Community Engagement Core - Community Outreach and Education

Stroke community outreach and education is a critical component of our stroke center. Our focus is providing stroke education and promoting stroke awareness to patients and their families, health care professionals, the Houston community at large, disease support groups, churches and civic organizations. We want every Houstonian to know the signs of stroke, the importance of calling 911 for suspected stroke (Time is Brain!), their stroke risk and how to reduce that risk.

Our SOS team is composed of stroke physicians, nurses, educators, students and the UT Neurosonology lab. The SOS team participates in an average of one community outreach event per month, providing stroke and risk factor education, stroke, blood pressure and carotid Doppler screenings and educational material to over 1,000 Houstonians annually. The SOS team also gives presentations at schools, health fairs, hospitals, professional conferences and meetings. Each team member participates in a minimum of 3 community events per year.

Stomp Out Stroke Festival & Other Events

photo from a past Stome Out Stroke festival

Our signature community outreach event is focused on increasing stroke awareness and education, promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors and providing free health screenings to the Houston community.

Girl Scouts Patch Program

girl scouts patch

CALLING ALL GIRL SCOUTS! Girl Scouts get BRAINY with the Stomp Out Stroke Festival Patch! Girl Scouts join us to learn about stroke, signs of stroke, brain anatomy, brain facts & functions, brain food, brain fitness and the importance of being brain healthy.

Stomp Out Stroke Festival & Other Community Events

Our SOS team travels throughout Harris and Fort Bend counties to promote stroke awareness, provide stroke education and stroke screenings.

Our annual community outreach events:

  • UTHealth Stomp Out Stroke Festival
  • Vietnamese American Medical Association Annual Primary Care Prevention Health Fair
  • Congressman Al Green - Annual Green Light to Living Health Fair

We also participate in the Annual Yatsu Day Symposium, an annual CME approved educational conference highlighting a specific area in stroke geared toward physicians, physicians in training, nurses and physician assistants. The annual event is named in honor of Dr. Frank Yatsu, Professor Emeritus of Neurology, who died March 9, 2012. He was the second chair of the UTHealth Department of Neurology, a leader in the field of Vascular Neurology, an educator and mentor.

Dr. Yatsu is missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU)

UTHealth, in partnership with Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center, unveiled the nation’s first Mobile Stroke Unit on Feb. 3, 2014. The MSU is a unit design to treat people who are having a stroke faster by meeting EMS units on scene, performing a CT scan, & giving tPA.
Onboard the ambulance is a computed tomography (CT) scanner that allows a mobile stroke unit team member to quickly assess whether a patient is having a stroke cause by a blood clot. If so, the clot-buster tPA can be administered, which is the only FDA-approved treatment for the most prevalent type of stroke. To be most effective, tPA must be given within three hours of the first signs of stroke—in fact, the earlier the better within that three-hour time frame. The units also deliver critical care to patients with traumatic brain injury.

Community Stroke Prevention and Screening

Hypertension is the major risk factor for stroke. Our SOS team offers stroke, blood pressure and carotid doppler screenings for community organizations. Carotid doppler screenings are provided by our UT Neurosonology lab, under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Barreto. Carotid doppler measures blood flow through the carotid arteries inside the neck, which supply blood to the brain and is used to assess blood flow and detect any blockages, such as atherosclerosis or narrowing due to the buildup of plaques. Our team provides these services at no cost. For further information on having us at your outreach event, please contact Dr. Anjail Sharrief at

Stroke Support Group

Our Stroke Support Group is held in partnership with the Mischer Neuroscience Institute Memorial Hermann. The group meets the third Wednesday of every month at 2 p.m. at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center hospital, Robertson Pavilion, first floor, Aspen Conference Room. Valet parking is complimentary at the main Cullen valet. Call (713) 222-CARE to register or for more information.

Girl Scout Patch Program

CALLING ALL GIRL SCOUTS! Girl Scouts get BRAINY with the Stomp Out Stroke Festival Patch! The Stomp Out Stroke Festival is a great outing for your Girl Scout troop. Join UTHealth on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the beautiful Discovery Green Park at 1500 McKinney St. to receive brain education and learn how to stomp out stroke and be brain healthy! After your program, enjoy family friendly performances, activities and music. Find out why we’re Houston’s Best Brain day!

