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Canadian Foundation on Cross-Canada Campaign to Inject CPR Into the Heart of High School Curriculum

OTTAWA, Ontario, August 12, 2004 — The Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation of Canada lauds a landmark Canadian study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlighting the importance of citizen CPR as a “crucial intervention” which significantly impacts cardiac arrest survival rates. The largest multi-centre controlled trial ever conducted in a prehospital setting suggests that doubling citizen CPR rates in Canada from the current 15% to 30% would see more than a thousand lives saved across Canada each year. The study’s author calls on the importance of immediate attention given to increasing citizen CPR training across Canada in order to save lives.

The ACT Foundation, in fact, is working on a national campaign to make CPR a mandatory part of the high school curriculum across Canada. Through its community-based model of partnerships and support, the ACT Foundation has raised funds to donate over 15,000 mannequins to high schools across Canada and has trained well over 1,000 physical education teachers from more than 700 schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec to teach CPR to students. To date, over 500,000 students have been trained and lives are being saved. Youth embrace the program with confidence and are responding to a wide range of emergencies involving family and friends.

Based on ACT’s successful high school program, three Canadian provinces – Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba – have implemented CPR into their physical education curricula. The ACT Foundation is now urging other provinces to follow suit and is fundraising for mannequin resources to bring the program to all schools across Canada so that every Canadian youth will be empowered with the simple yet crucial skill of CPR.

“This study proves the critical importance of CPR,” said Sandra Clarke, Executive Director of the ACT Foundation. “While we have made much progress, we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of empowering all schools across Canada to teach CPR to students. The biggest stumbling block is raising the money for mannequins and start-up resources for teachers to train their students. I urge corporations and service clubs everywhere to support this initiative to bring CPR to schools in their community.”

About ACT
The ACT Foundation is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to establishing CPR as a mandatory program in every Canadian high school. ACT raises funds for CPR mannequins for schools and guides schools in program setup. ACT’s corporate health partners are companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry: AstraZeneca, Aventis Pharma and Pfizer Canada.