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ND Mission: Lifeline Transition to ND Cardiac System of Care

The American Heart Association ND Mission: Lifeline grant funded program launched on August 1, 2011 and will be coming to a close on August 31, 2014 after 3 years of statewide STEMI system enhancement.   The AHA staff have worked diligently with Mission: Lifeline leadership, taskforce members, ND Department of Health and advocates to ensure a strong sustainability plan is in place to support the STEMI system.  One important element of the transition will be the movement of the STEMI program under a larger umbrella which will be known as the ND Cardiac System of Care.   The expanded focus will include NSTEMI, chest pain, and cardiac arrest system quality improvement with oversight by the ND DOH Division of EMS and Trauma.  Education models utilized for clinical continuing education of EMS and hospital personnel with the ND M: L program will continue in the upcoming year including a 2015 conference with grant funding provided by ND M:L to the ND DOH.

The 3rd annual M: L STEMI and Acute Stroke Conference was held August 5 – 6, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center in Fargo with over 240 in attendance over the two days.   The first day was a stroke focus with a STEMI focus on day two.  The days were filled with continuing educational presentations, quality reports, survivor stories, GWTG quality award presentations, vendor displays, and stroke and STEMI simulation training scenarios provided by SIM-ND. CLICK HERE for news coverage. 

The conference highlighted the outstanding support, commitment and collaboration from every participating agency including EMS, Critical access hospitals and PCI hospitals. Huge strides have been made to improve the quality and consistency of STEMI care delivered throughout the state.  In a number of measures North Dakota is exceeding the national bench marks.   We are much closer to attaining the goal that where you live doesn’t determine if you live!   

While significant improvements have been made in the STEMI system of care from first medical contact to restored blood flow to the heart, two major challenges remains in rural North Dakota.   Only 26% of individuals experiencing a STEMI call 9-1-1 in rural areas of the state.   In addition, the time from first onset of heart attack symptoms to first medical contact can be over 90 minutes.  These delays in treatment increase the person’s chance of death or permanent heart damage.    We have plans to expand the public awareness campaign:  Your Life is on the Line: Dial 9-1-1.    Free materials are available for use in communities across the state at

While the grant support for Mission: Lifeline is at a close, be assured that the American Heart Association staff team will maintain an active and collaborative role in the cardiac system of care work in ND.   There is more work to be done to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases in North Dakota. 

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Life is Why is the New Anthem of the American Heart and American Stroke Association

A celebration of life, Life is Why offers a simple, yet powerful answer to the question of why we do what we do.   At the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, we want people to experience more of life’s precious moments. It’s why we’ve made better heart and brain health our mission. And together with our staff and volunteers we’ve made an extraordinary impact. But we are just beginning. Until there’s a world free of heart disease and stroke, we’ll be here, working to make a healthier, longer life possible for everyone.

I’d like to ask you to discover your life’s “Why”? Ask yourself this: what are those moments, people, or experiences that you live for? What brings you joy, wonder, and happiness? What is your why in life?

Whatever your why, we encourage you to share your “why” and like our Facebook page AHANorthDakota

As part of the American Heart Association family, we’ve provided you resources and tools designed to help you activate our new brand and clearly and consistently articulate who we are and why our mission is so important.  We encourage you to watch the video and explore:

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Recognizing the Value of Quality P.E. Education

Amy Heuer and Lois Mauch North Dakota

Quality Physical Education (QPE) today is not recognizable as the physical education classes many of us remember from our schooling.  The focus has gone from the rules and regulations and play of specific sports, to the education of the physical abilities needed for play and care of the body.  Today’s QPE not only teaches our students how to move, but connects to the need our body has to move.  It encourages the importance of movement for our mental and physical health, stress reduction, and mental performance.

The definition of Quality Physical Education is the development of physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. To pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, a physically literate individual:

  • Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities.
  • Knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in various types of physical activities.
  • Participates regularly in physical activity.
  • Is physically fit.
  • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle.  SHAPE America (2014).

The Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE America) has released newly revised National PE Standards that can be found at

Quality Physical Education is important in our schools for more than the physical and health related benefits we see from moving.  More research is coming out every day showing the connection between physical activity and the mental benefits we see.  By our students participating in Quality PE classes, we are giving them the tools they need to succeed in the classroom.  According to Dr. John Ratey in his book SPARK, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, through exercise we are doing three things to the body to promote academic learning: 1) it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention and motivation, 2) it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information, and 3) it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus. (p. 53) All three of these are necessary components for building memories, and what is learning if not building memories.

Unfortunately for many children, the only opportunity they have for activity is during PE class.  Quality PE is therefore a cornerstone for our students to learn to appreciate being physically active.  It will help them to live healthier, happier, and smarter lives.

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Many schools prepared for new federal lunch standards

Thousands of schools around the country have found new ways of providing “smart” snacks for students – well in advance of updated federal lunch standards that begin with the upcoming school year.

Schools across the country will be following updated Department of Agriculture rules governing snacks, drinks in vending machines, stores and à la carte lines. The guidelines — which begin for the 2014-2015 school year — limit the amount of calories, fat, and sugar, while encouraging whole grains, reduced fat, fruits and vegetables. For more on this story, CLICK HERE.  

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North Dakota Mission: Lifeline Results Published and Presented at National Conferences

The North Dakota Mission: Lifeline project was selected to present at two national conferences in June, 2014.

Statewide Collaboration in Rural STEMI System Development in Resource Limited Environments- Where You Live Shouldn't Determine If You Live: North Dakota Mission: Lifeline” with authors, Thomas Haldis, DO, Jeffrey Sather, MD, Karthik Reddy, MD, Robert Oatfield, MD, Yassar Almanaseer, MD, Rabeea Aboufakher, MD, Mindy Cook RN BSN, Pamela Moe, RN BA  was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes and poster presentation at QCOR.  

Mission: Lifeline is a strategic initiative to save lives and reduce disability by improving emergency readiness and response to heart attack patients. Heart disease is the number one killer in North Dakota and nationally.  A statewide initiative was implemented for pre-hospital recognition, education, triage, and treatment of STEMI patients to the most appropriate reperfusion strategy.  Results released in the abstract had marked improvements in several measures in ND aggregate data from Quarter 3 2012 to Quarter 3 2013.

  • The ND Mission: Lifeline composite score 93% (557/ 596) to 97% (471/482)
  • 1ST EKG obtained Pre-hospital 46% (56/122) to 76% (92/121)
  • ED Arrival to First In-Hosp ECG % within 10 minutes 66.% (81/122) to 84% (103/122)
  • Arrival to Primary PCI <= 90 min. from 86% (32/37) to 100% (43/43)

To read more on this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

A poster presentation at the Society for Chest Pain Conference titled: "Improving Rural STEMI Care through Multi-State Sharing and Collaboration" was authored by: Jeffrey Sather, MD Trinity Health, Tomasz Stys, MD Sanford Health, Richard Mullvain, RPH, BCPS Essentia Health, Gary Myers, MS, NREMT, Mindy Cook, RN, BSN, Pam Moe, RN, CPHQ, Michelle Gardner, MBA, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate.  To view this presentation, CLICK HERE.  

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Survivor Story: Ryan Radermacher

Ryan Radermacher North Dakota

The rural Casselton farmer, Ryan Radermacher, was only 45 years old when he experienced a STEMI, the most deadly type of heart attack also known as a widow maker. 

Ryan’s first symptom was heavy sweating followed by not feeling well and shortness of breath, and heat exhaustion.  When his wife, Kim, saw how gray/pale Ryan looked she thought it may be his heart and knew they needed to call 9-1-1.  

Calling 9-1-1 activated a team that worked together in a coordinated effort to quickly connect Ryan with the high-level care needed to open the blocked artery in his heart.

