Skip Navigation and Go To Content

Women and Stroke

The Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease recognizes the gender disparity in stroke as a health crisis. To bridge the gap, we are providing educational resources and innovative research to support women in the stroke field and advance care for female stroke patients.

Quick Links On This Page:

Women's Health in Stroke

Did you know?

  • 1 in 5 American women between the ages of 55 and 75 are at risk for stroke (CDC)
  • About 60 percent of stroke deaths occur in females compared to 40 percent in men (AHA)
  • Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer (CDC)

These facts are alarming, but the good news is something can be done to reduce the risk of stroke for women.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. In either case, the brain is starved of oxygen and its cells begin to quickly die. There are three types of stroke: ischemic, hemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Ischemic stroke is more common and is caused by a clot. Hemorrhagic stroke is when the blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. Transient ischemic attacks are temporary clots but are just as emergent as the other types of stroke. 

Why are women at risk for stroke?

Women have unique risk factors, such as birth control medication, pregnancy and menopause, that put them at a higher risk for stroke. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is one of the main leading causes for stroke.

How can I prevent stroke?

Prevention starts with keeping your medical conditions in control and practicing healthier lifestyle habits. A helpful guide is to follow your "ABCS".

A for Ask Your Doctor to determine what medications, treatments and services work best for you

B for Blood pressure – monitor your blood pressure levels routinely

C for Cholesterol – manage your cholesterol

S for Smoking – refrain from smoking

Helpful Resources

Women in the Stroke Professional Field

As a research institution, we continue to provide opportunities for our female colleagues to strive. Four of seven leadership positions within the institution are held by female colleagues and half of our vascular neurology fellows are women. In addition, our associates have contributed to gender and race disparity research within the stroke field.


The Stroke community continues to grow and evolve with the valuable contribution of bright and resourceful women; however, I hope that more women could get involve in the field, because it can really benefit from the insightful, organized and caring minds of women around the globe, who give their effort and dedication to advance research and treat their patients with excellence.

Juliana Gomez, Vascular Neurology Graduate


Research Articles

Faculty Research Articles

Women's History Month Special Campaign

Throughout Women's History Month (March), we compiled a growing list of women leaders. We recognized women leaders in stroke across the globe to honor their contributions to the field. You can view the full thread on Twitter here.

Women Leaders in the Stroke Field

UTHealth Houston Stroke Institute Celebrates Women's History Month

A few women from our institution are highlighted above: Myriam Fornage, PhD, Anjail Sharrief, MD, MPH, Louise McCullough, MD, PhD, and Amanda Jagolino-Cole, MD. 

Our honorable mention list includes women from outside our institution as well, who are making strides in the stroke field.

Listed in no particular order:

Janice J. Eng
Professor and Canada Research Chair 
UBC Department of Physical Therapy at University of British Columbia

Joanna Wardlaw
Professor of Applied Neuroimaging
University of Edinburgh

Lara Boyd
The University of British Columbia

Dorcas Gandhi
Associate Professor and Research Fellow 
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana

Cheryl Bushnell, MD
Wakeforest Baptist Health

Coralie English
Professor, Physiotherapy
University of Newcastle

Dawn Kleindorfer, MD
Chair and Professor of Neurology
Michigan Medicine

Robin Brey, MD
Chair and Professor
UTHealth San Antonio

Robin Novokovic - UTSW in Dallas
Associate Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Heather Fullerton, MD, MAS
University of California San Francisco

Jennifer Simpson, MD
University of Colorado

Karen Furie, MD, MPH
Chair and Professor
Brown University

Pooja Khatri, MD
Professor and Director 
University of Cincinnati (UC Health)

Jennifer Majersik, MD, MS
University of Utah

Julie Bernhardt, PhD
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Anna Planas, PhD
Institute of Biomedical Researchof Barcelona

Ana Catarina Fonseca, MD, PhD, MPH
University of Lisbon

Sheila Martins, MD, MSc, PhD
Founder and President
Brazilian Stroke Network

Cheryl Bushnell, MD
Professor and Director of Comprehensive Stroke Center
Wake Forest Baptist Health

Anne Alexandrov, PhD, RN, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN
Professor and MSU Chief Nurse Practitioner
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Else Charlotte Sandset,MD, PhD
Consultant Neurologist
Oslo University Hospital

Hanne Christensen, MD, PhD, DMSCI, FESO
University of Copenhagen

Norlinah Mohamed Ibrahim, MD
Head of Department of Medicine
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Nikola Sprigg, FRCP, MD
Nottingham University

Helmi Lutsep,MD
Interim Chair and Professor
Oregon Health and Science University

Deidre A. De Silva, MBBS, FRCO, FAMS
Senior Consultant 
National Neuroscience Institute (Singapore)

Lauren H. Sansing, MD, MS, FAHA, FANA
Professor and Chief of Division of Stroke and Vascular Neurology 
Yale University

Pam Duncan, PhD
Wake Forest School of Medicine

Sheryl Martin-Schild, MD, PhD, FANA, FAHA
New Orleans East Hospital

Marilyn Cipolla, PhD
University of Vermont

Natalia Rost, MD
Stroke Division Chief
Massachusetts General Hospital

Argye Hillis, MD
Professor and Director of Center of Excellence in Stroke Detection and Diagnosis
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Devin Brown, MD, MS
Professor and Director of Vascular Neurology Fellowship
University of Michigan

Amytis Towfighi, MD
University of Southern California

Lesli Skolarus, MD
University of Michigan

Nicole Gonzales, MD
University of Colorado

Wendy Ziai, MD
Professor and Director of the Neurovascular Lab
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Patrice Lindsay, MD
Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada

Rebecca Gottesman, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Tanya Turan, MD
Professor and Director of Stroke Neurology Division
Medical University of South Carolina

Tatjana Rundek, MD
Professor and Director of Clinical Translational Services
University of Miami

Mai N. Nguyen-Huynh, MD, MAS
Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Thanh Nguyen, MD
Professor and Director of Interventional Neuroradiology and Interventional Neurology
Boston University School of Medicine