The Epilepsy Foundation Announces the Start of Its Outreach Program

African American and Hispanic Transition - Age Youth and Young Adult Outreach, Summer 2012

The need among African Americans

African American Students

An estimated 350,000 African Americans live with epilepsy, and nearly 24,000 new patients are diagnosed every year. African Americans are:

  • more likely to be diagnosed with epilepsy than Caucasians;
  • more likely to experience status epilepticus, a medical emergency in which a seizure continues for 10 minutes or more without stopping; and
  • are at an increased risk for Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy (SUDEP).

In spite of this, epilepsy awareness is low among African Africans, due to lack of access to health care and health information, misinformation and stigma associated with the condition.

Our Outreach Campaigns

The Epilepsy Foundation recognizes that focused and culturally appropriate outreach to the African American community is a critical step towards improving the quality of life for those who are living with epilepsy and their families. On the heels of a 2004 campaign called "Get the Word Out" that reached African Americans through barbershops, beauty salons and houses of worship in 15 major cities, the Foundation launched its 2008 campaign urging the African American community to "Get the Facts – Know the Difference."

College Logos

The 2010 outreach campaign, "African American Outreach: Creating Campus-Community Partnerships for Epilepsy Education," facilitated the development of partnerships between affiliates and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) including: Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Howard University, the University of the District of Columbia, Tuskegee University, Morgan State University, Edward Waters College, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Phillips College and Huston Tillotson University.

The 2012 campaign builds on the 2010 campaign to reach students on college and university campuses with messages on epilepsy that are disseminated through the affiliate network and new national partnerships. The "African American and Hispanic Transition-Age Youth and Young Adult Outreach: Furthering Campus-Community Partnerships for Epilepsy Education" program is being realized by affiliates committed to reaching young adults with messages of inclusion that recognize that people with epilepsy can live, learn, work, play, thrive and participate fully. Several affiliates, using innovative strategies, will reach out to motivate African American professors, university staff and African American students who may become the leaders to disseminate awareness messages about epilepsy on university campuses and beyond.

People with epilepsy can live, learn, work, play, thrive and participate fully.
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Saturday, March 22, 2014