Honoring a Visionary Leader with a Well-Deserved Award

New Distinguished Physician Award pays tribute to Dr. Richard A. Bernstein.

Philanthropy plays an essential role in Northwestern Medicine’s efforts to develop, support and recognize its dedicated medical and research staff members. Recently, the generosity of more than 100 donors has facilitated the creation of the Northwestern Medicine Distinguished Physician in Vascular Neurology Award, which pays tribute to the extraordinary talent, commitment and leadership of Richard A. Bernstein, MD, PhD, clinical director of Northwestern Medicine’s Telehealth Program and a professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Philanthropic contributions to the Distinguished Physician in Vascular Neurology Award are making it possible for Dr. Bernstein to further advance his vital research and to continue to deliver outstanding, leading-edge stroke care.

To date, donors to this prestigious award have contributed nearly $1.5 million. This fundraising success has occurred, and continues today, through a philanthropic campaign chaired by Daniel S. Jones, a family member of one of Dr. Bernstein’s grateful patients.

Mr. Jones remarked, “Through the Distinguished Physician in Vascular Neurology Award, we want to celebrate the career and the many successes of Dr. Bernstein, and we want to establish a means of honoring future leaders in vascular neurology, for years and years to come. Because this is an endowed award, it will live in perpetuity. It will be a lasting tribute to Dr. Bernstein, and it will help to facilitate new discoveries and achievements that will help countless people.”

A 17-year member of Northwestern’s medical faculty and an influential leader at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Bernstein is highly regarded as an exceptional physician-scientist and as an innovator in the realm of stroke care. Notably, Dr. Bernstein facilitated the creation of the Telestroke program at Northwestern Medicine. Through Telestroke, patients exhibiting stroke symptoms at Northwestern Memorial’s affiliate hospitals receive instant access to world-class neurology specialists downtown, via a state-of the-art, two-way computer monitor that digitally connects the patient, physicians and nurses.

“Every day, I want to do everything I can to provide the most personalized, most effective treatment to patients who have experienced a stroke, and I am deeply committed to helping to shape the future of stroke care,” said Dr. Bernstein. “I am truly grateful for the support of so many people who have helped to make this Distinguished Physician Award possible. Thanks to such remarkable generosity, my colleagues and I will be able to ensure that every person affected by stroke receives the very finest care at Northwestern Medicine, now and in the future.

Recent, thoughtful philanthropy enabled Dr. Bernstein to bring RAPID brain imaging technology—the world’s most advanced visualization software for the brain—to Northwestern Memorial and its Telestroke partner hospitals. When a patient experiencing symptoms of a stroke arrives at the Emergency Department, RAPID analyzes data, in less than two minutes, from the patient’s CT scan or MRI, providing results that can be viewed on any computer screen or handheld device. This information enables neurologists to evaluate the amount of brain tissue that has been irreversibly damaged and to determine the amount of tissue that likely can be saved if blood flow is quickly restored to the brain.

Dr. Bernstein’s leadership and vision, as well as his and his colleagues’ commitment to excellence, have elevated Northwestern Memorial’s Stroke Program to No. 1 in Chicago in every quality measure related to stroke. In addition, the program is ranked No. 2 in the nation for stroke survival and is recognized as one of only 100 national Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association-certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

Reflecting on the significance of a Distinguished Physician Award—which is designed to shine much-deserved light on physicians who realize the highest standards as leaders, patient care advocates, clinical investigators and medical educators—Dr. Bernstein remarked, “Thank you to all my patients for your trust in me, and thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Distinguished Physician in Vascular Neurology Award for stroke care. You all give my daily work, and my whole career, such meaning.”

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