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Pharmacy students provide stroke education program in communities

Every 40 seconds someone suffers a stroke in the United States. May is Stroke Awareness Month and a community outreach program from NDSU is now being made available in rural areas and other communities. 

NDSU pharmacy students and Marketa Marvanova, chair of pharmacy practice in the NDSU School of Pharmacy, provided the program in Mayville, North Dakota, in early May. The group partnered with Sanford Mayville Medical Center, Bridging Health and Home program to bring the event to Mayville residents.

Participants received blood pressure, heart rate and peripheral blood oxygen saturation measurements, completed a stroke risk assessment questionnaire, and received individualized counseling and stroke risk and education about the warning signs of stroke.

“I think it is very important for NDSU as a land grant university to engage with communities,” said Marvanova. “In next two months, we hope to provide this program in Valley City, Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Wahpeton, and other locations.”

If your community or organization would like to host or partner for a stroke awareness and prevention program event in your town, contact Marvanova at

Pharmacy students Esther Flores, Sayuri Yang, Julius Kunweleyi, Arianna Vidger, and Oluwaseyi Ogundolani provided stroke screening and education in Mayville.

“I wanted to participate in the stroke education program overall because my family was affected by stroke,” said Yang, who plans to graduate with her doctor of pharmacy degree in 2020. “Through this outreach program, I hope to learn the best ways of providing awareness and education about stroke.”

The Mayville event was the first of many that are being provided in communities in eastern North Dakota between June and December 2018. The stroke education outreach and research project is made possible through grant funding from the Dakota Medical Foundation.

Flores said residents came to the sessions prepared with information. “I learned they needed someone to speak to that was able to verify that what they were already doing was correct,” said Flores. “It was my privilege to speak to residents and let them know that there is someone that cares about their health.”

Every four minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a stroke. Knowing signs of a stroke and how to lessen risk factors is important.

“The key risk factor for a stroke is high blood pressure and one in three adults have high blood pressure,” said Marvanova. “Blood pressure screening is a very cost-effective way to aid in prevention of other cardiovascular complications. For individuals, prevention and quick stroke symptom recognition are critically important.”

Marvanova and the trained student pharmacists assist participants in knowing their numbers and help people who may be in need of additional medical referrals to manage risk of stroke. Additionally, follow-up calls are provided three months later to identify what actions were taken and to discuss recommendations received from health care providers.

In the U.S., stroke is the leading cause of functional impairment of adults, and the third leading cause of death among women and fifth among men, according to Marvanova.

As a student focused, land grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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North Dakota State University
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