Jamea Sheppard-Rentz watches her mother, Sateria Mitchell, practice CPR and AED response on a mannequin during training. (Carolina Ilvento/WUFT News)

UF Health Organizes Free CPR Training Events To East Gainesville Residents


With funds received from a UF Medical Guild grant, the UF Health Chest Pain Center and PulsePoint task force are distributing two AED devices and facilitating 350 free CPR certifications to the East Gainesville community.

This initiative was inspired by a need to address the disparity in cardiac arrest among the East Gainesville community, which has been historically underserved.

While over 250 defibrillators and AED devices are available throughout Gainesville, only a dozen of those are located in the east side of the city. The area also showed the lowest rates of bystander CPR knowledge in the city.

Elizabeth Warren, UF Health chest pain coordinator, emphasizes the importance of bystander CPR by explaining that 74% cardiac arrest happens at home. For every minute that goes by, the victim has 10% less likelihood of survival.

Knowing how to respond with CPR to an emergency situation can be the determining factor in saving someone’s life. According to the American Heart Association, CPR and AED response can double the victim’s chance of survival.

As a start of the project, UF Health awarded Alliance Credit Union and Reichert House an AED each, as well as CPR operation training.

The remaining CPR certifications are planned for small group training events taking place in the community.

The first open-to-public event took place this Monday, at the First Missionary Baptist Church. Masks and social distancing measures were enforced throughout the entire event.

Warren led the training to seven church members by first instructing them on the importance of CPR and AED response, as well as safety measures to be taken in an emergency context.

The participants got to practice with professional CPR manikins and functioning AED machines to ensure that they feel comfortable and prepared to properly respond to a cardiac arrest situation.

UF Health is organizing several future training events in the community upon request. The only prerequisite to participate in the training is to either live, work, or often frequent areas on the east side of Gainesville.

Individuals and community groups interested in getting a certification can sign up for an event by emailing warree@shands.ufl.edu. Information on how to respond to a cardiac arrest situation can be found on UF Health website or by downloading the PulsePoint Respond app.

About Carolina Ilvento

Carolina is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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