Coverdell Stroke Program: BE FAST

Coverdell Stroke Program in the Community

Stroke prevention begins in the community. It means knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke (BEFAST) so you can quickly call 911 when you or someone around you is potentially experiencing a stroke. It also means taking the steps to help prevent a stroke such as a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and quitting smoking.

Each individual can do a great deal to prevent their own risk of a stroke, but it takes more to reduce the risk and result of stroke for everyone, everywhere. Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) are in a unique position to spread the word on identifying stroke signs and education on individual risk factors to all residents of an area.

As part of this effort, in September of 2022, the Coverdell Stroke Program began the Coverdell Community Stroke Partner designation. This effort brings together community partners from across Wisconsin, to be part of a collective effort to address stroke in our communities. If you would like to join, please view and submit this form, F-03091.


Can you recognize the signs of a stroke? BE FAST Bella is here to help. Be Fast Know the Signs of a Stroke Poster

The Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program created BE FAST Bella as a way to promote stroke awareness within communities.

Materials listed below show Bella with multiple signs of a stroke. Not only does the phrase “BE FAST” describe the six common signs of stroke, but also teaches people to act quickly and call 911 if they see these signs in themselves or others.

The BE FAST Bella materials are available as helpful tools to use for community education. Quick stroke recognition is the first step in assuring timely medical attention for stroke.

Stroke Prevention

A majority of strokes are preventable. By making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and controlling conditions which may already be present, such as hypertension and diabetes, a person can help to reduce their risk of stroke.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services maintains active programs to assist people in the prevention and understanding of conditions like pre-diabetes and heart disease, as well as resources to help communities in their efforts to address nutrition and physical activity needs.


Community stroke education materials

These BE FAST Bella materials can help with recognizing the signs of stroke. The Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program encourages hospitals, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers, and other patient care areas to promote BE FAST Bella. All items are available for downloading and printing, and you are welcome to add your organization’s logo prior to use. Open the link to the pdf files for the coloring book and bookmark for the full-sized version.

In addition, posters, coloring books, activity books, magnets and bookmarks can be ordered free of charge by contacting John Bowser – Director, Coverdell Stroke Program ( Materials are subject to availability.

Bella - Be Fast Stroke Program
Bella Poster, P-02107
English (PDF)
Be Fast poster in Spanish.
Bella Poster, P-02107s
Spanish (PDF)
Hmong Be Fast Bella Poster
Bella Poster, P-02107h
Hmong (PDF)

Coverdell social media stroke graphics

The following graphics featuring BE FAST Bella are formatted to fit social media posts. Attach these images to your social media messages to promote stroke awareness in a visual way. Right click on the Bella Graphic and Banner files to "save" the image file, or "copy image" to paste the image directly on your social media pages.

Be Fast Know the Signs of a Stroke Poster
Bella 1 Graphic


Bella - Be Fast Stroke Program
Bella 2 Graphic
Bella - Be Fast Stroke Program
Bella 3 Graphic



Be Fast Bella Bus Ad
Bella Banner

Social media messages

BE FAST Bella social media messages

Below you will find suggested posts and tweets.

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of a #stroke. #BEFAST
  • If you or someone you know exhibits signs of a #stroke quick treatment is critical. Call 911 Time is brain! Go to #Coverdell #BEFAST
  • Bella is having a #stroke. Can you #BEFAST and spot the symptoms? #Coverdell
  • Bella is suddenly unable to maintain her balance. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella has a sudden change with her eyes – her vision is blurry. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella tries to smile, but suddenly one side of her face droops. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella’s arm suddenly feels numb and weak. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella’s speech is suddenly slurred and hard to understand. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella suddenly has a terrible headache. Know the signs of a #stroke so you can help Bella! #BEFAST #Coverdell
  • Bella is showing signs of a stroke. It’s time to call 911. Every second counts! #BEFAST #Coverdell

With all Bella messages, we encourage use of a BE FAST Bella graphic. All graphics describe the signs of stroke and have the message to call 911.

For more general stroke information, go to the home page for the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program.

General stroke social media messages
Stroke prevention social media messages
  • Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol? Managing these conditions can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Talk with your primary care provider! @CDCgov @MillionHeartsUS
  • Managing medical conditions like obesity and diabetes can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Talk with your primary care provider!; @CDCgov @AmDiabetesAssn @JDRF
  • Avoiding smoking and second hand smoke can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Talk with your primary care provider! @CDCgov
  • A healthy diet can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Limit your sugar and salt intake, and make sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. @CDCgov
  • Increasing your physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk for #stroke. @CDCgov.
  • Learn tips for physical activity and healthy nutrition habits from @AmDiabetesAssn to help reduce your risk of #stroke.
  • Increasing your physical activity can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Learn healthy tips and tricks from @CDCgov,
  • Maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce your risk for #stroke. Learn healthy tips and tricks from @CDCgov,
  • Learn the ABCS of #stroke prevention and lower your risk: take Aspirin, control your Blood pressure and Cholesterol, and quit or don’t start Smoking. Learn more at Million Hearts®

Wisconsin success stories

Coverdell success stories

The Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program highlights stroke care success stories throughout the state.

Two doctors reviewing x-rays
Stroke Care Closer to Home: Building a Stroke Program at Beloit Memorial Hospital (PDF)

Beloit Health System in Beloit, Wisconsin, has standardized their processes across the stroke care continuum, provides education to all staff involved in treating stroke patients, and utilizes virtual consults with neurologists via a telestroke network.

Nurse tying on her surgical mask
Every Minute Counts: Theda Clark Medical Center Sees Success in Stroke Care  (PDF)

Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin, uses advanced notification procedures where EMS alert the hospital when a stroke is suspected, allowing the hospital to assemble the stroke team before the patient arrives. They also review stroke cases bimonthly, utilize Get With The Guidelines® tools, and have established a stroke champion in the ER.

