Two physicians from Saudi Arabia recently upgraded their medical skills as participants in a world-class interventional training program at the Erlanger Southeast Regional StrokeCenter. 

Drs. Wail Alkashkari and Nora Rashad joined the ranks of more than 80 medical specialists and support staff from medical centers around the world that have previously traveled to Chattanooga for studies at the National Stroke Intervention Training Center, located at the Erlanger Health System. The center is a collaborative effort between the Erlanger SoutheastRegional Stroke Center, the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, and the non-profit Pleiades Foundation for Advanced Neuromedical Education.

The training center program, led by Dr. Blaise Baxter, Chief of Interventional Radiology, will support the efforts of Drs. Alkashkari and Rashad in organizing a large vascular center at theKing Abdullah Medical Center in the holy city of Mecca, Saudia Arabia. The two physicians will also gain a better understanding of the complex organization of an international stroke center. “Our medical and support staff at the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center has the expertise to assist our Saudi guests in utilizing the cutting-edge technologies that are having a substantial impact on emergency stroke medicine,” says Dr. Baxter.

With the revolutionary technologies offered by Erlanger’s stroke team, the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center is one of the most successful centers in the world at halting and reversing the symptoms of stroke. Dr. Baxter and his colleague, Dr. Steven Quarfordt, use high-tech catheters that enter the body’s blood vessels and physically remove blockages in the head and neck that cause ischemic stroke.

Physicians attending previous training classes at Erlanger hail from such countries as India, Dubai, and Vietnam, and their participation in the Chattanooga sessions have led to lecture engagements by Dr. Baxter in China and Vietnam. Moreover, Erlanger has become the destination of choice for stroke physicians who want to bring advanced stroke technologies back to their own countries. “We’re prepared to offer long-term partnerships with developing nations, many of which have the highest incidence of stroke anywhere in the world,” says Thomas Devlin, MD, PhD, the Medical Director of the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center.