Awareness and treatment are top priorities

Updated:Apr 17,2013

Susie-Fisher-Volunteer-Voice-April2013Susie Fisher, RN, BScN, of Portland, OR, is devoted to providing the best stroke care for all patients, wherever they live. She began her career as a critical care nurse and moved to the front lines of stroke treatment shortly after tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was FDA approved in 1996. “The first time I administered tPA it was remarkable,” she says. “There was new hope for stroke patients.”

As a stroke research nurse and acute stroke team member, she realized along the way that outreach and access to care would be critical to saving lives and improving quality of life for stroke patients. Susie is now the Regional Program Manager for the Providence Stroke Center (PSC) and was instrumental in launching its Providence Telestroke Network which now connects 19 community hospitals in Oregon and Washington. The network earned the 2012 Quality Improvement Initiatives Award, one of the top honors given by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), to recognize outstanding efforts by volunteers to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke.

At the same time, Susie puts a lighthearted twist on a serious subject by organizing the “Streaks for Stroke” campaign during Stroke Month in May. For the past five years, she has helped to build a network of hair salons and public events to put red streaks in people’s hair to raise stroke awareness. “No one gets streaked until they listen to our F.A.S.T. message,” Susie notes. “It’s lots of fun and we know we are reaching people when we see redheads all over town in May.”

She joined PSC in 2003 and has led it to prominence in stroke treatment and outreach. Her connection with the AHA/ASA began when she started implementing our Get With The Guidelines® quality improvement initiatives and has grown over the years into a personal passion for our mission. “We share the desire to raise awareness about stroke and assure patients get the best treatment possible no matter where they are,” she explains.