National Stroke Association Announces RAISE Award Winners

The National Stroke Association presented eight Raising Awareness in Stroke Excellence (RAISE) Awards that recognize individuals and groups for taking stroke awareness to new heights.

“We were inspired by the many nominations we received from individuals and groups who work year-round to raise awareness for stroke prevention and recovery,” said Robyn Moore, CEO of the National Stroke Association. “Each of our award winners from across the U.S. represents all of the stroke survivors and caregivers who come back strong from stroke.”

The seventh annual RAISE Awards, presented by the only national organization devoted 100 percent to stroke, showcases some of the best programs in stroke awareness from across the U.S. where each year nearly 800,000 people experience a stroke. The awards also honor individuals working on the frontlines of stroke prevention and awareness.

Here are the 2017 RAISE Award winners:

  • Most Creative: Mitzi Beckett, BSN, RN, SCRN, a Stroke Program Coordinator at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., is constantly doing outreach and education. To better involve children in learning about stroke, Mitzi created the superhero “FASTman” with help from her hospital’s marketing team. She also has children participate in activities such as fun exercises and stroke symptom simulations to keep them engaged.
  • Most Impactful: The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, a national organization based in Fairfax, Va. is dedicated to excellence in comprehensive, minimally-invasive care of patients with stroke, brain aneurysms, and other diseases in the head, neck, and spine. Recently, they launched their Get Ahead of Stroke campaign to improve systems of care for stroke patients. Through advocacy and public awareness activities, they have made a difference in communities nationwide.
  • Outstanding Fundraising Effort: Trista McClarnon of Nashville, Tenn. Wanting to be proactive and provide a positive challenge for her stroke support group and other local stroke survivors, Trista McClarnon coordinated the Comeback Trail 5K walk/fun run in Nashville this year. By tapping into her professional network and doing a lot of hard work, Trista was able to host an inspiring event that raised over $13,000 for the National Stroke Association.
  • Outstanding Group: Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team in Allentown, Penn. With a group that is dedicated to their mission of improving stroke awareness in their local community, the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team was bound to succeed. Throughout the year, they constantly provided education and support at community events, and even made health logs to help empower their patients to be proactive with their modifiable risk factors.
  • Outstanding Individual: Howard Yonas, MD of Albuquerque, N.M. As the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Howard Yonas works tirelessly to promote stroke awareness and offer patients state-of-the-art treatment options. Over the years, Dr. Yonas has initiated several projects to improve the health of New Mexicans, including the development of a statewide telemedicine network for the evaluation and management of acute stroke.
  • Outstanding Stroke Survivor: Bob Newbold of Newington, Conn. Since his stroke in March of this year, what he calls his stroke of luck, Bob Newbold has resolved to raise stroke awareness. Thanks to quick action when his stroke occurred, excellent medical care, and his determination, Bob has been able to give several interviews, speak at Hartford Hospital’s annual stroke survivor conference, and inspire those around him.
  • Outstanding Support Group: The Backstrokes Community Music Group in Portland, Ore. is a twice-weekly community sing-along and music group that is made up of stroke survivors and caregivers. This dedicated group offers peer-support and fun through singing and/or playing instruments such as the guitar and ukulele. Members appreciate the language skills practice and camaraderie that is found in this group, and plan to be a part of it for years to come.
  • Voter’s Choice Award: The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Center for Distance Health, AR SAVES is a statewide telestroke program that began nearly a decade ago and has grown to include nearly two-thirds of the hospitals in Arkansas. Currently, more than 30% of eligible patients receive tPA, whereas before, only 1% would arrive in time for any intervention. Arkansas is no longer ranked as number one in the nation for stroke deaths largely due to the efforts of this program.

The 2017 RAISE Awards are supported by Colorado Business Bank, Genentech, Inc., and Swedish Medical Center.

CONTACT:  Aurora Quigley, National Stroke Association, 303-754-0926,