Kenneth Frazier

Kenneth Frazier, chief executive officer and board chair of Merck and Co. — TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Andréa and Ken Frazier recently donated $5 million to Jefferson Health to work with Temple University on a new stroke initiative targeting the African-American communities.

“It is critical that our health systems address the disparities that impact underserved communities. Stroke disproportionately affects disadvantaged African American community members and combined with poor access to education and healthcare, results in significantly poorer health outcomes,” Andréa and Ken Frazier said in a joint statement. The aim of the joint partnership is to bring life-saving stroke prevention and care to Philadelphia’s most at-risk communities.

African Americans are 50 percent more likely to have a stroke (cerebrovascular disease), as compared to their white adult counterparts, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the city of Philadelphia, strokes are the fourth highest cause of death and occur at 20 times the national average. That’s due to a range of factors, such as lack of accessibility to healthcare providers, unmanaged chronic disease and lack of awareness of risk factors.

Research has shown nearly 80% of strokes are preventable.

The objective of the Frazier Coalition is to create a fully-integrated health education program that connects at-risk community members with the information, resources, and clinical care they need to prevent stroke, as well as connecting patients who have had a stroke with the services they need to prevent a re-occurrence.

The program combines the resources of the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson, the Jefferson Center for Urban Health and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple.

The initiative focuses specifically on the Allegheny West section of Philadelphia, which includes the neighborhoods surrounding 18th and York streets.

“Our family has deep roots in North Philadelphia and has been impacted by the debilitating effects of stroke,” the Fraziers wrote. “We feel privileged to be in a position to help convene this partnership to bring life-saving stroke prevention measures to our community.”

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