The rapid, well-coordinated response to Ryan’s heart attack exemplifies Mission Lifeline, a collaboration of the American Heart Association to improve response to ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI).

Ryan reflects on the rapid response that saved his life. “It’s pretty amazing,” he says. “From the EKG in my driveway to the stent in the cath lab, it took just 38 minutes. Because of that, I’m here, I’m feeling great and I have no heart damage.

Ryan and Kim willingly share his story to encourage others to know the signs of a heart attack and take action by dialing 9-1-1 at the first sign.  Their hope is more lives will be saved and heart damage prevented as more heart attack patients dial 9-1-1 at the first signs. 

Ryan’s story was recently featured in the Farmer’s Forum. Public Service Announcements (PSA) were filmed at their farm for release later this summer.

Ryan and Kim support the Red River Valley Heart Ball and look forward to enjoying the evening with friends each year.  They have the date saved on their calendars for Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Holiday Inn, Fargo.  

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Serving Healthy Food in Schools Shouldn't Be a Puzzle

Congress is working on appropriations bills and school nutrition standards have been a hot topic in the agriculture appropriations debate.  The House bill would allow schools to get waivers from these standards and the Senate bill would delay the sodium standards supported by the AHA.  Other amendments of concern to health advocates have also been discussed.  Thanks to AHA advocate interest and activation, in coordination with our larger coalition, we have been able to turn the debate around on this issue and ensure Members were hearing all sides on this important issue. Given differences on this issue and others, as well as the leadership shake-up in the House, it is looking less likely that Congress will pass an agriculture appropriations bill this year, and will instead aim to pass a continuing resolution.

Given what’s happening (or not happening) with appropriations, we will now shift our attention to a long-term strategy.  Next year, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is up for reauthorization, which means many of the same battles we fought over the last couple months will emerge again.  That’s why it’s critical that we continue to stress to Congress that the nutrition standards should not be delayed or weakened.  

How can you help?  During the August recess, we will continue the drum beat on this issue, and we have an exciting drop-by activity for the recess break.  Our message to Congress is that healthy school meals ‘fit’ into a successful school day for kids- and that we’re ‘puzzled’ by efforts to weaken or delay the important nutrition standards.  To help our advocates deliver that message, we’ve created puzzle pieces, 4 of which fit together to display a healthy school meal and 1 showing unhealthy food that doesn’t fit.  Each puzzle piece contains a fact on the back.  We’re asking for your help to deliver these puzzle pieces to the district offices of targeted Members next month.  

If school nutrition is an important issue to you, and you are concerned about obesity prevention, especially among our youth, then we need your help!  Please email Pamela Miller and volunteer to do a drop-by visit at one of our federal district offices.  Drop-by visits are a great way to earn You're the Cure points, as well as engage our federal lawmakers on issues important right here in North Dakota.  We will provide you with the puzzle pieces and a few talking points to assist you in your visit.  Better yet - bring a child along with you and encourage their involvement on an issue that affects them directly!  

August recess is the perfect time to talk with our lawmakers about heart-health issues - and school nutrition is on the top of the list! Email Pamela Miller today and volunteer to help put school nutrition puzzle together!  


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Got a Minute? Learn Hands-only CPR

If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love:  a spouse, a parent, or a friend.    The statistics are clear as 80% of out-of hospital cardiac arrests happening in private or residential settings.  Unfortunately, only 41 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.   The good news is that Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective as conventional CPR for sudden cardiac arrest at home, at work or in public and can double or event triple a person’s chance of survival.  

It only takes 60-seconds to learn how to save a live.   Visit to watch the Hands-Only instructional video and share it with the important people in your life.  

The University of Jamestown Nursing Students Association (NSA) was recently recognized for their Community Hands-Only CPR initiative.   A team of nursing students taught a Hands-Only CPR course to interested groups in the community including churches, worksites, service clubs and college students.  The Hands-Only approach emphasizes “call 911 and push hard and fast,” continuing chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth breaths until emergency personnel arrive on the scene.  Over 500 individuals were trained. 

