The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it awarded $40 million in funding over five years to research centers that will develop "culturally tailored interventions" to lower the risk of stroke among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States over the next five years.

According to the National Stroke Association, African Americans are two times more likely to die from stroke than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. People of Latin American descent tend to have strokes at younger ages. And in general, Blacks, Hispanics and American Indian/Alaska Natives have a greater chance of having a stroke than do whites and Asians.

Dr. Walter Karoshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), said "Much of the disparity in the stroke risk in the United States is due to the higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure among racial and ethnic minorities. A few of the grantees are working closely with at-risk populations to develop interventions that give people tools to achieve blood pressure control."

The NIH funding will be awarded to research centers in California, New York, Florida and Puerto Rico. Each center will focus narrowly on an aspect of the problem in hopes of combining the research to identify specific risk factors and opportunities for improvement.

This announcement comes right on time, as May is National Stroke Awareness Month.