Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Durham’s CPR/AED Initiative Wins International Award

One of the many ways people have referred to Durham, NC over the years is "The City of Medicine."  It's a deserved title with six medical centers including the world-renowned Duke University Health System and the Veterans Administration.  It is a place where health and care are taken seriously at every level - including at the municipal level and for which an award has been won.

Durham’s life-saving efforts to train thousands of City and County employees as well as public high school students has received international accolades.

Durham’s “A Heartbeat Away” Initiative has been selected as the winner of the Alliance for Innovation’s 2013 Award for Excellence in Local Government.  The City of Durham, Durham County Government, and Durham Public Schools have partnered to create this one-of-a-kind CPR/AED Initiative to help improve the survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest victims by training local government employees and public high school students in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) education as well as bystander hands-only CPR.

According to Durham County Emergency Medical Services, in 2011 only 8 percent of cardiac arrest victims in Durham received life-saving CPR prior to the arrival of first responders, making Durham’s survival rate one of the lowest in the country. It was this alarming statistic that created this unique partnership – the only of its kind in North Carolina. “The joint initiative supports both the City’s and the County’s strategic plan efforts to improve the health and safety of Durham residents while also addressing a state mandate that requires all publicly educated students to be trained in CPR before receiving their diplomas starting in 2015,” said Jay Reinstein, strategic initiatives manager with the City’s Budget & Management Services Department. “It’s one of several initiatives that we are working on together for a better Durham.”

According Karen Thoreson, president and chief operating officer of the Alliance for Innovation, Durham was chosen from more than 70 applicants from across the United States and Canada for its innovative approach. “The Selection Committee looks for those local governments that have shown their dedication to stretching and improving the boundaries of day-to-day government operations and practices, implementing creative business processes, and those who have improved the civic health of their community,” wrote Thoreson in a letter notifying the City of Durham of its award. Durham will receive its award at next month’s 2013 Transforming Local Government Conference. For more information about the conference, visit online.

For more information about the “A Heartbeat Away” Initiative, contact Jay Reinstein or read about it online.

For more information about where great things happen, visit online.

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