African Americans and stroke focus of August 26 Dean’s Diversity Lecture

Dawn Aycock, PhD, FAHA, FAAN, will give the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dean’s Diversity Lecture on Thursday, August 26, at noon CT in Nursing Annex room 155. The in-person lecture, “It’s About Time: Addressing Primary Stroke Prevention in African Americans,” is free and open to the Vanderbilt community.

Aycock, an associate professor and director of the Nursing PhD program in the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions at Georgia State University, will provide an update on stroke and its role in death and disability in the U.S. She will discuss its impact on African Americans, who have the nation’s highest rate of death due to stroke, and outline how misperceptions about stroke risk can be battled.

Dawn Aycock smiling“Young African American adults experience higher rates of stroke compared to others due to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity,” said Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing. “Dr. Aycock’s research revealed that their perception of their stroke risk is low. She’ll share her findings and discuss how to address that misperception with patients using an intervention she developed.”

As principal investigator for a National Institute of Nursing Research funded study, Aycock developed and tested an age and culturally relevant intervention aimed at young African Americans. Stroke Counseling for Risk Reduction (SCORRE) is designed to correct inaccurate stroke risk perceptions and improve diet and exercise behaviors in this at-risk group.

Aycock’s work has been published in top-tiered journals and she is a frequent presenter at conferences and events. In 2020, she was one of 11 nurse scientists selected for the inaugural cohort of the national Betty Irene Moore Fellowship Program for Nurse Leaders and Innovators. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a fellow in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series was established in 2016. It explores the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ideas and viewpoints in our world today. It seeks to equip students, faculty, staff and other community members with the knowledge and understanding needed to lead nursing