The University of Virginia became the 18th college in the United States to be named a HEARTSafe Campus by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF) at its 23rd annual conference in February.
To qualify for the designation, UVA completed and submitted a rigorous self-assessment and verification packet, fulfilling all criteria aimed at improving the chances that anyone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest on Grounds will have the best possible chance for survival. This award in part recognizes UVA’s successful installation of more than 200 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) across Grounds, and the expansion of its CPR education program.
“Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, and an AED is an effective life-saving treatment that can be administered by almost anyone,” said Dr. Bill Brady, Professor of Emergency Medicine at UVA Health System and Medical Director of the UVA AED program. “We are proud of our accomplishments at the University and also proud to serve as a model and resource for other colleges and universities across the country that seek to develop AED programs.”
Studies show that survival rates decreases every minute without defibrillation, which delivers a therapeutic dose of electrical current to the heart with a device called an automated external defibrillator. Prior to 2007, there was very little research on AED placement on college campuses. In response, UVA researchers published an article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine that continues to provide the industry standard for developing public access defibrillation programs in the higher education setting.
“The University is always examining ways to enhance safety on Grounds,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Hogan. “This life-saving program is an important means to improve the well-being of all students, faculty, staff and visitors to UVA.”
Launched in 2013, the HEARTSafe Campus designation is designed to encourage and promote community awareness of the potential for saving lives with effective CPR and early defibrillation. HEARTSafe Campuses promote and support:
· Rapid response by CPR and AED trained lay responders
· Rapid public access to defibrillation
· Early access to advanced care
· Public CPR and AED training for the community, and
· Engagement in preventative cardiovascular healthcare activities
The AED initiative at UVA is made possible by a regional partnership between UVA Health System’s Life Support Learning Center, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the UVA Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which administers the program. For more information, see http://www.virginia.edu/emergency/AED.