MedStar Washington Hospital Center Receives Grant to Address Gaps in Medical Education

The Center for Ethics team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received one of 11 RightCare Alliance Young Innovator Grants from the Boston-based Lown Institute, to address an emergent and critical issue in medicine.

January 28, 2015

Center for Ethics Project Selected from 80 Applications Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2015–The Center for Ethics team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received one of 11 RightCare Alliance Young Innovator Grants from the Boston-based Lown Institute, to address an emergent and critical issue in medicine - the rise of resident suicide and physician burnout.

The $7,500 grant was awarded to Nneka Mokwunye, PhD, FCCP, director, Center for Ethics, and her team for their project entitled, ‘MedStar Washington Hospital Center for Ethics Transforming End-of-Life Care.’ The project aims to decrease the negative ramifications from moral distress on medical residents through monthly rounds. These hour-long conferences, led by an ethicist and an attending physician, will target internal medicine and surgery residents rotating through intensive care units.

Lown Institute“If the moral distress is left unaddressed, it can be a precursor to burnout and even suicide,” said Dr. Mokwunye. “Therefore, we developed an opportunity to not only allow residents a safe space to be emotionally free, but also an opportunity to provide guidance in making better medical judgments for patients.”

Currently, medical and surgical residents do not receive specific training around the issue of moral distress and how it affects their ability to provide safe, quality care. The Center for Ethics team has developed a moral distress rotation for medical residents at the Hospital Center, but with the grant funding in place, surgical residents now have been included in the rotation.

The RightCare Alliance, an initiative of the Lown Institute, is a network of clinicians, patients and community leaders devoted to shifting the culture of medicine from ‘more is better’ to the ‘right care’ for patients by building a grassroots movement and deploying action-oriented programs. The winning projects that were selected promoted culture change in various ways.

“Our focus is always on providing care that is right for that patient at that time,” added Dr. Mokwunye.

The Lown Institute chose the winners from 80 applications, which included more than 200 individuals from 25 states and the District of Columbia. The grants are generously funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

About MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 50 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for the most complex tertiary services. It consistently ranks among the nation’s top hospitals as recognized by U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital Center is a respected top facility in the area of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, one of the country’s top shock-trauma and medevac programs, and also operates the region’s only adult burn center.