Black History Month offers opportunities to save lives and to Be Beat

American Heart Association

Black or Hispanic adults who experience cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting are substantially less likely to receive lifesaving care from a bystander[1]. The American Heart Association, devoted to world of healthier lives for all, is working to affect change by empowering members of these communities to learn lifesaving Hands-Only CPR. During Black History Month and in conjunction with American Heart Month, the American Heart Association is encouraging everyone everywhere to “Be The Beat” for and in their communities by challenging every household or family to have at least one person who knows Hands-Only CPR.

Scientific studies in the U.S. indicate that laypeople are less likely to initiate CPR for people experiencing cardiac arrest in low-income Black neighborhoods or in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods than in high-income white neighborhoods.[2]

“Black or Hispanic adults who experience a witnessed cardiac arrest outside the hospital are substantially less likely to receive lifesaving care from a bystander,” said American Heart Association volunteer President Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “Research shows lower rates of bystander CPR and a need for more CPR training in communities with low socioeconomic status and those with predominantly Black and Hispanic populations. Additional efforts are also needed to address structural racism and other factors that also likely contribute to the statistics.”

When seconds matter most, CPR can make the difference in whether your friends and family survive. But not everyone knows how to perform CPR. Find a nearby class to take a course to learn the lifesaving skills of CPR, first aid, and AED. Or, individuals, families and friend groups can watch a 90-second Hands-Only CPR instructional video to learn the two steps of Hands-Only CPR: 1) Call 911 if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse; and 2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100 to 120 beats per minute. The easiest way to do that is to do compressions to the beat of a song. A new CPR playlist for Black History Month features numerous songs by Black musicians and performers, including Please Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna, You Got Me by The Roots, and Universal Mind Control by Common.

The life you save may be someone you love.

Be The Beat Ambassadors

There is more than one way to Be The Beat. During Black History Month, the American Heart Association is highlighting people who have been and can Be The Beat for and in their communities, beyond learning CPR. Be The Beat Ambassadors are being recognized through a social media campaign as changemakers that have removed barriers and positively impacted the Black community.

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