Administration, News, Shalala

UPDATED: Donna Shalala released from hospital after suffering stroke

UPDATED, Oct. 8, 2015: On Wednesday, the Clinton Foundation website posted a statement from Shalala, who has now been released from Mount Sinai Roosevelt hospital.

“I’m out! Thanks to the amazing work of the stroke team—doctors and nurses—at Mount Sinai Roosevelt and the Mount Sinai Health System. Today I am feeling strong and ready to get back to work. I’ve been deeply moved by the outpouring of well wishes I’ve received these last few days from friends and colleagues. I was lucky to be in a great city with a first class stroke program close enough to reverse my condition. That is the lesson for everyone. If you have symptoms don’t wait to get help.”

UPDATED 6:56 p.m: Information from UHealth Interventional Neurologist, Dr. Dileep Yavagal, has been added.

Donna Shalala, former UM President who stepped down this spring to lead the Clinton Foundation, suffered a stroke on Tuesday night according to a statement from former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea Clinton, the vice chairwoman of the foundation. The statement said she had been taken to the nearby Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital by colleagues who were with her and that “initial reports are very encouraging.”

Former President Clinton visited Shalala on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times, who reported that she was “alert and making jokes.”

Shalala suffered the stroke after a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, an organization which she brought to UM twice for CGI University meetings.

She is the only woman to serve as President of UM and helped to raise over $3 billion in fundraising during her 14 years at the school. At the end of her tenure, the school named the Shalala Student Center, a building she oversaw the construction of, after her.

UM’s current President Julio Frenk, who took over Shalala’s position in September, issued a statement wishing her a full recovery.

“On behalf of the entire University of Miami community, I wish to convey our deep concern for former UM President Donna Shalala, who suffered a stroke last night. We are in continuous contact with her physicians in New York. She received the best and most advanced care, and her prognosis is now encouraging. President Shalala is beloved and respected by thousands of Miami Hurricanes family and friends around the world, and we are very hopeful for her speedy recovery.”

“The University of Miami family is keeping former President Donna Shalala in our thoughts. We are praying for her full recovery,” UM said in a statement on its website Wednesday morning.

She was Secretary of Health and Human Services in President Clinton’s cabinet for eight years.

“We will continue to share updates as we know more,” the Clinton’s statement concluded. “Please join Hillary, Chelsea and me in keeping Donna in your thoughts and prayers.”

Dr. Dileep Yavagal, UHealth Interventional Neurologist, described two main kinds of strokes: blocked vessel and leaking vessel strokes. About 85 percent of all strokes are caused by blocked arteries in the brain, according to Yavagal. This kind of stroke may cause paralysis of one side of the body and even loss of speech or language.

However, modern standards of care allow doctors to reverse strokes caused by blockage by giving patients anti-clot medication or using a artery-dilating balloon or metal stent to reestablish blood flow. Yavagal said the rapidity with which Shalala was transported, according to reports, to the hospital will contribute to her recovery because it reduced the time that parts of her brain were without oxygen.

September 30, 2015


William Riggin

Isabella Cueto

Isabella Cueto can be reached via email at and through Twitter at @isabellacueto

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