Nurse talking with patient in hospital room
The Nurse Practitioner Model: Achieving Exceptional Results at ProHealth Care (PDF)

ProHealth Care hospitals in Oconomowoc and Waukesha, Wisconsin, have developed standard processes across the stroke care journey. A nurse practitioner provides resources and education to patients immediately after a stroke and during a patient’s recovery, which allows patients to discuss what they find important during their recovery.

Blurred image of a speeding ambulance
Community Education that Works: Moundview Memorial Sees Success in Stroke Outreach (PDF)

Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics in Friendship, Wisconsin, analyzed stroke data to determine what improvements to make. They provide staff education and reach out to the community by giving presentations to targeted audiences and distributing stroke outreach materials

EMTs and doctor unloading patient from ambulance
Teamwork Leads to Positive Patient Outcomes at Ascension All-Saints (PDF)

Ascension All Saints Hospital in Racine, Wisconsin, has worked to coordinate seamless stroke care from EMS response to care in the hospital and during transfers. They have provided protocols for EMS to use in the field, coordinated consistent EMS education, and created a loop closure system to ensure that all care providers get results on the outcomes of the patients they treat.

Medical personnel at a  meeting
Rethinking Inpatient Stroke Care Transitions at Gundersen Health System (PDF)

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, instituted a new procedure which transfers stable stroke patients from the emergency department directly to the Neuroscience unit to allow one provider and nursing team to deliver care throughout a patient's stay.

Surgical beds lined up in a hospital's corridor.
Enhancing Communication and Teamwork to Reduce Door-to-Needle Time (PDF)

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin maximized communication and enhanced teamwork between multiple disciplines as they worked to reduce their door-to-needle time.

Two ambulances with red cross emblem on the passenger doors.
Getting to the Right Place First: Milwaukee County EMS Stroke Patient Transport (PDF)

Stroke care is changing rapidly. Current guidelines recommend the development of regional systems of care to ensure rapid, efficient, and seamless care of acute stroke patients. In many areas of the state, developing a regional approach to destination planning is not an available option, however, in Milwaukee County, it was. Milwaukee County EMS has proved that implementing bypass has not increased the time or distance to care and has provided access to care that people would not otherwise receive.

"Emergency" on a hospital building.
Enhancing Emergency Department Efficiency Decreases Patient Disposition Times

Poor efficiency in the emergency department (ED) can lead to prolonged hospital stays, overcrowding, and subsequent delays in definitive treatment. These were the motivating factors that led Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore to implement processes that would reduce delays in triaging, treating, and transferring acute stroke patients in their ED.

Medical professionals talking with a hospital patient.
Reducing Risk Factors of Stroke Patients after Discharge (PDF)

A dedicated nursing team at UW Hospitals and Clinics, implemented a quality improvement project to further engage patient in healthy lifestyle changes for secondary stroke prevention. The project provides continued education for stroke patients on reducing the risk factors for a stroke following discharge from the hospital.

Doctors pushing a patient down a hospital hallway on a gurney
A Stroke Survivor's Story: Occurrence Through Recovery (PDF)

Carol suffered from a stroke while working at Ascension NE Wisconsin St. Elizabeth Campus as a Quality Improvement Nurse. This story tells her courageous and inspirational stroke journey from its occurrence through rehabilitation to now.

Medical technology network icons.
Celebrating 10 Years of the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program (PDF)

The Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program is celebrating 10 years of working with partners across the state to improve stroke care for all. This Success Story highlights our top achievements from the last decade, and where we're headed in the future.

A patient's health form on a clipboard is used at a hospital.
Journey to Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification: Ascension Columbia Saint Mary's Milwaukee (PDF)

Staff at Ascension Columbia Saint Mary's Milwaukee worked together to obtain Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification through the Joint Commission in December 2020. This story describes the lessons learned, barriers and challenges, success factors, and how Ascension Columbia Saint Mary's Milwaukee maintains success.


Media materials

National EMS Week posts
  • A timely arrival to an emergency department is crucial to having a better #stroke outcome. EMS personnel provide that quick transport and emergency medical care #NationalEMSWeek
  • EMS providers are ideally the first contact a stroke patient has with medical professionals. They have the potential to have a huge positive impact on long-term patient outcomes. Thank your favorite EMS provider during #NationalEMSWeek!
Drop-in announcement for newsletters

Share this text in your e-newsletter, blog, or other publications to raise awareness about stroke in your community.

  • Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States—but it doesn’t have to be. Stroke is preventable and treatable. October 29 is World Stroke Day or use May is Stroke Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about stroke signs, symptoms, and risk factors. Visit the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program website to learn more about improving stroke care in communities nationwide.
Hashtags and social media handles

Sample social media messages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & other social media venues)
Hashtags and twitter handles to use:

  • #Stroke
  • #WorldStrokeDay
  • #StrokeAwarenessMonth
  • #Coverdell
  • #CoverdellSuccessStory
  • #YourSpecificOrganization
  • #YourSpecificEMSAgency
  • #NationalEMSWeek
  • @CDCgov
  • @DHSWI
  • @WorldStrokeOrg
  • @WStrokeCampaign

Check with the CDC, World Stroke AssociationAmerican Heart Association, and American Stroke Association via their websites. Many times they have campaigns each year to share and create awareness of stroke. These campaigns come with a variety of hashtags, social media handles, banners and images for public use.

Drop-in e-signature and social media image instructions
  • Use any of the images to raise awareness about stroke in your community by adding one of these badges to your email signature, Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts.

Additional resources


Logo for the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program

More information:
John Bowser, PhD, Coverdell Program Director

Last Revised: September 8, 2022