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High-tech Simulators Will Allow Rural Emergency Techs to Practice Trauma Treatment Thanks to $5.5 Million Grant

At a time when rural emergency medicine is facing shortages of volunteers, equipment and funding, Nebraska’s rural EMS system has received a significant investment from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center received a three-year, $5.5 million grant for four trucks and 20 simulators — mannequins that mimic patients — to help train rural EMTs and small-town hospital personnel.

The program will enable training to take place in towns across Nebraska so that volunteers don’t have to travel to Kearney or Omaha, where such continuing education for EMTs typically takes place.

The program gives support to a diminishing breed. Information distributed by UNMC said that between December 2013 and April 2016, the number of licensed emergency medical service providers in Nebraska dropped 18 percent, from 8,436 to 6,959.

The Helmsley grant also bolsters UNMC’s commitment to simulators, which enable students and practitioners to work on their skills without the risk of injuring real patients. UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold is a proponent of the concept and aims to build a major simulation facility on his campus.

The simulators acquired through the Helmsley grant will be based in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Norfolk and Lincoln, where UNMC has nursing programs. The units are expected to be delivered in January. EMTs and other medical workers will have the chance to practice on trauma cases and catastrophic illnesses that they don’t normally see, said Shelley Stingley, director of the Helmsley Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program.

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South Dakota Heart Walks Raise Awareness for AHA Mission

Thousands of South Dakotans are expected to join one of our state's three Heart Walks this Fall to raise funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the world. Heart Walks are non-competitive and in addition to raising money, helps to raise awareness for the life-saving mission of the American Heart Association.

According to the AHA, for every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy may increase for some adults by two hours. Research has shown walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. The benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for as little as 30 minutes each day can help reduce the risk of heart disease.  It is never too late to start living a healthier life.  Heart Walk is a great way to jump start a culture of healthy living for the entire family. 

Heart Walk participants also will enjoy the Heart Festival, which includes inflatables, refreshments, educational booths, and free blood pressure screenings. The Heart Walk is a free event and is open to the public.

South Dakota Heart Walks

Eastern South Dakota, Saturday, August 20th, Falls Park, Sioux Falls

Black Hills Heart Walk, Saturday, September 17th, Rapid City

Central States Heart Walk, Saturday, September 24th, Pierre

For information on participating in the Heart Walk, visit



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South Dakota Hospitals and EMS Systems Recognized

The American Heart Association has recognized three South Dakota hospitals and one ambulance service with quality achievement awards for heart and stroke care.

Rapid City Regional Hospital, Avera Heart Hospital, Sanford USD Medical Center and Paramedics Plus were all recognized with Mission: Lifeline Awards for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. Rapid City Regional Hospital received the Bronze Plus Award for Receiving Centers; Avera Heart Hospital received the Gold Award for Receiving Centers; Sanford USD Medical Center received the Gold Plus Award for Receiving Centers; and Paramedics Plus received the EMS Bronze Award.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most deadly type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don’t receive this prompt treatment.

Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. The Mission: Lifeline program in South Dakota was made possible by the historic $8.4 million dollar gift from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to the American Heart Association, which began the process to improve the system of care for heart attack patients.

“These awards illustrate that South Dakota has become a model system for rural states across the nation,” said Gary Myers, Director Mission: Lifeline South Dakota and EMS Consultant for Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association. “Our institutions are helping to create a new standard of rural care for heart attack patients and it is very exciting that South Dakota has gone from leading the country in heart attack death rates to leading the way in heart attack care.”

Rapid City Regional Hospital also has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® -Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment, according to nationally-recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Sanford USD Medical Center also has received the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines®-Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation’s secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure.

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Powers Lake Ambulance Receives EMS Recognition

At a time when rural areas are facing critical shortages of emergency medical professionals, we are pleased to recognize the Powers Lake Ambulance Service for recently being named the Northwest Region Squad of the Year for 2015.  The intent of this award is to recognize a service that significantly contributes to the provision, development and improvement of pre-hospital care and the EMS education of their community.  Powers Lake is recognized for their dedication and hard work in implementing the Cardiac Ready Community program. 

In addition, Cole Bentley, a member of the squad, also received the Northwest Region Rising Star award at the North Dakota EMS State Conference.  Cole is responsible for the data entry for the ambulance service.  This award honors an individual who is new to the field of pre-hospital care and shows rapid improvement, exemplary skills and takes on added responsibility.  Bentley responded to the most calls in the community in 2015. 

From the Burke County Tribune:  In 2015, the Powers Lake Ambulance Service began to realize how important CPR was in the community.  The group applied for and received gaming monies which allowed them to offer a CPR class free of charge with all materials included.  Thirty-five community residents took part and became CPR-certified.  Not long after, during an emergency medical services conference, trained volunteers from Powers Lake were asked if they would be interested in participating in a pilot project for a Cardiac Ready Community.  Squad members didn't have to think about it before agreeing it was a much needed project for the community.

CPR instructors trained more than 200 people including 67 students in grads 7-12 at Powers Lake School.  In addition, other events have taken place to improve cardiac health such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, fundraising support the American Heart Association and continued community CPR training classes, including at the high school.  Several businesses in the community are now equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) including several churches, fire department vehicles, The Country Store, Country Fresh Foods, Food Barn, and Farmers Union Oil.  Many rural members on the ambulance service have an AED in their homes which makes them able to respond more quickly in their areas if the need arises. 

