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As cardiovascular health is highlighted through the month of February, the very first “Healthy Heart Collaborative” came together with a goal to reach as many people as possible in bystander CPR/AED training. The group also aimed to educate the community about the cardiovascular services and resources available in the High Country. Multiple events took place in the High Country throughout February and 1,000 people were trained in these lifesaving exercises.


Healthy Heart Collaborative Partners

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) partnered with the Omar Carter Foundation, Appalachian State University’s Beaver College of Health Sciences, the Boone Chamber of Commerce, Wake Forest School of Medicine Physician’s Assistant program, and App State Athletics to educate and empower the community about the importance of heart health.


Omar Carter speaks to student athletes

ASU Athletes CPR Training

On February 6, Omar Carter, founder of the Omar Carter Foundation conducted a special assembly with current Appalachian State University student athletes.

Carter shared his story of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest at a young age. He, along with Dr. Donna Denier, Medical Director for Cardiology, and Lesley Hastings, Director of Cardiovascular and Surgical Services from ARHS, spoke about the statistics of sudden cardiac events, as well as the importance of recognizing signs and symptoms. The speakers also fielded clinical questions from the students. Hastings, Dr. Denier and Carter also gave the student athletes the opportunity to learn bystander CPR training.



A Cardiac Rehab Visit

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, representatives from the App State Men’s and Women’s basketball teams visited with Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation patients at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center. During this time, the student athletes visited with patients and invited them to the Healthy Heart Collaborative ASU Basketball game to participate in more heart health activities.




Connecting with the community

Omar Carter and Boone Chamber

Omar Carter meets with Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

On February 16, the message of CPR/AED bystander awareness and training continued at three community events. The Boone Area Chamber hosted the first session to start the conversation about bystander CPR training and AED placement in the workplace. Next, representatives from ARHS and the Omar Carter Foundation presented training to more than 400 students at Watauga High School. Following the high school event, the team led a cardiovascular health lecture on campus at Appalachian State. An open forum for students followed the lecture with hands-on training in bystander CPR. The Healthy Heart Collaborative spread the word that knowing the proper steps to take, should anyone encounter a sudden cardiac event, is the most important key in saving a life.


On Saturday, February 17, representatives from the American Heart Association joined collaborative partners to provide bystander CPR training at the Appalachian State Basketball games. Videos, speeches, and information further educated the audience on cardiac health topics. The information created more understanding about the treatment options ARHS makes available in the High Country.

A student athlete volunteer helps train in bystander CPR

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