More than 400,000 Hispanics in the U.S. have epilepsy. In 2006, a survey was conducted by the Epilepsy Foundation and the results revealed that a large proportion of Hispanics in the United States fear epilepsy. In some cases, Hispanics continue to relate seizures to death and over half are not ready to disclose that a family member has the disorder.
Culture and educational background can determine individuals’ perceptions about epilepsy. Many Hispanics believe that a seizure results from substance abuse and spiritual causes. These cultural beliefs, lack of knowledge, lack of education and lack of access to services can prevent individuals from seeking effective medical support.
The Hispanic Outreach Program is designed to dispel these myths and fears of epilepsy in the Hispanic community. The objectives of the program are: 1) educating family and caregivers on seizure recognition and treatment options, and 2) increasing the awareness of the prevalence of epilepsy in the Hispanic community.
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