A donation from a University of Louisville alumna will fund an innovative program to enhance the training and knowledge of nurses at University of Louisville Hospital’s dedicated stroke unit.

Ann Mead, vice president for finance and administration at Western Kentucky University, lost both of her parents to stroke. Her gift will fund the first stroke nursing fellowship program in Kentucky, and only the second in the country.

“Throughout each of my parents’ hospital experiences, they were very impressed with the nursing care they received,” Mead said. “Nurses are so critical in the treatment of stroke patients, and I feel like this gift will directly impact the quality of care people in Kentucky receive.

“After meeting Dr. Kerri Remmel (director of the hospital’s stroke center) and learning of her passion for improving the stroke outlook in Kentucky, I was really motivated to try do what I could to help,” Mead said.

The program will give University of Louisville Hospital stroke nurses an opportunity for advanced training in clinical care and research.

Kentucky is part of the “stroke belt,” a collection of southeastern states with higher stroke prevalence and mortality rates than the rest of the country.

“Our state needs the best possible stroke care, and Ann’s generous gift will help in that effort,” Remmel said. “The funds will advance the skills and knowledge of our nurses, but it is the patients who will benefit the most.”

Betsy Wise will be the first nurse practitioner to go through the fellowship program. It is named after Mead’s parents, John & Yvonne Mead.