African Americans are hit hardest by debilitating strokes as a direct relation between heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. To ensure the black community avoids increasing statistics, The American Heart Association has partnered with 100 Black Men of America, Inc. (BMOA) to raise health awareness and promote initiatives that educate African Americans about stroke risk and warning signs.
On February 1, the pilot project launched in 14 cities throughout the country—including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston—and will involve African-American youth ages 11 to 18.
Each of the 100 BMOA pilot sites will distribute the American Heart Association’s Family Health History Tree posters to their youth mentees, who will then complete it with their families. The poster helps families get to the root of their health history by filling in the names of family members and choosing the corresponding health conditions listed on the Family Tree.
The poster can be shared with a healthcare provider, who can work with individuals on a plan to reduce the risk of stroke for the individual and his/her family.
“This partnership will foster a pipeline of future leadership by encouraging youth mentees to serve as the next generation of ambassadors for the American Heart Association’s cause, Power To End Stroke,” said Albert Dotson, Jr., chairman of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. “These Youth Power Ambassadors will be the inspiration and educators for their communities and their families.”
The partnership also will provide “a deeper grassroots education about the burden of stroke, which is greater among African Americans than other ethnic groups,” said Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., President of the American Heart Association. “African Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to white Americans and about 100,000 African Americans will suffer a stroke this year. In fact, it is the third leading cause of death in the United States.”
The organizations will help youth to be health leaders in their homes and communities, Dotson added. “Our responsibility as leaders in our respective chapters is to give back to our youth and empower our communities. Our youth will serve as the role models of a healthier generation.”
In addition to the Family Health History Tree, the American Heart Association is creating a co-branded Tribute site available from PowerToEndStroke.org. People residing in the pilot cities may support the partnership by making a personal contribution via the Tribute site. These online donations will benefit the American Heart Association and 100 Black Men of America.
The 14 pilot sites participating in the stroke education project are: Atlanta; Jackson, Miss.; Greater Miami Area, Fla.; Washington D.C. (includes Baltimore); Chicago; Indianapolis; St. Louis; Dallas; Houston; Little Rock, Ark.; Bay Area, Calif. (includes Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Richmond and Emeryville); Las Vegas; Los Angeles; and Sacramento, Calif.
For more stroke information, visit powertoendstroke.org.