Start With Your Heart

Work Groups

Stroke Advisory Council Work Groups reflect components of a comprehensive Stroke System of Care which is depicted below. The long-term objective of the comprehensive Stroke Systems of Care is to reduce disparities in stroke by increasing communication and coordination with everyone involved- individuals who have suffered a stroke, family members, health care professionals, community partners and legislative entities.

QI Initiatives

Stroke Advisory Council Work Groups


Integrating and Accessing Care Work Group

Work Group Chairs: David Huang and Carmen Graffagnino

This work group is exploring how patients are evaluated and referred to Stroke Centers.  The work group is addressing the need to strengthen access in counties and communities across the state including the need for tools to use in triaging patients for care and for appropriate transfer. The work group has proposed to conduct an assessment of the current state of interventional stroke care in North Carolina; to begin to educate referring physicians on how to stratify stroke patients in their care, identifying through standard protocols those patients that are candidates for intervention; and to develop a statewide plan based on quality metrics. See the presentation on Interfacility Transport presented at the August 11, 2017 Stroke Advisory Council meeting.


Prevention and Public Awareness

Work Group Chairs: Brian Forrest and Peg O’Connell

The Prevention work group seeks to educate providers and the public on the prevention of stroke and on the importance of recognizing the signs of stroke and responding by calling 911 immediately. The group also seeks to raise awareness regarding the importance of preventing stroke survivors from having subsequent strokes. The Prevention work group is promoting education and awareness of high blood pressure as recent research shows that many stroke survivors in North Carolina do not link hypertension to stroke. The Prevention work group hosts High Blood Pressure Awareness Day on the third Wednesday in May at the North Carolina state legislature to raise awareness and educate lawmakers and staff on the importance of knowing one’s blood pressure numbers and working with a physician to reach their blood pressure goal. The Prevention work group has recommended several prevention-related items to the Stroke Advisory Council for inclusion on the Task Force Action Agenda. Items include endorsing a request for additional funds for QuitlineNC which helps smokers who want to quit, funds for tobacco use prevention programs, funds for the Healthy Corner Store initiative, and support for Care4Carolina’s efforts to close the health insurance gap. See the 2018 Action Agenda.


Post-Stroke Health

Work Group Chairs: Pamela Duncan and Sylvia Coleman

This work group supports comprehensive stroke care with a focus on secondary prevention; the goals are to get people engaged in their care and more physically active post-stroke. Broad areas for action include ensuring access to rehab services for all patients including for Medicaid patients, conducting a secondary prevention campaign targeted at people who have had a stroke with the goal of preventing a second event, and mandatory reporting of all stroke patients to provide an understanding of how they access care, to document their experiences across the continuum of care, and to assess the economic impact of stroke.

The group is working with the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance to understand and promote the Medicaid services that are available post-stroke. The work group seeks to educate providers on the challenges of managing blood pressure and on the importance of in-office counseling and of secondary prevention. See an update on the COMPASS (Comprehensive Post-Acute Stroke Services) Study presented at the May 23, 2017 Stroke Advisory Council meeting.