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Published on February 24, 2010

Area paramedics receive scholarships for heart attack response training Area Paramedica receive scholarship

Area emergency responders will receive advanced training to more quickly and effectively respond to heart attacks, thanks to scholarship support from Cedar Rapids Heart Center, P.C.

The online, cutting-edge training, provided by the American Heart Association (AHA), will enable paramedics to more quickly provide critical care to heart attack patients while en route to hospital ERs. The Heart Center's sponsorship will cover the cost of the training for all Area Ambulance Service personnel.

Dr. Cam Campbell of the Heart Center said the Center supports the AHA training because paramedics play such a critical role in assessing and caring for patients with heart attack symptoms.

"The sooner we recognize when heart attacks are happening, the sooner emergency personnel can respond," Dr. Campbell said. "Our paramedics are the first ones in line to know when heart attacks are happening. By educating them, they'll be better able to take preliminary steps in the field and the rest of the emergency response team can get ready while they're bringing the patient in."

Keith Rippy, executive director of the Area Ambulance Services, welcomed the Heart Center's support as a part of collaborative efforts among Cedar Rapids health providers to improve emergency care.

"We've been working with physician groups very closely over the last couple of years to improve our skills and better respond to heart attacks and strokes," Rippy said. "This fits in nicely with that plan."

All of Area Ambulance's paramedics have signed up for the training, Rippy added.

"We wouldn't be able to provide this for every member of our team without these scholarships, so we appreciate it," he said. "It's a tremendous cost-savings to us and a great opportunity for more training."

Through Mercy Medical Center's work with the AHA on the statewide heart attack task force, Sue Dawson, cardiac researcher and program coordinator for Mercy's nationally certified Heart Attack in Women program, informed both groups of this educational opportunity.

"Mercy welcomes the opportunity for first-responders to complete the AHA training," said Dawson. "The mere fact that so many ambulance staff signed up for the cardiac program to advance their skills is a testimony to their commitment to the delivery of the highest quality cardiac care in our community. I applaud the Heart Center's offer to support the paramedic's commitment to excellence," Dawson added.

The training is part of the AHA's "Mission: Lifeline," a national initiative to improve quality of care and outcomes in heart attack patients by sharpening health care systems' readiness and response to heart attack patients.