Foundation donates $6 million to USC for stroke clinic
Before her death last year at the age of 95, Roxanna Todd Hodges, who endured three strokes in her lifetime, had a goal of providing training, education and support for survivors of stroke and their family members.
On May 2, her vision officially was achieved at a recognition reception honoring her foundation and its $6-million gift to establish the Roxanna Todd Hodges Comprehensive Stroke Clinic and the Roxanna Todd Hodges Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) program.
“This is an extraordinary gift,” said Keck School of Medicine of USC dean Carmen A. Puliafito at the reception, which was held at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. “It is a devastating situation to have a stroke. The best strategy against it is prevention. I will do whatever I can to make these programs successful and ones that the Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation can be very proud of.”
Nerses Sanossian, assistant professor of neurology and associate director of the neurocritical care and stroke section at USC, will serve as director for the clinic and the TIA program.
“Stroke is the leading cause of disability in this country, more than motor vehicle accidents or Alzheimer’s disease or any other condition,” he said. “Yet stroke is an entirely preventable disease. Education about stroke in general and about stroke risk factors in the community is not where it needs to be. With the Roxanna Todd Hodges Comprehensive Stroke Clinic, we will aim to reduce the burden of stroke in Southern California through prevention and education.”
There are more than 2,600 stroke-related visits to the Keck Medical Center of USC each year. The clinic will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients experiencing stroke or acute neurological events and related conditions. It also will encompass outpatient care, inpatient care and research.
The TIA program will focus on the development of enhanced diagnostic and treatment for preventing stroke. Commonly known as a “mini-stroke,” a transient ischemic attack refers to the temporary disturbance of the blood supply to the brain, which often results in a sudden and brief reduction in brain function.
There are more than 500,000 evaluations for TIA per year in the United States, though the true incidence is not known because most are never reported. TIA is an early warning of an impending stroke because it reflects an ongoing process, such as an unstable artery plaque or heart rhythm. The greatest impact on stroke prevention and treatment can be made immediately following a TIA event if rapid diagnosis and treatment occur.
“I believe that research, diagnosis and treatment of TIA patients can yield the greatest benefits because an averted stroke is the best outcome,” Sanossian said.
Deborah Massaglia, president of the Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation and a friend of Hodges, also spoke at the reception.
“I know that Roxie would be extremely proud and honored to have these centers in her name,” she said, referring to Hodges’ nickname. “I am so proud and grateful to the Keck School of Medicine of USC for this opportunity. Years ago, TIAs were rarely ever mentioned and now to have a program to treat them is something even we would never have imagined.”