North Shore-LIJ Launches System-wide Stroke Awareness Campaign, “Think F.A.S.T.”

MANHASSET, NY – According to the American Stroke Association, about 795,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke and it kills more than 137,000 people a year. 

In recognition of May’s Stroke Awareness Month, the North Shore-LIJ Health System has launched a system-wide stroke awareness campaign called “Think F.A.S.T.,” in an effort to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke.

“The more we can educate the public about the warning signs and symptoms of stroke, the more lives can be saved,” said Richard Libman, MD, chair of North Shore-LIJ’s stroke task force and chief of vascular neurology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  “With stroke, time is brain and the sooner a patient with stroke-like symptoms is brought to the nearest stroke-designated hospital, the better chance of a good clinical outcome.  A clot-busting drug called tPA is only effective when given within the first three hours of the initial appearance of stroke-like symptoms.”

 Throughout the month of May, stroke coordinators at various North Shore-LIJ hospitals, will host stroke awareness events educating the public on how to recognize the symptoms of stroke; stroke risk factors; stroke prevention; nutrition; heart health; and, diabetes.  North Shore-LIJ stroke coordinators will talk to the public about how to “Think F.A.S.T.”

F.A.S.T. stands for the key symptoms of stroke:

Face Drooping:  When one side of the face droops or is numb.  Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness: When one arm is weak or numb.  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty:  When the speech is slurred or when person is unable to speak or difficult to understand.  Ask the person to repeat a sentence.  Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 911: If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 and get them to a hospital immediately.

“The North Shore-LIJ Health System employs over 46,000 people and services over seven million people,” said Michele L. Gribko, MS, RN, stroke coordinator at North Shore University Hospital.   “During the month of May, our goal is to reach thousands of people who walk through our hospital doors and educate them about how to ‘Think F.A.S.T.’”

For each person who is educated, they will receive a sticker that says, “I know how to think F.A.S.T. and can recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke.”

For more information about stroke prevention and treatment, visit or call 516-562-3822.

For information on the North Shore-LIJ hospitals that will be hosting their own stroke educational events, please call 516-562-3822.

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