Who We Are – Minnesota Stroke Program

Who We Are
Minnesota Stroke Program

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in Minnesota. Over 8,000 people have a stroke every year – and many will go on to experience another stroke in their lifetime. The Minnesota Stroke Program, a part of the Cardiovascular Health Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health, is committed to reducing the burden of stroke in the state through raising stroke awareness in the community, providing continuing education to health care providers, and working to improve the entire system of care for stroke patients.

Minnesota Stroke System

A coordinated statewide system of care ensures all hospitals are equipped and ready to provide the best care possible for all Minnesotans. We designate facilities as Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals, Primary Stroke Centers, and Comprehensive Stroke Centers. In addition, we train emergency medical service (EMS) providers to recognize the symptoms of stroke and take patients quickly to hospitals for fast treatment. As a result of the system, 90% of the state’s residents live within 30 minutes of a designated stroke center.

Minnesota Stroke Registry

Our statewide registry of stroke patient quality of care data captures over 90% of all stroke patient visits in the state. These data allow us to identify topics in which we can provide more education, and help pinpoint where more resources are needed to improve care. Hospitals can use their data to identify areas for improvement and demonstrate their progress in stroke care.

Every Second Counts Stroke Awareness Campaign

We teach the public the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 9-1-1 through media campaigns and community education efforts.

Quality Improvement Initiatives

We conduct statewide and local projects and initiatives to equip, train, and support hospitals, providers, and stroke survivor organizations. We facilitate learning collaboratives to bring organizations together to find solutions to problems in our health care system. We provide grant support to hospitals and EMS agencies for training and special care improvement projects. We are implementing projects to improve the Transitions of Care for Stroke Patients after they leave the hospital. Finally, we offer webinars, toolkits and other resources to provide additional education and tools to support the implementation of best practices.


We convene the Minnesota Stroke Council and the Minnesota Stroke Coordinators Group. We bring stroke professionals together to work on ways to improve the stroke care system in Minnesota.


Albert Tsai • Program Lead • 651-201-5413 • albert.tsai@state.mn.us

Catherine Johnson • EMS Coordinator • 651-201-4094 • catherine.johnson@state.mn.us

Erica Fishman • Transitions of Care Coordinator • 651-201-4093 • erica.fishman@state.mn.us

Claire Fleming • Evaluation Specialist • 651-201-5274 • claire.fleming@state.mn.us

Michelle Gray Ansari • Stroke Coordinator • 651-201-4097 • michelle.gray.ansari@state.mn.us

Julie Hoffer • Research Analyst • 651-201-4527 • julie.hoffer@state.mn.us

Eileen White •Time Critical Systems Coordinator • 651-201-4095 • eileen.white@state.mn.us

Cardiovascular Health Unit | Stroke in Minnesota | About Stroke | Minnesota Stroke Registry | Minnesota Stroke System | Stroke System Designated Hospitals  | Stroke System Designated Hospitals Map | Stroke System FAQ | Stroke Education Webinar | Stroke Awareness Campaign | Emergency Medical Services for Stroke | Transitions of Care for Stroke Patients