The fourth annual RAISE Award winners were announced on Oct. 24, 2014. Seven award winners were named representing individuals and groups chosen from over 400 nominations. Watch Matt Lopez, Chief Executive Office for National Stroke Association, announce this year’s winners.
Mount Carmel Stroke Outreach
The stroke outreach team at Mount Carmel Health System consisting of nurses, therapists, medics, retired school teachers and multiple stroke survivors developed an interactive program for elementary school-aged children to educate them about stroke. Through five specific activities students learn about stroke, the signs and symptoms, and recognition. The program includes outcomes—students were tested on their stroke knowledge retained after one week and then about six months later. The program shows great success with students’ knowledge retention at nearly 90%.
Nancy is the volunteer editor-in-chief of the Comebackers Neuro Club’s Savvy Survivor, an eight-page monthly newsletter distributed to 500 stroke survivors, caregivers, and healthcare agencies in the San Diego County area. Nancy uses the club’s annual needs assessment to plan out articles for the entire year. She involves speech pathologist, physical therapist, and dietician for ongoing columns. The newsletter also includes a spotlight on a stroke survivor—providing valuable information and inspiration to stroke survivors.
Bergan Stroke Team
This stroke team wanted to make an impact on a group of people who have limited access to healthcare and education. They collaborated with the Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter to provide patient screening and education during the offered evening meals (serving nearly 350 children and adults). Services offered included blood pressure screenings, stroke education, discussions on medication adherence and risk reduction, and setting up referrals for follow-up. Over the months, the participants have celebrated improvements such as lower blood pressure, key to reducing the risk of stroke.
Susan Wilson, RN, MSN, C-ANP is a dedicated, passionate healthcare professional who works tirelessly to support stroke survivors and improve their care. For the past 10 years as a stroke nurse practitioner, Susan has worked to advance stroke care through clinical trials and investigator-initiated studies. Recognizing that stroke is a life-changing event often accompanied by fear and anxiety, she acts as a navigator to newly-discharged patients answering questions and concerns. She is also the creator of the Carolina Acute Stroke Training (CAST) program which is designed to increase healthcare worker’s knowledge of stroke care. The program, based on the most recent research, guidelines, and evidence, consists of six on-line modules.
Most Impactful Community Fundraising Event
Suridis Family – Walk for Dinah
Siblings Jimmy, Alicia, Gregory and Annette, lost their mom to a stroke on March 17, 1998. Their mom, Dinah was 66 years old and a picture of health, and her death was devastating for the entire family. In her honor and to raise awareness about stroke, they held their first fundraising walk that year.
Now in its 18th year, the event has grown through the support of family, friends and their community. What started out as a small event with homemade signs, has grown into a strong event that now includes t-shirts, flyers and banners. Without a corporate sponsor, the event has raised $275,000 to date. Through this annual event, their stroke awareness continues and the memory of their mom lives on.
Outstanding Support Group
Marywood University’s Aphasia Group
Under the new leadership of Marla Kovatch since Fall 2013, the Marywood University’s Aphasia Group has gone though many changes and emerged as a very strong support group. This free, community-service support group is made up of people living with stroke at any stage of their recovery and includes family members and caregivers. Through group discussion, organized language and literacy activities, they aim to encourage independence while maximizing speech, language, and reading skills. Every member is paired with a speech-language pathology major graduate student who assists the individual needs and skills of the person with aphasia. The group not only provides ways to challenge their members in speech, language, and literacy, but also provides inspiration, motivation, and empowerment.
Winter Haven Hospital Stroke Support Group
This support group provides monthly connection with the community for those who have recently experienced stroke. Although transportation and resources are limited in this community the group is well attended each month. Besides regular attendees, the group sees regular visitors who winter in Florida and come back year after year. The group is committed to learning about up-to-date research, resources, and advocacy for stroke survivors. Their activities are both educational and social and provide empowerment for survivors and caregivers. The group might be small, consisting of 15-20 attendees, but they pack power in their advocacy efforts for stroke research and resources and in empowering stroke survivors to engage in their communities and maximize their independence.