Empowered to Serve: Implementing Community Stroke Outreach Using Peer Educators to Improve Readiness to Act Among Local Community Members

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The purpose of this project was to develop a community-based volunteer group of peer educators to provide stroke education to local residents aimed at increasing stroke awareness and action readiness using the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Empowered to Serve” evidence-based curriculum. The “Don’t Miss a Stroke” module addresses the recognition of stroke warning signs, actions to take during a stroke, and stroke prevention. A total of 16 volunteers were recruited and subsequently trained. Six volunteers organized community events during the initial 3 months of the project, reaching more than 300 community members. Most participants (84.9%) identified as female, with a mean age of 63 years. Analysis of variance revealed significant improvements in knowledge regarding stroke immediately after the class, which was present 1 month later (F2,144 = 4.832, P = .009). This approach to raising community awareness about stroke emergencies was effective and did not require significant financial investment. Easy access to the curriculum and availability of free printed materials minimized the overall program costs and enhanced the quality of the educational content.

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