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News: Hip-hop inspires kids to spot strokes : Emergency Medicine News

stroke, health literacy, social justice:

The cover of a Hip Hop Public Health comic teaching children how to recognize and respond to strokes in their elders.

Hip Hop Stroke seems like an incongruous name for an organization teaching young people about a serious subject like stroke. But that’s only until you realize he’s using music to inspire kids to teach their families about the symptoms of a stroke and what to do if it happens.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke also liked the idea, funding the program and a trial that found children were able to build on their parents’ knowledge of stroke. This study taught children to educate their elders, increasing the number of parents able to identify the five cardinal symptoms of stroke from three (3.9%) before the program to 21 (29.6%) after. Knowledge of the FAST mnemonic also improved from two parents (2.7%) before the intervention to 29 (41%) after. (Stroke. 2012;43[1]:163;

“One of the things that we haven’t done very well in public health is culturally tailoring messages so that they resonate with those communities,” said Olajide Williams, MD, founder of HHS and Hip Hop. Public Health, an organization of educators, artists. , and health professionals who use music to promote health literacy and equity among urban minority children and their families. “When we don’t adapt the messages to the culture and then say, ‘Hey, they don’t understand’, the fault lies with us and not with them. We need to speak a language they understand in all its cultural nuances and meet them where they are.

It is essential to use culturally responsive frameworks to create messages for particular communities. Hip Hop Stroke seeks to increase stroke treatment rates among African Americans due to low treatment rates for this group and disproportionately high stroke death rates, said Dr. Williams, also chief of staff for neurology. , director of acute stroke services and professor of neurology at Columbia University.

What it is

Dr. Williams and Ewelina M. Swierad, PhD, said HHPH’s multi-sensory health education model focuses on diverse communities, building on a model that “highlights important social and ecological influences on behavior health matter”. (Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16[5]872; This model considers art and its innovation and creativity, cultural adaptation, and evidence-based science, incorporating “unconventional strategies, such as harnessing culturally appropriate art materials under form of storytelling, music, animation, film, [and] gamification, among others.

Dr. Williams has successfully reached vulnerable populations through his research and HHPH, reducing 911 call delays for stroke victims. HHPH programs have also addressed public health issues such as community immunity (via a rap anthology on vaccines), handwashing, masks and fitness. HHS now airs in New York in partnership with the New York State Department of Health; 47 hospitals and schools in Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco and Las Vegas have also adopted it, Dr. Williams said.

He noted that some HHS and HHPH videos could also be shown in emergency departments and other hospital waiting rooms as well as in airports, train stations, bus stations and other public places. “We think this would be an extremely useful way to raise awareness about strokes,” Dr. Williams said. “Engaging public places with these health promotion videos is in the public interest and will help advance health literacy.

A three-hour HHPH program presented in schools teaches children to act as first responders by immediately calling 911 when they witness a stroke and to share stroke information with their parents and grandparents . The program also features the message “time is the brain” in a video game in which children navigate a spaceship through a human artery to knock down blood clots.

Dr. Williams works with recording artists and producers such as Doug E. Fresh and Darryl McDaniels, better known as the DMC of hip-hop group Run-DMC, to create colorful and energizing multimedia to showcase evidence-based information. ( Several videos are also on YouTube, including “Stroke Ain’t No Joke” (, “Keep your brain healthy” (, and “20 Segundos O Más” (, which is in Spanish.

The randomized controlled trial conducted by Dr. Williams showed that the HHS program was successful in helping children educate their parents and grandparents about stroke symptoms. (J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2018;7[11]:3187; Several kids even called 911 when confronted with an elder who had a stroke, and one of them actually overruled a parent’s wait-and-see approach.

Why it worked

Dr. Williams summed up HHPH’s mission best during an appearance on “PBS NewsHour” earlier this year on increasing immunization: “[H]ow do you communicate… with a community that is bogged down in the daily hustle and bustle of survival? How do you communicate a message about stroke to this community? And that was the challenge.

“We’ve always been able to use music as a way to reach people in ways that politics and religion can’t,” said Run-DMC’s Mr. McDaniels, who also appeared on “PBS News Hour”. “The black community does not trust our government. So we think if members of the black community in particular could see someone who looked like them, looked like them, walked and also talked, they’d say, oh, if it’s DMC, maybe it’s okay for me to go and get the vaccines, so that things will be better for all of us. The song is just the bait, so we can educate. (

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Mr Kirschwrites about medicine and health for multiple audiences, focusing on clinical medicine, health care communication, policy, and health disparities. He is a past president of the Metro NY chapter of the American Medical Writers Association..