Implementation Research Network in Stroke Care Quality: A Success Story of European Collaboration

Under the leadership of Prof. Robert Mikulík, head of the Stroke Research Program at FNUSA-ICRC, and Prof. Natan Bornstein, Director of the Brain Division at Medical Center in Jerusalem, the Implementation Research Network in Stroke Care Quality (IRENE COST Action) has significantly contributed to the improvement of stroke care quality monitoring in Europe over the last 4.5 years. The primary goal of the IRENE COST Action was to create a strategy for measuring the quality of stroke care. As a result, Eastern European countries began to implement their own national strategies in this area.

Thanks to the IRENE COST Action, an international network was established, connecting more than 188 experts from 30 European and neighboring countries. This network has become a hub for knowledge sharing and collaboration in the field of stroke care.

The IRENE network also closely collaborated with global organizations such as the European Stroke Organisation and the ANGELS Initiative, aiding in the implementation of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe. This collaboration was evident during four major meetings held in Moldova, Armenia, the Czech Republic, and Croatia, all with the aim of improving care for stroke patients. In Moldova and Croatia, Professor Mikulík, the network leader, and others met with representatives of the local governments to discuss how to measure and enhance the quality of stroke care, following the example of the Czech Republic.

Additionally, thanks to the IRENE COST Action, 23 scientific missions were carried out, particularly for young researchers from Eastern Europe, with three of them hosted by the Stroke Research Team at FNUSA-ICRC. These missions served as a means to transfer new skills and methods in stroke treatment and promote collaboration among European institutions.

Within the project, eight young researchers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, and Greece were given the opportunity to present their research at international conferences. Ph.D. students Sandra Thalerová and Ekaterina Volevach from the Stroke Research Team at FNUSA-ICRC received the chance and grant support to showcase their research projects in the development of new stroke treatments and prevention. Ekaterina Volevach, also undertook a month-long research mission at Maastricht University thanks to this project, where she learned new methods for developing effective public health interventions and co-authored a scientific paper with her mentor.

Although the IRENE COST Action has concluded, the community of engaged experts across Europe remains determined to continue their mission to improve stroke care.

Supported by the COST program (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), project number CA18118 – Implementation Research Network in Stroke Care Quality – IRENE.