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Your Stroke Center Team

The Comprehensive Stroke Center team at Tufts Medical Center is a multidisciplinary team trained in providing emergent stroke therapies, identifying and understanding the cause of your stroke, stabilizing your condition to prevent early worsening or recurrence, treating complications, and guiding rehabilitation and long-term care plans.

While we bring expertise in stroke management to your care, the most important members of our team are you and your supportive companions. Everything we do is focused on making your experience and outcome as positive as possible. We also work closely with other specialties across Tufts Medical Center, including Neurosurgery, Cardiology, Radiology, General Surgery, Gastroenterology, and Physiatry. Learn more about the team below.

David E. Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA

David E. Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA

Title(s): Neurologist-in-Chief; Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurology, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Stroke

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Xuemei  Cai, MD

Xuemei Cai, MD

Title(s): Neurologist
Department(s): Neurology, Neurocritical Care
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care

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Deborah Green-LaRoche, MD

Deborah Green-LaRoche, MD

Title(s): Director of Clinical Research, Department of Neurology; Neurointensivist; Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care, vascular neurology

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Joshua Kornbluth, MD

Joshua Kornbluth, MD

Title(s): Medical Director, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit; Program Director, Neurology Residency and Neurocritical Care Fellowship; Neurologist; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care

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Lester  Y. Leung, MD, MSc

Lester Y. Leung, MD, MSc

Title(s): Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center; Director, Stroke and Young Adults (SAYA) Program; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Vascular neurology including stroke in young adults, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, dissection, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, vascular malformations, silent strokes and survivorship

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Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Title(s): Chief, Neurovascular Surgery; Director, Cerebrovascular & Endovascular Division Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-8200
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, dural fistulas, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracranial atherosclerosis, arterial dissection

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Emiliya Melkumova, MD

Emiliya Melkumova, MD

Title(s): Director, Stroke Consult Services; Associate Director of Neurology Residency; Assistant Professor of Neurology, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5848
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Stroke

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Katelyn Skeels, MSN, FNP-C

Katelyn Skeels, MSN, FNP-C

Title(s): Stroke Advanced Practice Nurse
Department(s): Neurology, Comprehensive Stroke Center
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5848
Fax #:

stroke

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  • Stroke Attending – A physician who is fully trained and certified in the field of Neurology. Our stroke attendings have years of experience providing care for people with stroke. These physicians direct care during the emergency treatment and stabilization phases and guide the investigations into the causes of stroke. You will see the attending at least once per day unless you are in the Neurocritical Care unit.
  • Neurointensivist – A physician who is fully trained and certified in the field of neurological critical care. These physicians direct care for patients with very severe strokes impairing consciousness or the ability to protect the airway and patients during the first 24 hours after receiving emergent stroke therapies (IV tPA and mechanical thrombectomy). You will see the neurointensivist at least once per day if you are hospitalized in the Neurocritical Care unit.
  • Stroke Fellow – A physician who has completed medical school and residency and is now undergoing advanced subspecialty training in stroke care. The stroke fellow is often a key coordinator of care, following patients from the Emergency Department, through the Neurocritical Care unit and hospital floor, to the Comprehensive Stroke Clinic. The Stroke Fellow often serves a leadership role alongside the stroke attending in the Stroke Team.
  • Resident – A physician who has completed medical school and is now undergoing specialty training in neurology. The resident is a key team member who facilitates all physician-initiated aspects of care including ordering medications and tests, preparing daily and summary documents, and communicating with consultants and primary care physicians. The resident works closely with the nursing staff to coordinate your care.
  • Stroke Advanced Practice Nurse –A nurse practitioner who links all aspects of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, working closely with the Director of the CSC to facilitate day-to-day clinical care, aiding patients  and families in navigating the continuum of care, facilitating clinician and patient education, and guiding quality assurance and process improvement.

  • Nurse – Nurses are integral to the planning and execution of your plan of care developed by the multidisciplinary team, including your doctor. They administer medication, perform various treatments as ordered, educate patients, and work with you and your family to assure accurate communication occurs across all services.
  • Physical Therapist (PT) – Helps you with movement and balance problems. They suggest exercises to strengthen muscles for walking, standing, and other activities. Physical therapists help determine whether or not you need to go to a rehabilitation facility prior to returning home.
  • Occupational Therapist (OT) – Help stroke survivors learn strategies to manage daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, writing, or cooking. Occupational therapists help determine whether or not you need to go to a rehabilitation facility prior to returning home.
  • Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) – Assess problems with swallowing and communication that are common after stroke. Speech pathologists help stroke survivors relearn language skills (talking, reading, and writing) and teach strategies to compensate for swallowing problems.

  • Case Manager – Helps you navigate the financial and pragmatic logistics of the hospitalization, including working with insurance companies and helping find appropriate rehabilitation and care facilities.
  • Chaplain – Chaplains of various faiths can visit you and your family during hospital stays to offer emotional and spiritual support. If you wish to speak with a chaplain, ask the unit front desk staff to make arrangements, or call 617-636-2500 and ask the operator to page the chaplain. 
  • Dietitian – Specialists from the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center are available to all adult stroke patients for an array of services including nutrition assessments, weight loss counseling, and information on vitamin and herbal supplementation. 
  • Financial Assistance Coordinator – Financial experts are available to work with you on questions related to insurance coverage, billing, etc. Our financial coordinators:
  • Review eligibility criteria to see if you qualify for any assistance programs.
  • Help you evaluate your insurance coverage and assist you in utilizing the right resources.
  • Assist you in applying to obtain Medicaid and/or disability services.
  • Arrange a more convenient payment schedule for paying your balance.
Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions. To speak with a financial assistance coordinator,  call 617-636-6013. Coordinators are available Monday–Friday from 7:30 am to midnight.
  • Interpreter – Tufts Medical Center’s Interpreter Services provides 24/7 access to face-to-face, telephone, and video interpreter services for hundreds of languages to both our hospitalized patients and clinic patients. You can request an interpreter any weekday by asking the front desk staff on the unit to call 617-636-5547.
  • Pharmacist – In addition to preparing and dispensing medications, Tufts Medical Center pharmacists monitor inpatient drug therapy and provide information to physicians and nurses. A pharmacist can also answer your questions about the medications prescribed by your physicians.
  • Social Worker – Hospitalizations are frequently difficult and challenging experiences. Our social workers work with you to improve coping skills, learn to communicate effectively with healthcare providers, and gain access to resources to help you and your family adapt to new circumstances after stroke. During the hospitalization, our social workers can help family members find nearby accommodations. If you or a family member has any questions about accommodations or other resources, please call Social Work at 617-636-5136. 

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617-636-5848

Kate Skeels

Meet Kate Skeels, MSN, FNP-C

No day is ever the same for Kate! She meets withpatients and families to help them navigate their care and educate them about their hospital stay.

Learn more about how Kate can help you