Pictured left-right during the Stroke Award presentation are: Cris Carr, director, Process Improvement; Louis Damiano, MD, vice president, Medical Affairs, Holy Cross Hospital; Shashi Dudi, data abstractor, Performance Improvement; Zachary Levine, MD, medical director, Neurosurgery, Holy Cross Health; Sharon Harriston, RN, MS, ACNP, CCNS, nurse practitioner, Neuroscience; Noelle Lang, director, Quality and Systems Improvement, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, American Heart Association; Shahid Rafiq, MD, medical director, Neurology and Stroke, Holy Cross Hospital; Judith Rogers, president, Holy Cross Hospital; Julie Nenichka-Reed, BSN, RN, Neuroscience Program Coordinator, Holy Cross Health; Elizabeth Begley, manager, Physician Performance Improvement

Holy Cross Hospital received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll for the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke program. The award recognizes Holy Cross Hospital's commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. Holy Cross Hospital's Stroke Program has received the Gold Plus Award for Stroke every year since 2010.

"As one of the largest hospitals in the state, it is important for Holy Cross to continue to be a leader in the advancement of high quality patient care. This recognition demonstrates not only our commitment to our patients but our expertise in reliable, high quality care," said Judith Rogers, president, Holy Cross Hospital. "We are proud of our stroke team, including all the doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses, who have consistently delivered advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely."

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Holy Cross Hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

In addition to the American Heart Association's Gold Plus Award, with Target: Stroke Honor Roll, Holy Cross Hospital is designated as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and by The Joint Commission, the national credentialing organization for hospitals.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

It is important to recognize the signs and get immediate medical attention. Speedy stroke diagnosis and treatment can help dramatically improve recovery from strokes, including a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini-stroke.

The Five Major Warning Signs of Stroke are:

  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Severe, sudden onset of headache with no known cause.

Learn more about the risks and warning signs for stroke.


About Holy Cross Health

Holy Cross Health, founded in 1963 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, is a comprehensive Catholic health care delivery system that includes two hospitals and a network of community health centers in Montgomery County, Maryland. Holy Cross Hospital, the largest hospital in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, is located on the Kevin J. Sexton Campus of Holy Cross Health in Silver Spring. Holy Cross Germantown Hospital is the first hospital in the nation located on the campus of a community college. Holy Cross Health Network provides primary care at health centers located in Silver Spring, Aspen Hill, Gaithersburg, and Germantown and community education throughout Montgomery County.

About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit