not run across the row of chairs, Wade went to the front desk for a coloring book and crayons for the little boy, giving them to his grateful mother, helping them both better endure waiting for service.

“I look at it this way: we have an opportunity to help,” said Wade.  “In healthcare, this job gives you the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way.’”

In 2018, Wade will be implementing additional ways for the hospital to create a safer environment, including installing panic buttons, additional cameras, a visitor management system in the main lobby and emergency call towers.  He says all MedStar Southern Maryland Security associates have participated in a verbal de-escalation training and he plans to present the information he learned at this forum at the next quarterly in-service day. Wade is a member of the MedStar Corporate Workplace Violence Committee, which is finalizing a MedStar Health system-wide plan to combat workplace violence. 

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center to Host Job Fair in December

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center will be hosting a job fair to recruit nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff. 

The job fair will be held in the hospital’s Multipurpose Room on the gorund floor on the following dates and times:

  • Dec.5, 2017, 4- 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 6, 2017, 1- 8 p.m.

Job fair attendees are asked to bring a resume, copies of applicable licenses and certificates and contact information for at least two professional references.  The job fair will offer on-the-spot interviews and conditional offers will be extended at this event.

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is asking nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff candidates to join our talented team of associates in our award-winning hospital. Recent awards include mention among the top hospitals in Maryland in the Best Hospitals edition of U.S. News & World Report, Gold Status in stroke care from the American Heart Association, Level 4 of 4 in care of elderly patients from the NICHE initiative and environmental steward recognition from Project Greenhealth.

A complete list of open positions can be found at  If interested candidates are unable to attend the Job Fair, they can apply online or call Human Resources department at 301-877-4567.


Cheryl Richardson, Director
Marketing & Community Relations
[email protected]
(301) 877-5556