UND designated state’s first Cardiac Ready Campus by North Dakota Department of Health

UND designated state’s first Cardiac Ready Campus by North Dakota Department of Health

Terry Wynne, UND’s director of safety, stands next to an AED station on the first floor of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. UND archive photo.

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has designated the University of North Dakota the first Cardiac-Ready Campus in the state.

“Your hard work is evident, and we see you as a model for Cardiac-Ready Campus designations,” wrote Christine Brondyk, Stroke & Cardiac System Coordinator for the NDDoH, in a letter to Dr. Bryan Delage, assistant professor in the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) Department of Family & Community Medicine.

“Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make your community a healthier and safer place.”

In 2016, the North Dakota Division of Emergency Medical Systems & Trauma partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to provide the Cardiac-Ready Community program through the North Dakota Cardiac System of Care. The program, which promotes the AHA’s “Chain of Survival,” is designed to promote survival from a cardiac event by making sure communities are prepared to respond and assist if an individual has a cardiac event.

Dr. Bryan Delage

“This is tremendous,” added Dr. Delage, chair of UND’s Cardiac-Ready Campus committee, who notes that while many campuses have plans in place to become Cardiac-Ready, none have yet accomplished the task. “The outcomes from an acute cardiac arrest vary widely, with the average nationwide survival rate being only about 10 percent. We’re hoping that through this ongoing program of education, training and community awareness, we can improve survival of such events in our campus community and within the city of Grand Forks.”

Requirements to keep the Cardiac-Ready program going throughout the designation period include continued community leadership, an ongoing community awareness campaign, additional blood pressure screenings (including referrals for blood pressure management and education on lifestyle change), continuing education of the community on CPR and automatic external defibrillator (AED) use, expansion of public access to AEDs, and development of a performance improvement program.

The award lasts three years and will require re-designation in 2023.

Powered by a grant the NDDoH received in 2017 from the American Heart Association to make its state more “cardiac ready,” UND is the first campus in the state to have implemented the program at the campus level.

“Now it’s up to us and our community to continue to uphold this process and to improve upon our ability to affect people’s lives in the event of an emergency,” said Terry Wynne, director of safety for the UND Department of Public Safety. “No longer can we or should we assume that we’re powerless to help someone suffering a heart attack. The tools are in place for us all to help in an emergency.”

The Cardiac-Ready Community Program of North Dakota will monitor the university’s progress beyond its initial designation in the continued effort to educate the community and improve cardiovascular health awareness and acute cardiac event outcomes beyond 2020.

Representatives of the NDDoH will officially present the school with the designation at the North Dakota Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program’s Fifth Annual Hypertension Summit, to be held from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Fargo, N.D., on March 19.

“As a practicing cardiologist, I appreciate how vital such a program is for any community,” interim UND President Dr. Joshua Wynne said (no relation to Terry). “Given the rural character of North Dakota, where an ambulance might be more than just a few minutes away, it’s especially important that we all work to prepare ourselves to respond to health emergencies like heart attack and stroke. I applaud Dr. Delage and his team on this life-saving work.”

About the author

Brian James Schill is the assistant director of the Office of Alumni and Community Relations at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.