Thomas Hemmen 

Thomas Hemmen, MD, PhD 

Director, UCSD Stroke Center


Contact Information

UCSD Stroke Center
East Campus Office Building, rm 3-033
9444 Medical Center Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-7740

619-471-0671 (administrative and research only)
858-657-8530 (clinical appointments)
Patient-related matters

    Dr. Hemmen is the Director of the UC San Diego Stroke Program and Cerebrovascular Fellowship Program. He received his medical training from the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Following a medical internship at New York University Downtown Hospital, he completed a neurology residency at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Hemmen is a board- certified neurologist and vascular neurologist. He has broad clinical expertise in neurology, cerebrovascular disease and neurological critical care.

    In 2000, he joined the UC San Diego Stroke Center for a two-year cerebrovascular fellowship. In addition, he completed a Neurological Intensive care fellowship at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, and joined the UCSD Neuroscience clinical faculty in 2004. Since then he has shown leadership in program development, clinical trial oversight and quality improvement.

    These efforts have led to the leadership as principle investigator in clinical trials studying new cures for cerebrovascular disease and the establishment of the first Comprehensive Stroke Center in our region. This has since been expanded to additional centers and provides all patients who enter the UCSC health sciences campuses with access to state-of-the-art individualized care for any condition affecting the cerebrovascular system, such as ischemic stroke, hemorrhage of the brain and its prevention, as well as option recovery options.

    Dr. Thomas Hemmen is an internationally renown leader in systems of care improvement and a passionate leader in the pursuit of clinical excellence. His goal is the enhancement of clinical care processes for of all who suffered from stroke and who are at risk for cerebrovascular disease and related disorders.

    Dr. Hemmen serves as Director of the UCSD Stroke Center. In this role, he is instrumental in the translation of research and clinical experience into everyday patient care and in the use of advanced therapeutics in acute stroke, after-stroke care, and stroke prevention.

    The Stroke Center has continued to attract international recognition for its team activities in San Diego, and the Clinical Trials Coordinating Center now includes three large multi-center, multi-national trials of neuroprotection in addition to the ongoing NIH funded multi-center clinical trials of hypothermia.

    In addition Dr. Hemmen is part of the UCSD Stroke Clinical Trials Coordinating Center that is one of the leading academic research organizations in North America, and has managed several large, multi-center trials of acute stroke therapy for industry and NIH.

    Dr. Hemmen continues his busy clinical practice at the Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center and attends on the stroke inpatient service at the UCSD Medical Centers. In addition his practice includes tele-stroke cervices across the greater southern California region, and acute stroke care coverage at Scripps Memorial Hospital.

    My research focuses on two aspects of stroke care: 1) acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke therapy, with special attention to Neuroprotective and early recovery mechanisms, such LASER therapy and Hypothermia. 2) quality of medical care and outcomes related to health systems approaches. My CV lists publications pertaining to both areas.

    Regarding #1: I was Principle investigator of these concluded projects: The Combined Approach to Lysis Utilizing Eptifibatide and rt-PA in Acute Ischemic Stroke – Enhanced Regimen (CLEAR-ER), Safety of Rt-PA + Transcranial Emission of Low-Energy Lasers for Acute Stroke Recovery (StELLAR) and functioned as Sub-investigator in: MR and Recanalization of Stroke Clots Using Embolectomy (MR Rescue), Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke (IRIS), and Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes Pilot Study (SPS3), The SPOT Sign for Predicting and treating ICH growth study (STOP-IT Study), and Intravascular Cooling in the Treatment of Stroke – 2/3 (ICTuS – 2/3), Hypothermia in Acute Stroke with Thrombolysis Imaging Evaluation of Revascularization (HASTIER), A Phase 2b Study of Dalfampridine 10 mg Extended Release Tablet in Subjects with Chronic Deficits After Ischemic Stroke (Study No. DALF-PS-1003, A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Parallel-group study to evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Intravenous Natalizumab (BG00002) on Reducing Infarct Volume in Acute Ischemic Stroke, a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Two Dose Strengths of Dalfampridine Extended Release Tablets for Treatment of Stable Walking Deficits in Post-Ischemic Stroke (MILESTONE).

    Regarding #2: I was chair of the stroke outcomes committee of the Stroke GOALS project in collaboration with an international group of Stroke Neurologist exploring the differences in health systems approaches to stroke care and how they relate to clinical outcomes. This project is relatively new and has not lead to peer reviewed publications, but Grant Applications that, if funded, will allow me to advance my interest in health systems research. The deep understanding of health systems will allow me to help transform the Department of Neurology at UCSD and advance clinical care and patient outcomes across all areas of Neurology.

    Year Award
    2016 2016 February 7, 2016 was named ‘Thomas Hemmen Day” by the California Assembly, and City and County of San Diego to honor the achievements in care coordination and advancement of stroke care in the San Diego Region
    1999-2000 Chief Resident at the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience
    New York Presbyterian Hospital and Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center