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Wake Forest Receives $450,000 Grant To Fund Minority Stroke Education Project

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University School of Medicine has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to fund a community-based education project designed to reduce the incidence of stroke among African Americans.

The three-year grant will fund the Stroke Education and Awareness among Minorities Project (STREAM), designed to mobilize key African-American community advocates and health professionals in five counties in central North Carolina to promote cardiovascular health. The counties include Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin.

The STREAM project will include five components:

  • Community-based screenings including blood pressure checks, cholesterol, triglycerides, body fat and glucose

  • Personalized health action plans created from screening results

  • Training of community health advisors recruited from African-American churches and civic groups interested in reducing the impact of stroke

  • Community events to increase awareness of stroke prevention

  • Worksite wellness programs at local employers

Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. However, certain geographic areas—such as the Piedmont region of the state, and racial/minority groups are disproportionately affected.

The grant makes Wake Forest one of only 12 Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers in the country. The NHLBI established the network of community-based organizations in 2001 to implement focused heart-health education strategies in high-risk communities.

“The funding of an Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Center at Wake Forest is a clear manifestation of the leadership that our department has attained nationally in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention,” said Carlos Ferrario, M.D., director of the Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. “In funding this program, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recognizes our continual efforts to take a hands-on approach to address the issue of excess cardiovascular deaths in the Southeast.”

In 1994, Ferrario established the Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control (COSEHC), a professional organization of physicians, scientists and health care providers working together to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure and hypertension-related cardiovascular disease outcomes (heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and heart failure) in the southeastern region of the U.S. The COSEHC is headquartered at Wake Forest with centers located in 11 states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi and Florida.

The federal government’s Healthy People 2010 initiative seeks to eliminate those disparities and improve health care in high-risk communities.

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