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Advocate Spotlight: Jerilyn Alexander

by Pamela M. on Monday, May 5, 2014

Jerilyn Alexander North Dakota

Jerilyn Alexander is the Stroke Coordinator at Trinity Hospital in Minot, where she is dedicated to improving outcomes for stroke patients.  Recently, Jerilyn helped to coordinate a Stroke Support group in her community to raise awareness of stroke symptoms and enable survivors of stroke to share their stories and be of support to one another.  Jerilyn is a champion of advocacy in stroke care and shared why she is involved with the AHA.  

I began my job as the Stroke Coordinator at Trinity Hospital in Minot, ND back in May 2011.  As I developed my role, and the processes within our hospital, the system began to develop, and by system I mean we had the people and means available to care for acute stroke patients that presented to the hospital.  In visiting with these stroke patients, I learned a lot about how the processes that I was hired to create are not just paper and words but that they impact someone’s life. 

This took on a new meaning when we started a Stroke Support group in our community.  Each meeting has an agenda with a specific risk factor topic as the focus of each meeting with a social aspect to follow.  Our first meeting we had a survivor tell his story as motivation for the group.  People began to open up and share their stories.  It was at that I time I knew what being an advocate meant.  This group of survivors, or warriors, as I like to call them, is truly what advocacy is about.  They want to grow the membership of this group to help get the word out into our community, with a focus on the symptoms of stroke and the impact delaying care can cause on the outcome.   They have been instrumental in planning our stroke awareness event for the month of May.  They have taught me so much as to why we do what we do as health care providers.

Advocacy is important to give a voice to someone who may not have one.   Everyone has been touched by either stroke or heart attack; it is our responsibility to do what we can to decrease the incidence and devastation of these diseases.  If I can do something to prevent a stroke or heart attack, I will continue to do that. 

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