Project Summary

Background: Early Access Saves Lives, a stroke prevention and health education outreach program, will disseminate key findings of the PCORI-funded Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke study (CEERIAS).

The Early Access Saves Lives program will train First Ladies, the wives of church pastors, as community health stroke promoters in Chicago and Los Angeles to raise stroke awareness and communicate the importance of receiving prompt medical attention in the event of a stroke. Early Access Saves Lives will target African-American and Hispanic community members to address the disparities in stroke care and mortality among at-risk minority populations.

Stroke risk is nearly twice as high for African Americans as for whites, with Hispanics also seeing an increase in mortality rates due to stroke. African Americans have the highest death and disability rate caused by stroke. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with 795,000 strokes and 137,00 deaths annually even though 80 percent of strokes are preventable.

The First Ladies Health Initiative is a faith-based network of active First Ladies in majority-minority communities that will benefit from the CEERIAS findings. Early Access Saves Lives will leverage the leadership influence of the First Ladies as a trusted community voice to provide stroke education to improve health in underserved communities.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: The solution is Early Access Saves Lives, a culturally relevant stroke education program designed to educate and save lives of vulnerable community members. The program will use a full suite of multichannel health messaging, including live experiential educational events, target media, and the proven-effective First Ladies Health Day, which is an event that allows First Ladies to screen and educate thousands in one day in places such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, and Gary, Indiana. Using the trusted voice of First Ladies is at the core of the Early Access Saves Lives solution and will help overcome the many obstacles, starting with a lack of culturally responsive educational material and the inability to connect with the African-American and Hispanic communities.

Objectives: The goal of Early Access Saves Lives is to increase the number of individuals who are aware of all stroke warning signs and will call 911 when they think someone is having a stroke.

The Early Access Saves Lives program goal is to disseminate the findings of the CEERIAS study focused on stroke early detection and treatment. The project is designed to address the importance of recognizing the signs of a stroke and getting medical attention as quickly as possible. Early Access Saves Lives will activate a multifaceted dissemination plan using a more comprehensive communications framework than what was implemented in the CEERIAS study. Over the next two years, this goal will be accomplished by conducting various community outreach and education events, screenings, and social media and radio campaigns.

Activities: The project will involve training First Ladies as community stroke health promoters who will conduct various community outreach and education events, screenings, social media, and radio campaigns.

Outcomes and Outputs: By December 31, 2021, the project team will target Hispanic and African-American communities in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Gary, Indiana, reaching a total of 30,000 people to educate them on the importance of stroke prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: First Ladies will serve as community health promoters to provide outreach and education in their congregations and communities for early detection and treatment of stroke. Using a faith-based community engagement approach, Early Access Saves Lives will reach its projected audience of primarily African-American and Hispanic communities with a primary age demographic of 25-60 through a network of 200 churches in the Los Angeles, Chicago, and Gary, Indiana areas for a combined church membership of over 70,000 people. The academic and community partners will be engaged in all phases of the project.

Project Collaborators: First Ladies Health Initiative will lead the project with collaboration from subcontractors including City of Hope, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois.

Project Information

Tracey Alston, BA, BS
First Ladies Health Alliance NFP (First Ladies Health Initiative)

Key Dates

24 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: November 30, 2022