|PROTECT DC will follow a treatment algorithm targeted to meet the needs of an inner city underserved population.|
The devastating affects of stroke threaten the lives of thousands of African American and Hispanic adults every year. Both racial groups suffer higher stroke incidence and mortality than Caucasians – a result of years of a lack of access to ongoing preventive care. For those people with a history of stroke, a lack of prevention programs, lack of awareness of stroke risk factors and warning signs, and underutilization of secondary prevention medical therapies complicate the picture even further by increasing risk of a second vascular incident.
A new pilot program called PROTECT DC is hoping to turn these statistics around in the District of Columbia, where its predominantly nonwhite population, made up of 60 percent African Americans and 7.9 percent Hispanic or Latinos, suffer disproportionately from stroke and from secondary events and their disabling and sometimes deadly effects. The National Rehabilitation Hospital is leading the collaborative effort in conjunction with the Washington Hospital Center and Howard University Hospital.
PROTECT DC (Preventing Recurrence of Thromboembolic Events through Coordinated Treatment in the District of Columbia) is a hospital-based program that couples secondary prevention strategies with stroke patient navigation. The goal: Significantly reduce secondary vascular events such as stroke, MI and vascular death rates in this underserved population.
Patients will be recruited from the inpatient stroke services of the two participating hospitals, which have a predominantly African American population and serve a majority of the stroke patients within the District of Columbia. Success of PROTECT DC has far reaching implications, with the potential to have a dramatic impact on the health of thousands of people. An estimated 50 to 80 percent of secondary strokes could be prevented with better risk factor management. If proven effective, the D.C. program could serve as a model for national implementation aimed at reducing health disparities in stroke care.