The Stroke Advisory Council was established to advise the Task Force on the development of a statewide system of stroke care.
North Carolina is located in the country’s “Stroke Belt,” an eight- to 12-state region that historically has had substantially higher stroke death rates than the rest of the nation. Furthermore, the eastern counties of NC are part of the “Buckle of the Stroke Belt” (the coastal plains of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina), which has had the highest stroke death rates in the nation for at least the past 30 years. The Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force was charged with creating the North Carolina Stroke Advisory Council (House Bill 1860 signed into law in August 2006).
Members of the Stroke Advisory Council are appointed by the Task Force and include representation from several key stakeholders including the North Carolina Medical Society, North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians, Old North State Medical Society, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the North Carolina Hospital Association, the North Carolina Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services and Area Health Education Centers.
The Task Force may also appoint other members to provide expertise beneficial to the Council. In addition, the Council benefits from the active participation of numerous partners and stakeholders.
One of the first tasks of the Stroke Advisory Council was to provide findings and recommendations to the Task Force regarding the development of a statewide system of stroke care for its report due to the General Assembly on February 15, 2007. The Stroke Advisory Council convened on September 22, 2006; and the Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report was submitted in January 2007.
In 2008, the Stroke Advisory Council developed the comprehensive Stroke System of Care Plan with additional resources from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and administrative support from the NC Public Health Foundation. There were approximately 80 individuals, representing diverse organizations, areas of expertise and points of view, engaged in the planning process. The work of this large group was facilitated through the establishment of five work groups which aligned with the components of a comprehensive stroke system of care:
- Prevention/Public Awareness
- Pre-Hospital Care
- Acute/Subacute Care
- Recovery/Transitions of Care
Each work group was charged with developing specific recommendations for their area of focus that addressed:
- Needs and gaps in services and resources for North Carolina stroke patients and their families
- Strategies to improve care through evidence-based interventions when possible and best or promising practices when more thoroughly tested strategies were not available
The resulting plan, Stroke System of Care Plan for North Carolina, provides a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing the burden of stroke in North Carolina.
In 2016 the Stroke Advisory Council developed and refined a list of priorities for future work and formed three work groups to address those priorities:
- Integrating and Accessing Care
- Prevention and Public Awareness
- Post-Stroke Health
Work groups continue to meet and work to address identified needs in the prevention of stroke and in the care of those who experience stroke. Work group chairs report on their progress at quarterly Stroke Advisory Council meetings. For more information on meeting proceedings, see the minutes and presentations from the meetings. To join a work group, contact Anna Bess Brown.