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Mary Washington Healthcare Congratulates Rappahannock Area YMCA as the First Stroke Smart Organization in the Fredericksburg Region

Mary Washington Healthcare Congratulates Rappahannock Area YMCA as the First Stroke Smart Organization in the Fredericksburg Region

Fredericksburg, VA, (March 5, 2024) – Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) extends congratulations to the Rappahannock Area YMCA for their recent recognition as the first Stroke Smart Organization in the Fredericksburg region. This prestigious distinction highlights their unwavering commitment to raising awareness, educating staff and the community about stroke signs and symptoms, and ensuring the prompt activation of emergency medical services. Notably, the Rappahannock Area YMCA is also the first YMCA in the United States to receive this esteemed Stroke Smart Organization recognition.

“The Rappahannock Area YMCA’s dedication to promoting stroke awareness and ensuring community safety is commendable, and we hope other organizations look to them as an example and want to become a Stroke Smart Organization as well,” said Susan M. Halpin, MSN, RN, SCRN, Stroke Coordinator, Primary Stroke Center, Mary Washington Hospital. “We are assured Mary Washington Healthcare, along with the Rappahannock Emergency Medical Services (REMS) Council and the YMCA will continue to promote stroke awareness and education to help create a healthier community.”

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and a major cause of death in the United States. Timely treatment saves lives and improves post-stroke outcomes. Efforts to enhance stroke awareness and education have led to the rapid growth of a statewide public health initiative called Stroke Smart Virginia. This initiative aims to empower communities with the knowledge of recognizing stroke symptoms and the importance of calling 911. Collaborating closely with the REMS Council and the Community Outreach Patient Engagement (COPE) Program, MWHC and the Virginia Department of Health, the City of Fredericksburg was proclaimed a Stroke Smart city in 2022, making it the first locality in the region to receive this designation.

MWHC’s Primary Stroke Center has been a steadfast partner of Stroke Smart Fredericksburg since its inception, actively contributing to raising stroke awareness and improving outcomes. As part of this collaborative effort, MWHC provided comprehensive education to the Rappahannock Area YMCA locations, enabling their staff members to become 'stroke smart' and empowering them to take crucial steps in stroke prevention and response.

“The YMCA's commitment to stroke education and prevention is evident through our comprehensive training program and am proud of the staff’s ability to recognize stroke symptoms and take immediate action to not only save a life, but to improve someone’s quality of life,” says Barney Reilly, CEO of the Rappahannock Area YMCA. “I also extend my gratitude to Mary Washington Healthcare for their invaluable services and dedication to saving lives and educating the community.”

View the YMCA Stroke Smart presentation here.

For more information about stroke and Stroke Smart resources, please visit


About Mary Washington Healthcare:

Mary Washington Healthcare is a fully integrated, regional healthcare system that provides inpatient and outpatient care at over 60 facilities including Mary Washington Hospital, a 471-bed tertiary hospital, Stafford Hospital, a 100-bed community hospital, four emergency departments, and a multi-specialty graduate medical education program. Mary Washington Healthcare is a non-profit health system with a longstanding commitment to provide care regardless of ability to pay. For more information about our services and facilities, visit  

About Rappahannock Area YMCA:

The Rappahannock Area YMCA is committed to fostering healthy, confident, connected, and secure individuals and communities. Guided by core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, we empower people of all ages and backgrounds to reach their full potential. We prioritize the well-being of every individual, including those with special needs, financial limitations, and disadvantaged children. Through a range of programs and services, from early learning to community health initiatives, we strive to enhance quality of life and promote confidence and wellness at every life stage. For more information, please visit

About COPE:

The Community Outreach Patient Engagement (COPE) Program’s aim is to be the convener, collaborator, and champion of community-focused patient care coordination. We are committed to creating a safer and more prepared community by providing essential first aid training and education to individuals from all walks of life. For more information about the COPE Program and upcoming initiatives, please visit For media inquiries, interviews, or additional information, please contact Nana Noi at 540.702.6466 or