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American Stroke Association adopts RAPIDO acronym

RAPIDO graphic

R.Á.P.I.D.O., a culturally relevant acronym created under the leadership of Jennifer Beauchamp, PhD, RN, at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston to raise awareness of stroke signs in the Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino community and save lives, has been adopted by the American Stroke Association (ASA), the organization announced today.

“The nurse-driven initiative to develop R.Á.P.I.D.O. aligns with the challenges nurse scientists often undertake to advance evidence-based and person-centered health care. The need to increase stroke literacy does not end with addressing Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino communities. These efforts need to be extended to address persistent racial and ethnic disparities across the continuum of stroke care, especially among those with limited English-speaking proficiency,” said Beauchamp, an associate professor at Cizik School of Nursing and an ASA volunteer expert.

R.Á.P.I.D.O. was developed and researched over the past two years by Beauchamp, her team, and faculty from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, who are members of UTHealth Houston’s Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. The original team of creators also included Alejandra Castro, BSN, RN; Andrea Ancer Leal, DNP, RN; and Tahani Casameni, BBA. UTHealth’s Office of Technology Management facilitated licensing of the R.Á.P.I.D.O. image and tools for use and distribution by the American Heart Association.

R.Á.P.I.D.O. stands for:

R - Rostro caído? (face drooping)

Á - Álteración del equilibrio? (loss of balance, or lack of coordination)

P - Pérdida de fuerza en el brazo? (arm weakness)

I - Impedimento visual repentino? (sudden vision difficulty)

D - Dificultad para hablar? (slurred or strange speech)

O - Obtén ayuda, llama al 911 (get help, call 911)

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the country, but the fourth-leading cause of death for Hispanic men and the third for Hispanic women, according to the ASA, which is a division of the American Heart Association. Hispanic adults are at a higher risk for the disease because of limited access to health care, unmanaged health risk factors, lower health literacy rates, cultural barriers, and socioeconomic determinants of health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hispanic stroke patients also have longer delay times to hospital arrival than non-Hispanic stroke patients, and poorer outcomes following stroke, according to a study co-authored by UTHealth Houston researchers that was published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

While English-speaking people have F.A.S.T. (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, and Time), there was no clear acronym for Spanish-language speakers until R.Á.P.I.D.O. An ASA stroke survey revealed that only 39% of Hispanic-Latino consumers said they were familiar with F.A.S.T., and only 42% could correctly name two stroke warning signs unaided.

The idea for the acronym was born in 2021 when Beauchamp’s nursing students and a staff member of her research team were trying to create Spanish subtitles for an English stroke education video. They realized BE-FAST (Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech, and Time), an adaption of FAST, did not translate well into Spanish. After researching different meanings of the words in BE-FAST, the team settled on a translation from English to Central American Spanish dialects because of the large number of Mexican Americans and Central Americans that make up the Hispanic population in the Greater Houston area.

“The research to identify a Spanish acronym for the Hispanic community was critical because the acronym reminds people what to look for and to ‘act fast’ when they are having a stroke or see someone having one. These symptoms are sudden and must be recognized quickly for the person to receive the appropriate treatment as soon as possible,” said Beauchamp, the Nancy B. Willerson Distinguished Professor in Nursing at the school.

The result was a virtual video presentation that highlighted R.Á.P.I.D.O. as part of the translated English stroke education video, a collaboration among Cizik School of Nursing, McGovern Medical School, and the UTHealth Houston Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, and was published by the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference. R.Á.P.I.D.O. was presented and won first place as a poster at the International Neuroscience Nursing Research Symposium.

R.Á.P.I.D.O. is part of the ASA’s Juntos Contra el Derrame Cerebral, launched today to increase awareness of R.Á.P.I.D.O., address health disparities, and improve stroke outcomes in the Hispanic-Latino community. For more information about R.Á.P.I.D.O. and stroke awareness, visit For more about UTHealth Houston’s history of R.Á.P.I.D.O., visit


Deborah Mann Lake

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Jennifer E S (Sanner) Beauchamp, PhD, RN, FAAN

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