Energy Impact grants and grants from the Powers Lake City and Rural Ambulance District made it possible to purchase a new ambulance in 2015 and also construct a new building in 2012.  The organization now has two fully-equipped ambulances and a very nice facility to house them.  Their volunteers are well-trained and ready for service when needed. 

With everything they have going for them, Powers Lake is still always in need of new volunteers.  Anyone interested in taking an EMT or EMR class is asked to contact them at 464-5566. 

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F-M Ambulance Earns Award

The American Heart Association is pleased to honor F-M Ambulance the association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for implementing quality improvement standards for the treatment of patients who experience STEMI heart attacks.  The Mission: Lifeline program seeks to close the gaps that separate ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients from the timely access to appropriate treatments they need to save their lives.  Agencies that receive this award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years, and treat at least 8 STEMI patients for the year.  This is the second year in a row that F-M Ambulance has earned this honor.  Congratulations to F-M Ambulance on your continued commitment to quality care for patients. 

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Study: New concerns raised over teen e-cigarette use

As e-cigarette use among teens rapidly increases, a national health report suggests adolescents who would not have otherwise used tobacco products are now turning to electronic smoking devices.

The report, released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is based on a study that found overall smoking prevalence among youth in Southern California declined, but the combined e-cigarette or cigarette use was substantially greater than before e-cigarettes became available.

The conclusion raises the question of whether e-cigarettes are merely substituting for cigarettes or being used by teens who wouldn’t otherwise be smoking.


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Heading to a Ballot Box Near You

Our movement to combat childhood obesity in Boulder is now officially underway. Over 9,000 Boulder residents demonstrated their support for healthy Boulder kids by signing a petition to get our public health initiative on the ballot!

Earlier this month, a coalition led effort, along with You're the Cure advocates, gathered signatures in support of a ballot measure that would ensure that all Boulder families have increased access to healthy foods, nutrition education, and opportunities for fitness and exercise, through revenue from a tax on sugary drinks. Through a collective effort we are thrilled to announce that this important measure will be heading to a ballot box near you come this November!

It’s going to take all of us, working together, to ensure a victory at the ballot box this November. AHA is committed to this work, but we need support from people like you to vote in favor of this critical public health measure. Join our campaign to combat childhood obesity and support healthy Boulder families!

Please email to learn how to get involved!

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The Campaign for a Healthy Colorado Begins!

Earlier this month, the American Heart Association and our partners formally launched The Campaign for a Healthy Colorado with a successful press conference. The AHA is partnered with other lead health organizations to work on this campaign, which provides us an opportunity to raise funding for important health initiatives through an increase on the cigarette tax and other tobacco related products at the state level. Many of our enthusiastic advocates attended and learned about how this ballot measure will benefit Colorado communities. It will help by reducing smoking and related health care costs, modernizing and improving care for youth and veterans, and propelling cutting-edge research to cure cancer and other major diseases. After the press conference, the advocates were trained on how to speak about this issue and how to become a petition circulator. Now our advocates are armed with skills to help us spread the word and gather signatures.

This measure will raise about $315 million a year, but it will only make it to the ballot with the help of the community. Please help the American Heart Association and the Campaign for a Healthy Colorado make Colorado a healthier state. We need more passionate advocates to spread the word in our communities! Will you help?

To help please visit: or email to learn more on how to get involved! 

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Find the Heart Walk Near You

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier community event, helping to save lives from heart disease and stroke. More than 300 walks across America raise funds to support valuable health research, education and advocacy programs of the American Heart Association in every state. Our You’re the Cure advocacy movement – and our public policy successes along the way – are all made possible by the funds raised by the Heart Walk. Whether it’s CPR laws passed to train the next generation of lifesavers or policy to regulate tobacco products and prevent youth smoking,  together we are building a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The Heart Walk is truly a community event, celebrating survivors, living healthy, and being physically active. We hope you’ll join us and visit the site today. If there is not a walk listed in your area soon,  it may be coming in the spring season or you can join a virtual event. And don’t forget to connect with your local advocacy staff and ask about your local Heart Walk day-of You’re the Cure plans - they may need your help spreading the word. Thanks for all you do, and happy Heart Walk season.

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Hey Arkansas! Let's take the #SuperParkSelfie challenge in July!

Getting as little as 30 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This summer, why not increase your physical activity by taking part in National Park and Recreation Month?

Here’s the latest from the National Recreation and Park Association:

This July, we want you to discover your super powers at your local parks and rec! To see just how SUPER you are, we are challenging you to take a #SuperParkSelfie every week this July. Head out to your nearest park or recreation center and show us how parks and rec super power your life. Let's showcase our local park and recreation areas in Arkansas for the nationwide challenge! 

Each week has a different selfie theme:

  • July 11-17: Selfie doing something healthy!
  • July 18-24: Selfie with your friends and community!
  • July 25-31: Selfie showing your superhero side!

You’ll be able to submit your selfie via this page, Facebook or by sharing the photo on Twitter and Instagram. Check out information on the prizes and how to enter on the contest page here.

When you share your selfie on social media, please use the AHA Arkansas Advocacy hashtag #YoureTheCureAR in addition to #SuperParkSelfie and #SuperJuly.  

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