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Dawn A.
Dawn A.

Healthcare Professional and Family Member of Survivors

I am a face of stroke by chance and by choice. By chance, I have two non-modifiable stroke risk factors; I am African American and have a strong family history of stroke. My grandmother died from a stroke, my uncle has been bedridden and severely aphasic for more than 10 years after a stroke and last year my grandfather experienced a stroke resulting in left-sided weakness. By choice, I have focused my nursing career on stroke. As a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, I have cared for patients with stroke in hospital and home care settings. I have also interacted with stroke survivors and their family members as a research coordinator of funded studies assessing family caregivers of stroke survivors. It was during an interview with a research participant that I finalized my decision to seek a doctoral degree in nursing. While interviewing the mother of a young male stroke survivor, I was stunned to find out that she was also caring for her husband who had experienced a stroke just three months prior to their son's stroke. Three years later, I continue to draw on the inspiration from that family and my own as I pursue my PhD in nursing at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. My research focus is stroke prevention in African Americans, particularly young adults and those with a family history of stroke. By choice, I am a passionate advocate for stroke awareness, prevention, and research and hope to help others reduce their chances of stroke.


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