Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force


In 2007, the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) conducted a study to develop strategies to address stroke prevention and care across the Commonwealth. To conduct the study, the JCHC staff convened a cross-sectional expert workgroup that met several times to review stroke systems care in Virginia.  The workgroup made a number of recommendations to improve Virginia’s stroke systems, all of which were approved by JCHC. Among those recommendations was a requirement that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) convene a standing Stroke Systems Task Force, which later evolved into the Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force (VSSTF). VSSTF membership includes neurologists, EMS, stroke center coordinators, pharmacists, and nurses that are dedicated to improving stroke systems of care in Virginia.  The role of VDH is to provide administrative support to the VSSTF.


“The VSSTF is committed to improving the health and quality of life of all stroke patients/survivors, their families, and communities we serve through quality health care, education and outreach.”


“We aspire to be an influential voice for a collaborative statewide continuum of stroke care.”


The purpose of the VSSTF is to identify and evaluate strategies for enhancing stroke care in Virginia to improve health outcomes and quality of life. Meeting quarterly, the VSSTF focuses on:

  • The VSSTF action plan
  • Outcome analysis of action plan interventions
  • Professional development
  • Other stroke issues/concerns


Members include:  neurologists, neuroradiologists, emergency care physicians, family practice/primary care physicians, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, nurses, pharmacologist/pharmacists, primary stroke center hospital administrators, stroke survivor, community educators, stroke center coordinators, and representatives from VDH chronic disease and emergency medical services, American Stroke Association, American Heart Association, Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, Medical Society of Virginia, Virginia Association of Health Plans, pharmaceutical, insurance, and medical device industry, and telemedicine.

Member Qualifications and Characteristics

The ideal VSSTF member will:

  • Be a recognized expert in stroke systems and/or one or more of the components of a stroke system of care
  • Be in a position to help affect systems change on a statewide or regional scale
  • Be willing to share ideas in a cooperative forum
  • Deal with other members fairly, sensitively, and confidentially
  • Be open to diverse opinions and points of view 

VSSTF Meetings

Date Time Location
  • January 19, 2024
10:00AM - 3:00PM
John F. Fick III Conference Center at Mary Washington Healthcare 1301 Sam Perry Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22401


  • April 19, 2024
 10:00AM - 3:00PM Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
2265 Kraft Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060


  • July 19, 2024
 10:00AM - 3:00PM Maryview Medical Center
3636 High Street, Portsmouth, VA


  • October 18, 2024
 10:00AM - 3:00PM Richmond, VA; site TBD

Recent Meeting Agenda: (VSSTF Meeting from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM)

April 19, 2024 VSSTF-Agenda

10:00-10:05 am               Welcome, VCOM Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs

10:05-10:25 am                VSSTF Business, co-chairs: Melanie Winningham, MD, Sentara Healthcare and David Long, Tidewater EMS

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Approval of Meeting Minutes
  • Introduction of new Voting Members
  • New Co-Chair Voting

10:25-10:40 am              State Stroke Triage Plan Updates, Ashley Camper, OEMS

10:40-11:30 am              Workgroups Report Out

  • EMS Destination Protocols, Daniel Linkins, Central Shenandoah EMS
  • Messaging to Address Social Disparities, Kristie Burnette, Mary Brandenburg, VHHA
  • May Day! To Raise Stroke Awareness
  • Teleneurology, Branden Robinson, Sevaro
  • Stroke Smart Work Group

11:30-12:00 pm               ZODIAC Trial, Stacie Stevens, VCU Healthcare

12:00–12:30 pm             Lunch

12:00–12:30 pm             Simulation Center Tour - 2 groups of 10 (Please sign up if interested)

12:30 -1:00 pm               Rethinking Rehabilitation: Intensive Telerehabilitation to Maximize Recovery from Stroke, Kristin Nuckols, Imago Rehab

1:00-1:30 pm                   EMS Blood Draw for Stroke Patients - Pros and Cons, Panel Discussion,  Elizabeth Hart, Sophea Booker, Pat Edwards, David Long, Melanie Winningham

1:30-1:45 pm                    VDH Updates, Allie Lundberg, Epidemiologist, VDH

1:45-2:00 pm                  Final Remarks and Wrap Up, Melanie Winningham and David Long, co-chairs

2:00-3:00pm                   Virginia Stroke Coordinators Consortium Meeting, Mandi Zemaiduk, Centra and Elizabeth Hart, LewisGale, Co-Chairs, Mary Jobson-Oliver, incoming co-chair


Special thanks to Imago for sponsoring today’s meeting!

CEUs will not be provided for the industry sponsored speaker on Intensive Telerehabilitation.  

In the spirit of Collegiality and Professionalism, please be mindful of any information obtained and shared in this meeting that could be sensitive to an individual or an institution


Emergency Medical Services:
Make recommendations in the context of notification and response of EMS for stroke.

Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients:
Promote the effectiveness of rehabilitation and the importance of effective communication among providers, facilities, patients and family members.

Primary Care:
Support mechanisms to assist communities and providers in initiating prevention regimens applicable to the population as a whole.

Community Education:
Develop and support educational programs that target high-risk populations and their families.