LANDOVER, Md., Sept. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Epilepsy Foundation, the nation’s leader in epilepsy and seizure information and engagement, will embark on a five-year cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand epilepsy education and awareness nationwide. This competitive cooperative agreement is part of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
3 million people living in the United States have epilepsy (defined as chronic seizures), affecting about 1 percent of the population. Despite this prevalence, epilepsy, seizures, and knowing the best treatment and management are poorly understood from those with and without epilepsy. Data from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows that many people with epilepsy had not seen a neurologist or epilepsy specialist in the past year and therefore are not receiving the best care for their condition. Current data shows that there is a considerable delay in the time it takes people and their health care providers to recognize that someone is having seizures, and this delay and inadequate treatment increases a person’s risk of subsequent seizures, injuries and death. Studies also show that the public continues to be unaware of the correct first aid for someone having a seizure.
With the CDC award, the Epilepsy Foundation plans to improve the quality of life of people living with epilepsy by advancing public understanding of epilepsy, increasing workforce competency, improving recognition of seizures and appropriate first aid, and empower affected individuals with self-management resources and community support. Several strategies will be implemented to help reach these goals including:
- Establish a Nationwide Partnership
- Establishing a nationwide Epilepsy Education and Awareness Collaborative partnership of organization experts in epilepsy care to identify, promote and disseminate, practice guidelines, quality performance improvement measures and best practice information to the health care professionals that reach those with epilepsy.
- Improving Care & Support
- Improving the coordination of care & support for people affected through the creation of state/local communities of practice nationwide with local Epilepsy Foundation organizations and community partners.
- Promotion of Nationwide Public Awareness Campaigns
- Focused on improving seizure recognition and first aid understanding to better educate health professionals and the public about epilepsy and available resources for information and support.
- Expand Education of Targeted Audiences
- Expanding the education of targeted audiences that encounter people with epilepsy/seizures including first responders, school personnel, day care providers, and law enforcement.
“We are extremely honored to be selected to continue our work with the CDC through this new cooperative agreement that will help us address and improve the nation’s understanding of epilepsy and seizures,” said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “This agreement is intended to address problems that were identified by the National Academy of Sciences in its report, ‘the public health burden of the epilepsies,’ with a focus on closing the gap that exists from seizure occurrence to therapies, ensuring more consistent care and support for the complex needs of a person having chronic seizures, and addressing the continued lack of clear understanding of epilepsy and its best treatment and management.”
When a person has two unprovoked seizures or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more, they are considered to have epilepsy. (An unprovoked seizure is one that occurs for no known reason.) Epilepsy affects 3 million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. This year, another 150,000 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite all available treatments, at least 3 out of 10 people with epilepsy continue to experience uncontrolled seizures while many more experience less than optimal seizure control.
About the Epilepsy Foundation
The Epilepsy Foundation, a national non-profit with nearly 50 local organizations throughout the U.S., has led the fight against seizures since 1968. The Foundation is an unwavering ally for individuals and families impacted by epilepsy and seizures. The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is: to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives. The Foundation works to ensure that people with seizures have the opportunity to live their lives to their fullest potential. For additional information, please visit epilepsy.com.
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