HBCU’s Across the Country Are Raising Awareness in the African American Community

African Americans are more frequently diagnosed with epilepsy than other groups, and often have less access to information about the condition. To improve overall awareness and understanding about epilepsy in the African American population, the Epilepsy Foundation has launched new partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). The HBCUs and PBIs are a source of pride and accomplishment for the African American community and the nation as a whole. These partnerships will have a significant impact on the understanding of epilepsy by African Americans across the nation.

Seven Epilepsy Foundation affiliates are working with HBCUs and PBIs to develop collaborative, sustainable educational programs about epilepsy for both on and off campus audiences.  In addition, social networking venues are being used to increase overall awareness, and identify potential leaders from the campus communities to serve on the Epilepsy Foundation National Youth Council.

Some partnership activities in this pilot program include:

•Epilepsy Foundation of Chesapeake Region is partnering with Morgan State University to incorporate epilepsy training in the Nursing and Health Education Program’s Service Learning Curriculum, as well as in required Freshman and Graduate Student orientation courses.

•Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is collaborating with Edward Waters College, to further develop content and messaging for their “Online Epilepsy University,” that will educate users about epilepsy, treatment, and available services.

•Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. is working with Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia to launch “Premiere Days” at each campus for YouTube videos that are written, produced, and uploaded by students, to promote epilepsy awareness messages.

•Epilepsy Foundation of Texas – Houston/Dallas/Ft. Worth is partnering with Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, and Paul Quinn College to conduct an aggressive education, awareness, and training campaign, working through educational programs, campus organizations, and campus media outlets.

•Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama is working closely with the Tuskegee Health Education Center to use social networks and existing student and faculty groups for promotion and dissemination of epilepsy education messages and services.

•Epilepsy Foundation of the St. Louis Region is collaborating with Harris-Stowe State University to integrate epilepsy awareness into Homecoming, Freshman Welcome Week, and fraternity and sorority community service activities.  They will also include epilepsy components in curricula in the Department of Teacher Education and the School of Business.

•Epilepsy Foundation of Central & South Texas is partnering with St. Philip’s College and Huston-Tillotson University to provide epilepsy education through current campus programs such as the Equity Center.They will also provide educational opportunities through webinars and podcasts in their “Health Connection E-Health Community Empowerment Online Project.”
For more information on this new program, please contact Tia Simmons, Program Manager for the African American Outreach Program, at tsimmons@efa.org.

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