James J. Conners, MD, MS, medical director, Rush TeleStroke Network
James J. Conners, MD, MS, is an associate professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. He is head of the Section of Cerebrovascular Disease. He is also medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Program and Rush's TeleStroke and mobile stroke unit programs.
He received his medical degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago and a Master of Science degree in neuroscience from Loyola University, where his research focused on neuronal regeneration.
Conners then completed a medical internship, neurology residency and vascular neurology fellowship at Northwestern University. His interests include the acute treatment of stroke, cryptogenic strokes (strokes with no definitive cause) and stroke prevention.
Laurel J. Cherian, MD, MS
Laurel J. Cherian, MD, MS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is the director of the vascular neurology fellowship program and also serves as a faculty advisor to the medical school.
Cherian received her medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. She completed neurology residency at the University of Chicago and a vascular neurology fellowship at Rush University Medical Center. In addition to her clinical practice, she has completed a Master of Science degree in clinical research.
She is a member of the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Neurology and is board-certified in neurology with a subspecialty certification in vascular neurology. Her clinical interests include peripartum stroke, intra-arterial therapy for stroke, post-stroke depression, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy.
Rima M. Dafer, MD, MPH
Rima M. Dafer, MD, MPH, is an associate professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is a stroke and headache expert, mainly studying the link between migraines and stroke.
Dafer has been a principal investigator on numerous clinical trials in acute stroke intervention and secondary stroke prevention. She sits on the American Board of Vascular Neurology Examination Committee and is a fellow at the American Heart Association.
She is a clinical educator and has received numerous teaching accolades as best teacher of the year by neurology residents and medical students. She has written numerous articles and chapters on stroke management, stroke in young adults and uncommon causes of stroke.
Nicholas D. Osteraas, MD
Nicholas D. Osteraas, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical center. He completed an internship in internal medicine, residency in neurology and fellowship in vascular neurology all at Rush University Medical Center.
Osteraas is actively investigating coagulopathy occurring after the administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) and has an interest in the acute care of ischemic stroke patients.
Osteraas has presented at several international conferences and has multiple manuscripts under submission for publication. He is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and American Heart Association.
Sarah Song, MD, MPH
Song received a medical degree and master’s degree from the University of Illinois. She completed neurology residency training at Georgetown University Hospital and then completed a vascular neurology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in stroke outcomes research with the American Heart Association.
Song's clinical expertise includes cerebrovascular disease, stroke, stroke prevention and transient ischemic attack. She has a special interest in stroke in women and minorities.
Alejandro Vargas, MD
After receiving a master's degree in biomedical sciences at Barry University, Vargas received his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine (UIC). He also completed his medical internship and neurology residency at UIC, serving as chief resident in his final year. In 2016, he was honored with the Melvin Wichter, MD Award for Teaching Excellence and the Nirav Mehta, MD Resident Humanitarian Award.
Vargas is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. His research interests include access to care and ethnic disparities in stroke among Hispanic populations, stroke in young adults, atypical stroke causes and Moyamoya Disease.