$9 million committed to enhance WVU Stroke Center

Hospital, private and public funding combine for expansion

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Health Sciences officials today announced a $9 million investment and expansion of the WVU Stroke Center. 

WVU Hospitals is providing $2.5 million for the Stroke Center, matched by state Eminent Scholars funding of $2.5 million.  That money will be combined with funding from other already existing sources, such as the endowed Ludwig Gutmann Chair of Neurology, for the Stroke Center’s treatment, research and outreach programs.

“Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the state,” Bruce McClymonds, president and CEO of WVU Hospitals, said.  “This combined funding will help us to provide the latest treatment options and ensure a greater chance of survival and a better quality of life for our patients.”

The WVU Stroke Center provides a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to stroke.  An emergency response team is available 24 hours a day to evaluate and treat stroke patients quickly to help minimize lasting damage. Treatment teams include experts in neurology, neurosurgery, interventional radiology, emergency medicine, neuroimaging, physical therapy and more who collaborate on care for and rehabilitation of patients.

WVU Stroke Center outreach efforts involve making West Virginians aware of the warning signs of stroke and working with providers and first responders throughout the state to ensure standards of care.

Ludwig Gutmann, M.D., and John Brick, M.D.

“We are dedicated to serving the state of West Virginia – that’s why WVU Health Sciences was built nearly 50 years ago,” John Brick, M.D., chair of neurology, said. “The additional resources we will have now will allow us to reach more people than we ever have before and to provide help in their communities.”

Brick says the new funding of the Stroke Center will help WVU recruit new faculty in various disciplines related to stroke, such as neurologists, basic scientists and clinical researchers. The funds will also help with providers of rehabilitation services for stroke, such as speech and physical therapists.

The stroke program will greatly expand WVU’s clinical science workforce through addition of clinician investigators and research nurses, offering patients the latest treatments that are currently only in the testing stage.

Expansion of the research program will allow WVU to:

  •  study events that lead to stroke
  •  advance acute stroke diagnosis and treatment
  •  improve post-stroke recovery of brain function

“This expansion of the stroke center takes a major step to build a comprehensive stroke treatment and research center that draws together expertise from across our Health Sciences Center,” George Spirou, Ph.D., director, WVU Center for Neuroscience, said.

Research groups will be expanded, including the basic scientists who develop new strategies for treatment, the translational scientists who devise new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, and the clinical scientists who examine effectiveness of new therapies.

Since 1993, Hazel Ruby McQuain and the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust have endowed multiple funds and provided funding in support of stroke research, education and patient care at WVU. McQuain suffered a stroke in 1990 and was treated by Dr. Gutmann .

In 2007, the State of West Virginia funded the $10 million Eminent Scholars initiative to help attract nationally recognized researchers to West Virginia University and Marshall University. The program requires each university to raise $5 million in private donations to receive an equal amount from the state. The goal of the program is to build university research programs, ultimately leading to business spin-offs, new patents and high-tech jobs at all skill and education levels.

WVU has earned Primary Stroke Center Certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.   To achieve certification, Stroke Centers must meet 11 major standards, including an active stroke team, neurosurgical services, CT-or MRI-based neuroimaging services, laboratory services, and public education.

For more information about the WVU Stroke Center, visit http://www.health.wvu.edu/services/stroke-center/index.aspx



For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
aj: 06-22-09

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