FESO Interview with Francesco Corea

Each month, the PR Committee interviews an ESO Fellow (FESO) to feature in the newsletter.

To qualify as an FESO, members must demonstrate scientific quality and a willingness to actively volunteer in ESO. There are no age requirements, but FESO must meet minimum standards. FESO receive additional benefits, including participation in the Council of Fellows. Visit our website for more information on how to distinguish yourself as a FESO.

We hope you will enjoy getting to know the Fellows who participate in the 2019 interview series and thank them in advance for taking the time to share with our readers. The series began with Alastair Webb, University of Oxford, UK, next we interviewed Anita Arsovska, University Ss Cyril and Methodius, Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.

This month, we present Francesco Corea, Stroke and Neurology Units, Ospedale San Giovanni Battista Foligno, Italy. He is an active FESO, Chair of the ESO Social Media Committee and a member of the Telestroke Committee.

What are your main fields of interest in stroke medicine and research?

My interest on Stroke started in the late 90s during Medical School. Initially, the main work was in the acute phase. I had the privilege to be involved in pivotal RCTs from Ancrod to Alteplase. This brought me from initial deep frustration to the final exciting success. Later once Stroke Units became the standard of care I found new challenges in the rehab field. I was always interested in innovative technologies from diagnostics to therapy. Internet and telemedicine where promising tools for Stroke doctors in the 2000s. Many were still skeptical that either could become a high-profile medical subject. Now working with e-health is more and more a reality. 

What is the role of ESO in facilitating and promoting the projects you are coordinating or where you are involved?

The working market in Europe changed dramatically in the last decade.The shortage of physicians with specific profiles lead to the emergence of a new generation of dynamic Stroke doctors. The chance of being involved in ESO was thereby crucial in my career.

The place for Stroke professionals to share practice standards and update their competence is ESO (Summer/Winter Schools, main ESOC). In ESO, I found the right contacts to develop an efficient regional Telestroke network. This would have been impossible otherwise. The ESO international panel of experts on Telestroke succeeded to produce a unique  recommendation paper on the topic (1). This lead to encourage the standardization in the field at continental and national levels.

Recently ESO members joined their efforts in the Social Media committee. What role do social media play in Stroke medicine? We have tried to understand the drivers of interest on the web with an Infodemiology analysis. What are the effects of global Stroke campaigns on internet public ? (look for our presentation in Milan ESOC19). Where else it would be possible other than in ESO ?

(1) Hubert, Gordian J, Gustavo Santo, Geert Vanhooren, Bojana Zvan, Silvia Tur Campos, Andrey Alasheev, Sònia Abilleira, and Francesco Corea. “Recommendations on Telestroke in Europe.” European Stroke Journal, (October 2018). doi:10.1177/2396987318806718.

What do you expect from ESO in the future to support research?

The best strategy to find resources for stroke is to invest in a renewed care pact. To gain the attention not only of traditional mass media but also of the web public. The access to stroke care and research funding is not homogeneous in large areas of Europe. Further efforts must be made for a renewed alliance between health care professionals and citizens. This will empower the community that supports the fight against stroke in Europe.

What do you think a mentor should do to support the projects and the career of a mentee and, conversely, what should a mentee expect from a mentor?

Long time ago I participated in a consensus (2) suggesting a model for harmonizing Stroke training in Europe. The topic of mentoring and environment was central. Seen the wide curricula needed for Stroke experts (e.g.: from diagnostics, to acute phase and rehabilitation) the team-work model was the main solution guaranteeing results. We wrote: “Whatever the main background the most important aim is to ensure that the stroke trainee is competent in practicing Stroke medicine and that he or she can function effectively as a Stroke specialist leading a hospital stroke team”. As a mentee generally I expected to receive solid knowledge, as a mentor I encourage to build organizational skills to develop an effective leader.

(2) Corea F, Gunther A, Kwan J, Petzold A, Debette S et Al. Educational approach on stroke training in Europe. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2006 Apr-May;28(3-4):433-7