“Even if one life is saved because someone learned how to do compressions from our class, then our efforts will be worth it,” says Katie Stumpf, NSA President. “It’s so easy and takes so little time; I think everyone should take the half hour to learn how to save someone else’s life.”

The University of Jamestown Student Media Center produced a 6 minute video that is used in the training as an introduction to Hands-Only CPR.  Izzy's Story is a touching example of a life saved by family members who performed hands-only CPR until help arrived. 

In addition to receiving support from the University of Jamestown Student Senate and materials from the American Heart Association, the NSA was awarded $2,000 for the project from the Montana Dakota Utilities Resources Foundation. Funds will be used to purchase AED trainers for the group’s teaching bins, to train more UJ nursing students to teach the class, and to develop promotional materials to continue the free classes during the 2014-2015 school year. 

Be a Heart Hero – take a minute to watch and then share the Hands-Only CPR video.    

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Where's the AED? Selfie Campaign Raises Awareness To Save Lives

Now that we have raised awareness for the importance of knowing CPR during CPR Week, hopefully you have taken a minute to watch the 60-second video on Hands Only CPR.  Share it with your friends and family so that everyone around you knows the basics of 1) calling 9-1-1, and 2) doing compressions hard and fast in the center of the chest.  But do you know where the nearest AED is in case you need it?  

AEDs (automated external defibrillators) are located in public places, libraries, schools, business, etc. Chances are, there is one very near where you work or go to school.  This is a great opportunity to locate the nearest AED to you and raise awareness for where they located throughout your community.  

To help raise awareness for AEDs, we are launching the AED “Selfies Save Lives” campaign.  Snap and share a selfie when you spot an AED - then post it to social media useing #AEDandME! 

Where is YOUR nearest AED?  

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CPR Saved My Dad

Pamela Miller Grassroots Advocacy Director

In my work as Grassroots Advocacy Director for the AHA, I advocate every day for policies that improve our cardiovascular health – things like smoke free air, research funding, access to AEDs and learning CPR. I am passionate about our mission and how it positively impacts our communities. However, I never imagined that it would become so personal. 

On the evening of May 14th, my Dad was driving to his office in a small town in rural Minnesota.  Suddenly, without warning, my Dad realized that something was very wrong.  He tried to guide his vehicle to the side of the street but ended up on someone’s lawn.  An off-duty EMT saw his vehicle in a place where it didn’t belong, and she acted immediately.  She recognized my Dad was in distress; his heart had stopped and he wasn’t breathing.  Without hesitation, she did what she had been trained to do: she had someone call 911 for help and she started CPR.  Within minutes, police officers were on the scene with an AED, and they were able to re-start my Dad’s heart.  With the help of emergency medical personnel, doctors, and nurses – my Dad was able to experience the high school graduation of three of his grandkids the following weekend. 

Anyone 12 years and older can, and should, learn Hands-Only CPR.  With CPR Week upon us, I ask that you use this opportunity – and my Dad’s experience – to take time to learn Hands Only CPR.  CPR saved my Dad.  

 I also want to recognize the contributions and the impact our emergency medical professionals have on our communities.  In so many instances, they are the unsung heroes when an emergency happens.  They are the first responders to assess an emergency and implement the system of care for those in need.  They are passionate, professional, and trained to act under stressful conditions, often when seconds make the difference between life and death.  We celebrated National EMS week May 18-24, to thank first responders for the countless ways they serve our community, and for the lives that they save. But these individuals are busy saving lives throughout the year – when you have the opportunity, please thank these lifesavers for their work.

I believe very strongly in the mission of the American Heart Association, but advocating for learning CPR, placement of AEDs in public places, research for pacemakers and defibrillators and funding support for training and equipment for emergency personnel has never been more personal. 

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