2017 Raise Awards

2017 RAISE Award: Most Creative

Mitzi Beckett, BSN, RN, SCRN

Mitzi Beckett is the Stroke Program Coordinator for Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia. Not only does she provide outreach and education for adults, Mitzi has developed a program specifically for children and created the superhero “FASTman,” with help from her marketing department, to aid her in her education efforts. With the help of the “FASTman” program, Mitzi captures the attention of children and gets them actively involved in learning about early recognition of stroke symptoms and reducing risk factors with diet and fun exercise. The lessons her students learn can help save the lives of their grandparents, teachers, church family, parents, and even peers. If you walk into a room while Mitzi is presenting, you are likely to see children jumping rope, running in place, or doing jumping jacks as they put fun ways to reduce risk into practice. You could also see children putting marshmallows in their mouths to help simulate dysarthria, using weights on their arms to limit or challenge movement in a way that some stroke survivors may face, or wearing special glasses to help simulate the loss of vision that survivors could experience. Her energy and witty personality make children hungry to learn and keeps their attention. She is an inspiration to everyone around her.

2017 RAISE Award: Most Impactful

Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery(SNIS) is a nationwide organization dedicated to excellence in comprehensive, minimally-invasive care of patients with stroke, brain aneurysms, and other diseases in the head, neck and spine. SNIS launched the Get Ahead of Stroke campaign in the spring of 2016 to improve systems of care for stroke patients.

Get Ahead of Stroke’s goal is to secure the best possible outcomes for severe stroke patients by driving policy change and public awareness nationwide. Major campaign activities included partnering with the Randy Travis Foundation for a tribute concert in Nashville, creating dozens of compelling stroke survivor story videos and graphics, developing creative, audience-centric messaging materials (e.g., infographics for EMS, websites, videos), driving #SurviveStroke conversations on social media, and coordinating an advocacy day on Capitol Hill which included 40 meetings between SNIS doctors and members of Congress. Their efforts have resulted in stroke rules and legislation being introduced and passed in several states and increased public awareness nationwide.

2017 RAISE Award: Outstanding Group

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team

Over the past year, the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team from Pennsylvania made it their mission to improve stroke awareness. They have devoted an impressive amount of time and effort to integrate a greater number of wellness and preventative services into their continuum of care as they

  • began more extensive education about modifiable risk factors by making health logs for clients to track their blood pressures, blood sugars, and aerobic activity,
  • completed staff training to include stroke prevention education in their treatment,
  • began encouraging their inpatient clients to get a blood pressure cuff and know how to use it prior to discharge, and
  • improved their healthy eating campaign with an outpatient nutritionist.

They participated in community events in which they gave away blood pressure cuffs, provided information about stroke prevention, and handed out their health logs to 200 community members. In addition to these new initiatives, the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team continued to provide lectures on wellness and prevention topics during their Stroke Support Group’s bimonthly meetings, held another successful Community Stroke Screening Day (for the 12th year in a row), and completed stroke education at local senior centers. The Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Stroke Team also performed countless other activities on a daily basis to prove their commitment to stroke awareness.

2017 RAISE Award: Outstanding Fundraising Effort

Trista McClarnon

When Trista McClarnon received information about the Comeback Trail 5K series, she hoped that there were plans for one in Nashville this year. She soon found out that Nashville was not on the Comeback Trail schedule, so she decided to be proactive and serve as the Chair of the inaugural Nashville Comeback Trail event though she had never done anything like this before. With the support of the National Stroke Association, she taught herself how to put on a 5K walk/fun run. She sought out an accessible, beautiful location that was perfectly suited for those with mobility challenges. She boosted camaraderie at the opening of the event by acknowledging the stroke survivors and top fundraisers. She placed a sign at each 100’ interval denoting a corresponding distance at popular locations in the community facilitating confidence in survivors when venturing out in the community. Trista publicized the race through social media and her large network of medical professionals to promote and encourage participation. Participants and sponsors included physicians, hospitals, rehab facilities, therapists, and stroke survivors and their families and friends. The event, held during National Stroke Awareness Month this year, raised over $13,000 for the National Stroke Association and brought together the Greater Nashville stroke community.

2017 RAISE Award: Outstanding Individual

Howard Yonas, MD

Howard Yonas, M.D. is the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Dr. Yonas is recognized throughout the world as an expert in cerebral blood flow and metabolism. Dr. Yonas’s work in promoting stroke awareness and state-of-the-art treatment options for stroke patients in New Mexico is something that has never been done on the scale he has achieved. Since joining UNM he has initiated several projects to improve the health of New Mexicans; these include the development of a 24 bed state-of-the-art Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, the development of a multi-specialty neuroscience outpatient clinic, and the development of a statewide telemedicine network for the evaluation and management of acute stroke. Dr. Yonas has given countless lectures and education on stroke causes, treatments, rehabilitation, and advances in the field. He works with community members, government, and not-for-profit agencies to find resources and help stroke patients and their families. He led the efforts of the UNM Hospital to become stroke certified, and is currently leading efforts to receive comprehensive stroke status. To reflect on his care of fellow humans is but a small remark in comparison to all the outstanding contributions he has made to the world of neurosurgical and stroke care that will last long after hi distinguished career.

2017 RAISE Award: Outstanding Stroke Survivor

Bob Newbold

On March 20, 2017, Bob Newbold woke up well and went to work. Around 1:20 p.m., his co-workers heard a loud thud and found him on the ground, awake and alert, but unable to speak or move his right side. Thanks to fast acting co-workers and high-quality medical care Bob received at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, Bob was able to make a swift recovery from his stroke. Being aware of how fortunate he was for his exceptional care, Bob has made it his mission to help spread awareness of stroke recognition and the importance of getting to the hospital as fast as possible. In the few months that have passed since his stroke, Bob met with the American Medical Response paramedic crew who treated him to personally thank them for such a speedy delivery to the hospital. He spoke to over 100 people at Hartford Hospital’s annual stroke survivor conference in May. He has been interviewed by reporters and had articles published in three local papers, and given talks to local community groups with one of those being recorded for local broadcast. Although it’s only been a few months since his stroke, Bob has invested a significant amount of time spreading stroke awareness.

2017 RAISE Award: Outstanding Support Group

The Backstrokes Community Music Group

The Backstrokes Community Music Group, a unique support group in Oregon, 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, community engagement, and fun through singing and/or playing instruments such as the guitar and ukulele. The group offers the opportunity to improve musical skills, as well as experience performing for others. They are funded by $5 donations made by the group members and are led by two professional musicians. The Backstrokes members and their leaders regularly volunteer as singers and musicians in skilled nursing facilities. Group members report that singing once or twice a week helps with recovering speech, but even more importantly, folks appreciate the friendships, camaraderie, and fun nature of the group. When talking about The Backstrokes, one member (who is a caregiver) said that being part of this group “has done a lot to enhance my wife’s vocabulary and ability to speak.” For years now, The Backstrokes group has been a reliable, uplifting, and supportive environment for stroke survivors and caregivers to relax and enjoy living life, and it will be that way for years to come.

2017 RAISE Award: Voter’s Choice

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Center for Distance Health, AR SAVES

Before Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support (AR SAVES), Arkansas was ranked No. 1 in the nation for stroke death, but thanks, in large part due to the efforts of this program, that ranking has considerably improved. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) AR SAVES program is a statewide telestroke program that began on Nov. 1, 2008 and has grown to include more than 50 of the 73 hospitals in the state. Vascular neurologists share call duty to provide 24/7 consult coverage, and each of the partnering sites is equipped with telemedicine technology, training for personnel, support for a dedicated telestroke coordinator (nurse facilitator), and ongoing continuing education. Prior to AR SAVES, the state had only three hospitals that would administer tPA to eligible patients, and many hospitals would transfer patients for treatment with tPA only for them to arrive too late to be a candidate. Currently, more than 30% of eligible patients receive tPA, while before, only 1% would arrive in time for any intervention. AR SAVES has saved many lives and improved the quality of life of over 1,500 individuals throughout Arkansas.