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Illuminating Strokes: Shining a Light on Cultural Considerations within the Spanish-Speaking Community

Fiona Smith, PhD student at the Cizik School of Nursing
Fiona Smith, PhD student at the Cizik School of Nursing
RAPIDO Spanish Stroke Awareness Graphic
RAPIDO | Spanish Stroke Awareness

Fiona Smith, a PhD student at the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston and Stroke Coordinator at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, recently joined the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases Stroke Busters podcast to discuss her research on stroke awareness within the Spanish-speaking community. Smith's passion for improving stroke care and reducing disparities in healthcare access has driven her to focus on the cultural factors that influence care-seeking behavior among Spanish speakers.

Smith highlighted the importance of the RAPIDO acronym, a Spanish-language tool designed to help individuals recognize the signs of stroke and take action. RAPIDO, which translates to "fast" in English, stands for:

R: Rostro caído (fallen face)
A: Afectación de equilibrio (balance impairment)
P: Pérdida de fuerza en los brazos (weakness in the arms)
I: Impedimento visual (visual impairment)
D: Dificultad para hablar (difficulty speaking)
O: Obtener ayuda (obtain help)

Smith emphasized that while the RAPIDO acronym is an essential tool for stroke recognition, it is equally important to understand the cultural factors that may influence an individual's decision to seek care. Her current research focuses on identifying these variables and developing strategies to ensure that everyone seeks care as quickly as possible when experiencing stroke symptoms.

As part of her commitment to stroke education, Smith frequently visits local schools, support groups, and community events to raise awareness about stroke prevention and recognition. She believes that engaging with the community, particularly younger generations, is crucial in promoting stroke awareness and ultimately saving lives.

Smith also stressed the importance of collaboration among healthcare professionals, including nurses, doctors, therapists, and technologists, in making significant changes to improve stroke care in the community. She encourages healthcare professionals and researchers passionate about addressing cultural barriers to find mentors and advisors who can provide guidance and support in pursuing their research goals.

Looking to the future, Smith is involved in a research project with Dr. Stuart Fraser, examining adolescent strokes and predictors of outcomes. As stroke can affect individuals of all ages, this growing field of research holds promise for improving care and outcomes for pediatric stroke patients.

During the podcast, Smith also mentioned her upcoming presentation at the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Nurses Week celebration. Her talk, titled "Illuminating Strokes: Shining a Light on Cultural Considerations within the Spanish-Speaking Community," will review her recent publication on the RAPIDO acronym and the perspective of the greater community. She plans to highlight the importance of reaching local community members and inspire other nurses to find their passion and pursue research that can benefit the community at large.

Fiona Smith's dedication to improving stroke awareness and care within the Spanish-speaking community serves as an inspiration to healthcare professionals and researchers alike. Her work highlights the importance of understanding and addressing cultural factors in healthcare delivery and the power of community engagement in promoting better health outcomes for all.

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