The Stroke Belt Consortium was formed in the summer of 1994. It currently consists of over 350 members involving more than three dozen organizations and specialties, including physicians and other health care providers, pharmacists and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, government officials (state and federal), representatives of the American Heart Association and National Stroke Association, managed care groups, state medical associations, media specialists, and many other interested parties.
The overall goals of the Stroke Belt Consortium are to improve both public and professional education of all people who live in the Stroke Belt. Various tools and techniques are being used to accomplish these goals. In addition to sponsoring educational events, the Consortium has been instrumental in initiating several state-based initiatives (both legislative and organizational) to improve education. In addition, the Consortium has funded over $25,000 in pilot grants and demonstration projects to further public and professional education.
The Stroke Belt defines a region in the southeastern United States with the highest incidence and mortality of stroke in the country.
For individuals within the Stroke Belt, the risk of stroke is not equal among racial groups. Several studies have shown that African Americans have approximately a two times increased stroke mortality compared to Caucasians. For individuals of Hispanic background, the risk is approximately intermediate between Caucasians and African Americans. The reasons for this are probably multifactorial, with yet other reasons undiscovered.
The Stroke Belt Consortium currently operates through the Continuing Medical Education offices of Northwestern University Medical School.