Carol Keegan, Board Member
Carol Keegan, Ph.D. is a 41-year stroke survivor from Silver Spring, Md., who launched her recent retirement with an emphasis on volunteer work in support of stroke patients. In 2011, she completed a 35-year career as a social science and marketing researcher for a variety of national nonprofits, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AFL-CIO, AARP and the Epilepsy Foundation. In the early 1990’s, her grant management work encompassed communication research in support of the CDC’s National AIDS Education and Information Program, as well as the design of the agency’s first readership survey for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Carol’s stroke occurred in 1973, during her doctoral studies at Ohio University’s School of Communication when she was 24 years of age. As she explained in a 2013 article for Stroke Connection magazine, her experiences as a stroke patient preceded the use of CAT scans, stroke wards in hospitals and treatment options like tPA. But decades later, retirement afforded her several opportunities to re-educate herself about the experiences of today’s stroke survivors.
First, Carol joined a local support group for young stroke survivors, formed to address mid-life-stage needs related to work, parenting and other issues that tend to be less salient in support groups composed primarily of older survivors. One year later, she developed an expressive writing workshop (“Life After Stroke”) specially designed for stroke survivors and pretested it with members of her county stroke association. Then last summer, as a volunteer with the American Stroke Association, Carol conducted an online version of the workshop, guiding dozens of survivors through six weeks of brief writing assignments designed to support their understanding and sharing of the diverse, complex ways in which stroke has transformed their lives.
In her retirement, Carol has also found opportunities to volunteer as a research subject in stroke-related medical research at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore Md., the Veterans Administration and National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC.