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Who We Are

Message From the Director

Stroke is a major global health problem as the second cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability worldwide. Healthcare for stroke patients spans a continuum from acute treatment to hospitalization to rehabilitation and then to prevention. To address the full continuum of stroke care, The Stroke Institute at UTHealth is a joint collaboration among the McGovern Medical School, School of Public Health, Cizik School of Nursing, and School of Biomedical Informatics and leverages the strong clinical partnership of UTHealth with the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and other health systems in Houston.

— Sean Savitz


The mission of the UTHealth Stroke Institute, a home to over a hundred professionals working in cerebrovascular disease, is to advance and transform stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation in the dual contexts of community population health and a learning health-care system. We are committed to high quality rigorous research across the continuum of stroke care, to developing new treatments and innovative health care delivery models for stroke, and promoting stroke awareness and education to the general public.

We are a multi-disciplinary hub of cutting-edge research dedicated to the various fields of cerebrovascular, brain and mental health while providing a valuable resource for patients seeking to actively participate in groundbreaking research studies. Our commitment to improving the lives of those affected by stroke and cerebrovascular diseases through collaborative efforts with leading experts, state-of-the-art facilities, and a passion for discovery, is unwavering.


The stroke program at UTHealth was started by James Grotta in 1979 and was supported by the cerebrovascular disease related research interests of the first two Department of Neurology Chairmen (Bill Fields–management of extracranial carotid disease and Frank Yatsu –stroke risk factors). The program was initially shaped by important collaborations with faculty in stroke epidemiology, clinical trial design, and basic science, and the Houston Emergency Medical Services (EMS). It was the first Stroke Center established in Houston at the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center hospital and was one of the first established in the world.

Important Milestones

First Clinical Trials for Stroke Prevention

Publication of first clinical trials of Carotid Endarterectomy and of Aspirin for stroke prevention (Dr. Fields).


The stroke program was started by James Grotta upon his arrival in Houston.

Founding Details

Fellowship Program

The Fellowship Program begins.

Fellowship Program Details

Clinical Stroke Trials

NIH and industry funded clinical stroke trials get under way.

Clinical Stroke Trials Details

Memorial Hermann Stroke Program

Formation of a separate in-patient clinical stroke service at Memorial Hermann Hospital

Stroke Program Details

Mobile Stroke Unit

Established the first Mobile Stroke Unit in the United States. MSU publication.

Integrated System of Comprehensive Stroke Centers

Implemented the First Joint Commission Certified Integrated System of Comprehensive Stroke Centers

Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease was founded

Merging the strength of five schools and multi-institutional collaborations, UTHealth Houston founded the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease.

American Heart Association’s ASA adopts Spanish-language R.A.P.I.D.O. acronym for stroke awareness

Andrea Ancer Leal DNP, RN; Alejandra Castro, BSN, RN; Jennifer Beauchamp, PhD, RN, and others, in a collaborative effort between the Stroke Institute and Cizik School of Nursing created RÁPIDO: A Spanish acronym aimed to raise stroke awareness within Latino communities. Read story here