HELPS Phase 1 Summary

What is the HELPS Research study about?

Our team of researchers and community health workers aims to build relationships with African American communities in Minneapolis to reduce risk for stroke. Our study has 2 phases. In Phase 1, we held community listening circles and listened to the community’s perspectives about stroke, as well as barriers and strengths within the community to prevent stroke.

What did we learn in Phase 1?

We engaged 54 African American community members in 7 community listening circles. We learned that:

  • Although most community members had knowledge about stroke warning signs and risk factors, there were some misunderstandings about stroke
  • Community members identified advocacy for self or family members as very important to prevent stroke
  • Communication barriers between healthcare providers and community members was identified as another important factor.
  • Stress was identified as an important factor contributing to stroke.
  • Racism and social injustice, unequal access to healthy food, and lack of a safe environment were identified as barriers to healthy living in the community. This was identified more by the younger age group. 
  • Community members identified strengths and resources within the community to promote a healthy lifestyle.

What comes next?

We plan to launch Phase 2 in April 2022. We are looking for 10 Stroke Champions (5 men and 5 women) to enroll in our stroke education to increase their knowledge of stroke risk factors and then share their knowledge with others. Each stroke champion will be asked to teach 2 community members about stroke risk factors based on what they learned. Stroke champions and the community members they educate will be compensated.