Munson Healthcare Interventional Stroke Program


Munson Healthcare Interventional Stroke Program

Strokes are the leading cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and dies of a stroke every four minutes. With higher stroke rates than average in northern Michigan, when you or a loved one experience stroke symptoms only one thing matters: getting treatment fast.

A one-hour delay in treatment is the equivalent of the brain aging by four years. This means a four-hour delay in intervention from a Munson Healthcare facility to the nearest endovascular-capable institution can lead to up to 16 years of brain aging.

Where care is available, outcomes improve—that’s why it’s so important to bring interventional stroke care close to home. With your help, Munson Healthcare will grow our neurosurgery and interventional stroke capabilities to become the region’s only Premier Stroke Center.

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The Vision

Our goal is to ensure all patients, from year-round residents to summertime visitors, have access to interventional stroke care right here in northern Michigan:

  • Increasing timely access to life-changing stroke care
  • Providing the gold-standard of effective treatment options
  • Strengthening community confidence in our quality of care
  • Organizing teams across the full stroke/neurovascular continuum of care: diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and education
  • Attracting top-quality physicians and staff

The Current State

Since December 2023, Munson Medical Center has been recognized by The Joint Commission as a comprehensive stroke center for northern Michigan. This designation affirms Munson Healthcare’s technology, resources, and expertise in providing care for any type of stroke case.

We have been certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission since 2012, providing clot-busting medicine and partnering with Spectrum Health to advance this program.

Transitioning to a stroke center with interventional capabilities has required the addition of critical staff, partnerships, and equipment:

  • Gary Rajah, MD, Munson Healthcare Endovascular Stroke Program Director
  • APPs, technicians, and registered nurses working closely with interventionalists/stroke surgeons
  • RAPID AI software for timely stroke triage
  • A strong academic partner: Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • Supplies including catheters, coils, stents, clips, and other micro instruments

The Future

Our goal as a Comprehensive Stroke Center is to remain the best-equipped hospital in a given geographical area for treating stroke or stroke complications. Maintaining this certification requires:

  • A complete Neurocritical Care team
  • Two new state-of-the-art biplane imaging labs (becoming the only facility in the nation to leverage this two of these world-class machines)
  • Audio/video equipment for education, outreach, medical advancement, and conferences
  • Reconfigured clinical workspace
  • Additional storage space for supplies and equipment
Tour a Biplane

Patient Benefits

As northern Michigan’s only Premier Stroke Center, Munson Medical Center will become the gold standard for stroke care in our region. Our upgraded facility will:

  • Produce 3-D images of the brain to path blood flow through vessels, locate blockages, identify aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations in real-time
  • Increase patient outcomes through significant reductions in transportation time
  • Allow clinicians to make faster, more accurate diagnostic and treatment decisions
  • Provide comprehensive treatment for even the most complex stroke and neurological cases
  • Offer state-of-the-art biplane and 3-D imaging for the safest critical care and interventional procedures
    stroke biplane imaging Munson Healthcare

Why We Need Your Help

A program of this caliber impacts thousands of patients who reside in and visit our region. In 2019, more than 500 northern Michigan patients would have benefitted from having interventional stroke care close to home. In 2023, over 1,300 stroke patients were treated at our facilities. 

Your generous support will make a world of difference for patients with stroke or other severe neurovascular complications throughout Munson Healthcare.

How we plan to pay for this project:

Building and maintaining a program of this caliber requires charitable support. A project of this magnitude would not be possible without support from the community. To date, our community has raised $6.8 million to support this vital program. Your gift, no matter the size, will continue this work to save and improve lives in northern Michigan.

For more information, please contact the Munson Healthcare Foundations at 231-213-1150 or