Thomas Jefferson and Temple Universities will work together to improve stroke prevention and care for underserved communities in Philadelphia, Jefferson announced Monday. The new initiative will be funded by a $5 million gift from Ken Frazier, chairman of the board and CEO of Merck & Co., and his wife, Andréa, an interior designer who has also taught international law as an adjunct professor. Andréa Frazier is a stroke and cancer survivor.

The two health systems will focus on the Allegheny West area — neighborhoods surrounding 18th and York Streets in North Philadelphia. The area is among the worst in the city for health outcomes.

The initiative, known officially as the Frazier Family Coalition for Stroke Education and Prevention, will address social issues that affect health along with racial and ethnic disparities that increase stroke risk, Jefferson said.

The goal of the coalition is to better connect members of the community with information, resources and medical care to prevent strokes as well as to improve care for people who have already had strokes and prevent recurrence.

“Stroke disproportionately affects disadvantaged African American community members, and combined with poor access to education and health care, results in significantly poorer health outcomes,” the Fraziers said in a written joint statement. “Our family has deep roots in North Philadelphia and has been impacted by the debilitating effects of stroke. We feel privileged to be in a position to help convene this partnership to bring life-saving stroke prevention measures to our community.”