The UTHealth Stroke Program is working to inspire a new generation of young women who are strong in both brain and body. We want young women to be owners of their own brain health and become health leaders of tomorrow. Together with the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, we have developed this Girl Scout Patch initiative to encourage young girls to learn about stroke, brain health and promote healthy brain behaviors.

Patch objectives are to educate Girl Scouts about stroke, brain anatomy, brain function, brain health and promoting healthy behaviors. Through this knowledge, we will increase stroke awareness in the community and empower young women to share this knowledge with their friends and family to increase stroke awareness and promote brain healthy behaviors. While the girls are having fun with "brainy" activities, adults may be able to learn about stroke, brain health and receive free health screenings.

Girl Scouts will complete 3 hours of stroke and brain health education. Including 5 required stations and choosing 4 of 9 optional stations to attend to earn the Stomp Out Stroke festival patch.

Required Stations:

  • Brain Parts and Function
  • AmeriBrain Brain Exhibit
  • Stomp Out Stroke
  • Brain and Fitness
  • Brain Food

Optional Stations:

  • Concussions
  • AmeriHeart Exhibit Station
  • Brain and Drugs
  • Tobacco Prevention
  • Helmet Safety
  • Texas Heart Institute: Stroke versus heart attack
  • Latin Fitness Stage Demo
  • Hula Dancing Fitness
  • American Robotics Academy
  • The Health Museum Sheep Brain Dissection

All Girl Scout Troops will enjoy:

  • Free kids tote bag with goodies
  • Free brain health educational materials
  • Earn a Stomp Out Stroke Festival patch
  • Free admission into the festival
At the end of the program, you will receive your Stomp Out Stroke Festival patch. All Girl Scout Troops are invited to stay after their program to enjoy family friendly performances, activities, games, music and giveaways!

Education & Resources

Click here to jump to the resources section.

What is a stroke?

A stroke or a brain attack occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or when a blood vessel bursts, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain.

There are two main types of stroke:

  • An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood vessel is blocked. This is the most common type of stroke.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed) occurs when a blood vessels breaks. This type of stroke is less common.

What happens to the brain when a stroke occurs?

The brain needs oxygen in the blood to survive, when the blood flow is disrupted, the cells in the part of the brain that were receiving this blood can die. These cells usually die within minutes to a few hours after the stroke starts. When cells die, chemicals are released that can cause even more cells to die. This is why there is a small window of opportunity for treatment of ischemic stroke.

The most important thing to remember is that the earlier a stroke victim gets to the emergency department, the better the chance that they will be able to receive treatment that stops or reduces the amount of brain damage from the stroke.

When brain cells die, functions that were under control of the dying brain are lost. These include functions such as language, speech, movement, and sensation. The specific abilities lost or affected depend on where in the brain the stroke occurs and on the size of the stroke. For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor effects such as weakness of an arm or leg. On the other hand, someone who has a larger stroke may be left paralyzed on one side or lose his/her ability to express and process language. Some people recover completely from less serious strokes, while other individuals lose their lives to very severe strokes.

What are the most common symptoms of stroke?

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Other important but less common stroke symptoms

  • Sudden nausea or vomiting
  • Brief loss of consciousness or period of decreased consciousness (fainting, confusion, convulsions or coma)

Use FAST to remember the warning signs!


Face drooping


Arm weakness


Speech difficulty


Time to call 9-1-1

Use F.A.S.T. to help you spot the signs of a stroke and share this information so everyone can know when it's time to call 9-1-1.


Alzheimer's Disease

Brain Basics

Brain Information: Kids

  • Download Mind Boggling

    A result of the collaboration between the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Center for Educational Outreach at Baylor College of Medicine

  • Download More Mind Bogglers

    A result of the collaboration between the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Center for Educational Outreach at Baylor College of Medicine

  • Download Mind Boggling Workbook

    A result of the collaboration between the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Center for Educational Outreach at Baylor College of Medicine



Forgetfulness/Memory Loss

National Institute of Health/National Institute on Aging - Cognitive Health

Healthy Brain Aging

The Dana Foundation

High Blood Pressure




American Heart Association: About Stroke