Ascension St. John Medical Center/St. John Neuroscience Institute

Ascension St. John Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been recognized as a designated Clinical Center by the Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation for the treatment of cavernous malformations.

A cavernous malformation, also known as a cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), angioma or cavernoma, is a raspberry-shaped collection of abnormal blood vessels with thin, leaky walls, most often found in the brain and the spinal cord. They can grow at any age, including in young children, though they are most likely to become symptomatic when a person is between ages 20-40.

“We are excited to provide state of the art, comprehensive surgical and medical care for patients with brain and spinal vascular malformations in the region,” said M. Yashar S. Kalani, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Neurosurgeon and Researcher at the St. John Neuroscience Institute.

Ascension St. John Medical Center received the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and is the only Joint-Commissioned comprehensive stroke center in Eastern Oklahoma.  They draw patients from several surrounding states and provide care and follow up services to underserved communities in their catchment area.  Dr. Kalani led the effort at the University of Virginia Health System to achieve recognition as a CCM Clinical Center which then led to their elevation to Center of Excellence status in 2021.  Dr. Kalani’s move to Tulsa provided the opportunity for him to share his expertise while working with the team at St. John Medical Center to pursue and achieve this Clinical Center recognition.

The Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation is a patient/family advocacy organization dedicated to informing, supporting and mobilizing those impacted by CCMs and driving research for better treatments and a cure.  The St. John Neuroscience Institute was required to meet specific criteria to achieve CCM Clinical Center status including, but not limited to:

  • Designating a medical director or co-directors
  • Designating multidisciplinary board-certified specialists, including a cerebral neurosurgeon; a neurologist with cerebrovascular specialization or pediatric neurologist; an epileptologist; a neuroradiologist; a nurse coordinator; and a geneticist who all collaborate for the diagnosis and management of patients with CCM
  • Meeting or exceeding all consensus guidelines approved by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation
  • Establishing a single point of entry, allowing all appointments to be scheduled with one call
  • Providing coordinated appointments for patients over no more than two days, reducing the travel burden on out-of-town patients

The complete list of criteria for a CCM Clinical Center is available on the Alliance to Cure website.

The designated, multidisciplinary team at the St. John Neuroscience Institute consists of:

  • Yashar S. Kalani, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Neurosurgeon & Researcher
  • Errol Gordon, MD, Co-Medical Director and Neurologist
  • Yasmin O’Keefe, MD, Epileptologist
  • Lori Carpenter, MS, CGC, Geneticist
  • Janelle Pavlis, MD, Dermatologist
  • Nurse Coordinator: Brandon King, DNP, ACNP-BC

“The Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation is thrilled to welcome St. John Neuroscience Institute into our network of CCM Clinical Centers. Their team has demonstrated a commitment to providing integrated multidisciplinary care to patients with cavernous malformations in their expansive catchment area,” said Connie Lee, PsyD, chief executive officer of The Alliance to Cure Cavernous Malformation. “Cavernous malformation is a potentially devastating brain and spinal cord blood vessel disease, and it is reassuring for our patients and families to know there are local doctors who understand the disease and are ready to help.”