Open Accessibility Menu


It's important to recognize stroke symptoms and go to the closest emergency department fast. An easy way to remember is what to do is the acronym BE FAST.

  • B is for Balance — a sudden loss of Balance.
  • E is for Eyes — a sudden change in vision.
  • F is for FACE — Does one side of the patient's face droop more than the other?
  • A is for Arms — Can you raise both arms and keep them raised for 10 seconds?
  • S is for Speech — Is the patient's speech slurred more than usual?
  • T is for Time —If you see any of these signs, it's time to call 911.

Learn the Six Signs of Stroke In Less Than 60 Seconds

Learn the six signs of stroke in less than 60 seconds with Dr. Sean Oldroyd, Stroke Program Medical Director at Kaweah Health. Please remember to share this information with your loved ones — it could save their lives.

Stroke Program Hero of Heroes Award

Physician Stroke Hero of Heroes 2024

Dr. Richard Pantera is being recognized for his leadership and dedication in caring for our stroke patient population. He has dedicated countless hours teaching our residents and championed many research activities. The Stroke Hero of Heroes recognition is presented to providers who have achieved exemplary contributions and outstanding performance in the treatment of stroke.

Dr. Richard Pantera

Staff Member Stroke Hero of Heroes 2024

Alice Goodin, RN is being recognized as a Stroke Hero for her dedication and compassion for our stroke patients in the Emergency Department. She is a strong stroke patient advocate, ensuring we are consistently providing evidence based care. The Stroke Hero of Heroes recognition is presented to staff who have achieved exemplary contribution and outstanding performance in the care of our stroke patients.

Congratulations Dr. Pantera and Alice!

Kaweah Health Stroke Program

Preventing and Treating Strokes in Visalia, Tulare County and Surrounding Areas

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the nation. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, and every four minutes one person will die from a stroke. According to the California Department of Public Health, more people stroke death rate in Tulare County is higher than the rate for all of California (42.7 per 100,000 compared to 38.1 per 100,000 deaths). Stroke is a disease that affects the blood vessels that take blood to your brain.

Kaweah Health is committed to providing the best care possible for our patients who have had a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack). According to Healthgrades Clinical Quality Reports, Kaweah Health's stroke death rate has been beyond expectations as compared to other hospitals throughout the nation. With this commitment, Kaweah Health has obtained the Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Certification. By pursuing certification, Kaweah Health has reduced the variation in clinical processes thus improving the quality of patient care and increasing community education on stroke prevention.

Mission Statement

The mission of Kaweah Health’s Stroke Program is to provide timely, patient-centered, and evidence-based care to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients with signs and symptoms of acute stroke.


  1. Rapid identification of patients with signs/symptoms consistent with acute stroke

  2. Management of acute stroke patients, appropriately and efficiently according to best practice guidelines

  3. Maintain certification as a Primary Stroke Center and be recognized as a neurological center of excellence

Scope of Services

24 Hours a day, 7 Days a Week

  • Neurology, Intensivists & Hospitalists

  • Laboratory

  • Radiology — CT, CT angiogram, CT brain perfusion, MRI

  • Pharmacy

  • Emergency Department Stroke Alert Team Lead

  • Rapid Response Team (RRT) responds to all in-patient stroke alerts

During business hours, 7 Days a Week

  • Case Management and Social Services

  • Physical and Speech Therapies

  • Admits to Acute In-Patient Rehabilitation Hospital

During business hours, 6 Days a Week

  • Occupational Therapy

*Endovascular procedures require transfer to another facility.

Kaweah Health receives 2023 Get With The Guidelines® - Stroke GOLD PLUS with Honor Roll Elite and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Quality Achievement Award

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Kaweah Health for its continued success in using the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke GOLD PLUS with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll. Kaweah Health applies the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes in the community we serve. For more information, please visit

Advanced Primary Stroke Center

In Spring 2018, The Joint Commission and the American Stroke Association awarded Kaweah Health Medical Center certification as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. The certification means that Kaweah Health is making exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke patients. “We commend Kaweah Health for becoming a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community,” said Patrick Phelan, Executive Director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission.

Stroke team award photo

Patient Visits at Kaweah Health

Patient Stroke Types and Volume

Ischemic 398 Annual 33 Monthly
Hemorrhagic 100 Annual 8 Monthly
TIA's 303 Annual 25 Monthly

Stroke Program Leadership

  • FirstName LastName photo
    Dr. Sean Oldroyd Stroke Program Medical Director
  • FirstName LastName photo
    Cheryl Smit, RN-BC Stroke Program Manager
  • FirstName LastName photo
    Emma Camarena, RN Advanced Practice Nurse
  • FirstName LastName photo
    Kelsey Zapata, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP Emergency Department Pharmacist

Program Contact Information

Cheryl Smit, RN, Stroke Manager
(559) 624-2133
Kaweah Health Quality and Patient Safety Department
520 W. Mineral King Ave. | Visalia, CA 93291