Breaking down barriers to learn CPR in Latino communities

Where you live could determine if you survive cardiac arrest. Instead of just facing that reality, people are trying to change it by breaking down language barriers to save lives.

Dr. Benjamin Abella, a professor of emergency medicine at Penn Hospital, knows first hand how important quick action during a cardiac arrest is.

“People have cardiac arrest and they collapse. They need CPR right away, so it’s the immediate environment and bystanders in your area that might deliver CPR," he explained.

Now imagine your odds of survival depend on what zip code you're in.

“For a number of years, we believed that where you lived determines whether you get CPR,” Dr. Abella said.

Turns out, it’s not just a feeling it’s proven research.

“We found out that if you lived in a neighborhood that was predominantly Hispanic your chance of receiving CPR was one third less than if you received CPR in a community that was predominantly Caucasian," Dr. Abella explained.

Elizabeth Morles knows first hand how needed CPR training is in the Latino community.

“It would be great because everybody can help each other in case of an emergency," she said.

So why the drastic swing in survival rates just based on ethnicity? “One of the concerns we have is that Latios often don’t have easy access to CPR training. Most CPR classes are in English. Socioeconomics play an important role. It's expensive to learn CPR," Dr. Abella said.

Andy Moran with Congreso has received CPR training and hopes more is done in Latino communities.

“If organizations can take advantage of other organizations in the Latino community, I can definitely see the word getting out and Latinos caring about it more.”


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