UAMS’ Aliza Brown, Ph.D., recently received a nearly $200,000 Genentech stroke research award after she incorporated ideas in her application from the first TRI Research Forum in June 2014.

The grant was one of only three community stroke pilots funded by Genentech in the United States. The study will enable Brown to determine paramedics’ recognition of stroke and whether stroke patients are being taken to stroke-ready hospitals.  In addition, she is developing an educational video for paramedics in partnership with the UAMS-led Arkansas SAVES (Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) telestroke program and the Arkansas Department of Health’s Arkansas Stroke Registry.

Her hope is that the study will provide data to support state sanctioned stroke guidelines and practices for emergency medical services.

“The Department of Health is very interested in this project because this will help promote legislation for the stroke guidelines and to create a stroke dashboard to guide EMS agencies to the appropriate hospitals,” Brown said.

Brown, an assistant professor of radiology, joked that she was TRI’s first Research Forum “guinea pig.” The forums include established researchers and biostatisticians who provide feedback on investigators’ grant applications.

“The forum panel was excited about the application and said it was very translational,” Brown said. “They gave me some great advice. I learned a lot and I got a pretty good grant out of it.”

A key recommendation came from Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., professor and interim dean of the College of Nursing. “Dr. McSweeney suggested that the study include utilization of the Simulation Center and an educational intervention, so I did that,” Brown said.

Her study will validate the educational intervention – a training video – by measuring Pulaski County paramedics’ stroke recognition rates following training. Garland County EMS will serve as the control, where EMS workers will not receive the training video and whose stroke recognition rates will be followed concurrently.

“I hope that this study can provide data the state needs to make these stroke guidelines a reality,” Brown said.

To date, TRI has hosted nine Research Forums. To request a forum, email TRIservices@uams.edu.