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GME > Fellowship Programs > Vascular Neurology Fellowship > Stroke Faculty > Stroke Program Faculty
About Rush University

The Cerebrovascular Disease and Neurologic Critical Care Section provides stroke and neurological critical care, primary and consultative inpatient services, office consultations, and transcranial Doppler and carotid ultrasound studies.

The stroke program was developed at Rush in the mid-1970s, with a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded stroke center focusing on stroke pathophysiology research. In 1991, the Section of Cerebrovascular Disease was established with an inpatient stroke service, an outpatient stroke consultation practice and an expansion of the cerebrovascular ultrasonography lab. Since July 2006, the section has been headed by Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS and includes three other stroke neurologists, Vivien Lee, MD, Yousef Mohammed, MD and James Conners, MD, an endovascular stroke neurologist, Michael Chen, MD, and five neurointensivists: Thomas Bleck, MD, Sayona John, MD, Richard Temes, MD, MS, Rajeev Garg, MD and Katharina Busl, MD.

Certified as a primary stroke center, the stroke program was given the Gold Seal of Approval by the Joint Commission in September 2007. The program continues to grow and also includes a Doppler technician, a stroke research coordinator and data manager, a stroke physician assistant, and ACGME-accredited vascular neurology fellowship and UCNS-accredited neuro-critical care fellowship programs.

The Stroke Program was recently awarded the Gold Performance Achievement Award by the American Stroke Association. Rush has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate. The award recognizes Rush's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment for at least 24 months, according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Besides an active inpatient program that treats over 800 patients annually for acute stroke and related cerebrovascular diagnoses, the Stroke Program is proud of its unique outpatient services. In addition to a stroke clinic for routine questions and consultations, a weekly multi-disciplinary outpatient neurovascular clinic was created in May 2007, which draws on expertise from vascular neurologists, vascular neurosurgeons, and endovascular neurologists and neurosurgeons. This specialty clinic aims to provide comprehensive care to outpatients with brain aneurysms, vascular malformations, intracranial stenosis, carotid and vertebral artery stenosis, and rare vascular disorders such as Moya-Moya. These specialists work together to offer high-level diagnosis using modern imaging techniques such as perfusion imaging and quantitative magnetic resonance angiography as well providing state-of-the-art treatments including intracranial and extracranial stents, aneurysm coiling, and embolization of complex arterio-venous malformation.

Current stroke research studies include the Stenting and Aggressive Medical Management for Preventing Recurrent stroke in Intracranial Stenosis (SAMMPRIS), A Randomized Multi-center Trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs (ARUBA), Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke (IRIS), Septal Occluder for Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closure in Stroke Patients (REDUCE), and Minimally Invasive Surgery plus rtPA for Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation (MISTIE). The Cerebrovascular Disease and Neurologic Critical Care Section also maintains the Rush Stroke Program Prospective Registry, which is an ongoing inpatient database of all patients admitted with ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

James Conners, MD

Cerebrovascular Disease
Section Head

Shawna Cutting, MD

Stroke Neurologist

Vivien Lee, MD

Stroke Neurologist

Sarah Song, MD

Stroke Neurologist

Sayona John, MD

Neurocritical Care Section Head

Thomas Bleck, MD


Katharina Busl, MD


Rajeev Garg, MD


Richard Temes, MD


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