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Carle BroMenn Medical Center neurosurgeon redefines care

Carle BroMenn Medical Center neurosurgeon redefines care
Ann Stroink, MD, FAANS, board-certified neurosurgeon at Carle BroMenn Medical Center, retired November 22, 2023. Dr. Stroink’s substantial career contributed many advancements in the field of healthcare and to the Carle Health community.

Her affiliation with Carle BroMenn Hospital began when the hospital was still known as Brokaw Hospital where her father, Hans Stroink, was a pathologist. “I started working in the lab and that’s where I got the buzz,” said Dr. Stroink. “I performed autopsies with my father, but the first time I saw live tissue, I knew I wasn’t going to do anything else. I’m very happy to have served patients for years.”

She knew there was a need in her community for neurosurgical services. She had friends who did not have access to the procedures which would have benefitted their health. Dr. Stroink assisted her father from seventh grade until she left for college and maintained this connection to this hospital throughout her career.

IWU-Podium-2010.pngShe attended Illinois Wesleyan for college, later serving as a university trustee, winning the Outstanding Young Alumnae Award in 1986. At a time when many women were not on the pre-med track, Dr. Stroink was the first woman to enter the neurosurgical residency program at the Mayo Clinic.

“I’m really grateful to the Mayo Clinic because they didn’t have to accept a woman, but they did,” said Dr. Stroink. “I was very happy to be a resident. Even though it was a new experience for them to train a female resident, it was a benefit for them and me.”

Dr. Stroink’s interest in the application of biomedical materials and spinal instrumentation specific to the cervical spine guided her work as a clinical researcher. She helped create the design for the housing and implementation of the CyberKnife®, a noninvasive radiation system, in brain and spinal cord cases.

She founded the Central Illinois Neuro Health Sciences (CINHS) practice in Bloomington in 1985, and spear-headed the creation of a neurosurgery resident program at the hospital. Dr. Stroink considers teaching doctors essential and one of her favorite parts of her work. She is able to see and train talented neurosurgeons, handpicking some for fellowships to have them return in the future.Brain-hats-Gina-and-Megan.jpeg

In her own words, Dr. Stroink will be “enjoying life in a different way” during her retirement, spending time with her family and grandkids. “My husband and I both like the farming community and stay active with raising livestock, chickens and ducks. It’s a great life.”

Dr. Stroink is also taking on new responsibilities during her retirement from practicing medicine. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) asked her to be the interim chair and executive vice president. “It’s an exciting opportunity to lead the most prestigious neurosurgical organization in the world,” said Dr. Stroink. “I’m really looking forward to my stint.”

IMG_8439.PNGWhen asked what advice she can give to those thinking about joining the field of neurosurgery, Dr. Stroink said, “It’s a great career. If I die and was born again, I’d go into neurosurgery again. It’s very challenging, and you have to be resilient, but it has so many interesting facets. It’s even better than when I started. It’s a great career for both men and women, and I’ve seen the growth of women in the field grow. Fifty percent of residents are women now, which is a change because that wasn’t always something women would do.”

Carle Health appreciates Dr. Stroink’s dedication and contributions to our organization, and we wish her the best in her retirement.

Categories: Redefining Healthcare

Tags: Achievement, Care, Carle, Excellence, Health, Lifetime, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Patient, Physician