MedStar Health Hosts 5th Annual ‘Innovations in…Thinking Differently’

‘What We Remember Is More Important Than What We Experience.’

The MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) today hosted its fifth annual forum, “Innovations in… Thinking Differently,” on the theme of Memory, featuring a variety of perspectives from an illusionist, memory team coach, technology developer and medical experts in neurosciences and geriatrics.

“Memory pervades every aspect of what we do in health care,” says Mark Smith, MD, director of MI2. “Personal memory creates our sense of identity. Memory loss is a frightening medical condition. Serious safety events often occur because of a false reliance on memory. Organizational memory creates a unique culture and also prevents us from repeating the mistakes that were made in the past. Memory is a skill, and skills can be practiced and improved.”

The annual forum is a hallmark of MI2, and supports one of its foundational premises: the tyranny of the daily trumps the pursuit of the remarkable …in the absence of a countervailing force. “MI2 aspires to be that countervailing force,” Smith says.

Kenneth A. Samet, FACHE, the President and CEO of MedStar Health, welcomed more than 350 leaders in healthcare innovation and MedStar associates to the event, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bethesda. The participants were engaged in discussions, exercises, games, and activities to learn more about how memory works. The event received financial support from Cerner, a leading-edge designer of health information technology and provider of the MedStar electronic health record system. Expert speakers included:

  • Allan Hamilton, MD, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona script consultant to television shows Grey’s Anatomy, and author of Scalpel & the Soul and Zen Mind, Zen Horse
  • Helder Guimarães, world championship winner of Card Magic; magic consultant for theatrical productions and TV shows including the Tonight Show, and co-creator of the film Nothing to Hide with director Neil Patrick Harris
  • Colette Silvestri, a coach of five-time national memory team champion, Hershey High School
  • Frank Baitman, MPM, chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Howard Federoff, MD, PhD, executive vice president for Health Sciences, Georgetown University, executive dean of the School of Medicine, Georgetown University, and president of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics
  • Stephen Mitroff, PhD, associate professor, Duke Visual Cognition Lab, Duke University
  • Eric DeJonge, MD, director of Geriatrics, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, co-founder of the Medical House Call Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and assistant professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

About The MedStar Institute For Innovation

The MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2) was chartered by Ken Samet, President and CEO of MedStar Health, in 2009 to serve as a catalyst and seed crystal for innovation across the entire MedStar organization. Its mission– to catalyze innovation that advances health; its mantra– “Think Differently.” MI2’s first foundational premise is that a huge amount of untapped creative and intellectual capital exists at MedStar; Its second foundational premise is that the tyranny of the daily trumps the pursuit of the remarkable… in the absence of a countervailing force. MI2 aspires to be that countervailing force. The scope of activities at MI2 include initiatives in human factors engineering; simulation training; digital health and data science; technology development and commercialization; and systems of care delivery. Visit us at

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit

Ann C. Nickels
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