Press Release

June 3, 2005



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The first meeting of the newly formed Illinois Stroke Task Force will be held June 9 in Chicago to begin setting priorities for improvements in stroke prevention and treatment efforts.

The 24-member task force was appointed by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. Dr. Whitaker will serve as chairperson.

“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Illinois, accounting for 7,195 deaths or approximately 6.8 percent of the state’s deaths in 2002,” Dr. Whitaker said. “This task force will be responsible for advising the Department in how to improve prevention and treatment efforts so that the number of people who die from strokes can be drastically reduced.”

Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, increasing age, prior stroke or heart disease, diabetes, family history of stroke, and socioeconomic disadvantage.

“Many survivors cannot perform daily tasks and 20 percent will require institutional care,” Dr. Whitaker said. “The risk of death and disability can be reduced if stroke victims receive prompt appropriate treatment. We must do all that we can to ensure that happens.”

The Department is focusing on stroke prevention through the implementation of two projects that received federal funding last summer: Great Lakes Regional Stroke Network and the Paul Coverdell Stroke Registry.

Illinois is leading the Great Lakes Regional Stroke Network, which also includes Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The purpose of the network is to increase stroke awareness and enhance the role of public health to address stroke prevention and quality of care.

Illinois is one of four states ( Georgia, North Carolina and Massachusetts are the others) to receive registry funding. The Illinois CAPTURE Stroke Registry will collect data to measure quality of care for acute stroke patients and to implement improvement strategies that focus on policy, systems change and professional education to improve treatment. The Department and the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Chicago are collaborating with 22 hospitals to implement the registry.

“With the establishment of the Illinois Stroke Task Force, the state will be taking the lead in a pressing health issue,” said Heather Gavras, regional vice president of Heart and Stroke Initiatives, American Heart Association, Greater Midwest Affiliate. “By developing and implementing a public education program on stroke prevention, tailored to those at most risk, we hope to make a real difference in stomping out stroke throughout the state. It’s a battle we cannot afford to lose.”

The American Heart Association is a member organization of the task force through its division known as the American Stroke Association.

Members of the task force are:

William Adair, M.D.
Barrington Hills
Represents the Illinois Hospital Association

Mark Alberts, M.D.
Represents medical doctor at a research university

Diane M. Barnes-Maguire, M.S., C.C.C.-S.L.P.
Represents the Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association

Barbara Bollenberg, Ph.D., R.N.
Downers Grove
Represents the Illinois Nurses Association

Carolyn Brown Hodge
Represents the Illinois Rural Health Association

E. Bradshaw Bunney, M.D., F.A.C.E.P.
Represents the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians

Brian Churchill, E.M.T.-Paramedic
Represent emergency medical technicians

Michele M. Clancy
Represents the general public

Kristine Coryell, Ph.D.
Represents the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of America

Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H.
Represents the National Stroke Association

Joe Harrington
Represents minorities

Richard L. Harvey, M.D.
Represents Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities

H. Hunt Batjer, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Represents the American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Christina Kavelman
Represents stroke survivors

Edmund G. Lawler, M.S.H.A., L.C.H.E.
Represents the Illinois Chapter of American Association of Retired Persons

Sylvia Mahone, M.D.
Hazel Crest
Represents the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians

Gregory J. Mishkel, M.D.
Represents the Illinois State Medical Society

Michael R. Murphy
Represents the Illinois Life Insurance Council

James R. Nelson, M.S.
Represents the Illinois Public Health Association

Dilip K. Pandey, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.
Represents the Illinois CAPTURE Stroke Registry

Rosanne Thomas, M.S., P.T., Ph.D.
Represents the Illinois Physical Therapy Association

Diane E. Wallis, M.D.
Downers Grove
Represents the Illinois Chapter of the American College of Cardiology

David Z. Wang, D.O.
Represents the American Stroke Association

Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H., Director
Illinois Department of Public Health

Ex Officio Members:

State Rep. Mary E. Flowers, D-Chicago

State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch

State Sen. Dale A. Righter, R-Mattoon

Sen. Carol Ronen, D-Chicago


idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments