Jacksonville's UF Health, Mayo Clinic team up to educate EMS personnel on strokes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Northeast Florida's two health care leaders in stroke prevention and care are joining forces to offer new training to the region's first responders and emergency personnel.

UF Health Jacksonville and Mayo Clinic will begin conducting quarterly, high-level training sessions starting in July.

The two centers will alternate locations for classes between their campuses.

Both hospitals have been involved in lecture-based EMS education for more than a decade, but this new effort will combine lectures with hands-on skill training and take advantage of the advanced resources of both facilities.

The sessions will cover a range of topics and medical conditions aimed to help attendees develop advanced expertise and special tactics for use in life-saving efforts.

Facilities utilized will include their state-of-the-art simulation centers to offer hands-on training to emergency personnel from Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Participants will be able to work with simulators of human patients that can be programmed to show signs of an impending stroke and appear to experience a stroke.

The simulators even talk, giving emergency personnel a chance to test their knowledge in the most realistic way possible without involving an actual patient.

University of Florida College of Medicine–Jacksonville neurology professor Scott Silliman has been the head of UF Health's stroke program since its inception in 1996.

"EMS is one of the most important and unfortunately, largely ignored components of stroke care," Silliman said in a news release.

He is joined by his colleagues at Mayo Clinic in emphasizing the importance of working together, both in a hospital and an emergency response level, to save lives.

"The goal of this program is to leverage the vast resources available in our community in an effort to support our regional EMS community," said Charles Graham, an emergency medicine physician at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.

A stroke is caused by a clot or hemorrhage that interferes with blood flow in the brain. Beyond the clot or hemorrhage, brain cells are starved of oxygen and food, dying at an incredible rate of 2 million per minute. Strokes are the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of an acquired physical disability.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates strokes cost the United States approximately $36.5 billion annually, which includes the cost of healthcare services, medications and missed days of work.

The first training session will be held at Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville campus on July 21.
The second will be offered in October at UF Health Jacksonville, and then the sessions will continue to rotate between the campuses on a quarterly basis.

The sessions are free of charge for all EMS teams in Florida and Georgia.

To register, contact Lesia Mooney, Mayo stroke coordinator, at 904-953-7470 or mooney.lesia@mayo.edu, or Wayne Hodges, UF Health Jacksonville stroke outreach educator, at 904-244-9098 or wayne.hodges@jax.ufl.edu.