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Teachers to continue tradition of empowering students to save lives with CPR and heart health education

MEDICINE HAT, AB, 24/01/08

With Heart Month fast approaching, Jan. 28th will see four teachers from Medicine Hat Catholic Separate Regional Division and Medicine Hat School District trained to teach CPR to their students through the ACT High School CPR Program. An additional four teachers will be refreshed in CPR. Together, these teachers will be instructing nearly 700 Grade 10 youth in CPR and heart health education each year. The teacher training will take place at Crescent Heights High School, 1201 Division Ave., N.E.

The ACT High School CPR Program is made possible in Medicine Hat by the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation in partnership with the STARS Foundation and Alberta Education at the provincial level, and the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Medicine Hat and Kiwanis Club of Medicine Hat at the community level. These partners provide funding for mannequins, program set up and maintenance costs.

“The Chain of Survival begins at the moment a patient’s illness or injury occurs. The first link must be strong, durable and talented,” says Dr. Greg Powell, President and CEO, STARS Foundation, a founding provincial partner. “The ACT High School CPR Program builds that link and we at STARS are proud to play a role.”

In addition to empowering youth to save lives, the ACT Program has a strong health promotion message, says Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation, an award-winning, national charitable organization dedicated to establishing CPR training as a mandatory program in all Canadian high schools. “Students learn about risk factors for heart disease and the importance of adopting heart healthy lifestyle behaviors at a young age. They will then bring their health promotion message and lifesaving skills to their present and future families,” says Clarke.

The ACT High School CPR Program is built on a strong community-based model of partnerships and support, whereby ACT helps communities find local partners who donate the mannequins, curriculum materials, and teacher training that schools need to set up the program. High school teachers then teach CPR to their students as a regular part of the curriculum, reaching all youth prior to graduation. In Alberta, more than 40,000 youth are trained in CPR through the ACT Program each year. Implemented in Medicine Hat in 2002, over 3,000 local youth have been empowered to save lives through the program to date.

The ACT High School Program is supported at the national level by companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis.

“I applaud the ACT High School CPR Program for training our local high school students in CPR,” says Dr. Hal Canham, Medical Director, Paliser Health Region EMS and Medical Director for the ACT High School CPR Program in Medicine Hat. “I am convinced lives will be saved in this community by having this skill taught in our school system.”

Research indicates citizen CPR response can improve survival rate for victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest by almost fourfold. With eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

About the ACT Foundation
The ACT Foundation is a national, award-winning charitable organization dedicated to promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. ACT is driving a national campaign to establish CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. Over 900,000 students from more than 1,200 schools have been empowered to save lives through the CPR Program to date. Core partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, Pfizer Canada and sanofi-aventis. They provide ACT’s sustaining funding and are committed to the Foundation’s national goal of promoting health and empowering Canadians to save lives. For more information visit:www.actfoundation.ca.